I bought this ’60s made in Japan Gold Foil on eBay “as-is” with the intent to repair it. It had no output and showed no resistance on the meter so I took the cover off by removing the phillips head screws on top.
Next I removed the magnets which are simply held in place by their own magnetism on either side of the coil. They were installed with South polarity facing up. As I was inspecting the coil, I removed some tape and noticed the tiny 44 gauge coil wire had become detached from the white lead wire. I resoldered and checked the resistance, it was now showing 5.3K.
This might seem like a low resistance for a single coil, but don’t be fooled! The low resistance makes these nice and clear while the powerful magnets and the squatty coil make it sound full and fat. I have repaired another Teisco Gold Foil that was around 6.3K and I have seen DeArmond pickups showing upwards of 10K, so there is quite a variance in specs of what is called a “Gold Foil”. I based my own Humbucker-size Gold Foil pickups on vintage pickups I see come into the shop.
When dealing with classic pickups like this, it is always better to use the original coil if possible for the most authentic tone. The most common cause of dead pickups I see is sweat or moisture corroding the coils. Usually there is no other way to repair a corroded coil than to rewind it, which I will do with vintage-spec wire to the appropriate number of turns. Rewinds usually cost about $50 per coil.
With this pickup I will probably wax pot it so that it will be less microphonic and install in a Telecaster. Here is a quick video I made of the pickup in my tester guitar:
As some of you know, my girlfriend and I moved from San Francisco, CA to Nashville, TN in May 2015 to be closer to a vibrant music scene and to start a new life in The South. The move was so exciting as we took a two week road trip across the country. You don’t get many chances to pick up and move to a new place so we took advantage of the opportunity. Becca started a blog called the Bay To River Rambler and you can see her photos and writings here.
We found a place in East Nashville with a standalone garage that I converted into a workshop and now I have more space than I know what to do with! I built myself a 2×8 workbench and got a drill press and now I am up and running. The pickup winder is all tuned up and I’m cranking out pickups again, ready to get your guitar tone in tip-top shape.
Things to look forward to in July:
Gold Foil release July 4th I’ll be releasing a brand new pickup based on the originals from the ’60s. I designed mine to be on the more affordable side compared to vintage or reissue pickups by other manufacturers and still embody that twangy, low-fi character. They will fit in a standard humbucker rout and start at $90 each.
Summer NAMM in Nashville July 9th, 10th, 11th I’ll be there walking around, checking out the exhibits, and meeting as many people as possible. I won’t have a booth this year, but I’ll be staking it out for future years. Check out https://www.namm.org/summer/2015 for more info on how you can go.