Guitar Pickup repair: Repairing/Rewinding a Vintage Telecaster Neck Pickup
A guitar player got in touch with the story of an early ’70s Telecaster Neck pickup that had seen better days – In fact, it looked like it had been attacked with shears. The coil had been gouged quite deeply and a complete rewind was the only way to fix things.
Fortunately I have a selection of old vintage 42 & 43AWG with some spools original from the 60s onwards – I also have a few spools of modern reproductions on vintage wire. Once the correct wire was chosen and the original coil was cut from the flatwork and pole magnets it was time to start winding. The customer told me the original output was in the high 5k region, around 5.7k-5.9k. After winding pickups for a good while you should be able to make a pretty good guess as to how many turns are required of a certain gauge pickup wire to achieve the desired output. In the case of this Tele neck pickup, the customer loved the tone and wanted the rewind to be as close as possible.
Whereas modern Poly coated pickup wire can be soldered, many types of vintage wire cannot. In the case of the Tele neck pickup here, the wire needs its coating sanded off at the point where the wire feeds through the eyelets, allowing it to be soldered to the hookup wire. Once done its was time for winding. The pickup was Reverse Wound / Revers Polarity (RW/RP) so the pickup needed to a rewind with this in mind.
Based on the original pickup which had quite a tight coil, I worked out the number of turns required to give an output in the region of 5.7k-5.9k and started winding with a technique to try and mimic the tighter, consistant machine wound vintage pickup.
Once wound, I needed to sand off the old insulation coating from the end of the wire, no mean feat when the wire is as thin as human hair. After soldering the hookup wires I tested the repaired pickup with the multimeter to ensure it was working. After the pickup was cooled after soldering I coudl take an accurate reading of the pickup’s output – Spot on at 5.8k!
Cover fitted and ready to be sent back to the customer, and although the pickup needed a complete rewind, with vintage wire and a little time and effort – Job done.
If you have pickups in need of a rewind or repair then just get in touch. You can read more about my pickup repair & rewind service here.