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NOTE: This info is copyright and must not be used for commercial purposes by any other party. Chris Kinman (c) 2000.

Pickup makers Dictionary – Technical terms.



Alternating current. An electric current that changes it’s direction of flow typically 50 or 60 times a second (60Hz or 60cps) as in the case of mains supply but also at any frequency above 0Hz (the sky’s the limit). Audio frequencies are defined as between 20Hz and 20KHz but it takes a really good ear to hear to 20KHz, most human ears have difficulty hearing past 14KHz. All passive guitar circuitry operates within this bandwidth.


The gap between the underside of the strings and the crown of the fret on a guitar. Can be influenced by the truss rod setting, the nut grooves or the bridge settings. See TONE WORKSHOP > PERFECT GUITAR page and Setup.

Active pickup

A pickup that has active electronics built into the casing and powered by an external battery. Often these have a crude noise cancelling design (common stack) consequently the tone looses that organic feel and the sound is often somewhat sterile. The active electronics attempt to recover the tone that has been lost because of the primitive noise cancelling arrangement. Position 2 and 4 Strat sounds are not authentic as the active electronics buffer the coils from being connected directly in parallel which is necessary to achieve that sound. Battery failure means guitar no work.


A very special old technology magnet material that possesses remarkable properties when applied to guitar pickups. It is the only magnet material that can actually influence the induction behaviour of a string sensing coil, when used in the core of the coil.

A well designed pickup with Alnico possesses complex detailed midrange frequencies that are the prime factors in achieving Fender genre sound. Without Alnico this detail is missing and there is no known way to compensate when using alternate magnets such as Ferrite or Samarium Cobalt. For more information and an in-depth discussion visit my Perfect Guitar page > Magnets .


The higher harmonics of 60Hz noise from a pickup or guitar’s wiring that is typically emitted from lighting, dimmers and other mains powered electrical appliances. Buzz can not be cancelled by a pickup, it must be minimized with shielding in the wiring cavities of the guitar. So called noiseless pickups are not immune to Buzz. Kinman’s are advertised correctly as Zero-Hum pickups. See Noise-RFI.

Can also mean gossip or newsworthy information.


To check the accuracy of quantum graduations. What this has to do with guitar pickups baffles me but some manufacturers think it has something to do with graduating between latitudes of performance. See Graduate .


The ability of a system of electrically isolated components to store an electric charge between them. However, coil layers in a pickup also have it and has a profound effect on the sound. It’s also what kills the treble when you turn the Tone control down or use long cables. Micro-farad (µF) is the usual measurement unit but nano-Farad and pico-Farad are also common.


Like conventional Heat Treatment, the molecular modification within a metal upon subjecting to extreme cold. Desirably results in hardening or toughening. Callaham bridge parts have optional cryogenic treatment but I have no experience with respect to pickups however I suspect an audible difference. DC Direct current. Often associated with Resistance measuring using DC as distinct to impedance measuring with AC. Unit is volts. There is no DC in a passive guitar’s circuitry.


The property of a guitar’s sound that enables it to be distinguished from the competing sound of the cymbals etc. Balanced presence and dynamic range are key factors in achieving this difficult performance. Not always easy to evaluate unless in the context of a band in full tilt. 1970’s Strats had a very thin sound that was low in definition. Sometimes hearing loss results in player-perceived lower definition. Also see Presence and Punch in Sonic section.


Gauss is a measurement unit of magnetic attraction so when the strength of a magnet is intentionally or unintentionally downrated it is said to be degaussed. Old pickups are commonly [but erroneously] believed to be degaussed. See Aged Tone in Sonic section.

Dope Slap

Smacking your hand against your forehead when you do something REALLY stupid.

Dopelar Effect

The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when you approach them quickly enough.


When a signal is intentionally or unintentionally driven beyond the transient limits of the amplifier and results in a square wave-form as distinct to a sine wave-form. See Overdrive .

Dynamic range

The amount of sine wave output voltage generated by a pickup upon the instant of attack. See Attack and Presence in Sonic section.


Electro Motive Force or more simply an electric current. Measured in volts. Eg mains are 110 or 240 volts and pickups are typically 100 millivolts.

Frequency response

Not really applicable to guitar pickups because their graphical response is basically a lump or one big resonant peak. Many might argue the point though. The seeming varying content of bass and treble of various pickups has more to do with the effect that midrange response has on the human hearing system.


The measurement of a magnets strength. Typically Alnico-5 is 1,200 gauss, Alnico-2 is 850 gauss.


The gradual increasing of the output of a set of pickups typically from bridge pickup to neck pickup. The bridge pickup needs to have increased output compensation because of it’s handicapped position next to the bridge. Graduated sets have more or less balanced output levels from all pickups.


The multiplying of the fundamental frequency of a sine wave. Example; Assuming a 100Hz fundamental then 200, 400, 800, 1.6KHz, 3.2KHz etc etc would all be harmonics. Guitarists often refer to string harmonics. These are node points along the length of the string (Eg right above the 12 fret) where the first harmonic of the fundamental coincide and the string will divide into multiple sections with each section vibrating at it’s own resonant frequency but the total string section is completely devoid of the fundamental. Playing a harmonic does not require the string to be fretted, the mere touch of a finger tip at the right node point is enough to prevent the fundamental from sounding but allow the harmonic to sound.

Hot Pickup

The more output that is derived from a pickup the hotter it is said to be. Usually gained at the expense of clarity and transparency.


The 60Hz noise reproduced by pickups that originates in mains wiring and appliances powered from mains supply. Unlike Buzz, Hum can be very effectively cancelled by a hum-cancelling pickup. Buzz can only be minimized with shielding in the wiring cavities of the guitar. See also Buzz & Noise .


The clever arrangement of 2 coils of a pickup to cancel hum whereby both coils produce an equal hum voltage in opposite phase (or directions) thus leading to complete cancellation. When there is residual hum the noise voltage of the coils is not equal (most regular side-by-side humbuckers). Many people are confused by the term ‘humbucker’ and use the term losely. Verticle humbuckers (or noiseless single pole pickups) are vastly different to side-by-side humbuckers of the Gibson genre which have 2 sets of poles sensing the strings. Noiseless Single pole pickups have only 1 set, thus their descriptive name. When I applied the verticle technique to single pole pickups I made the noise sensing coil very different to the string sensing coil with less than half the coil winds and with larger wire, while maintaining equal noise levels in each coil. This assymetrical departure from previous symetrical humbucking coil technique results in sound much less effected by the second coil. If one shorts out (or bridges or disconnects) the noise sensing coil of a Kinman pickup the sound stays the same. This demonstrates the huge difference between this type and regular side-by-side humbuckers.

To be more precise perhaps Kinman’s should be known as ‘Asymetric Verticle Humbuckers’.

Hum cancelling

same as for Humbucker but can also refer to active circuitry designed to eliminate hum by deploying a dummy coil but with the considerable disadvantages of active circuits and onboard battery.


Hx an acronym for Hum Cancelling. H is for the hum and the X means deleted or cancelled. Hx is printed on Kinman pickups as part of the Logo since all Kinman pickups are hum cancelling.


The impediment placed on the flow of alternating current in a circuit such as a coil and varies with the frequency of the current. Measured in Ohms. Being frequency dependent it is often stated like ‘XOhms at 1KHz’.

In phase

When 2 coils or pickups are connected in such a way that their outputs have the same polarity. ie the forward pulse of the EMF is in the same direction. Contrary to what many understand switch positions 2 and 4 of a Strat and the Middle position of a Tele are ‘in phase’ sounds. See Out of phase .


or Inductivity. The measure of efficiency of a coil to generate an electric current at a given frequency. Measurement unit is Henrys. The magic number for non-noiseless Strat pickups is 2.4 Henrys.


The ability of a film such as varnish or plastic to prevent the conduction of an electric current to adjacent conductors in close proximity. Quality is usually defined by voltage level before arcing occurs. See Dielectric coating


The term applied to the amount of electrical or sonic energy outputted from a pickup or amplifier. See Output Level .

Magnet aging An erroneous belief that old pickups sound aged due to degaussing of their magnets. Contrarily, old pickups often exhibit as much magnetism as a new pickup. See Aged Tone and Degaussing .

Magnet/string gap

The gap or distance between the top of the magnet or (pole piece) and the underside of the string associated with it. Adjustable by means of the pickup mounting screw. Closer for brighter, louder sound. Further away for duller, lower output sound. See also Stratitis .

Magnet strength The attractive force of a magnet, often measured in Gauss.

Magnetic field

The invisible force or field radiating from a magnet that attracts material objects with iron or nickel content, or an electro magnetic field generated by a coil with a DC or AC current applied.


or Permanent Magnets. There are three basic types [or groups] of magnets according to their composition. (1) The metal based variety such as Alnico that, by their very nature, influence the behaviour of induction in any string sensing coil, and which I correctly call TONE magnets. Alnico tone is the original Fender and Gibson sound.(2) The non-metallic variety such as Ferrite that, because they are non-metallic, have absolutely no influence over the induction behaviour of a string sensing coil. And quite correctly I call these TONELESS magnets for that reason.(3) Rare Earth type: such as Samarium Cobalt. These are metal but have very different properties to Alnico because they can not be used as stand alone magnets like Alnico can. Samarium Cobalt magnets are extremely powerful and by necessity must be limited in physically size to reduce the attractive force. That means using a steel collector to lessen the magnetic intensity. As soon a steel is introduced in the core of the coil the pickup behaves very much like one with ferrite magnets.Alnico magnets are necessarily made of a mix of various metals (an alloy) in various ratios that determine the resulting magnetic properties such as magnetic strength. Generally in the lower range of magnetic strength when compared to rare-earth and ferrite magnets. Alnico-2 : (Anisotropic; means not particularly directional in field pattern) An older magnetic material composed of Aluminum, nickel and cobalt and of course Iron. Relatively low in attraction strength compared to modern day magnets. An oldie but goodie in guitar pickup technology. Alnico-3 : I believe similar to Alnico 2 but a bit more magnetic peformance. Alnico-5 : (Isotropic; means very directional in field pattern) A more modern, higher strength magnetic alloy that is an industry standard in guitar pickups. In single coil pickups it gives rise to Stratitis and shorter sustain but does have some desirable sonic characteristics.

Bar magnet : Often used in Gibson type side-by-side humbuckers but occasionally in single coils as well (eg Fralin steel pole pickups) Rod magnet : A magnet in the form of a solid cylinder (or Rod) such as used in Fender single coils.

Samarium Cobalt : A very modern high-tech *rare earth* magnet of impressive strength. These were originally designed to increase the efficiency of electric motors and such. Because these magnets must be buffered by a steel collector they do not influence the induction properties of a string sensing coil, but the steel does much to the detriment to the sound. In my opinion there is no useful place for Samarium Cobalt magnets in musical instrument pickups. Alnico does a better job in every valued example.

Ceramic, Ferrite or Barrium Ferrite : Another rare earth magnet, but not as powerful as Samarium Cobalt. Part of the group of TONELESS magnets because there is no metal to conduct electrical currents within the molecular structure of the material… there is in Alnico.

Metal cover

The cover of a pickup when formed from metal such as Brass or Nickel-Silver. Allows Eddy Current to flow that reduces level, attack, brightness, transient response, dynamic range with consequent dull tone. Side-by-side Humbuckers and Tele neck pickups sound louder and brighter with the metal covers removed. Also see Plastic Cover .


When a microphone feeds back the regenerative sound is very high pitched and gets very loud thus the term microphonic. Guitar pickups do the same thing if the coil is not wax potted or any part is not mounted securely. See Wax potting .


Any frequency in the audio spectrum between 500Hz and 2kHz. Below 500Hz is considered to be Bass and above 2Khz is treble.

Noise (EMI) < Electro magnetic Interference. The magnetically propagated hum reproduced by pickups that originates in mains wiring or appliances. Typically 60Hz. See Humbucking and Noiseless .

Noise (RFI) Radio Frequency Interference. Noise that is propagated by means of radio frequency transmission. May be of many and varying frequencies such as interference from international-combustion-engine ignition systems, radio transmitters, electric power tools and static produced by arcing of switch contacts etc. See shielding . Noise cancelling See Noiseless, below.


Often referring to a single coil (or single pole, to be more precise) type pickup that has a 98% capability to cancel externally generated hum. Some people will loosely call these noiseless pickups but Kinman prefers to describe them correctly as Zero-Hum pickups. That’s because there are 2 types of noise, Hum which is cancelled in the pickup and Buzz which can only be minimized by shielding the wiring cavities.

Non-wound string Usually the 3 strings on the treble side of the fretboard on a guitar are of the non-wound type. That is they are a single filament of steel that is smooth to the touch, not rough as a wound string is. See also Wound string .

Ohms The measurement unit of resistance to the flow of an electric current through a conductor. Measured in Ohms (O)

Out of Phase

When 2 pickups or coils are connected in such a way that the current flows are in opposite directions and tend to cancel one another they are said to be out of phase. Position 2 and 4 of a Strat switch is not out of phase, in fact quite the opposite…they are in-phase. Out of phase sounds consist of very little bass, dominate mids and highs with a characteristic ‘nasal, honky’ sound and have a much lower level. Also see In-phase .

Output level The amount of voltage outputted from an electrical transducer or pickup. Typically example is 100 mv (milli-volts). Can be varied by adjustment of pickups. See Magnet/string gap and Level .

Output polarity

Output polarity (or the phase of the output) can, for simplicity sake, be said to be positive or negative, however this not really the case. Output polarity is not the same as magnetic polarity or coil polarity. It is only important to know this when mixing different brands or different kinds of pickups, so that a correction can be made for when 2 different kinds of pickups switched on together will sound in-phase. There is no Industry Standard for this so one must determine output polarity using a simple test devised by Chris Kinman, follow this link to read more.

Output socket

the best ones are made by Switchcraft (USA). Cheap nasty ones let the plug drop out and make terrible static noises as the guitar player moves about. Should be replaced at least every 2 years. Often mistakenly referred to as “Inputs”.


When the input of the amplifier is driven beyond it’s clean capability into distortion. Happens when a sine wave from a pickup slams into the transient limits of the amplifier and takes on a square wave-form. Pickups do not distort, only an active circuit can. The rated power output of an amplifier (usually measured just before distortion occurs) multiplies with heavy distortion hence the need for excessive speaker power-rating. See Distortion .


A guitar salesperson’s term for an unpopular model that is nearly impossible to sell.

Parallel When position 2 or 4 is selected on a Strat selector switch two pickups are switched on and said to be connected in parallel and in-phase. The sound becomes hollow and delicate, devoid of quack and with a drop in level. Mark Knopfler made this his trademark sound. Also see In-phase .

Passive pickup

One that consists solely of magnet/s and coil/s with no included battery powered active electronics. All the great old pickups are passive. Has the disadvantage that cable capacitance can modify the sound somewhat but the organic sound and feel far outweigh this.


Assuming you understand the concept of wave forms (as in sine wave)…it’s the relationship between two (or more) such waves. In guitars they either oppose one another (being out of phase) or are in phase (in synchronous). To put it another way it’s when the polarity of two pickups (or coils) either match or oppose one another. Eg, in phase or 180 degrees out of phase (180 degrees being opposite to 360 or Zero degrees). When in-phase series connection the wave forms add their energy together for increased level while out-of-phase wave-forms subtract from one another to decrease level.


An electrical device, in it’s simplest form, consisting of a coil of wire wrapped around a set of permanent magnets so designed to induce an analogue electrical signal corresponding to the string vibrations in the coil by vibrating the magnetic field with the strings. See also Humbucker and Noiseless .

Plastic cover

Because plastic is magnetically transparent and electrically non-conductive it is an ideal material for the cover of pickups. Covers not only contribute to the look of a guitar but also protect the delicate pickup coils from sweat and mechanical damage. Also see Aged covers and Metal Cover


Potentiometer; a variable resistance device for controlling electrical currents that works by increasing or decreasing the resistance in the path of the current, and shunting unwanted currents to ground. Also see Tone pot .

Pot curve

“A” curve means Audio curve. A special taper because the human hearing system responds to sound pressure level on a log curve, not in a linear fashion. “A” curve Tone and Volume pots are necessary for guitars to get the right increase (or swell) of level change per given rotation of the knob. Same is true in reverse for the Tone pot.


Excellent single coil pickup in the Gibson family. Great tone due to the presence of 2 Alnico bar magnets but terribly noisy. Easily recognized by it’s centralized 6 adjustable steel screw pole pieces and rectangle plastic cover, often cream in color in the soapbar variety or Black in the dog-ear veriety. Has 2 opposing Alnico bar magnets lying flat underneath the coil that impart a double dose of Alnico tone into the coil. Resonates at a lower frequency that Strat pickups therefore has a chunky tone. Extremely difficult to cancel hum from and retain an authentic (punchy/bright) tone.

Q factor

Q is an electrical parameter that indicates how un-damped a resonator is and characterizes a coil’s (resonator) frequency bandwidth relative to its resonant frequency. Has a direct impact on dynamic range, attack and output level. Of paramount importance in producing Trademark sound. EG Fender Strat sound is mostly defined with the magic number of 2.5. See also Dynamic Range and Attack & Air in the Sonic section.

Radius setting

The configuration of magnet lengths arranged to approximately coincide with the arc of the strings that is reflecting the radius of the fretboard for the purpose of achieving balanced outputs from the various strings. See RADIUS page. Severely mismatching Radii of fretboard and magnets can result in offensive string output imbalance.


The force opposing the flow of a (DC) electric current through a conductor. Unit is Ohms. Eg where ‘K’ is a thousand 250KOhms = 250,000 ohms.


An acronym for ‘Root Mean Square’. The accurate and unexaggerated power rating of an amplifier or speaker. Other units such as ‘peak power’ are used by some unscrupulous manufacturers to embellish their products beyond their actual capability.


Reverse Wound coil and Reverse magnetic Polarity. Not to be confused with the quack sounds of position 2 and 4 which do not require it, RW/RP is used as a hum cancelling arrangement between 2 pickups and works like a humbucking pickup. The coils are in-phase sonically but because they are out of phase with respect to externally generated noise (hum) the hum is cancelled/neutralized inside the coils. Applied to a Strat it works only in switch positions 2 and 4. Kinman AVn pickups are hum cancelling in their own right so this is not an option that has to be considered for noise free performance over the entire pickup selection.

Seattle Tuxedo

A clean flannel shirt; because the residents of Seattle are so comfortably casual.


Another word for dynamic range. This term refers to the amount of electrical output for a given energy input. The more sensitive a pickup is the more output it will deliver for a given pick stroke. Q is another synonym.

Series connection

When two coils or pickups are connected together end to end much like the batteries in an electrical appliance where the voltage is the addition of the individual cells (ie 1.5 + 1.5 = 3).


The geometric and distance relationship between neck relief, string height, pickup adjustment and bridge settings of a guitar. Every guitar should have one yearly performed by a good quality guitar tek.


A grounded conductive coating of copper foil OR graphite (or Nickel or Silver) paint that is applied to the walls and floor of the cavities of an electric guitar that house electrical components to prevent RFI (noise) from entering the wiring and electrical parts. Shielding does not reduce hum from pickups, only static type noise. See also Noise (RFI).

Shielded cable

Connecting a noiseless pickup to the controls with unshielded single conductor wires can contribute noise to the sound. I use shielded cable to prevent unwanted noise entering the system. See also Noise (RFI).


A type of hum cancelling pickup Invented by Seth Lover circa 1955 and used in Fralin’s noiseless P-90 and Lace’s Holy Grail (Strat and P-90). Unfortunately this design is dysfunctional, it has a fatal technical flaw and cancels string signal almost as much as hum signal in the same way as common Stacks do. This can be easily proved by reversing the connections of one coil which improves sound and volume dramatically but this re-arrangement does not cancel hum. People who make these things simply do not understand basic Electrical Engineering principles, so just what are they doing making pickups? PS Bill Lawrence claimed to have invented the Sidewinder during his mid 60’s tenure at Gibson. But US Patent 2896491 by Seth Lover dated 1955 discloses the truth.

Shorted turns

When the insulation coating of copper winding wire breaks down and allows current to jump across from one turn to another (or to the pole piece) to avoid taking the correct path around the bobbin. Can have a drastic consequence in sound quality and output.

Single coil

The simplest of all pickups. Leo Fenders examples have a great sound but have the annoying problem that they act as an antenna for (EMI) hum often driving musicians to insanity whilst recording and playing loud. Some have even been known to smash their guitars with frustration. Can also refer to Noiseless single coils even though these invariably have 2 coils but have the outward appearance of true single coils. To be precise these should be known as noiseless single pole pickups… see next entry.

Single pole

Another term for single coil but can also describe a particular type of hum cancelling pickup of the verticle type.

Sorcerer’s Apprentice syndrome

When every problem you solve causes two or more more problems to appear.

Staggered poles

The array of different length magnets arranged to approximately follow the camber of the strings as dictated by the arch of the fretboard.


(Strat-itis is simultaneous multiple discordant frequency syndrome). Dirty or rusty strings can also cause this but many players know this horrible phenomena is caused by excessively strong magnets in the pickups; here’s how it works. What happens is the magnets of the pickups pull a section of the string (the part that’s over the pickups) into a U shaped vibration path. Normally the strings vibrate in what is essentially a single-plane path or horizontal pattern. Lets say that the time taken for a string (not subjected to excessive magnet pull) to complete one cycle or oscillation is X milliseconds. Traveling in a U shaped path it actually takes longer to complete one cycle or oscillation since the distance is greater via a U shaped path, so the time is X + Y milliseconds. Now it’s getting clear that what you have is a string that has a section of it’s length vibrating in a U shaped path and part of the remaining section traveling in a direct single-plane path and yet other sections traveling at all frequencies between these two extremes. This means that the three sections are actually vibrating at many different frequencies when the string should be vibrating uniformly at a single frequency. What happens when you mix all these different frequencies together? Uggghhh, dissonant Stratitis that’s what! It’s bad enough hearing 2 non-harmonious notes coming from a single string, but when you get multiple dissonant frequencies (or notes) being produce simultaneously from a single string the results are absolutely horrendous. A string that’s out of tune with itself no less, big time. That is what regular Strat pickups do; the excessively strong magnets also cause the strings to crash into the frets resulting in buzzes and rattles and loss of sustain. See also Magnets -Alnico-5.

String rattle

If the string heights (action) are set too low they will crash into the frets causing a very unpleasant sound, but if used skillfully can add certain desirable effects to ones playing. Also see Set-up .

Tone pot

The control (Variable Resistor or VR) that uses a capacitor to simultaneously alter the resonance and attack of a pickup resulting in a dull lifeless tone if used excessively. “A” curve pots are mandatory for these controls. See Pot curve also Tone Workshop > Perfect Guitar page.

Transient response

Same as Dynamic range.

Turns count

The number of turns of copper wire wrapped around a pickups bobbin (former). Typically 8,300 for an early 1960’s Strat pickup.


The greatest, most creative and most admired of players. Inspiring and exciting to listen to. Jimi Hendrix, SRV and Eric Johnson for examples.

Wire gauge

The diameter or thickness of the copper wire used in the winding of pickup coils (and other electrical appliances).

Dielectric coating

The coating applied over copper wire to prevent shorted turns or short circuits in pickup coils.
Enamel : A dark coating used to coat and insulate the copper conducting wire used in various guitar pickups (not my favorite). Very difficult to remove from the wire for soldering.
Formvar : A gold colored insulating coating for copper wire used in Fender Strat pickups of the 1950’s and 1960’s (amongst others). This is the coating responsible for the favored sound of the legendary Stratocaster. Seems to have magic properties. If it’s not wound with Formvar then it’s not a authentic reissue. However Formvar is a low grade coating, really quite shitty compared to Polyurethane. It degrades over time causing the Aged effect.
Polyurethane : A modern and convenient coating for copper wire. Handy since it is easily removed from the wire by the heat of a soldering iron. Results in excellent sonic properties.


Often associated with Stratitis however there is another kind of warble (sounds like flying razor blades or a chain-saw) that occurs mainly a plain G string and sometimes on othert plain strings. The severity of this warble seems is connecteds to the degree amount of midrange scoop the pickup has, more scoop means more warble. It’s cause remains a mystrey but I hypotethize there are naturally occuring warbling tones in every string but midrange complexity masks it over. That’s why the warbling appears worse when the midrange is very scooped transparent. It is very difficult to get rid of since it is not related to proximity of magnets to strings.

Wax potting

Removing the tiny pockets of air trapped within the coil of a guitar pickup and replacing them with wax. Necessary for good coil performance and for preventing microphonic whistle at high levels. All Kinman pickups are wax potted under heat and extreme vacuum to 98% of complete impregnation. Also see Microphonic .


The diagrammatic representation (drawing) of the circuit of a collection of electrical components and connecting wires. For example the wiring of three pickups, volume and tone pots, selector switch and output socket of a typical Stratocaster or Telecaster shown on the PDF files on my Install Guide page.

Wolfe Tones

See Stratitis.

Wound string

Usually the 3 strings on the bass side of the fretboard on a guitar are of the wound type. That is they have a coil of small gauge wire wrapped around the core of the string. They are a bit rough to the touch and can cause a ‘zing’ sound when fingers slide up or down a string. Bo Diddley used this sound to great effect on the opening line of his song called ‘Roadrunner’. See also non-wound string .


Not one of the guitar family so won’t be discussed here but just had to have an X in here somewhere.

Scatter wound

Scatter winding is a highly organized form of coil winding with cotton covered wire originally designed for Radio Frequency coils used in vintage Vacuum Tube Radio’s. See picture below. It was developed in the early 1900’s to minimize capacitance in the Pico farad region which adversely affect Radio frequencies in the 1000+ KHz band. The impact on audio frequencies is non existent or not audible. The so called scatter winding in guitar pickups is really nothing more than random, haphazard traversing of the wire as it is fed onto the rotating bobbin. The term is used by unscrupulous pickup makers solely for marketing purposes to make their products more alluring. See >Blogs >Myth’s Busted.