Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 84

COLUMN Shop of Hard Knocks
upgrade the tone of your single-coils, from
doubling the magnetic field strengths,
replacing ceramic magnets with Alnico or
neodymium, and using neodymium to boost
output.

SIX AND THE SINGLE-COIL
Easy, Economical Ways to Upgrade Tone
By Will Kelly

T

he first steps toward "electrifying" a
guitar involved very basic components
- wire wrapped around a magnet - that
became the single-coil pickup, and they
haven't changed much in 90 years.
Perhaps the most dramatic alteration has

come with the use of magnets made from
neodymium. After first being used in guitaramplifer speakers, pickup manufacturers
started using the rare-earth material. But,
what do they do for guitar tone?
This month, I'll show you easy ways to

1

2

VINTAGE GUITAR

84

June 2018

1) This is a typical single-coil as found
in an import guitar. It consists of a plastic
coil-form bobbin with ultra-fine copper
wire wrapped (thousands of times) around a
ceramic bar magnet. It has six steel polepiece
slugs positioned within the wire coil and in
contact with the bar magnet. They interact
with the vibration plane of the guitar's steel
strings to induce a bit of voltage through
the wire coils. On an ohmmeter, it shows
approximately 5.5k of resistance.
2) The first step in modifying this type of
pickup is to remove the bar magnet, which
is usually held in place by epoxy or silicone
adhesive that can be loosened by direct heat.
I use a household clothes iron on a medium
(cotton) setting to evenly and safely heat the
magnet until the glue releases. This can take
20 to 30 seconds. I then use pliers to grasp the
magnet and twist slightly as it separates from
the bobbin. While the assembly is warm, I
grab each pole and gently twist it out of the
coil form. These are typically set in place with
beeswax, so residual heat will loosen them
enough for safe removal. You don't want to
over-heat the pickup form, which can deform
or damage the bobbin with those delicate
wire wrappings.
3) One of the easiest and most noticeable
mods is to upgrade the pole slugs to Alnico,
which is made in formulas labeled V, III,
and II, with differing magnetic (and thus,


http://www.vintageguitar.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 3
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 4
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 5
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 6
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 7
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 8
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 9
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - Contents
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 11
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 12
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 13
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 14
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 15
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 16
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 17
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 18
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 19
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 20
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 21
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 22
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 23
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 24
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 25
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 26
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 27
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 28
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 29
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 30
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 31
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 32
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 33
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 34
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 35
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 36
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 37
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 38
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 39
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 40
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 41
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 42
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 43
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 44
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 45
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 46
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 47
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 48
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 49
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 50
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 51
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 52
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 53
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 54
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 55
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 56
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 57
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 58
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 59
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 60
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 61
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 62
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 63
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 64
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 65
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 66
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 67
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 68
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 69
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 70
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 71
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 72
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 73
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 74
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 75
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 76
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 77
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 78
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 79
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 80
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 81
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 82
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 83
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 84
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 85
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 86
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 87
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 88
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 89
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 90
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 91
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 92
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 93
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 94
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 95
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 96
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 97
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 98
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 99
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 100
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 101
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 102
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 103
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 104
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 105
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 106
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 107
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 108
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 109
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 110
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 111
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 112
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 113
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 114
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 115
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 116
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 117
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 118
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 119
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 120
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 121
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 122
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 123
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 124
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 125
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 126
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 127
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 128
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 129
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 130
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 131
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 132
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 133
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 134
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 135
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 136
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 137
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 138
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 139
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 140
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 141
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 142
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 143
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 144
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 145
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 146
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - IBC
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - BC
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201903_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201902_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201901_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201812_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201811_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201810_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201809_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201808_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201807_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201805_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201804_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201803_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201802_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201801_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/2018priceguide_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201712_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201711_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201710_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201709_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201708_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201707_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201706_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201705_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201704_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201703_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201702_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201701_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201612_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201611_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201609_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201607_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201606_v2
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com