Explore the many options to creating your own tone. Magnet type to wax potting, learn how each variable affects the final product. Every slight change creates a new tonal possibility.
The type of magnet used in a pickups causes the greatest change in tone over any other variable in the construction. Generally, pickup magnets are cast from an Aluminum Nickel and Cobalt alloy (AlNiCo), but sometimes Ceramic material is used. The magnet will change not only the frequency response of the pickup, but also the strength of the output. Magnets can be degaussed, reducing the magnet strength, to produce a more vintage tone.
The wire type can be changed to affect the sound of the pickup. Most notably, the gauge of the wire will affect the output of the pickup. A smaller gauge wire will allow for more turns on the bobbin, creating more resistance in the electrical current, thus providing more output from the pickup. The different insulations on the wire do not affect the tone of the pickup other than the minimal effect it may have on the way the turns lay on each other.
The number of turns on a pickup's bobbin is the second most influential variable toward its tone. All Doubleday Pickups are hand scatter-wound, similar to the techniques used to create the PAF style pickups and early Fender single coils. More turns on a bobbin will increase a pickups resistance, and respectively its output. More output will also roll off the highs on a pickups frequency response, resulting in a smoother tone. Less turns will produce a weaker sounding pickup, but with more clarity.
Wax Potting is the process of dipping the completed pickup into a heated mixture of waxes in order to solidify and protect the winds in the coils. The wax penetrates deep into the winds of the coils, helping prevent vibrations from creating unwanted sounds in the output of the pickup. On the other hand, an un-potted pickup can produce some more harmonically rich tones. A properly wound coil should be able to stand the test of time without potting if properly handled.