here is a little tutorial about improvised guitar pickups
made from easy to find junk

Step 1: pickup basics

simply a guitar pickup is just a coil of insulated copper wire with a magnet in the center.
most things that seem simple dont always turn out this way but here is an exception(sort of).
now im not recomending that you rip the pickups out of your strat and replace them with the herein mentioned contraptions. but if your building a diddly bow or a frankenstein guitar or just looking to make a new noise then thise is for you
<p>Very interesting stuff. Thanks for posting. I wonder if you could help me. I would like to design a large pickup about 3.5 inches square, (there's a good reason trust me). Are there any design considerations I need to be aware of or should I just get a square magnet and go ahead? Thank you.</p>
<p>if the pickup needs to be a square instead of a bar (like most are) then there are two ways to cover it one would be to wire 2 normal pickups together to get the shape (series or parralel depending on whether you want a humbucker style pickup or not)</p><p>or just wrap a single coil around your magnet .</p><p>if i were trying this i`d wrap it around a steel block and then put a powerful magnet like a hard drive magnet on the bottom afterwards. if it gets too large you may have to do more windings</p>
<p>Thanks for the advice. I'll let you know how I get on. Cheers, G</p>
I found your article interesting, but I am wondering how to build these pickups from scratch. The application I am trying to use these for is part of a home made radio controller for robots, so what I need to know is how to build a pick up with a diode or transistor that will connect to an antenna to send signals through the air to the robot's antennas at a max. range of 20 feet away. Do you possibly have information that could be of help to me.
<p>check out an older cordless phone. all the parts you need are in there, like a pre assembled mic/pick up in the mouth end. Try two blue tooth enabled devices....if your savvy enough (like two cell phones). Or you could try a mic/pick up and a wireless jack, which transmits and receives, so your controller and robot take the place of the guitar and amp.</p>
sorry bud thats all over my head.too much math.<br>if i see anything related to it ill pass it on though
<p>The Q-tuner guitar and bass pickup company uses N50 neodymium bar magnets: http://www.q-tuner.com They do it for 25 years now, so it must be OK.</p>
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friends may not ask about - about how to make a pick-up coil electric guitar / acoustic
As to the question of polarity of magnets used in Humbuckets, those are bar-type magnets with the North/South poles along the two opposite long Side, not on the Ends , as is the case with a common bar-type magnet. <br>Since the two coils innermost windings are placed adjacent to each other, those windings are over the opposite poles of this special side-pole bar magnet. <br>According to laws set down many years ago by Scottish scientist Michael Faraday, <br>a coil of wire passing through a magnetic field will have an induced current that follows the right-hand rule of current flow created . <br>It is probably more easily demonstrated by looking up Faraday's Laws regarding magnetically induced current flow. This is the same principal that makes everything from huge generators (think Boulder Dam!), to dynamic microphones, to earbuds, to kitchen mixers, etc... work. <br>Faraday was an interesting person and greatly influential to modern electronics. <br>I hope this proves somewhat enlightening and not too wordy! ;) <br>
that makes more sense than my own theories.<br>thank you for the clarification.
try i lipstick pick up like in a old telie
tele you mean
ya sorry auto correct strikes again
nah its good
I thought humbuckers had coils wound in different directions over each other? Although that is just something I have read several times, I have never had the occasion to actually dissassemble a guitar pickup yet. I'll have to keep my eyes open at garage sales for some dollar instruments I guess. I've changed some pickups, and rewired some guitars, just never bothered ripping a pickup apart yet. Humbuckers do have 3 wires coming out of them though as I can recall. It is good to leave one of the wires detached, in case you ever forget the words!
most humbuckers have the two coils side by side but wound in different directions . some are stacked one coil on top of the other{although that may be just something i heard . ive never seen one like that} the coils need to be separated a little bit so they dont counteract each other. im not sure if those makeshift pickups would work as a humbuckers but its worth a crack if you try it and it works let us know. if i try it ill post it later
a humbuckers got two single coil pickups wound in the same direction but sharing a magnet there for using opposite poles to cancel out the humm.
ahh so thats how it works.<br>my apologies to anyone i might have confused.
do not mess with coils from tv picture tubes!! tv's can store THOUSANDS of volts even after being unplugged for YEARS!! there's far better safer sources!! ;)
The coils don't store the charge, capacitors do, but it's still good advice to wear gloves and then use an <u>old</u> screwdriver to short things out before you play.
crt tubes themselves can also hold a charge for a long time.i got a good zap from one 30 years ago my arm was numb for hours.<br>lucky it didnt kill me<br>always wear insulating gloves when handling them.<br>once the tube has been safely discharged you can handle it then
I like coils from old TV sets, The older the better. If you find an old tube set in the alley, grab it before I do. There are a lot of coils in the old sets, but my favorites are on the neck of the picture tube. The adjustment (convergence) coils are the ones I'm after. They come in 3 sets of 2, 3 sets 'cos they use 3 colors. This gives you one pickup per string, which is exactly what you want for MIDI guitar. If you want hexaphonic fuzz (1 fuzz per string so the strings don't interfere with each other), this is the way. Note that the coils are mounted on ferrite cores, which are very hard, or should I say brittle. Ferrite is a kind of ceramic which will yield to a determined person with a cut off wheel in their Dremel. Just put the whole thing on a piece of magnet. I like the ceramic ones on the back of dead speakers or inside microwaves. More ceramic shaping, but at least you'll learn a new skill.
A quick note: <br><br>DO NOT OPEN A TV WITHOUT KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT YOU'RE DOING.<br><br>The cathode ray tube can carry enough voltage to kill you even years after the TV has been unplugged. I strongly advise heavy research before you pop open an old TV or, best of all, avoidance of it altogether. (This doesn't apply to newer, LCD, plasma, etc. sets but I would still take caution.)
indeed the CRT can hold a charge of thousands of volts for years.<br>i learned this myself the hard way many years ago.<br>take all precautions while hunting for useful coils {insulated gloves come to mind} do not touch the neck and side contacts {cathode and anode} at the same time, thats how i got zapped.
Surely if you are taking the tv apart anyway, you could just throw a bucket of water over it. I'd think that should short out and ground any voltage left?
water, not advisable, you could still shock yourself.<br>
the best way to disharge a CRT is to take a lead with an alligator clip and a 1 ohm resistor arrangement and short it out on a ground strap from the cup attached to the picture tube. You should hear a loud pop and perhaps see some arcing when this occurs. You could repeat the procedure to be absolutely sure no charge remains. the problem of CRT's are that it has capacitors with high values, once these loose their charge, it should be plain sailing. Also of hazard is mercury in the tube that could leak if the tube is old or compromise is some way.
do you have any instructables?
Well, I found one out in the woods! how cool is that! :P
i beat you to it last week for that teebee
nice crack man... i cant wait ti try these for myself... keep rocking....long live!!!! =D
Great!!! Looking for a coil!!! Buenisimo, felicitaciones!!!! Gracias!
If your pickups seem to be a bit quiet, it may because they have a higher impedance than typical pickups(I'm kinda guessing here). Try building a fet buffer amp to put between the output of your homemade pickups and the input of your amp and see if that helps.
actually the resistance is much lower than a commercial pickup (2k ohms as oppossed to 8 k}because my coils wire is shorter . the idea is to induce a current in the wire by coiling it around a magnet and vibrating a ferrous metal string in the magnetic feild to generate the current. the more wire the higher the current is. if a heavier wire is used the same effect can be acheived but will require a longer wire again. using a more powerfull magnet can also boost the signal but may dampen the vibrations of the strrings.
So I've never had a clue what I was doing when it came to electricity, so correct me if I'm wrong here. If your pickup has 2k ohms and the pickups from the factory have 8k, putting in 6k of resisotors somewhere along the line would fix the volume issue? Or would it make things worse?
It would make things worse. If the pickup impedance is lower than the input impedance of your amplifier, it shouldn't be too big a deal. Of course, there is maximum transfer of power when the impedance of the pickup matches the input impedance of the amplifier(doesn't matter though with voltage controlled devices like FET's and Vacuum tubes), but adding resistors to compensate doesn't really compensate at all. I think the key is to add more windings of wire. Or better yet, maybe use a booster amp between the pickup and your amplifier's input.
Okay, that makes sense.
Hi!! nice work! you have good idea but miss some knowledge. A resistor will make things worse, dont forget its not the same thing at all, coil is made for inductance its not a resistor. The resistor will never take any sound its not an inductor and i think not to be near the strings anyway, in contrary it will reduce the signal because of resistance. Make a little search on google to find some schematic about pickups and you will find how to build your project with maximum results.Also see how lace build their pickups its not totaly different but enough and it work very fine. the use of the polarity of your magnet (and maybe metalic parts with it) and the way you use your coil will change the output signal, some possibilities can give you more gain.<br />
thanks it worked way better after doing that i don't know why i did not think of that
Do you know if a newdymium n50 magnet would be too strong? <br />
im not familiar with the size and strength of that magnet.<br /> but it should still work.<br /> though if the magnet is hugely strong it may dampen down the vibration of the strings some .<br /> let us know if you try it and how it works.<br />
hi michael here iv got the pickups made but i dont know how to wire then in to the guitar and everything else.can you please healp me.
sure micjael all you need to do is install a 1/4 inch guitar jack and wire it to the ends of wire coming from the pickup i will email to you a diagram that shows the usual configuration. and while those are more complicated than you need it will tell you exactly howit is done.
Mack here. Could you also send me the diagram or post it online?<br />
so could i just get any magnet and wrap some copper wire around it and use it as a pickup? im trying to make a diddley bow and just need something really cheap to use as a pickup

About This Instructable




Bio: i am a photolab technician and an incurable packrat. i have made swords ,chainmail, crossbows.cameras,bike trailers,kayaks,guitars{slide and electric},knives,various ... More »
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