Frequently asked Questions

Old Bones Pickups Classic SC Stratocaster pickups
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How do you make your pickups?

I make my pickups using a hand fed technique referred to as scatter winding. This means that the bobbin is spun by a winding machine, but that the copper wire is guided onto the bobbin by hand. When hand feeding the wire is laid down in an uneven manner, unlike machines which are able to lay the wire down in an exact manner. This difference has an impact on how the coils interact with the magnetic field generated by the magnet(s) in several ways, which has a significant impact on the pickups overall tone. As a result many players report that machine made pickups sound quite sterile in comparison to hand wound pickups - but you'll have to be the judge of that.

What is the colour coding for your pickups?

  • Humbuckers are White = South Start, Black = South Finish, Green = North Start, Red = North Finish, Bare wire = Base Plate Ground

  • Vintage cloth leads are White = Start and Black = Finish

  • Vintage braided leads are Inner = Start/Hot and the Outer = Finish/Ground

  • RWRP = Reverse Wound, Reverse Polarity. This is done on some types of pickups in order to create noise cancelling when two pickups are used together i.e. position 2 & 4 on a Stratocaster. I will sort the wiring out so that you can continue soldering the white to your lug/switch and the black to the ground.

Are other covers/configurations available?

Yes, there are a myriad of options available. I only show a limited number of options on my website for simplicity, however if you contact me via the contact form and let me know what you're after I can let you know if there would be a change in price, and what it would be. So feel free to shoot me a message.

What is classed as a custom build?

A custom build is where the customer specifies all the parameters of the pickup - covers, wind count, magnets etc. Simply asking for a small change wouldn't be classed as a custom order.

What is your build time?

Current build times are between 2-4 weeks. This can vary a little at busy times but I will notify you of any delays.

Do you make loaded scratch plates?

Yes, I can make up scratch plates. Just send me a message with what you're after and I will happily put a quote together for you. 

Which magnets do you use in your builds?

I use a variety of magnets for the various builds I make. These include AlNiCO 2, 3, 4 and 5. You may see these written as A2, A3, A4, A5 or using the Roman numerals ii, iii, iv, and v. But rest assured they are all referring to the same magnets. I don't tend to use ceramic magnets as they tend to make (in my opinion) quite a shrill sounding pickup. Here are some of the characteristics of the magnets I use:

  • AlNiCo 2 (A2/A ii) - These typically have a slightly muted bottom end, with full mids and a warm full sounding top end. Due to their weak magnetic field they have a low string pull, this results in better sustain. These magnets have a low overall string definition, but amazing character with vintage voicing.

  • AlNiCo 3 (A3/A iii) - AlNiCo 3 magnets tend to have a mid scoop, however they remain fuller in the lower mids, this gives them a throaty growl - they were in fact used in the earliest P90's and telecaster pickups. They have fantastic levels of sustain, and at higher wind counts are excellent for rock and metal, however they can also be utilised excellent effect at lower winds too for a wide variety of tones. Overall they have a medium level of definition, with a crisp top end that places them between an AlNiCO ii and v.

  • AlNiCo 4 (A4/A iv) - The A4 magnets are a more powerful magnet, which sit somewhere between an AlNiCo 2 and 5. They are sometimes thought of as a failed A5 magnet. They have a vintage voicing, however they have a lower string pull than the A5 magnet; this gives them better sustain. Overall they have great definition, with a bright top end, full mids and a strong bottom end.

  • AlNiCo 5 (A5/A v) - This magnet is used in the majority of modern pickups, it is found in build spanning all genres of music and playing styles. It has great note definition and separation, although lower levels of sustain due to being a strong magnet. It has scooped mids, with a crisp top end, and a strong bottom end. Overall they have a modern voicing, but as mentioned earlier, being one of the most popular magnets they are found across all genres and playing styles.

  • AlNiCo 6 (A6/A vi) - These magnets are not used often, they are very strong and lend themselves to high output settings. They are not as strong as AlNiCo 8 or Ceramic magnets but this allows them to be suitably powerful, but not shrill sounding. A6 magnets has less bite in the upper register, but retain a strong bottom end, this tends to give them a dark, modern overall tone.

As very briefly mentioned above there are other magnets available - AlNiCo 8, Ceramic and Neodymium to name a few. These all have their own characteristics which influence the tone of a pickup. If you would like more information for a build you are considering feel free to send me a message and I will do my best to guide you to a magnet suitable to your needs.

How quickly do you start building a pickup once ordered?

I will always start working on pickups as soon as I can, usually this is around a week to two weeks after the order is placed. This does vary a little depending on how busy I am, but it doesn't often affect my turn around time of between 2 - 4 weeks. I will always notify you of any potential delays. 

If you have any other questions feel free to send a message via the contact form.