Low-Z pickup and components values

 Hello all,

 I prefer to do my own research rather than to hound people with questions, but sometimes I just can't find the answer. This is another one of those times. that I can't seem to find the answer to anywhere, so I thought I'd put it to you electronics wizards and beg for an answer. Will the low-z characteristics change the values of caps, pots, resistors, etc., needed to make a good sounding LM386 amp I guess the question is, can you tune an amp to best performance with low-z pickups or other types? Will low-z pickups work well with these setups, or should there be adjustments? 

 Thank you in advance for any help you guys can offer.


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  • Something to take into mind is when Les Paul & Seth Lover were doing their pickup experiments, everything was tube driven, including mixing boards & recording equip, not solid state, like the modern LM386. A lot more power, plus they used output transformers & chokes on most speakers back then, which worked in favor of Lo Z . Did you know there are over 7,000 winds on a Strat pickup, actually between 6,000 & 8,000, depending on what model you get?  I was amazed when I first learned about that? I say build the amp & see what it sounds like, there’s only one way to find out? I have 3 I’m working on right now: a point to point build, stripboard build & perfboard build- lil’ gem, minty & smokey amps. They’re way to easy after you build a few? 

    •  I hope to someday build a tube amp or two in the future. I have a healthy respect for electricity and won't be rushing into that sort of thing until I get some experience in this. As far as winding counts go, I saw some a while back that had something like 10,000 winds. Staggering. 

      Thanks for all the info and good luck on your builds!

  • By the way, thank you for the help!

  •  I've done quite a bit of studying on the low-z pickups and how to use a buffer or a microphone connector or some kind of effects pedal with a buffer. I was intrigued after reading about the beginnings of the magnetic pickup and how Les Paul built the first studio LPs with Low-z pickups and how he started doing lots of research on it. Also read how the guitar community pretty much just went the Hi-Fi route. Some people think they went the wrong way and should have gone the other way. I wanted to do some experiments since I am curious about almost EVERYTHING. Mostly though, I chose making pickups from wall-wart wire because of the cost. I just couldn't afford 42 or 43 wire. I have since been given a small unused roll of Remington 42. I twisted a pickup up last night and should be finishing it in the next day or two when I install it in an unassembled guitar. I'll post a sound file on my page when done. I got about 3200 winds out of it before I chickened out and stopped winding. 

  • Forgot to add, the Lo Z has nothing to do with the tone of the components, it has to do with impedance & output? Generally you want a pickup with at least a 2K resistance to get proper output? 

  • One question, why did you build Low Z pickups, commonly they’re used for getting fat sounding bass & use an active system? You could use a preamp or a Lo - Hi Z line matching transformer like they use for microphones? Lo Z will always give you lower output, so you’ll  need something to boost & balance it? My advice, more windings on future pickups. You should be alright with a Ruby since it has an impedance boosting buffer in the circuit?

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