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Additional Info



Humbucker Additional
Telecaster
P-90 Hx


There is a lot of additional information below so please scroll down or use the following shortcuts to read it all. For more detailed Technical information and Tips (and handy hints) look in my pages.

AVn = Anthentic Vintage noiseless
Hx = Hum cancelling
Zero-Hum = no 60Hz hum

An Introduction to Kinman Stratocaster* pickups
What's wrong with regular single coils?
String/Magnet alignment issues and my solutions
Bypass filter for Volume pot (treble bleed)
Compressors (impact on sound)
Covers and Logo stuff & removing them
Dimensions (PDF file)
Gold plating (discontinued)
Hi string Lo string presence balance
Improvements
Installation and wiring
Jimi's reverse stagger (avoid it)
Lead Free manufacturing RoHS compliant products
Leftys
Magnets that are unique
Magnet staggers IMPORTANT
Magnet/String alignment improved
Mounting hardware
Mounting to wood with No pickguard
Mustangs (special pickup requirements)
NoLogo for tinted covers
NoSoldering Harness (pre-wired harness with K7 or K9 sound switching requiring NO soldering).
Return for exchange policy (I want happy customers ...)
S1 switching system by Fender (how to swap pickups)
Secrets of amazing TONE
Soldering tips Star grounding, is it necessary?
Grading Kinman Aged-Sound Strat pickup models.

IMPORTANT: All my *Fender replacement pickups use Alnico rod magnets because Alnico imparts a rich complex midrange detail that alternate magnet designs just don't have.

Click here to see more Custom Strat Sets

NOTE: In December 2001 I made some dramatic changes/improvements in my pickups for Strat* which result in an increase of presence/brightness, attack and output. The changes are coincidental to another change, that of changing the coating on the Magnetic Shields from Gold Passivate to chemically etched Black. The magnetic shields are the two formed-sheet-metal parts that surround the coils and can be viewed in the pictures below. The improvements are the consequence of us now manufacturing these crucial components 100% in-house in our own metal press shop so we can control quality and other important aspects of their manufacture which is impossible with outside suppliers.

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Lead Free manufacturing: As of August 2006 we began the transition to RoHS compliance; that is our products are manufactured to comply with the new international standards to be free of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE). All products will be fully compliant by end of 2006. You will see this symbol printed on the back of the pickups or harness parts.

Lead Free products use SAC solder (Silver and Tin) and are soldered at a temperature of 700 degrees F. NEVER mix Lead solder and Lead Free solder. If a lead free product is repaired and re-soldered with leaded solder then long term reliability can not be assured.

Returns for exchange: I like happy customers telling the world what great pickups I make and am prepared to exchange if the results are not as dramatic as my customer hoped for. The details are located on the *Terms and Conditions* buttons on my Shops Online.

Kinman's unique low strength Alnico-5 magnets (unlike American manufacturers who use Chinese magnets for economy mine are expensive and most definitely not made in Asia)

On regular single coils for *Strat's and *Tele's the Alnico-5 magnets are quite strong, too strong to allow natural string vibration patterns. The result is reduced sustain and a kind of warbling sound from certain strings (the G-3rd and E-6th strings are the worst affected) that is actually a range of discordant frequencies mixed together, not a pure steady note of a fixed pitch (see Strat-itis). And because the magnets pull the strings down onto the frets (resulting in strings crashing into the frets) Fender's are notoriously buzzy/rattly instruments and sustain is cut short by the loss of energy from the strings.

Kinman's unique and special Alnico-5 magnets on the other hand have 35% less magnetic pull that allows the strings to vibrate freely and purely. Sustain is noticeable longer and there is negligable Stratitis. And because the strings are not pulled into the frets by the magnets the sound is amazingly devoid of buzzes and rattles and crashing of strings into frets.

This is not magnet aging or simple degaussing, this is a metallurgical difference in the material itself...a difference that you will hear the moment you first hear Kinman's. And incredibly output is not sacrificed with the reduction in magnet strength. You will be astonished at the strong output, longer sustain, increased clarity and purity of sound that your guitar will produce when you fit Kinman's. This is how your guitar sounds when the strings are not hampered by excessively strong magnets.....as many thousands of players have discovered to their delight.

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High string/Low string presence difference solved.

As of December '02 all Kinman pickups will be shipped with an improvement that guitar players will love. Many players complain that if they set their amp up for killer wound string sound their un-wound strings literally slice their ears off with excessive ice pick. But when they adjust the amp to make the un-wound strings bearable they loose the great tone they had on the wound strings. There seemed to be no-where in between. Other manufacturers have addressed this by using Alnico-5 magnets on the wound strings and Alnico-2 magnets on the un-wound strings, but having different magnets changes the overall sound and results in a new type of pickup.

I have found a way of keeping the highs sweet and the lows crisp without using different magnets in the same pickup. Resistance, inductance, resonance, magnet strength and Q are unchanged so this little secret of mine can't be detected other than by listening. The wound strings on my pickups have all the snap and attack that you'd ever want but the plain treble strings produce a nicely balanced sweet tone that won't offend ears. And most importantly, tonal and response balance is not compromised as it is when different types of magnets are mixed to solve the problem.

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The SECRETS inside a Kinman pickup for Stratocasters*:

I occasionally get asked why my Hx Strat pickups are more expensive than regular single coils or even some other brands of noiseless pickups;

There are 30 parts in a Kinman Strat pickup, a normal single coil pickup has only 11 and other brands of noiseless have just 22. More parts means better performance so lets talk about value for money and how Kinman's will actually help to pay for themselves. The reason these are expensive to manufacture is several fold:

1) I do not use molded plastic parts to form the coil bobbins. My bobbins are assembled one at a time by hand using individually drilled and routed flanges that are skilfully hand de-burred and radiused around the edges one at a time. These flanges are made from extremely inflexible (and expensive) material that is made specially for me and is much stiffer than even the best moulded plastic parts. Molded plastic parts are used in economy brands but I get far better performance using my special parts and painstaking hand assembly. My special black material is most definitely not the usual inexpensive vulcanized fibreboard which is stamped out enmasse at very low cost.

2) my pickups are 3 or 4 times more complicated than regular single coils and have more parts than other noiseless; simply put more parts means better sound. Economy brands have less parts but don't sound as good. There is actually more than two regular pickups inside one of my pickups. (see photos below)

3) My designs have extra components (magnetic shields, steel pins and stamped steel H-core parts) which are present to prevent magnetic coupling of the coils which is the deadly enemy of verticle noise cancelling designs. Consequently my pickups require much more time, effort and equipment to manufacture and to maintain strict quality control on every one of them. My products feature jewell-like precision attention to detail which will be your pleasure to discover and experience.

4) Most of the materials and components used in my pickups are specially made for me to my rigid specifications and are the highest quality available anywhere. I avoid off-the-shelf components and materials to achieve better than off-the-shelf perfomance and sound.

5) I also include a high quality tintable cover and 2 sets of specially made mounting screws (Pan head and Countersunk) for each pickup to suit different types of guitars as well as the parts to make my Bypass filter, all nicely presented and packaged. Ohh yeah!!! and eack pickup is fitted with a unique shielded cable already prepared ready for soldering into your guitar. These cables are more than long enough for stock strat installs. Quality of design and manufacture with forethought and attention to detail all the way, and then some.

Many players have noticed that after they fitted Kinman's their strings last longer, up to twice as long (depending on your body chemistry). That means the Kinman's will help pay for themselves and eventually save you money.

Now for the inside story: Picture #1 shows a partially exploded view of what is inside. A regular single coil is the equivalent of the assembled magnet bobbin (bobbin at left) without all the other things. I use six Alnico magnets and therefore must also use my Patented magnetic H-shield to ensure a faithful reproduction of Alnico single coil noiseless tone than can work happily into a 250K volume pot.

Click on the images for a better look.

The hand assembled magnet bobbin, upper magnetic shield, lower magnetic shield and hand assembled noise sensing bobbin. Note the Blue insulation sleeve around the magnets on each end of the bobbin, this is an industry first. This specially manufactured precision sleeve is extremely thin but prevents shorting of the coil to the magnets (a common problem with other brands).

We manufacture our own magnetic shields in-house on 3 different Power Presses (35 ton to 12 ton strike force) to ensure the highest quality standard. We also do this because no outside supplier has the other special equipment necessary to complete these crucial parts. These parts are not painted because paint affects performance, I use chemical etching Black stuff that adds ZERO thickness.

Note how there is actually more than 2 regular pickups in one. That's real value for money huh!!!


 

This is how it would look if assembled before winding the coils into the bobbins. Note the 8 steel poles (unaged models have 10) in the noise sensing lower bobbin (right) and the 6 special Alnico-5 magnets in the string sensing upper bobbin (left). The 8 or 10 steel poles boost the efficiency of the noise sensing coil by over 200% compared to what alnico magnets would yield, and that means the coil can be less than half the size. Minimizing the lower coil reduces it's adverse affect on the signal to almost zero.

 

 

 

 

 

The two coils are very different to each other, being wound with different size wire and vastly different turns count (unlike regular stacks which have similar coils) but each generates the same noise voltage and therefore cancell noise perfectly. The lower noise sensing coil has less than half the number of turns and less than 1/3rd the resistance of the string sensing upper coil, reducing it's undesirable affect on the sound to almost zero. Here the bobbins have been assembled, the wires terminated and it has been vacuum wax potted at 120 degrees C.


 

 

We indellibly print and write a lot of identification data onto the back of every pickup so you won't ever forget what it is. Every pickup has a (green) copper ground plane over the baseplate, this helps shield the coils from RF noise (buzzing).

 

 


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Soldering tips: >Soldering tricks.

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Pickup COVER stuff:

Aging tints: As of December 2000 Kinman pickups for Strat are fitted with a new design pickup cover which is moulded in either Black or a special White plastic that's capable of being stained to a variety of colours. As well as Black and White I also offer Mint, Aged White, Parchment, Old Strat, and Cream. See my Glossary Aged Covers for full details. As of May 2006 most of my colours are moulded into the plastic during manufacture and the colour is very uniform.

I do not offer metal plated covers for Strat pickups. Real metal plating affects the sound excessively and Metallized deposits that dont affect the sound like my Tele cover require a special plastic which requires it's own prohibitively expensive injection molding tool.

No Logo covers: (May 2006) No logo covers are specially made that way. NOTE: when you order pickups without Kinman Logo you will be charged extra.

CAUTION: Do not attempt to fit foreign replacement covers to Kinman pickups. Some of these foreign replacement covers are not faithful reproductions of Fenders and are too small and will fit too tightly onto Kinman bobbins. Often these covers destroy the bobbins when attempting to remove them.

Removing covers requires special knowldege. Click on this to learn how to remove covers without damaging the pickup.

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String alignment issues and Narrow & Intermediate magnet spread pickups:

As of 22-Oct-2008 all stock sets will have an Intermediate magnet spread middle pickup. This provides a gradual narrowing of the magnet spreads from Standard bridge (52.5mm) to Intermediate middle (51mm) to Narrow neck (49.5mm). This means strings will align better with the magnets regardless of bridge saddle spacing. When ordering a 'Single' pickup, 'Two' pickups or 'Mixed set of 3 Strat pickups' you have a choice of any magnet spread. Click to view a PDF diagram of these 3 magnet spreads.

As of mid March 2001 all Kinman Strat sets are being shipped with a special neck pickup that has the E poles 3mm closer together. This means that the magnet-poles of the neck pickup will align satisfactorily* with the strings on both Twin Pivot AND Traditional type bridges made by Fender and others. Strats with either bridge will have improved performance with no more dropouts on the E strings and better bending performance. *I consider it satisfactory when the strings align within the perimeter of the magnet. It's OK if the strings do not lie on the dead centre of the magnets.

Only genuine Kinman pickup covers will fit because the pickups with narrow and intermediate pole spacings have a matching cover.

Customers with vintage instruments can have all 3 pickups with normal magnet spread by using 'Mixed set of 3 Strat pickups' order channel on the shop.

More on string/magnet alignment

String/magnet alignment is not associated with fretboard radius as some believe. To understand string/magnet alignment you must be aware that the strings are not parallel but are wide apart at the bridge and closer together at the nut. This taper causes the primary alignment issues and can be compounded by saddle mis-alignment too.

My neck pickup has narrow magnet spread and aligns at the neck position with strings coming off most bridge variations. The middle pickup has Intermediate magnet spread The bridge pickup has standard Fender magnet spread which is used in most replacement pickups and also suits most bridges. Fender's original single coils come with only standard magnet spread and cause severe misalignment problems with neck pickups when used with their narrow bridges or other types of bridges.

The Kinman middle pickup usually has a standard magnet spread too, and rarely has an alignment issue. On rare occasions when we get asked we will use a pickup with narrow magnet spread instead if the bridge has narrow string spread. We don't practice this habitually because it is rarely a problem. Soon I am introducing pickups with an intermediate magnet spread for middle pickups that should work with all bridges.

Misalignment is often caused by narrow bridges but the reason for excessively poor string/magnet alignment could be the saddles or it could be pickguard mis-positioning or neck/body mis-alignment.

Unfortunately saddles often drift to one side when they are not set horizontally. Make sure the grub screws are adjusted so the saddles sit horizontally. It is also legitimate to adjust the saddles with a deliberate lean to re-position the string in a more desirable alignment.

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Bypass Filter:

Discontinued 2009 due to reduction in prices. (From July 2001) all pickup sets have included for FREE the 130K resistor and the .0012uF capacitor to make the volume control bypass filter. This device, when used with Kinman pickups, actually increases the brightness slightly as the volume pot is wound down, making it great for volume reduced rhythm chops. When used with regular single coils it more or less attempts to preserve the amount of brightness as the volume pot is wound down. Read more about it here

Magnet staggers:

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NOTE: All Kinman pickups are available in 6 options. Learn all about my magnet staggers and my new Flat Radius stagger for Warmoth compound fretboards here.

All bridge pickups made since March 2004 have got a lower 5th string (A) magnet than the neck and middle. These pickups have a 'b' suffix attached to the model ID (eg AVn-69b). This alleviates the nasty gnarling sound prevalent in Fender type pickups (non-noiseless and noiseless). The volume of the strings remains well balanced.

Special note about Jimi's Reverse Stagger: I believe Jimi got his sounds in spite of the reverse stagger and that he just learned to live with it. So I do not recommend a reverse stagger to emulate Jimi's sound. All this does is lower the output of the A string and that's definitely not very pleasing. If you want to emulate Jimi's sound you will be thrilled with the Woodstock's performance and once you hear them you won't regret not getting Jimi's reverse stagger, I promise you.

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Gold plating:

Click on the photo for a larger view. Discontinued 10-April-2007. We still have some stock left, when you order ask for availability in the Additional Notes box.

My Gold plated poles and screws are double plated with Nickel first and then double plated with Gold on top of that. This makes them more resistant to wear and corrosion that regular Gold hardware. You can see a photo of a handsome Strat Deluxe with Gold Kinman pickups by following this link Gold has an additional cost of US$50 per set. Direct sales only.

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Mounting hardware:

Pan head screws are included by default, however upon request we will include Countersunk screws for vintage and re-issue models. All sets contain 6 special springs, prepared ready-for-soldering shielded output socket cable and cable ties to make a neat job plus comprehensive Fitting Instructions and various Wirograms are not included because of size and weight but we send you an Install Inormation email when your order ships.

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No pickguard mounting to wood.

If your original pickups are EMG or similar pickups with parallel baseplate and your pickup cavities will not accomodate the normal offset asymetric baseplate of a regular Strat pickup then click this to see how to provide for normal baseplates.

For mounting with out a pickguard direct to the wood it is imperative that no foam (or very little) is packed under the pickup as spring material. The correct method is for the Silicon rubber tube springs we provide to be placed over the screw between the wood and the pickup (do not use metal springs as they might short the signal). Excess pressure resulting from using foam packing under the pickup will lead to mechanical de-formation (bending) and eventual failure of the pickup. A minimal amount of low density foam to help align the pickup from leaning is OK. Click here to see how it's done.

To learn specific and detailed info about the types of screws to use I recommend you Log-in to >Tech Support >Install Info > Mounting pickups without pickguard, direct to wood.

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Installation and Wiring: (Scroll down for my innovative NoSoldering Harness that eliminates wiring and soldering)

Installing Kinman's is straighforward. However you should check your pots with a multimeter to ensure they measure a minimum of 240K ohms. My pickups work with all the original controls and the hook-up cables are already generously cut to correct lengths (tip of cable and ground take-off leg) and are pre-soldered to suit most Strat* and Strat-like guitars. If you have non-standard control positions (Volume pot and/or selector switch) and require longer cables tell us when you order in the Additional notes box on the Checkout page. You will need soldering skills and a soldering iron, a screwdriver for cross head screws and a tube spanner to tighten the pot nuts and output socket nut. Comprehensive fitting instructions are included and are very detailed with easy to understand wirogram drawings (you can view these at Tone Workshop >Tone). Changing covers, shielding and setting up is also discussed in the instruction text and on the Tone Workshop pages of this Website.

I urge you to learn how the pickup ground cables should be terminated onto the volume pot by visiting Soldering tips in >Tech Support >Install Guides. It teaches NOT TO HEAT THE ENTIRE section of the exposed ground take-out point as this can cause short circuits.

A list of recommended installers for the USA can be viewed on My Dealers >USA.

Star grounding, is it necessary?: Star grounding in a guitar is not the absolute necessity it is in 'active circuits' like CD players or Amplifiers where it is designed to inhibit ground loops. Guitars don't suffer from ground loops. It is practiced in guitars more as a convenience that serves simplicity, convenience and neatness of wiring. That means as long as all the ground wires ultimately connect to the output socket ground terminal all will be OK. In some circumstances it may be more convenient to piggyback some ground wires onto an intermediate grounded point that is different to the central main ground point on the cover of the volume pot.

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Fender's S1 switching system. Upon request with order for pickups I can provide special wirogram and fitting instructions developed especially for fitting my pickups to any SSS Strat that is equipped with Fender's S1 system (not SSH). NOTE: only pickups manufactured after June '04 are compatable. I do not supply the S1 switch and the S1 system will not assimilate with my NoSoldering Harness because they are similar products.

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Left hand pickups and NoSoldering Harness with left hand pots for left handed players are available at slightly higher prices.

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Compressors

I have been told many times by customers that they use compressors to 'even out the response and level irregularities' of regular single coils. Of course this kills some of the 'feel' and 'explosive attack' of a single coil by limiting dynamic range. Kinman pickups don't have these irregularities so there is no need to use a compressor, this means you will get all the dynamics that Kinman pickups are famous for and you will notice a vast improvement to your guitar without a compressor.

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Fender Mustangs:

Mustangs respond very well to pickup upgrade because the original pickups are of student quality and do not let the guitar achieve it's full sonic potential. You can now enjoy radically improved sonic performance by fitting Kinman Mustang pickups and rewiring the two slide switches to perform more useful functions. Rewire with my special Mustang wirogram and you can have Neck and Bridge in series with output boost and get a P-90-like crunch as well as Neck and Bridge in parallel, or each pickup individually. Wirogram is only available with new direct orders and will be included with your order for pickups. Order on Shop Online in the 'Custom set of two Strat pickups' box. The original switches provide either, or both pickups in phase and (honky) out of phase.

When ordering choose Mixed set of 2 Strat pickups on the new shop. It is important you tell us you have a Fender Mustang to get the most suitable versions of my Strat pickups. Neck pickup should have Narrow magnet spread (49.5mm) and the bridge pickup should be Standard magnet spread (52.5mm). The original bridge pickup is reversed (left-hand turned around) but we have addressed this idiosyncracy with out parallel baseplate.

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Magnet/String alignment improved



Fenders modern twin-pivot bridge such as fitted to their American Standard and American Deluxe series has a narrower string spacing than a vintage 6 point bridge. The modern bridge is too narrow for regular Strat pickups and causes the strings to misalign with the magnets in the pickups, the neck position pickup is worst affected because one of the E strings is a lot lower in volume than the other 5 strings.

In mid March 2001 Kinman introduced a special neck pickup that has the E magnets 3mm closer together. This means that the magnet-poles of the neck pickup will align satisfactorily* with the strings on both modern Twin Pivot AND Traditional Vintage 6 point type bridges made by Fender and others. Strats with either bridge will have improved performance with no more dropouts on the E strings and better bending performance. *I consider it satisfactory when the strings align within the perimeter of the magnet. It's OK if the strings do not lie on the dead center of the magnets.

On 22-Oct-2008 Kinman introduced a further improvement, an Intermediate (51mm) magnet spread for the middle pickup. This provides a gradual narrowing of the magnet spreads from Standard bridge (52.5mm) to Intermediate middle (51mm) to Narrow neck (49.5mm). This means strings will align better with the magnets regardless of bridge saddle spacing.

The bridge magnet spread remains unchanged at Standard 52.5mm, the same as all Fender and replacement Strat pickups from Duncan, DiMarzio, Lollar, Fralin etc All of these Strat pickups have unacceptable string/magnet alignment of the neck pickup when used in conjunction with narrow bridges from Fender, Wilkinson and Floyd Rose. Kinman is the only brand of pickups to have this much needed refinement.

When ordering a 'Single' pickup, 'Two' pickups or 'Mixed set of 3 Strat pickups' you have a choice of any magnet spread. Click to view a PDF diagram of these 3 magnet spreads.

Covers (bold): Only genuine Kinman pickup covers will fit because only Kinman makes Strat pickups with Narrow and Intermediate magnet spreads.

More on string/magnet alignment (bold)
String/magnet alignment is not associated with fretboard radius as some believe. To understand string/magnet alignment you must be aware that the strings are not parallel but are wide apart at the bridge and closer together at the nut. This taper causes the primary alignment issues and can be compounded by saddle mis-alignment too.

Misalignment is most often caused by narrow bridges but the reason for excessively poor string/magnet alignment could be the saddles or it could be pickguard mis-positioning or neck/body mis-alignment.

Unfortunately saddles often drift to one side when they are not set horizontally. Make sure the grub screws are adjusted so the saddles sit horizontally. It is also legitimate to adjust the saddles with a deliberate lean to re-position the string in a more desirable alignment.

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