I had a 1975 Wide Range’ humbucker in for a rewind the other day and took the chance to take some pictures. I thought I’d explain why these are different from ‘normal’ humbuckers and show you what its innards look like.
The main difference is with the magnets. A tradition ‘Gibson ‘ style humbucker has a single bar magnet underneath the coils with the pole pieces ‘conducting’ this magnetic flux up through the coils towards the strings.
The Wide Range is much more similar to a Fender pickup (like a Strat) with the poles being individual magnets, 12 of them. This produces a more trebly, percussive, clearer tone than a traditional humbucker. To offset this high end Wide Ranges have overwound coils. The more wire you put on a coil the more bass you get so Wide Ranges are wound to around 10.6KOhms where as a traditional humbucker is closer to 8KOhms. This adds bass and balances out the tone from the magnets giving a balanced, full, clear tone. To give space for these extra windings the pickup was made physically bigger.
Oh, and the magnets have a different chemical composition, but that’s another story.
Pickup re-winds are a big part of what I do.
In the early days back in the 1990’s I re-wound a lot of pickups. It was an invaluable introduction into the inner workings of electric guitar pickups.
Back then there were a lot of 60’s and 70’s quality pickups around to practice on, they weren’t as valuable or sought after as they are now. Because of that I got to see how pickups were put together in the old days, the construction, the potting material…
There wasn’t much information available so experimentation was the only way to learn. I made so many bad pickups back then but made a note of every single one, how I’d wound it and what the result was. By using that method I got closer and closer to what I wanted. I also made a note of all the re-winds I did and the original spec if I could get it. I’m still writing in that note book to this day and it’s becoming a fantastic reference tool when I receive an unusual pickup repair from a customer.
I still really enjoy re-winding pickups, I think I have a strong instinct to fix things. I would much rather repair a faulty old pickup than sell a customer a new one. Sometimes, of course, the customer wants a different sound that the old pickup can’t give them and a new pickup is the way to go.
Please feel free to contact me about any faulty pickup by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (021 912 678) https://mrglynspickups.com/