I’ve been working on this AlNiCo 8 bass sidewinder. It sounds THICK.
After working with my original Bass Sidewinder, I decided that I needed a more aggressive pickup for the Sirena Modelo Uno bass. My goal was to design a pickup with big, warm bottom end, a bright top and a broad, present midrange. Additionally, this pickup would be used as a bridge pickup in conjunction with an onboard preamp.
This new sidewinder has pair of super-strong AlNiCo 8 magnets. AlNiCo 8 is an unusual pickup magnet choice. More commonly, pickup makers use magnets made from AlNiCo 5, 3 or 2. Generally, AlNiCo 8 pickups have a strong midrange. However, when used with the sideways magnetic structure, the added midrange compliments the sidewinder’s neutral-sounding mids.
I built a prototype from a set of coils I rescued from a pile of my rejects. Originally, the pickup had 3 .125″ thick steel blades. Apparently, the first design did not impress me. I replaced the center blade with a thinner .07″ steel blade and put .02″ 430 stainless plates on the sides. I loved the new configuration!
Building the AlNiCo 8 Sidewinder
The Funktronic AlNiCo 8 Sidewinder uses 5 printed circuit boards for its structure. The PCB’s enable me to register the parts more accurately before the pickup is cast in resin. This structure allows me to solder the parts parts together during assembly. As a benefit, soldered joints create a stronger physical structure.
Stainless Steel Side Poles
This pickup uses a pair of razor-thin 430 stainless steel as side poles. In addition to rendering a nice, clean low end, the poles serve as extra shielding for dead-silent operation. As an added bonus, the shiny finish gives the pickup and attractive look.
I cast the finished pickup in black epoxy resin to protect the delicate coils. For further protection, the pickups include solderless header pins. This makes the pickup easy to install. As a result, we build the Funktronic AlNiCo 8 Sidewinder to last.
Below are sound samples of the AlNiCo 8 Sidewinder. The pickup is installed in the Sirena Modelo Uno bass equipped with an on-board preamp designed by Charlie Escher. The strings are LaBella Flatwounds that are at least a year old. All clips are recorded with ProTools using an Aguilar TH500 as a DI.
- Bass and Treble FLAT
- Bass Boost 75% – Treble Boost 50%
- Bass Cut – Treble Boost 100%
- Bass Cut – Treble Flat