Easy DIY Magnetic Coil Pickup for You CBG From a "Wallwart" Transformer.





Introduction: Easy DIY Magnetic Coil Pickup for You CBG From a "Wallwart" Transformer.

About: I'm a Harmonica Playin' fool! I build my own amps and effects, and I do lot's of the DIY stuff. I also build and play cigar box guitars, play ukulele, blues guitar, melodica, and drums, and I beatbox a bit t...

In this video, I show how you can easily make a magnetic coil pickup for your Cigar Box Guitar from the coil in an easy to find 12volt "wallwart" transformer. The tone is great, and the output is high. The process is relatively easy, but involves using sharp implements. Please be careful! I am not responsible if you hurt yourself while attempting this!



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    6 Discussions

    Hey, I want to try to build this, but I have just about no experience with wiring and pickup building. I'm confused about how to connect this pick up to the jack, as well as what type of magnets I should buy and where to get them. I understand if this is too much to explain, but if you could help me out or refer me to something that can I would be very appreciative. Cool videos though.

    1 reply

    Hi there! A good resource for how to wire things up is this website: http://www.guitarnucleus.com/wiring.html
    Take your time and go through each of the types of things (potentiometers, pickups, and jacks) and see how they work, and how they can be wired up. It's up to you to decide how complex you want to make it. The simplest thing is to just wire the pick up straight to the jack with no volume control (no potentiometer) in between. But then you will have the volume always all the way up (not a problem if you use any kind of pedal between guitar and amp).

    In terms of the magnets. All you want is a magnet that is small enough to fit inside the hole, but large and strong enough to put out a strong tone. Neodymium magnets are the strongest per weight, so that's what I prefer, but any kind of magnet will *work*. The "worst" choice are ceramic "fridge" magnets, however, and you'll have much lower volume if you use one of those. As to where to buy them. You can get them on the internet (ebay, amazon, mouser, etc), or you can get them at plces like Radio Shack, Harbor Freight, or any craft store (like michaels).

    Hope that helps!

    do you have any pictures of a pickup with the magnets and such in place? it's kind of difficult to understand exactly where you're placing the magnets. also do you have a schematic for your mixer circuit? also, what are the values of the potentiometers you're using?

    3 replies

    Hi there... No, I didn't take pictures during the build process, but I'm planning to do another one soon, and I'll try to take pictures of that one. Basically, there is a coil of wire around a hollow plastic spool. You just put the magnets inside the spool

    I don't have a wiring diagram, but essentially, you just connect the hot leads from both pickups, each in series with a low ohmage resitor (100 ohms or so), directly to the hot pin of the output jack, and ground everything with a star grounding on the output jack's ground pin.

    I am using 100kohm audio (log) taper pots.

    Hope that helps!

    So, the magnets are towards the top of the coil? just working off my knowledge of commercially constructed pickups, the magnets tend to be on the top, and their proximity to the strings guages how sensitive the pickup is. so, in  your demo unit, i'm assuming the magnets are stuck to the tape that's covering the coil?

    so, from the pickups to the two pots (individually) to the jack (together)

    i think you're the first person to say "ohmage".

    Yup! you got it. They are just taped right at the top. I bought some really strong neodymium magnets from mouser electronics. I don't remember the part number, but they are about half inch tall cylinders with about a quarter inch diameter. I stacked two on top of eachother, and installed two of these columns in the coil, one on each side of the hole in the coil. The hole is rectangular in shape.

    Yes, output from the pickups to the pots, from the pots to the output together. This simple passive mixer is all you need.

    I do hope it's me! I love coining new terms! :)