You all know these guitars are one of my favourites and over the years I've bought, and sold, and bought way too many of them. I've recently sold a few of them in the shop and written several blogs about them before sending them on their way.
One thing I haven't written about them is rewinding a pickup so ...
These are a very similar bobbin to other Japanese brands of the period with a different construction and magnet assembly under a metal cover to make it look more "Mosrite" single coil.
The bobbins are thin plastic cast into a generic bobbin for mass winding and these bobbins are getting to an age where they are becoming quite brittle although not as brittle as the Matsumoku made ones from the same period. It's a great little design and it's amazing how many Japanese guitars from this period used an almost identical bobbin in pickups that looked completely different from the outside.
I started, as I always do, with trying to repair the existing windings to keep it all original. This one had good solid lead wires with coil wire still attached but no reading at the ends of the lead wires or where they join. So, I started unwinding.
A few hundred winds in and still nothing so it was time to cut the old wire off and rewind it completely.
This pickup used AWG42 wire, which is common on these vintage Japanese pickups and having owned many of these I knew that a healthy pickup measures between 5.4 and 5.8K. I have rewound these before and also know that approx 7000 turns will get you about 5.5K.
So with all the old wire off and the bobbin cleaned up it was onto the winder and a new coil put back on. As I've explained before I make a small wooden "spacer" to fit inside these bobbins when i wind them as they can collapse as you pack the wire on.
With the new coil on and new lead wires (I used the originals as they were still good) I wrapped the coil in tape and reassembled the pickup. These pickupos are never potted or sealed so there's no need to unless a customer requested it. Always make sure you mark wind and magnet direction when disassembling so you can reassemble the pickup back in standard form.
With the cover back on the pickup looks, and hopefully sounds perfectly stock. I used the original lead wire as well so this is essentially all original except for the coil wire which is exactly the same as the original used.
It measures 5.5K so it's ready to go back into the guitar. I'm always tempted to rewind one of these with a little more output just to see what it sounds like but i always back out at the last minute thinking I should make them as original as possible. Maybe one day someone will ask for a hot one and I'll get my chance?
Back in the guitar and it sounds great. I went back and checked all my notes and pics to make sure but this one is out of phase in the middle position. I've had this before on quite a few of these vintage Japanese guitars as I assume they were winding bobbins at a frightening rate to keep up production and every so often one was "backwards" This could of course be "fixed" if the new owner doesn't want it out of phase but I left it as that's the way it was.
Everything went back together and this particular guitar needed a new bridge, pickup switch and knobs as they were all missing when I got it.
For a bridge I used a generic roller Tune-o-Matic that is easily available online at a great price. These are pretty reasonable quality and I've used them on quite a few of these type of guitars where string spacing allows. I've also used these on some of my TMI guitars and generally they work well straight out of the packet. Sometimes you need to move the saddles around to get the right radius but it's a small price to pay for how well they work.
The pickup selector was replaced and generic knobs put on the original pots and given a full set up.
This will be in the shop from this Sunday. We've sold a bunch of these over the last couple of years as they're a GREAT little slab body Mosrite inspired guitar. They sure made us feel like Johnny when we were young.