Stew Mac makes it easy to rewind pickups (among other things)

It’s a familiar story, someone brings an instrument in with the symptom of a weak and bright output from their electric guitar.  Since the pickup still works, you would not think that it is a  broken pickup.  It’s actually very common to get a weak bright signal from a broken pickup, especially a dual coil pickup like a p-bass (seen here) or a traditional Gibson style pickups where one coil can die and the 2nd could still still pass some signal.   After a quick measurement we could see one of the two P-bass coils measured open.  More often than not we can repair the open coil by very carefully opening up the pickup, finding the break and repairing it.  Unfortunately the break was not on the outside and this was not a vintage piece so rather than digging deeper we elected to rewind.  What is nice about this winder is you can mount the pickup on either side depending on the direction you want to wind the coil (yes you can flip the coil but then you have the protruding magnets to deal with).  It also winds very smooth and even with no bounce or wobble.  The 2 round pieces on the rod between the hand and the bobbin limit the range of the wire on the bobbin so we can do our hand scatter winding and not have the wire fall off the side of the bobbin. This is a very convenient feature. I may make that piece gear driven in the future.   Here in the photo we sanded a little coating off the wire to take a measurement.  We are trying to match this coil to the other good one.  Matching is a whole other story that I will get into at a later date….

You can check out the Stewart MacDonald site to check out all the pickup wire and DIY pickup making supplies as well as all the cool tools.

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Plek, Cutting and leveling the wood fingerboard before fretting

  • Small but mighty cutter. 50,000 rpm Cutter at work cutting the fingerboard level

  • Strung up and ready to measure

    Cuter at work cutting the fingerboard level

    Fingerboard ready for a little clean up and frets.

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Brass Saddle on a nice Gibson Acoustic

I have known Dan since his early days playing with American Music Club.  These days he lives closer to the country and is strumming a Gibson Acoustic guitar.  The problem was the saddles he keeps putting in continues to break because it was so tall.  The neck set on this guitar is so far back the saddle needs to stick out so far just to play.  So on a trip back to SF he asked what I thought about making a brass saddle.  AT first I thought NO….But then as I looked it over and explored the options I decided to give it a try.  Brass gets HOT….  When all was said and done, it worked and sounded great.  It may of even fattened up the tone a little.  

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Tim Tackles Making a New Harmony StratoTone Pickguard

Tim took a trip around the corner to Tap Plastics (the fantastic plastic place) to get what looked like an exact match for the original broken pickguard material on the StratoTone.    It was missing a few pieces and what was left was cracked.  Unfortunately the pickguard holds the jack so it has to be sturdy.    It is a very cool guitar and as always Tim “nailed it”  Take a look.

Oh Yeah!!  Better than new.

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Plek, The secret behind a great refret and fret milling

In every box….This is how it works….

OK, just kidding……..

My 1st wide spaced 7 string Bass I ran on Plek.  Look how big this thing is!!

The beauty of this job, I was able to level the fingerboard with the new Plek Software and Hardware.  It is like a neck jig on steroids.  After we put the frets in, with a little touch up from the Plek fret cutter, we could set the bass up like Edo wanted, with shredder low action.  Absolutely amazing.


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