Pickup Winding: First Attempt

Here is the saga of me getting started in the world of pickup winding. It is something that I have wanted to do for a while now and I finally got around to it.

I started off by building my own winding machine, if you haven’t read that article you can find it here: How to Turn a Sewing Machine into a Pickup Winder

Once I had the winding machine I made another little tool to make winding the pickup easier. This is based off hand tensioner tools like this one here: https://amzn.to/32AGq1O

However the goal of this whole experiment was to try winding pickups for cheap so I didn’t want to shell out the money for a tool like that, so I made it.


It is relatively simple and certainly cheap to make. Just a dowel rod, clothespin, sewing machine bobbin (from the same sewing machine that I built the winder out of), and a pen cap. All held together with hot glue.

For the pickup bobbin I used an old pickup I had from one of my first electric guitars. The inner wire had broke off of it so it didn’t work anymore. I cut all the old winding off of it so that I could practice winding myself. I stuck the pickup to the disc of my machine and threaded some 42 gauge wire through my tensioner tool and onto the pickup bobbin.


I had the wire break on me a couple of times. I figured that maybe the tension was too high because my clothespin was putting too much pressure on the wire, so I wrapped a rubber band around the clothespin to let some tension off of the wire. Once I adjusted that I didn’t break the wire any more times.

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My first completed pickup I wasn’t paying close attention to the counter and went a little over zealous with the windings. I had about 9,303 windings on the pickup. I would have left it except the winding was bulging out of the sides of the bobbin enough that I couldn’t get the cover on. (Also I didn’t mention it in the video but I tried to push the cover on anyway and broke some of the windings, making the pickup useless).

I took all the wire off and started over, this time stopping at around 7,993 windings. My second attempt the windings looked a lot better and they fit under the cover!

For any one who is interested, the resistance of my finished pickup ended up being 7.02 kOhms. Which is basically dead center in the normal range of 6-8 kOhms for single coil pickups like this.

Once the pickup was wound I melted some plain white candles I picked up from goodwill in a pasta jar on a candle warmer. Once the wax was melted I dipped the pickup in for 10-15 minutes until air bubbles stopped coming out of the pickup.

Dipping a pickup in wax helps cut down on micro-phonics as well as providing some protection for the windings.

Once that was done I screwed the pickup into some scrap pieces of wood in order to clamp it upside down to one of my guitars to test it out.


If you want to hear the pickup take a look at the video below:

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