Friday, 22 August 2008
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Sheldon There has been much debate on the Z thread and the SJ5 thread to some extent as to the various merits and characteristics of the sequence of DW pickups (FD1 thru FD3 and superfatty). Folks seem to be trying to second guess your goodself as to what prompted the evolution and what the current models are aiming to achieve tonally. I know you are very busy but it would be great to hear your thoughts on the changes from FD1 thru the FD series and then on the development of the superfatty. What factors prompted the changes? what are the differences between FD1s and FD3s? do you think one is better or are they just different? where did the idea for the superfatty come from? what were you hoping to achieve with the superfatty, how, in your opinion, does it compare to the latest FDs? :?: Many thanks in advance :P Nic
13 years ago
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#11017
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Hi Nic, I'll do my best. Starting with the Bartolini era 1993 - 2001. We went from the original perpendicular to the centerline style to the angled versions in 1994. This was done mainly at the request of our German distributor. Personally I didn't think they needed to be rotated, but the results were more balanced tone and output across the strings so I was eventually won over. The pickups changed very little over the years. The Bartolinis were and still are a great sounding pickup and I consider Bill and Pat Bartolini in the highest regard. Never the less in late 2001 they hit a bump in their business which made it impossible for us to get any pickups. We were going to go broke if we didn't do something about the situation. Enter Glenn MacDougall of Fury Guitar. Glenn had been offering his help in developing our own pickups for years. We hammered out a few basic specs and I went to work designing the coils and shells. We prototyped and tested several dozen coil and magnet combinations before arriving at the FD-1 in late 2001. I really liked the aggressive tone of the FD-1, but it was a little too aggressive for slap, so on a whim I tried a passive mid circuit I'd developed for guitars about 10 years earlier. It was exactly what the FD-1s needed. The FD-1s were a collaborative effort between Fury Guitar and us. We built the bobbins, Glenn wound the coils, we assembled everything and made the shells. We ran with the FD-1s for about a year and a half. Glenn was always very gracious with his time but I couldn't help feeling that we were causing him some scheduling headaches with our short-run, just-in-time style of inventory management. I'd learned from my experience with the Bartolinis that I never wanted to be caught without pickups again. So as a backup I started designing and building a manual pickup winding machine. Before I had it finished I found a deal on a used coil winder from the TDK factory. I sold what ever I could to raise the money for the machine. My original intention was to store the machine as a backup, but I needed to see if it would work so I wound a couple of pickups using Glenn's ratios and wire gauges. The results couldn't have been more different. The FD-1s were Hi-Fi sounding with a high-mid emphasis. The coils I wound (FD-2.9) were WAY more old school sounding with a HUGE bottom. At the time I felt they were a little too huge, so prototyped a few more dozen sets before settling on the FD-3. The FD-3 was as close to as perfect sounding as I could imagine. They've been the standard since late 2003. As the Prima Artist started to evolve I felt I needed to take the pickups up a notch so developed the Prima Artist pickups FD3.4. Because of the extra work involved and to keep the Prima Artist exclusive, these pickups are only available on Prima Artists. The SJ-4 pickups were developed around that time and were our first end-to-end hum-canceler. The SJ-4 P-style pickups have gone through two revisions, getting more P-like and earthy sounding with each version. These pickups were heavily influenced by the earlier FD-2.9s I don't know why I wanted to go for a fatter tone with the Super-Fatties. I think it was just a case of wanting to stretch the boundaries. I was pretty confident that they would turn out as expected when developing them and had shells tooled up and bodies routed before hearing the first version. I was shocked and dumbfounded when I heard them for the first time because they sounded terrible. Something was wrong with the design and I couldn't figure it out. After several days of panic, I woke up one morning with an epiphany. We simply needed to turn the coils upside-down and the tone became exactly what I was looking for. As anyone who's tried them knows, the tone of the Super-Fatties is warm, fat and tube-like. As we all know, Fullrange is a clarity nut and began pushing us to un-fatten the B-string a little for some more clarity. I didn't think it would be a big deal so agreed. As usual everything seemed easy enough until we got into it. As soon as we got the B more clear and transparent, we started having noise problems. It took about 6 months of tweaking to arrive at the current version of the Super-Fatty. The results are that the B has increased clarity and detail without affecting the wonderful fatness of the other strings. They are also the quietest pickup we currently make.
13 years ago
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#11022
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Wow, that's a great explanation. Thanks Sheldon and welcome back. That's interesting about turning the coils upside down on the Fattys. Are the bobbins asymmetrical such that turing them upside down changed the magnetic field/coil relationship? Just because I'm a nut for pickups, put me down for a set of 5 string FD-2.9s if you ever run them again.
13 years ago
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#11023
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[quote="Sheldon Dingwall":uuzizylm] As anyone who's tried them knows, the tone of the Super-Fatties is warm, fat and tube-like. [b:uuzizylm]As we all know, Fullrange is a clarity nut and began pushing us to un-fatten the B-string a little for some more clarity.[/b:uuzizylm] I didn't think it would be a big deal so agreed.[/quote:uuzizylm] Did someone call my name? :wink: Welcome back Sheldon Am I allowed to add my view of the Dingwall pickups evolvement from the user's point of view? I own the lot of the pickups that Sheldon described (meaning the production model ones, not the FD-2.9). The Barts have a smooth, balanced sound (they are by far better sounding that all the other Barts I've used, and I've used more than 30 sets of Barts, and many of those were in direct collaboration with the Bart headquarters for tone guidance). The FD-1's have the high-end sizzle and grind and offer great clarity (two hand tapping and very closed voiced chords never sound indistinct, blurred, clattered or muddy) The FD-3's have more body in the low mids and a little less grind (they can be used for any application with virtually no tone adjustment) The PA offer better bass and body with improved high end over the FD-3's (not a huge difference over the FD-3's in the high-end but they really deserve their place on the Prima Artist Dingwalls) As far as Supper Fatties go, they are superb for the intended application (tube-like and warm and definitely not muddy) but when I slap C# on the B I love my PA pickups clarity :oops: I am sorry if I derailed the thread, it's just my opinion over the different models of Dingwall pickups
13 years ago
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#11052
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Sheldon, thanks that was fascinating, especially the bit about inverting the coils in the SFs, where do these ideas come from :?: . And thanks to FRB for his input, the DW story has all the makings of a great book one day! (maybe a retirement project for Sheldon :lol: ) Regards N
13 years ago
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#11057
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What do Dingwall pickups look like inside? I seem to recall somebody saying that the FD-1 and FD-3 were split coils like on a P-Bass but contained in a single shell. Are the coils offset like a P or are they two larger coils in a single row? Which coil covers which strings on a 5-string bass? The Mach IIs are wired in series. Were the original FD-3 bridge and neck pickups both wired in parallel or was the neck originally series and the bridge in parallel? The SJ-4 was your first end-to-end humbucker. Do you mean it has two coils side by side in two rows or are they stacked? And the same question as the FD-3
13 years ago
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#11060
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Hi Sheldon, (or anyone else that wants to pitch in) I have heard the tone of FD1s described as hi fi several times, including in your reply to the pickup story enquiry. What exactly is meant by this, and how does it differ from other DW tones? N
13 years ago
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#11061
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I think I can shed some light on the FDs. The FD-1s, FD-3s, Mach IIs and the FD-3 4Ls are all split coil. By now most everyone gets that the FD-3, Mach II and FD-3 4L are essentially the same pickup inside. The only thing different is the way the two coils are linked: parallel, series or either, respectively. The two coils in the FDs are offset, which is presumably one reason they are as wide as they are. All of the above are cast in resin making it next to impossible to modify an FD-3 say into a FD-3 4L. For a 5 string (and presumably for a 4 string), orientation of the pole pieces is that of a reverse P-bass - the two poles closest to the bridge are for the lower pitched strings. The polarity of each pickup is the reverse of the other (bridge and neck) so that they serve as hum cancelers when used together. The split coil design also acts as a hum canceler unto itself, which is why hum isn't bad with only one DW pick at a time. As far as I know, the FD-3s were all linked in parallel, including the neck pups. I think the series linked FD-3 (the Mach II) has been used by Sheldon only in the bridge position, giving a bit more low mid drive and punch to that pickup, which sits where it already picks up lots of treble. I'm guessing that the Fattys have all the magnets in a row, hence the slimer shape and orientation more parallel to the bridge than on FD equipped basses. I don't know what material/alloy Sheldon uses for the magnets in the FD-3 and if it is the same as he used in the FD-1 and uses for the Super Fatty, but am curious to know.
13 years ago
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#11063
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Based on the description I think I would like S Fatties. If they're based on a SC PU how can they be individually switched from series to parallel?
13 years ago
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#11064
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I will guess that the Super Fatties are Split Coil J shaped pickups, thus the parallel/series option
13 years ago
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#11066
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Super Fatty's are not single coil. They are split coil but I'm guessing that the coils are not physically offset as they are with the FDs (I don't have one in my hand to confirm that, just making a guess given the slimmer and longer footprint of the pup).
13 years ago
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#11091
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[quote="Funkshwey":82y96zve]Based on the description I think I would like S Fatties. If they're based on a SC PU how can they be individually switched from series to parallel?[/quote:82y96zve] John is right. Starting with my Z3, each Fatty has it's own switch for series and parallel. Mark
13 years ago
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#11093
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[quote="guitarded":otwq2zno]Starting with my Z3, each Fatty has it's own switch for series and parallel. Mark[/quote:otwq2zno] Hey Mark, Your Z3 has 3 toggle switches (unless I missed one). If all three pups are switchable parallel/series, how do you turn on your pre? I figured to have the bridge pup on mine wired in series w/o a switch. Then have 2 switches for pup switching and one for the pre. I'm curious to know how you have yours wired. Thanks, John
13 years ago
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#11094
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[quote="John H.":2dicklao][quote="guitarded":2dicklao]Starting with my Z3, each Fatty has it's own switch for series and parallel. Mark[/quote:2dicklao] Hey Mark, Your Z3 has 3 toggle switches (unless I missed one). If all three pups are switchable parallel/series, how do you turn on your pre? Thanks, John[/quote:2dicklao] Push-pull volume pot. Mark
13 years ago
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#11122
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Thanks for the responses guys. The physical make up of the coils has been covered. I'll keep quiet about the actual materials and magnets as we're pretty unique in those areas.
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