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.

Step 1: Parts

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.    
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.
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
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.
<p>This is a good one for noodling on a single string instrument - </p><p>You may well be better off finding really big coils from old transformers and doing something like this:<br><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-A-Guitar-Pickup/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-A-Guitar-Pick...</a><br>If you wanted to make a pickup for a 6-string.<br><br><br></p>
Regarding coil ohms, I'm going to try making one using these as they are cheap enough: <br>http://www.maplin.co.uk/pcb-mount-low-profile-10a-relays-2512 <br> <br>The specs give the different version coils driver voltages and resistances as: <br> 6v coils 100ohms <br>12v coils 400ohms <br>24v coils 1600ohms <br>It looks like, the higher the coil voltage, the greater the number of turns and hence resistance. <br> <br>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! <br>
Sounds awesome! Let me know how it goes. It'd be good to see some pictures of the final product :-)
dude attach them in parallel....or most of your signals might get cancelled out....
My band director is always yelling at me for not having a tuner pickup. Could I hook this to a tuner?
<p>If you play anything other than a steel stringed instrument (electric or acoustic guitar), this will not work. It is not a contact microphone like what you would clip onto a trumpet's bell.</p>
►Sorry for the late reply. Yeah, can't see why not :-)

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a Mechanical Engineer who loves making random things!
More by Toms Workshop:Snake Didgeridoo Prescription Sunglasses. Under $36 (£25)! One Stringed Music Stick 
Add instructable to: