Instructables
This is a simple and cheap way to make your own electronic pickup using a relay switch!

The relay switch has a fine wire coil inside which is perfect for a pickup. Combined with a strong magnet it can produce a really good sound.

This pickup only works for one string. However, if you want to use it for multiple strings, you can combine multiple pickups to create one larger unit.
 
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Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts
T81H5D312, T81N5D312 SERIES.jpg
What you'll need:

PCB relay switch:  I found the relay I used on an old circuit board. Look around first! You can find them on plenty of circuit boards that are being thrown away.                 

1/4" mono audio jack: You can pick these up pretty cheaply at most electronic stores (Maplin/RadioShack). Also check out eBay. I bought 3 or 4 for about  a fiver.

Wire: Any thin wire will do really.

A small strong magnet: As strong as you can find. The stronger it is the louder the output!!

In the first picture above you can see inside the relay. The left side of the relay is the part we're interested in, the coil. This will be the main part of our pickup. 
The second picture shows what most relays will look like on the board.    
yapoyo1 year ago
My band director is always yelling at me for not having a tuner pickup. Could I hook this to a tuner?
Toms Workshop (author)  yapoyo1 year ago
►Sorry for the late reply. Yeah, can't see why not :-)
VAustin892 years ago
now you have given me the idea, what if we could wire 6 of this in series and make it a conventional guitar pick up.
dude attach them in parallel....or most of your signals might get cancelled out....
Toms Workshop (author)  VAustin892 years ago
Go for it! Should work. Just a single one produces a pretty decent sound so six in series should be awesome!
How much is the DC resistance of one "pole"? since most single coil pick-up would be around 5K ohms. I am still searching through my old stuff looking for some relay switches
Toms Workshop (author)  VAustin892 years ago
Sorry man, I don't know. The coil is now inside the One Stringed Music Stick I made so I'm not sure I'll be able to test it. Sorry.
Regarding coil ohms, I'm going to try making one using these as they are cheap enough:
http://www.maplin.co.uk/pcb-mount-low-profile-10a-relays-2512

The specs give the different version coils driver voltages and resistances as:
6v coils 100ohms
12v coils 400ohms
24v coils 1600ohms
It looks like, the higher the coil voltage, the greater the number of turns and hence resistance.

I'm planning on using two on a two string guitar set up as a humbucker pair with one for each string, but I can't tell you if it works yet as I've not yet bought the relays so I can't check if they pull apart easily. I'll get back to you when I've tried it!
Toms Workshop (author)  wobbler2 years ago
Sounds awesome! Let me know how it goes. It'd be good to see some pictures of the final product :-)
(removed by author or community request)
Sorry man, only works with metal strings. Needs metal to interfere with the magnet, creating the signal. If you were to use metal strings the pickup could be placed inside the soundbox between the soundhole and the bridge. If you want to electrify the ukulele with nylon strings I'd recommend looking at piezo electric pickups.
Here's an example on eBay: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Twin-Piezo-Pickup-for-Cigar-Box-Guitar-Stomp-Box-20mm-/180944604828?pt=UK_Guitar_Accessories&hash=item2a21238e9c
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