My approach to pickup winding is different to many other pickup makers on the market.
There are a lot of shops doing vintage correct pickups, in other words copying pickups from a
certain point in time. I know that there's certainly a need for that on the market, but that is not what I'm about. I too have taken a lot of pickups apart, only to see how they were made, not to copy them.
I've always tried to do things how I see best. That is, trying out new ways and materials for pickup making, ever since I made my first pickups in 1995.
Salo pickups is a small boutique shop, not a mass production facility. Each and every pickup is handmade, and because most of the pickups are custom made, very little inventory is kept on hand. I do try to have a respectably prompt turnaround on orders. Salo pickups are hand scatter-wound to a specific number of turns. Hand winding decreases the capacitance between layers and raises the resonant peak, giving a more clear and articulate tone. Winding to a specific number of turns and coil shape, makes the output level, overall sound etc. more consistant and easier to control. Naturally it takes a lot of practise to get to a point where you can repeat desired coil shapes and to feel the tightness of the coil wire between your fingers.
The creation of a pickup is complex, and winding techniques play a major part. A common mistake is to use an Ohms reading to judge output of a pickup. The thickness tolerance of the copper wire can vary slightly, the temperature of the wire etc. affect the final Ohms reading of a coil. It may give you some idea of the general output, but two pickups having an 8 kilo Ohm reading can have a completely different output level and sound. Roughly put, it is the number of turns of coil wire in a pickup and the strenght and amounth of the magnetic material that determine the output of the pickup. Coil shape (tall and thin, flat and wide...) also plays a big part in the overall sound of the pickup.
The coil wire used for the windings of these pickups are single layer plain enamel coated copper wire or multiple polyurethane coated copper wire. Thicknesses range from AWG38 to AWG44 depending on the pickup. Printed circuit board is used for many Salo single coil parts. Circuit board is epoxy laminated glassfiber which is aÂ lot more durable than vulganized fiber used in most vintage single coil pickups. It doesn't bend or chip.
I've repaired dozens and dozens of pickups with broken coils. The most common place where the coil brakes is the eyelet, the point where the coil wire is soldered to the lead wire. Since it is a round eyelet in round hole, there practically nothing to hold it from turning if it loses its grip on the bobbin plate. And since the coil wire is so thin, it is the first one to brake. Plus, it is probably not a good idea to have the ends of the coil outside the pickup cover, like in a traditional strat pickup. To come around this problem, the lead and coil wires are not soldered together in the same spot. Also, whenever possible, I solder the start of the coil wire onto a larger diameter copper wire, which in turn is soldered to a piece of copper tape taped into the bobbin, the other end of the larger copper wire is then soldered to a 'lead' on the bottom of the bobbin, to which the output wire is also soldered to. Sounds complex, but it really isn't. I do the same kind of thing at the end of the coil. This way there's no coil wire coming outside the coil itself.
All metal baseplates and covers on these pickups are made from German Silver,
no plated brass is used.