pickups and pickup covers

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Pickup_(music_technology)

How to replace your guitar pickups

Squier telecaster bridge raised showing the underneath of the pickup

Guitarists sometimes replace their stock pickups in the hope of improving their guitar's tone. This step by step guide shows you how to swap your existing guitar-pickups for new ones. 
The instructable is written by John Smith who changed the bridge pickup on his Squier Telecaster  to a Seymour Duncan Little '59 in the hope of a more Les Paul type of sound. But the same technique should be equally useful for other guitars.

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Lollar foils the Pickup Pirates

Basic Pickup Winding and Complete Guide to Making Your Own Pickup Winder, front cover image

Jason Lollar is the  author of the DIY pickup maker's bible "Basic Pickup Winding and Complete Guide to Making Your Own Pickup Winder". This book helped kickstart the custom pickup industry. It has been out of print for a number of years, assuming a mythical status. Secondhand copies have been selling for close to $300.

Ubertar Hexaphonic Pickups

Ubertar passive hexaphonic pickup

Paul Rubenstein has suceeded in making a passive hexaphonic pickup that fits into a single coil space. Paul is a guitar player and teacher as well as an inventor (of the alumitar for example). These pickups have a separate coil for each string, allowing you to process each one indidivually. For example you could pan strings to the left or right, or have different effects on each string.

Make a LEGO pickup winder

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These are two examples of pickup winders made out of LEGO. They use the motorised Mindstorms , NXT type components to spin the pickup bobbin. I haven't seen any LEGO winders with an automatic travese mechanism yet, but it won't be long before someone builds one.

The first is a pickup unwinder, for despooling a broken pickup, by Scorpion097 .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgYbgnVp15U

Rish developed the lego pickup winder further, making a more conventional design with LEGO NXT components for winding pickups.

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Experimental Musical Instruments

Experimental Musical Instruments is an online resource for people who want to make unusual musical instruments. They have how-tos on instrument making, as well as books and CDs featuring the work of experimental instrument makers. Also they have back issues of the Experimental Musical Instruments quarterly journal.

They sell supplies for the experimental instrument builder:  pickups, tuning keys, zither pins, fretwire, and other specialized hardware for makers. They sell piezo transducers, and piezo film if you want to make your own.

Make a pickup using GeoMag parts

geomagbits.JPG

GeoMag is a magnetic toy construction system. It connects together using short magnetic rods and little steel balls. Niels Kaagaard noticed the resemblance of the GeoMag rods to the pole pieces in a single coil pickup and proceeded to make a pickup out of them.  When you remove the plastic coating from the GeoMag rod you can see it is a steel bar with neodymium magnets at either end. To work as a pickup pole you need to remove one of these magnets. Niels then made some bobbins from fibreboard and wound the pickup coil around the GeoMag rods using his own hand winder.

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Some design considerations

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WINDING MECHANISM

Transferring wire from the reel to the bobbins requires the coordination of rotational and translational motions, The layer winding movements are performed through either coil rotation (spindle winding) or wire rotation (fly winding).

Spindle winding
In spindle winding, the bobbin is rotated as the wire passes over or through a wire guide that traverses back and forth in the direction of the axis of rotation.

Make a hand powered pickup winder

Kagaard-winder.jpg

This is a clever DIY pickup winder design by Niels Kaagaard. It uses a fishing reel to spin the bobbin. It is hand powered, so carbon emissions are limited to your exhaled breath as you wind it furiously.

It's missing a traverse mechanism at the moment, however, you can see that the wire is not layed down evenly. I would run a belt from the reel to power a cam traversing mechanism.

Link: Fishing reel pickup winder

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Make a pickup with neodymium magnets

neodymiumpickup.jpg

Traditional guitar pickups used alnico magnets or ceramic magnets. Neodymium magnets, a form of rare-earth magnet, have not often been used in guitar pickups. These extra strong magnets are becoming more and more available, and this instructable shows how to use them in a single coil pickup. The design uses screws as pole-pieces with small circular neodymium magnets underneath the pickups. Also contains a bit on how to pot the pickup in wax.

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Make a Music-Man-type bass humbucker

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This article is about a guy from the Netherlands who decided to build himself a MusicMan -type bass humbucker. These humbuckers differ from guitar humbuckers in that they don’t have any baseplates and don’t use a bar magnet with steel pole pieces.

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Guitar pickup clock

nixiePickupClock.jpg

Joe Hoffman made this clock in the shape of a single coil stratocaster pickup . Six nixie vacuum tubes display the time, where the pickup's magnets would be.
The top and bottom of the pickup-clock were cut out of stainless steel by the Big Blue Saw Company. You send them a design and they will cut it out using their CNC waterjet and send it back to you.

Anti-backlash nuts and leadscrew

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The anti-backlash nuts are an adjustable pair of nuts that transfer the rotation of the leadscrew into the linear motion of the axes. The two screws allow you to adjust the tension between the two nuts to eliminate backlash (the wobble that results from wear in the nut or leadscrew).

Make a guitar or bass pickup

pickup.jpg

Ever fancied making your own guitar or bass pickup? All you need is a spool of thin insulated copper wire (around 42 gauge) two popsicle sticks, some neodymium magnets (2 for each string) and some Gorilla Glue. When you have finished it you will need to dip it in melted wax.

Here's the original project posted by Sam Garfield over at DIY:happy.

One source for neodymium magnets is www.partsexpress.com

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Guitar pickups: colour idenfication codes

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When swapping out the pickups in your guitar you will find that different manufacturers use different colour codes to identify the wires of each coil.

This link at alexplorer.com lists some of the most widely distributed pickup manufacturers with their prefered color schemes.

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Graph Tech

The GraphTech brand was founded by Dave Dunwoodie. As a guitarist Dunwoodie was troubled by string binding on traditional guitar nuts.

"I went to do my first big “wang” and went totally out of tune" Dave says. "I couldn't use the guitar for stage work at all".

Dave began experimenting with a variety of composite guitar nuts designed to eliminate string binding before engineering the world’s first self-lubricating nut, a formula that is 500% slipperier than graphite.

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