51. Can you de-gauss (weaken) magnets in a pickup buy rubbing two pickups together?
There can be variances in the magnet when rubbing two magnets (or pickups) together and the results will be inconsistent and not very accurate. Magnets can be degaussed (de-magnetized) by several means: They will slowly de-magnetize over a period of time (many years), heat, shock, other external magnetic fields and alternating currents. You will get haphazard results when rubbing pickups together that may be difficult for you to restore or control. Many years ago I build a magnetic calibrating system I nicknamed the "Dun-Stunner". It allows me to calibrate Alnico magnets with consistent results. I can duplicate magnetic field strength of desired sounding pickups while matching the D.C. resistance of the coil to restore it back to original specifications. When I calibrate a magnet I call it "Dun-aged". It's important when you need to properly duplicate a magnet, when restoring a vintage instrument.
52. Why were early Strat pickups staggered and some newer models have flat poles?
The pole pieces were staggered to increase or decrease the magnetic field to each string to compensate for the amount of output each particular string would produce. In the earlier days you couldn't find sets of strings that had a plain 3rd (G string). The 3rd string were wound over the inner core (made of spring steel). The magnet for a particular pole is longer or shorter to help increase or decrease the output, better balancing the volume in the string. Looking at vintage pickups you can see that the B string had the lowest magnet because the string produced the greatest output. The majority of output produced from a string comes from the spring steel used in the inner core. With today's modern metallurgy, guitar and bass strings have a better balance and output between each string, so pickups have been made with poles all the same length. It's easier to manufacturer and takes less time to assemble a bobbin when using one kind of magnet. I like using flat poles when bending strings into another strings magnetic field. I can hear volume changes between strings when using pickups with staggered poles.
53. Why did Fender Duo-sonic, Musicmaster and Mustang pickups have covers made without holes in the covers?
The flatwork used in these pickups are the same as used in the Stratocaster. If you've ever taken the covers of the pickups, you will see that all the rod magnet pole pieces are flush with the top of the bobbin. The magnets used in the pickups had a length of .625" and the diameter in the earlier pickups were .197" and later was .187". The magnets in the flatwork slightly extended out the bottom on the older Duo-Sonic and Musicmaster pickups. Because the magnets didn't extend through the top of the bobbin like Stratocasters, there was no need to have holes in the cover.
54. Who designed the Phillip head screw and when was it first used?
I find this interesting and I like searching for this kind of information to do articles on.
I found an article written by Jim Boyd who writes for the Register-Guard a newspaper out of Oregon. Henry Phillips who lived in Portland, Oregon patented the Phillip head screw in 1934. The screw has the plus sign shape recessed in center of the screw head. The Phillips company licensed its designs to manufacturers but never actually made screws. Frank Phillips the son of Henry said "The American Screw Co. of Providence, R.I decided to engineer an economical way to punch the Phillips recess into screw heads". The American Screw Co. advertised that Phillips screws speeded up assembly lines because they could be used with power drivers that might slip and mar an expensive finish if used with a normal slotted screw. They were touted as being self-centering, allowing one-handed driving, with heads that would not break off. John Souza, A Phillips Screw Co. Vice President, said the original Phillips screw design has been in the public domain since the company lost the ability to enforce the Phillips trademark in the 1950's. That means the company can no longer control the quality of Phillips screws being made. Foreign companies buy used punches from American manufacturers and then use them to punch out thousands of additional, less crisply detailed recesses in their screws.
55. What are some of the metals used in making pickups?
Ferrous metals contain iron and can conduct magnetism. Non ferrous metals contain no iron and are non-magnetic. An Alloy is a mixture of two or more metals. Base metals ore pure metals like tin, copper, zinc, etc. and precious metals are gold, silver, platinum etc. To better understand the properties of metal, the industry has developed the science of Metallurgy. The person who does the work is call a Metallurgist. One of his more important duties is to develop metals with special properties that will do a better job. When working with guitar pickups it is important to find the best materials to do the best job and will last a long amount of time. Below are some of the most common materials used in making pickups and guitars.
Steel: When Steel is combined with about 0.30% of carbon it is called Low Carbon Steel and is used for a majority of guitar parts such as screws, bridges, neck plates, washers, pot nuts pickup spacers etc., and conducts magnetism very well.
German Silver: Also called Nickel Silver and is used for pickup covers and especially Gibson style Humbucker & P-90 bottom plates. It is used as a substitute for silver in the manufacturer of jewelry also. It is a copper-base alloy with varying quantities of nickel and zinc. It has working characteristics that are very similar to those of brass. Nickel silver with a composition of 64 percent copper, 18 percent nickel and 18 percent zinc, is widely used as the base for most pickup applications.
Brass: Is an alloy of copper and zinc. It's bright yellow and one of the more important alloys of copper. Commercial brass contains about 90 percent copper and 10 percent zinc and the working characteristics are almost identical to those of copper. Brass has been used for bridges and hardware on the guitar.
Die Cast Zinc: Used for molded guitar parts especially bridges.
Zinc: Is often used as a coating on steel and iron to give a protective coating.
Tin: Another protective coating used on pots, eyelet's and allows ease in soldering.
Stainless Steel: 1. Austenitic are chromium-nickel and chromium-nickel maganese stainless steels are non magnetic. 2. Martensitic are alloys of iron, carbon and chromium that are magnetic in nature. 3. Ferritic stainless steel with more than 18 percent chromium and they are magnetic. These can be used for guitar hardware and the magnetic stainless steels can be used for blades on pickups.
56. What are some of the general properties of copper magnet wire used in winding the majority of guitar and bass pickups?
These may be confusing but it's the general guides I use when winding coils.
1. Cohesion is the force that holds together the molecules of the same elementary magnet wire. The greater the temperature of the magnet wire, the less is the cohesion. Malleability, ductility, tenacity, toughness, hardness and elasticity are to be considered properties dependent upon cohesion.
2. Stress is that which causes a strain or deformation in the structure of the material on which it acts.
3. Malleability is the property whereby the molecules of a body may be extended in any direction without rupture by relatively slow compressive stress. Magnet wire is rolled and drawn to it's desired diameter and then the bare copper wire is insulated to keep the turns from shorting.
4. Ductility is the property of the body whereby its form may be changed by the action of pressure-the property whereby a metal may be drawn into a wire.
5. Tenacity is the greatest longitudinal stress that magnet wire can withstand without rupture.
6. Toughness is the resistance to fracture offered by a material when it is repeatedly bent or twisted.
7. Hardness is the resistance offered by the molecules of a copper wire to their separation by the penetrating action of another body.
8. Brittleness is the sudden failure of cohesion between the molecules of the magnet wire when it is wound into the desired coil shape.
9. Elasticity is the property of the magnet wire whereby it resists deformation under stress and resumes its original for when the stress is removed.
57. I have a pickup with too much wax on it. What is the best way to remove it?
Depending on what kind of pickup you have, there are several things I do. For single coils that have black or gray Vulcanized Fibre for the flatwork (the material that looks like compressed paper) you can use a heating lamp or low temperature oven to slowly melt the excess wax. If you use hot water to melt the wax, too much moisture can be trapped inside the bobbin and causes the flatwork to warp and magnets to rust. If rusting occurs it can eventually break through the insulation, damaging the coil. Make sure the coil is dry and moisture free. When removing wax from humbuckers, I disassemble the hardware such as the magnets, iron load, shims coil forms (bobbins) and bottom plate. When removing wax from each component, I have used hot water, heating lamp or a low heat oven. (do not use a gas oven because the wax is extremely combustible) If the parts are submerged in hot water, I carefully dry each part using paper towels and even a hair dryer. You can use a small bowl to put hot water in and let the parts sit for a while. As the wax melts of the parts, it floats to the surface. I put a paper towel on top of the water to absorb the excess floating wax. This helps when removing the parts so they don't become coated with wax when pulling them out of the hot water. I wrap a thin wire around each part to allow me to agitate the part and not burn my fingers with hot water when taking the parts out of the container. A heating lamp works well too but be careful when using plastic bobbins (coil forms) because they can warp and distort if they get too hot. Pickups can be re-dipped in a paraffin (wax) solution to heat and eliminate excess wax. I have used an Electric Heat Gun that delivers an instant flameless heat. Some have an adjustable air intake that allows you to vary the velocity. Again be careful on plastic parts as Electric Heat Guns can melt or distort the plastic. (Note: see VGM Pickup Question II for potting procedures)
58. What is Phenolic and how many types are there?
Phenolic is a thermoset plastic and is made by applying heat and pressure to layers of paper or fabric impregnated with a special synthetic resin. Phenolic is an exceptionally versatile material since it is lightweight, dense, strong and moisture resistant. One of the most common uses are black pick guards as used on vintage and re-issue Telecasters. I like spraying lacquer on the re-issue pick guards to make them look like the real thing. There are several types of Phenolic and each have different applications.
Paper Base: General purpose electrical grade. Used as panels for switchboards and instruments, for circuit breaker arms, and many other electrical applications. Best for all around use. Good machinability. I use this a lot for making bobbin prototypes, fixtures and bobbin assembly jigs. This comes in a variety of grades and surfaces.
Linen Base: Best electrical and mechanical properties combined. Excellent moisture resistance, superior machinability. Used as terminal blocks, panels and high humidity applications. This is good for making body templates and jigs.
Canvas Base: Tough with excellent impact strength. Used for prototype bobbins and routing templates. Has a wide variety of mechanical applications and good machinability.
Glass Epoxy: Has the highest temperature grade with outstanding mechanical, physical and electrical properties. This material works well for jigs and fixtures but it pretty expensive when compared to paper but machines well.
Phenolic comes in rods and sheets. The Phenolic rod can be used for side dots on a guitar neck and sheets can be punched out to make position markers on fingerboards. I have used Phenolic for all kinds of pickup applications. It is easily machined, threaded, drilled and tapped using standard tools.
59. What are easy and inexpensive ways to change the sound of my humbucking or single coil pickups?
There are several fun things you can do to your pickups. You can change the length of your height adjust screws in your traditional style humbucker. The original screws are 5/40 Fillister head machine screws. They are 3/4" long. if you use 1/2" long screws the sound will be a little brighter. You could use a 5/40 thread socket head cap screws instead of the Fillister and for the stud side of the bobbin use a straight socket head. The different screw heads and lengths can change the magnetic field pattern and strength to the strings. Changing the bar magnets in your pickup can change your sound. Make sure you keep the standard .5" width. The magnet can be a little longer (from 2.25" to about 2.5" in length) and the thickness can range from .125" to about .250". When using a thicker magnet you need to use the same thickness shim to keep the coils level with each other. Magnetizing the bar magnet after it's assembled in the pickup will change the tone and output of the pickup. The pickup is magnetized between the adjustable and stud side of the humbucker rather then magnetizing the bar magnet by itself; then inserting it in the pickup. Sliding the bar magnet out of the pickup, flipping it over 180 degrees and pushing it back in will only make the pickup sound different if used with another pickup. It will then be magnetically out of phase with another pickup. James Burton who played with Rick Nelson used an old Telecaster. The neck and bridge pickups were out of phase when used together. At times, using the old Telecaster wiring you could notch the 3 way lever switch to combine the two pickups (with the old 1953 Telecaster schematic the two pickups were not combined) and using the neck and bridge together the magnetic fields could be different in the two pickups making them out of phase. Listen to James and his many brilliant solos he did with Ricky Nelson. Reversing the two lead wires by means of a toggle switch can electrically change the phasing of the pickup. Precautions have to be taken so the covers and coils don't short out or cause the pickup cover to buzz when being touched. You may have to insulate the cover from the coil or reverse the ground wires at the connections. I've used strips of ferrous shim stock, wrapped around insulated coils to shape the magnetic field within the coil. Try putting thin ferrous plates on bottom of your single coil Strat pickups. Use double faced carpet tape to hold the plate on. It can alter the sound of your pickup without making permanent changes. I like making temporary changes just in case I don't like the results. When making changes, make sure everything is properly grounded and kept from vibrating. Any vibrations from loose screws, plates and springs etc. could cause unwanted microphonics or feedback.
60. What can be done for pickups that are loose in pick guards and mounting plates on standard guitars?
Humbuckers: Try putting foam rubber in the cavity below the bottom of the pickup. This will help the pickup from rocking back and forth. Try a stronger and longer height adjust spring. The compression springs are made in various gauges of spring steel and come in a variety sizes. Wear safety glasses when trying to put humbucker springs on. Be careful as the springs can shoot far from where your working. Covers that are used on humbuckers help keep the pickup snug when used with a mounting ring. Many players have removed the covers from their pickups looking for more output. Never use liquid foams, epoxies or glues to secure your pickup. If anything ever goes wrong with your pickup it will be quite difficult to repair and could cause considerable damage to your instrument.
Single Coils: I use a longer length of surgical rubber tubing when my single coil pickups are loose on pick guards or mounting plates. The rubber grommets can fatigue and flatten out especially in older instruments. Find a medical supply house and ask for 1/4" outside diameter, 1/8" inside diameter, amber surgical rubber tubing. You can cut it to any desired length you need and is pretty inexpensive. If you have a hard time finding it let me know and I'll help you find it. Covers should be used when ever possible to avoid your strings from getting snagged on the under edge of the pickup. Covers keep the pickup snug in the pick guard and protect the coils. If you have metal height adjust springs on your single coil pickups, replace them with the rubber grommets. If the springs are loose they can vibrate and cause an unusual feedback. In the early 60's I watched Jimi Hendrix pluck the tremolo springs in the back cavity of his Stratocaster. The cavity was cut deep enough to allow the tremolo springs (spring steel) vibration to react with the magnetic field of the pickups. He would pluck the springs and lower the tremolo arm and the rest is history.
61. Where can I get hardware for working on guitars and pickups?
My favorite book is by McMaster-Carr: you can get their catalog by calling:
Chicago: Sales-312-254-0300 Fax #: 312-834-9427
Los Angeles: Sales-213-692-5911 Fax #: 213-695-2323
New Jersey: Sales-201-329-3200 Fax #: 201-329-3772
62. Can I remove the covers from my pickups that are potted in epoxy?
Removing the pickup covers would be difficult and the coils will be inconsistently covered with epoxy. Using a vacuum system will void air pockets inside the pickup and allow the epoxy to seep better into the cavity. If this isn't done the pickup will have an undesirable look and you can't do too many things with the pickup anyway. I have removed covers in an attempt to repair a broken coil by using hot water and gently prying the edges of the cover to loosen it from the potting solution. Trying to remove the epoxy can leave you a pickup that doesn't work and looking like an archaeological dig. If you see the epoxy on the bottom of the pickup, it would be best to leave it alone and find another pickup. If you like experimenting and seeing how pickups are constructed, try using pickups that are easy to take apart. I often find broken pickups for my research at music stores, pawn shops and friends bring them to me to spec out. Ask the music store if you can look through their junk box for pickups to experiment with.
63. I took the tape off my humbucker to measure the D.C. resistance of each coil and get a pickup that's shorted out, but when installed the pickup works fine.
The first thing to check would be the hookup wire at the end of the cable that's soldered to the pots or switches. The fine strands of wire at that end can touch making the pickup act like it's shorted out. Make sure all the insulated wires from each conductor are separated and not touching. Repairman often remove the tape to see what color conductor goes to each coil when replacing pickups. This needs to be done to correctly hookup the pickup for proper phase and switching. Many manufactures use Single, 2,3,4 or 5 conductor wire to hookup their pickups. Color coding from various pickups will need to be known be to do proper wiring and pickup installation. Several pickup manufactures use a different beginning and finish hookup a wire from each bobbin to the colored multiconductor cable. A chart will be done in a following issue to show the differences between each of the popular pickup manufactures.
The Color Coding example below is a standard Seymour Duncan Humbucker using a 4 conductor insulated cable. The drain wire is a multi strand or solid conductor that extends from the cable is non-insulated and used for grounding the pickup.
Bobbin Polarity Coil Begin Coil Finish
Adjustable Coil South Black White
Non-Adjustable Coil (stud) North Green Red
I like using a 4 conductor foil shielded with drain wire and each are 28 AWG (7/36 Strand). You can use 26 AWG (7/34 Strand) or 24 AWG (7/32 Strand) but as the AWG number gets lower the diameter of the wire is thicker. When the wires become too thick it becomes harder to hookup and tape. If the pickup is too bulky you can have a problem being too tight in the mounting ring or even getting the pickup cover on.
64. Many pickup manufactures use Vulcanize Fibre to make coil forms and bobbins. How is it made and what are other specifications and uses?
The company NVF manufacture Vulcanized Fibre under the trade name Forbon and is used commercially not only for building pickup coil forms but also for making Fuse Panels, Fuse tubes, Diode packaging, Golf Club head inserts, Electrical Insulation's and Shields and can be corrugated and formed into many shapes. Vulcanize Fibre is made into sheet stock, rods, tubes, rolls, coils and fabricated parts can be made wet or dry when forming, scoring and deep drawing. Standard sheet sizes are approximately 48" X 80" and range in thickness from .004" through 1". Vulcanized Fibre is a chemically pure, cellulose material that contains no resins or bonding agents. It has extremely high internal bond strength and even though it is pure cellulose (an inert carbohydrate-the chief constituent of the cell walls of plants) it will not delaminate or separate, even in water. Forbon is made from high purity cellulose papers specially formulated to produce the desired end-use properties in various grades and colors. Some of the colors are Gray, White, Black, Red, Olive and Chocolate. The layers of paper are passed through a gelantizing bath and are chemically laminated into a homogeneous (having a common property throughout) material of the desired thickness. The gelatizing agent is then removed, resulting in a chemically pure product. Forbon has an insulating class of 115 degrees Centigrade.
65. I have a pickup that's sealed and I like the sound by itself but it is out of phase when I use it with another pickup. What can easily be done to make it in phase?
There are several things that can be done if you can't reverse the wires on the encased pickup (epoxied). If the other pickup being used is a humbucker check to see if it's sealed or not. If it's not sealed see if the magnet can be removed and flipped over 180 degrees. You may need to loosen the screws on the bottom of the pickup mounting plate to allow the magnet to slide freely in and out. If you can remove the magnet, gently slide it out and flip it over 180 degrees. If not try reversing the ground and hot wire in the pickup. Always try to reverse the wires at the main cable going to the controls. If you can't reverse the magnet or hookup wire then you will have to find someone to remagnetize and calibrate one of the pickups. Remagnetizing the pickup can alter the original sound and tone of your pickup. If you have a pickup you really like, don't mess with it. Without proper magnetic calibrating equipment, having someone remagnetize your pickup can alter the sound of the pickup from how it was. The strength of a magnet can determine the output and brightness in a pickup, the polarity of the magnet can affect the phasing and remember if changes need to be made, make them to another pickup and not the one you like.
66. What is the difference between a coil tap and coil split?
When I tap a coil I use several different methods. If I need an extra tap I have to install an extra eyelet in the bobbin. If I'm winding a Stratocaster and start with: 7,600 turns of 42 Plain Enamel. Insert the beginning magnet wire in the eyelet and wind the bobbin "top going" with the top of the bobbin facing left. I wind till I get to 7, 600 Turns and wrap the wire through the 2nd eyelet. Return the magnet wire from the 2nd eyelet to the coil and continuing in the same direction (top going) and add another 2,400 Turns. The coil now has a total of 10,000 Turns. My taps will be at 7,600 Turns and 10,000 Turns. Another way to wind a tapped coil is start with 5,000 Turns and add 2,600 Turns. You now have a tap at 5,000 Turns and 7,600 Turns.
Tap example #1: 7,600 Turns + 2,400 Turns = Total 10,000 Turns 42 Plain Enamel
Tap example #2: 5,000 Turns + 2,600 Turns = Total 7,600 Turns 42 Plain Enamel
Tap example #1 gives you a stock plus an extra output. With the added output the coil also sounds less bright and fatter sounding.
Tap example #2 gives you a thinner and brighter tone at 5,000 Turns and a Stock Stratocaster sound at 7,600 Turns.
You can go either way with a Tap and add one or several Taps. I made a 6 Tap Telecaster pickup for Pete Anderson who produces and plays guitar for Dwight Yoakam. Using a 6 position rotor switch you can get a thin twangy sound to a fat Gibson P-90
single coil sound.
A coil spilt is usually associated with a humbucking pickup. The finish wires of each coil are normally connected together during a standard humbucking. If a hookup wire is connected at that point, the wire are connected to ground by means of a toggle switch which can short one of the coils, making the pickup operative with only one coil. I call a this a coil split. On the other hand a split pickup is usually associated with two bobbins and each under a desired number of strings. A spit pickup is like the Precision Bass that has two staggered bobbins.
67. How can I change the color of my newer bobbins and pickup covers? Fran Duffy, Brigantine, New Jersey
I contacted the RIT Dye company and they gave me information on many colors available and we worked out the following dyeing procedures.
Although RIT Dye is manufactured and guaranteed primarily for the tinting and dyeing of textile fabrics, it is also effective for coloring many other things, including many types of vinyl plastics. Light and medium RIT colors are most effective for coloring plastics. Dark colors, such as Navy Blue,Cocoa Brown, Dark Brown, Dark Green and Black, generally are not satisfactory and cause off-shades to result. The types of plastics vary greatly, and consequently the results are sometimes unpredictable and may vary slightly from the results obtainable on textile fabrics.
Tinting small bobbin or pickup covers:
1. Make a concentrated dye solution, using power or liquid RIT Dye. Use a glass bowl or metal pan or container. (Do not use a plastic or Teflon-coated container) Dissolveone package of power dye according tothe package instructions, or use 1/2 cup liquid dye and mix with one quart of hot tap water (around 140 degrees Fahrenehit). Use enough hot water so the item will be covered completely and can be moved (agitated) about without crowding. Stir constantly to assure even color. (When tinting covers or bobbins, lift and turn in dye solution using kitchen spoon or wooden stick, until desired color is developed).
2. When the item has developed the depth of color wanted, remove it from the dye solution and rinse well in warm running water until water sppears clear. Then allow it to dry on an old cloth or dry with paper towels. If the color is not dark enough simply add more dye to the solution, thoroughly dissolving and straining powered dye first, and continue tinting the item in the hot dye solution for a longer period of time.
Note: Proper rinsing is necessary to remove excess color from the surface of the plastic. Be certain to rinse well under running water until water appears clear. If necessary, polish with a soft cloth or tissue to restore the luster of the plastic.
Some other hints when using RIT Dye: The brush-on method of dying is not recommended for plastics because satisfactory and even color cannot be obtained on the plastic surface. A simmering temperature should not be used in coloring plastic items because a too-hot temperature may damage or distort them. When dying nylon, cellulose, acetate and other plastics make sure the parts can withstand the hot temperatures. By doing some test trials you can determine if you need a little more or less dye depending on the material and shade desired. Generally 10 minutes dyeing time is acceptable for the colors while Black usually requires 15-20 minutes time to develop the black shade. The bobbins or pickup covers should be agitated, circulated and stirred so the dyeing solution can promote level dyeing. After dyeing the bobbins or covers they should be rinsed in warm fresh water to remove unfixed dye and then hand dried to remove the water residue. If you can use a higher temperature for dyeing then you will get the best color value out of the RIT. Do test trials before dyeing as some plastics can warp and distort especially the High Impact Styrene plastics that some manufacturers use for bobbins. If you have a problem with the plastic then try using a lower temperature to at least (110-120 degrees Fahrenheit and above).?
This is a list of the common RIT colors and numbers: (Powdered RIT)
#7 Rose Pink
#8 Old Rose
#9 Cardinal Red
#20 Cocoa Brown
#21 Turquoise Blue
#25 Dark Brown
#26 Light Blue
#27 Evening Blue
#29 Royal Blue
#30 Navy Blue
#31 Light Green
#32 Kelly Green
#33 Jade Green
#34 Forest Green
#35 Dark Green
#36 Denim Blue
#37 Charcoal Grey
#42 Golden Yellow
#43 Chestnut Brown
#44 Marine Blue
All the numbers represent the specific color of RIT Dye and not all the numbers are used, also several of the colors are not available in Liquid RIT. Thanks to the RIT company for all their valuable help.
68. Where Can I find a Centralab 1452 Lever Switch that's used on Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster Guitars? Scott Neubert, Nashville, TN.
First, I want to give you some information about the #1452 Lever Switch. On a three way Lever Switch each position is 30?'s from the center position. The mounting holes on the switch take a 6/32 Machine Screw and are secured to the mounting plate. Early Fender Broadcasters, Esquires & Telecasters used a Round Head-Slotted Machine Screw. Later Telecasters & Esquires used a Phillip Pan Head Screw and currently a Round Head Phillips excluding the Vintage Re-issues. Early Stratocasters used an Oval Head Phillips. The Centralab 1452 Lever Switch is available in many music stores and can be ordered through: All Parts-P.O. Box 1318-Katy, TX. 77492 (713-391-0637). Their part number for the 3 Way Lever is EP-075 and the 5 Way Lever is EP 076. Centralab no longer makes the switch and now it's being manufactured by Electroswitch-2010 Yonkers Road-Raleigh, NC 27604 (919-833-0707). The lever switch is a 222 series and the catalog number is still #1452 (Shorting). They also sell the Telecaster (new style) oval knob (Push-on) and the part number is P-193.
Construction: Open eyeleted.
Mounting: Two hole (6/32 Machine Screw).
Index: Cam and roller with coil spring.
Index Life: 25,000 cycles minimum.
Index Angle: Spring return and positive, 30?.
Index Stops: Fixed.
Stop Strength: 25 in. lb. minimum.
Index Torque: Standard. Switches have lowest practical torque consistent with crisp detenting (detaining or holding in place) and smooth reliable operation.
Materials and Finishes:
All metal parts are non-corrosive materials or suitably plated to prevent rust or corrosion.
Clips and Rotor Contacts: They are precision stamped and made of brass and silver plated to keep from oxidizing, make good contact and ease in soldering.
Insulation: The material is a Phenolic, using Standard NEMA XXXP, MIL-1-3115P, Type BPEP.
Knob Shaft:The dimensions for the knob shaft are .050"± .003" X .187"± X .005". The knob shaft length is .312"± .005". The depth of the switch from the mounting surface is 1.30" Max.
69. A lot of Humbuckers today come without covers. What is the reason for this? Bob Reminder, Brook Park, Ohio
Jeff Beck was the first player in the 60's I saw that removed the cover from his Late 50's Les Paul. He told me he removed them because of uncontrollable feedback using high powered amplification and speaker systems. I started removing covers from my Humbuckers thinking I would sound like Jeff and looking to see if my pickups were the same color as his. I believe Jeff was the first to start the fad of removing covers from humbuckers that exposed the bobbins. Jeff's Les Paul had a Double Cream and a Zebra (Cream & Black) Humbucking Bobbin. Removing the covers also helped get a little more output from the pickup. Jeff raised the 6 height adjust (Fillister Head) screws so the bottom of the screw head was about equal to the top of the bobbin (not screwed into the recessed hole in the bobbin). His pickups were setup this way when he recorded "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" using a guitar I gave him called a "Tele-Gib". It was a Telecaster with a cut down 3 position bridge and Two Humbuckers that I wound for him. Many companies that manufacturer Humbuckers don't use covers because of the feedback problems with today's high powered amplification. The cost of tooling needed to produce the covers that are "deep drawn" can be very expensive. The plating materials used can also effect the magnetic field and can make the pickup sound a little warmer. Depending on the height of the Humbucker in a mounting ring or pickguard there is a higher risk to damage. The strings usually a High E or Low E can get snagged under the lip of the bobbin and damage to the coil could be disastrous. Trying to remove the tape which insulates and protects the coil could also break the beginning or finish wires of the coil. Extreme care must be given when trying to remove or replacing the insulating tape. The Black Flatback tape Gibson used for many years to insulate the coils is no longer being made. You could try using a Black Photographic tape found in Camera stores. You may have to cut 1/4" strips from the roll to be used on your bobbins. It works well as long as you don't put it in a hot wax solution.
70. Why did Roy Buchanan put a penny under the middle saddle of his 53' Telecaster Bridge. Kevin Loftus, Kensington, MD
I grew up in Southern, New Jersey and I first saw Roy playing in a Club called Dick Lee's near Camden, New Jersey. Roy was born on September 23, 1939 in Ozark, Arkansas and grew up in Pixley, California. Pixley is North of Bakersfield, California and Roy listened to a guitarist that played with Merle Haggard named Roy Nichols. Later during the early 60's Roy played with a group called Bob Moore and the Temtations (The Temps). Roy was my biggest influence and I learned all that I could from him. He taught me about Volume Swells, Wah Wah with the Tone Control and most of all he taught me about "Tone and a Telecaster". He helped me find my first 56' Fender Telecaster and right away I knew my tone was different from his. He would let me play his 53' Telecaster as we often sat talking about guitars. We sat in a room in Dayton, Ohio in the early 70's just after his release of his first album titled "Roy Buchanan" and we talked about the "penny" under the bridge saddle. Roy's action was high and by raising the height screws on the middle bridge saddle made the sound thinner as the extended screws radiated the string vibration. By placing a penny under the middle saddle, the two height screws could be lowered giving the strings more thickness and sustain. For all you young blues players, you should try and find Roy's early albums to listen too. The recordings I like best are when Roy was recording for Polydor Records. He was playing his 53' Telecaster and playing what he liked to play.
71. What did Peter Green do to his Humbuckers to give him his sound and does he still have his old Les Paul that he used in early recording with Fleetwood Mac? Jeff Ross, Hollywood, Ca
This question has come up a lot lately. What Peter Green did was pretty easy to do. First the neck pickup is out of phase with the bridge pickup. To do this the cover was removed from the Humbucking Pickup, the screws loosened and the Alnico bar magnet was pull out and flipped over 180? degrees and put back in place. The screws that were loosened need to be firmly tightened or you will have extra feedback problems. The magnet should be pulled out on the opposite end where the lead and hookup wires are attached and soldered. When putting the pickup back in the mounting ring, you need to reverse the angle of the ring. When you put the pickup back into the routed cavity the adjustable screws will face the bridge and the studs (under the cover) will face the neck. The stud side of the bobbin has a slightly higher magnetic field than the adjustable side. This is because the adjustable screws extend out the bottom of the pickup and loose some of the magnetic field to the strings. Peter's old Les Paul is now owned by Gary Moore another great guitarist from England. Peter was born on October 29, 1946. Peter took Eric Clapton's place in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers around July of 1966, and in June of 1967 left the Bluesbreakers to help form Fleetwood Mac. Eric Clapton left to form Cream with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. Trying finding and listening to John Mayall albums as he had great guitarist working and recording with him similar to "The Yardbirds" (Clapton, Beck, & Page). Besides Clapton and Green other great guitarist have worked with John such as Rick Vito and currently Coco Montoya.
72. What guitar and amp did Steve Cropper use when recording "Green Onions" with Booker T & the MG's? Ken Bozarth, Wenonah, New Jersey
"Green Onions" was released on August 1962 and is probably one of my all time favorite recordings. The group consisted of Booker T. Jones (organ) Steve Cropper (guitar) Donald "Duck" Dunn (Fender Bass) and Al Jackson (drums). Steve recorded earlier with a group called the Mar-Keys and had a big hit in 1961 called "Last Night". Steve used a late 50' Telecaster (59') and a Fender Harvard amplifier. "Green Onions" was recorded in the Key of "F" and many guitarist thought it was in a the key of "E". Steve is a great producer, songwriter and has played with groups such as Sam and Dave, Otis Redding and The Blues Brothers. Steve told me that MG stands for Memphis Group.
73. A repairman told me to use Two 50K pots into my guitar and now that I did that the tone is mushy with now clarity in the high end. What did I do wrong? Burke Lane, Woodstown, New Jersey
When you start repairing guitars and work on different types of electronics you can be unfamiliar with the common terms used in guitar building and guitar repair. Most likely the repairman thought you to understand that you should use 250K pots and not Two 50K pots. Most passive guitars use 250K (Fenders), 500K (Gibson) and 1Meg. Audio Taper Potentiometers (Misc. Guitars). If using a 250K (K= Thousand) and a 1 Meg. (Meg. = Million) the 1 Meg. will let more high end pass. Using the 50K Potentiometer will drastically cut your high end. Don't feel silly to ask questions and write things down or have your repairman help you. There are several good repair books available and if you're looking for guitar tools and parts try contacting Stewart-McDonald (insert address) and many other fine advertisers in Vintage Guitar Magazine.
74. What difference will there be if you wind a pickup Top Coming or Top Going? Robert A. Hulem, Hamburg, New York
Starting with a typical Vintage Stratocaster the coil is wound Top Left/ Top Going. If you look at a top view of a stock Fender Stratocaster pickup, eyelet's at 6:00 O'Clock and the cover removed you will see the beginning coil wire starting on the lower left eyelet and the coil winds clock wise around the bobbin and finishes on the lower right eyelet. If two or more coils are wound in the same direction with the same magnetic field they will be in phase. If one coil is wound Top Left/ Top Going (clock wise) and the other coil is wound Top Left/ Top Coming (counter-clock wise) with the same magnetic field the two coils will be out of phase. If one coil is wound clock wise and the other is counter-clock wise with two opposite magnetic fields the pickups will be in phase and humbucking. I would keep the coils wound in the same direction if you don't have any means of re-magnetizing the pickups. If the pickups you are using have two different magnetic fields (after market pickups) then it would be best to wind in opposite directions.
75. When converting the pickup on an early Fender Lap Steel what modifications do you have to do to make it work in a Telecaster? Mike Black-Seattle, Washington
There are several differences as compared to a stock Telecaster. The bottom plate on the lap steel are rectangular and are .062 thick and the pole pieces have slightly different spacing. When I make the modifications the standard Telecaster bottom plate is .093 thick which I cant use. I punch out a blank Telecaster bottom plate (.062 thickness) and hand punch all the holes to the proper spacing and diameter. Extreme care has to be taken when removing the rectangular vulcanized fibre on the lap steel. The fine magnet wire must be removed first from the eyelets so they can be inserted into the eyelets on the new bottom flatwork. I have several fixtures to remove the rectangular bottom plate and then carefully press on the new Telecaster flatwork, carefully connect the magnet wire from the coil to the new eyelets and do the final hookup and waxing.