Thursday, October 25, 2012

What In Hell Is A Pickup Winder?

This morning I got a message from Jeri, the wife of my old friend Joe.  After reading my latest blog post, she didn't understand what a pickup winder is.

I explained, first of all, that it is not a Saturday night get-acquainted line at a Miles City watering hole for the purpose of satisfying one's thirst for companionship, thus pickup, as in the opposite sex . . . oh, goodness, did I say sex? . . . see, how confused a person can become, when discussing a pickup.

Perhaps I should have written a better explanation.  So, here goes.

Wikipedia -- A magnetic pickup consists of a permanent magnet with a core of material such as alnico or ceramic, wrapped with a coil of several thousand turns of fine enameled copper wire. The pickup is most often mounted on the body of the instrument, but can be attached to the bridge, neck and/or pickguard, as on many electro-acoustic archtop jazz guitars and string basses. The vibration of the nearby soft-magnetic strings modulates the magnetic flux linking the coil, thereby inducing an alternating current through the coil of wire. This signal is then carried to amplification or recording equipment via a cable. There may also be an internal preamplifier stage between the pickup and cable. More generally, the pickup operation can be described using the concept of a magnetic circuit, in which the motion of the string varies the magnetic reluctance in the circuit created by the permanent magnet.

A 'pickup winder' is the mechanism which wraps the magnet wire around the posts to create the 'pickup'.

OK, Jeri, still confused?  Stay away from the watering hole, until further notice!

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