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Kay Value Leader Build- Finished 7/30/17
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Mr. Clevername



Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 2450
Location: San Francisco, CA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you'd rather re-wind a couple of actual Kay Zippo pickups, I can send you a couple of dead ones for the cost of shipping. I just have to find them. I've had a bunch of them re-wound to around 7K, and they sound great.
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rickrob



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 1083
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. Clevername wrote:
If you'd rather re-wind a couple of actual Kay Zippo pickups, I can send you a couple of dead ones for the cost of shipping. I just have to find them. I've had a bunch of them re-wound to around 7K, and they sound great.


Wow, Thank you! That would be fantastic! PM Sent.
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cooter



Joined: 17 Jan 2006
Posts: 1596
Location: Blue Ridge, GA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. Cleavername is the man. Can't wait to see this one finished rickrob. Cool
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rickrob



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 1083
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I rebuilt the pickups that Mr. Clevername so kindly sent me.

The bobbins were held in the covers with wax. Looks like this one was made in 1966.



They were all open-- I looked and could not find any breaks where I could unwind the wire and reattach to the lead.

So, I stripped them down and cleaned everything up. It looked like the original magnets were steel, and the were very, very weak.
They would fall off my fridge, and just slide down to the ground...

I decided to use a stronger Alnico V magnet for a mini humbucker. Had to trim 1/8 off the end of the magnet to get them to fit in the bobbin.
Added a thin shim under the magnet to make the bobbin the same height as it was with the original magnet.




Got my crude pickup winder set up and wound them with 42AWG wire.




I would them a little hotter than the factory-- 7.4K for the neck and 7.8K for the bridge.
Added a ground wire for the case with conductive copper tape, as I didn't want to heat up the base plate with a soldering iron.


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Last edited by rickrob on Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:22 pm; edited 4 times in total
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rickrob



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 1083
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wired up my circuit and tried them in the guitar. The neck pickup sounded very deep and mostly midrange. The highs are there but they are diminished a bit.

The bridge pickup sounded weak-- even shimmed up closer to the strings, but it sounded good moved up to the neck.
I'm guessing that's due to more string motion there?

I rebuilt the third one, using two A5 magnets stacked.
I had room for two because the bridge pickup cover is taller and that allowed me to wind more wire as well.
Wound it to 8.7K. That seemed to do the job. I got a lot more output and the two pickups now sound balanced-- Same output level in all three switch positions.

Waiting for some aged white pickguard material to come in so I can make a small pickguard as shown.

Progress has been slow, but it's getting there...


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Last edited by rickrob on Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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BeeTL



Joined: 14 Sep 2008
Posts: 1915
Location: Tampa Bay, FL

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice job on those pickups.

I'm a fan of metal covers.

Cool
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Mr. Clevername



Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 2450
Location: San Francisco, CA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great work on those pickups.

Indeed, quality control at Kay could be a little spotty. A lot of people refer to these pickups as "Dearmonds," but to the best of my knowledge, Kay made all their pickups in-house.

I've had some of those (Zippo, soapdish, breadpan) pickups rewound to around 7K, and they can sound great, even with weak magnets - but only if you can get them right up close to the strings. Otherwise, not so much.

Can't wait to see it all done!

PS I once managed to cram a 10K goldfoil Dearmond pickup into a Kay cover - great bridge pickup.
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rhardman



Joined: 11 Sep 2008
Posts: 4422
Location: Chicago, not ready for reform, yet

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sorry about being MIA during this...

Kay used poplar for the core wood and necks on the cheaper guitars. Maple only when they had a bunch left over from the violin biz. The made real stringed instruments as well and had some serious craftsmen in the factory.

My wife's cousin sold his 5 string upright for $5K...no pun intended
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rhardman



Joined: 11 Sep 2008
Posts: 4422
Location: Chicago, not ready for reform, yet

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. Clevername wrote:
Great work on those pickups.

Indeed, quality control at Kay could be a little spotty. A lot of people refer to these pickups as "Dearmonds," but to the best of my knowledge, Kay made all their pickups in-house.

I've had some of those (Zippo, soapdish, breadpan) pickups rewound to around 7K, and they can sound great, even with weak magnets - but only if you can get them right up close to the strings. Otherwise, not so much.

Can't wait to see it all done!

PS I once managed to cram a 10K goldfoil Dearmond pickup into a Kay cover - great bridge pickup.


rowe industries aka DeArmond...
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Kregg



Joined: 22 Apr 2008
Posts: 3334
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the most awesome Kay thread. Cool
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rhardman



Joined: 11 Sep 2008
Posts: 4422
Location: Chicago, not ready for reform, yet

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I know the last pickups actually made in house were the thin twin pickups...there was a lot of parts trading going on here in Chi at the time.

Speedbumps had P-13 bobbins then they went to Rowe Industries which owned the DeArmond name. The soap dish was the cheapest one they made.

so much for the Chicago report.

Wink
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rickrob



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 1083
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had some reasonably warm days here in the last week. 45-50 degrees. Decided to start on the sunburst finish. I'm trying to get close to what
Kay did, but a Three Color burst. I'm not sure if they did three color bursts-- most examples I've looked at seem to be two color, or the red has faded out.

After reading the 101 on bursts, I made a template from cardboard. Marksound gave me a good tip on making the height adjustable with drywall screws.



I practiced on scrap first-- using my mdf body template.




I set the height of the template to 3/4 inch and positioned that on the body. I sprayed the black at more than a 45 degree angle to start
and checked to see how things were going. I ended up spraying at close to a 45 degree angle after that.

I did light coats until I got the results I wanted. Roughly 3/4 inch to an inch in from the edge.



Moved on to the body and sprayed the black.





Cleaned up the overspray in the center with some 320





Let that sit for a few days, wiped it all down with Naphtha and sprayed the burst amber.





I'll let this sit for a day and then spray a coat of clear, and practice the red/brown transition while that dries. I'm hoping that will blend in the fuzzy edges on the black.

Looks like I've got a few more warm days in the next week. Hoping to get this completed.
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Last edited by rickrob on Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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marksound



Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Posts: 16672
Location: OKUSA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks good. Smile

A black burst is tough. I might have left the overspray, depending what it looked like, but that's a judgment call.

I think I would have done the amber first. Then the transition color, then the black, depending on how tests turned out. I haven't done one like this, so I can't say for sure.

Regardless, you did a good job with my adjustable template technique.

Looking forward to the end result.
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Joeglow
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Joined: 26 Aug 2003
Posts: 11054
Location: NY/NJ

PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did this for Gauge Guitars about a year ago. It's a PRS styled Blackburst he wanted. It was pretty tough to do and getting the color right was a real bear. It was a lot of trial and error. In the end I went with an alcohol mixture for the field, sanded it back and reapplied a second coat, sanded back and then cleared it. Then moved on to the burst, (outer band). Is this what you're going for?




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rickrob



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 1083
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That Blackburst looks great. This is what I'm trying to get to on this one.




I thought I was close, but I'm not sure if I'm happy with what I have right now. Maybe I should have stayed away from the black edge when I cleaned up the center.

I was thinking I could cover the center of the amber with a paper mask to keep the over spray out , put the template back and touch up the black edge.
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Last edited by rickrob on Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:21 pm; edited 2 times in total
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