We don't know why, but when we play a "Strato" or "Telecaster" from the 50s, 60s or even 70s, or one of the mythical "Les Paul" with PAF pickups, we can feel that these guitars are very different from what is found nowadays in the market. One of the main factors that makes the difference between the current instruments and the classic ones is the quality of woods used to build them, that was carefully selected for its resonance. Moreover, many of those woods, like the overexploited mahogany from Honduras, became hard to find. Another reason that defines the sound of these guitars is the manufacturing process of the pickups, and the qualities of the materials used.
In those days Fender pickups were wound by hand. The copper wire forming the coil was guided by an operator who distributed in different layers. Today, however, only some artisans use this procedure, due to the massive industrialization of manufacturing process of guitar pickups.
The magnets used in our pickups are made of alnico, an aluminum, nickel and cobalt alloy. Depending on the percentage of these components, alnico is classified into different types. The magnets we use for our pickups are type II, IV and V.
Vintage bobbins are assembled directly with magnets embedded in Forbon parts forming a single structure. Before winding the pickup, they are potted in lacquer, thus isolating the coil magnets.
Vintage cooper wire
Today we find modern copper wire, but in the 50s and 60s, the wire that was used to make guitar pickups was mostly heavy formvar and plain enamel 42 and 43 AWG for Stratocaster, Telecaster and Gibson PAF and P90 pickups. We use this wires and also polinylon wire in other more modern pickups that we also made.
One could argue at length about the advisability of this process. Our pickups have a quick bath at the end of the manufacturing process in our mixture of beeswax and paraffin, this procedure prevents microphonic effect, that might lead to undesirable feedbacks, and increase as well the durability of the pickup. Despite this, the client can request not to do this process in order to make a more faithful reproduction, for example, of our Pafs
Our B&B pickups are wound by hand according to the designs of the 50s and 60s, with special care in every phase of the manufacturing process, and selecting the best materials, many of which can only be found in the United States if you want genuine "vintage" sound pickups.
However, due to respect for the environment, the electrical energy we use for our manufacture comes from our photovoltaic installation and therefore we only use the power of the sun. Also in our shipping packages, we only use natural materials free of plastic, such as cork and carton.