From ipu-k–(at)– Sat Jan 14 12:10:38 CST 1995
Article: 32432 of alt.guitar
From: ipu-k–(at)– (Jim Radmer)
Newsgroups: alt.guitar
Subject: strat pickup technical info
Date: Sat, 14 Jan 1995 17:26:47 GMT
Organization: News Server at UNI-C, Danish Computing Centre for Research and Education.
Lines: 60
Distribution: world
Message-ID: <7901044071727--(at)>

In the guitar magazine, volume 1, issue 9 jan ’92 Kent Armstrong writes
about the stratocaster pickup. Heres a short version with only the hard
facts :

>From unwinding the 73’rd strat made, he found :

– It had 8255 turns of wire
– The wire was 0,06334 mm dia equals 42 AWG

After 20 years of rewinding, Kent uses between 8400 and 8500 turns of
wire, this seems to give the best results.

The main features of a 50’s strat pickup is as follows :

– The coil is 11 mm high
– Pole piece separation : 57,5 mm
– Bottom mounting plate is 2,5 mm thick fiber board
– Top plate is 1,7 mm thick

The six magnets differ in height :

– E (1’st) : 16,7 mm
– B : 15,7 mm
– G : 17,4 mm
– D : 18,2 mm
– A : 17,5 mm
– E : 17,5 mm
– All magnets are 5 mm in dia with bevelled top only

The two ends of the coil wire are tied off in the eyelets on the bottom
plate when the pickup is hot-waxed. The pickup is immersed in low-melting
point paraffin wax for approx. 2 hours. The wax replaces the air between
the layers of wire. This reduces microfonic feedback.

Since the 50′ many changes were made. In the late 60′ and the 70’s Fender
changed the number of turns to 7600 of AWG 42 wire to give a brighter

Other models include the reverse wound and reverse polarity of the magnets
on the current American standard. The middle pickup is made this way,
resulting in a hum cancelling effect when used together with the front
or rear pickup.

‘Mellowing’ of old pickups is caused by magnetic deterioration. In terms
of sound it chops off the high peaks, they become less dominant and
generally the output drops in the same way as if the pickup is screwed
away from the strings.

In Kent Armstrongs opinion, if you don’t have a set of vintage originals
then Seymour Duncans ‘vintage staggered’ pickups are as close as you get.

Thats all folks, I hope is will be of use to other than me. I just made
3 SC pickups with the middle pickup RW/RP and only 5400 turns of 0,07 mm
dia wire. I have 5 mm dia 20 mm long Alnico magnets. I haven’t tried them
yet, but I will in 2-3 weeks time, when the (also homemade) guitar is

– Jim Radmer


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