making guitar pickups

How to make pickups

EMG factory tour

Premier Guitar's Brett Petrusek is on Location in Santa Rosa, CA, where he visits the EMG Inc. pickup factory factory. In the first clip, we get to check out where the molds, housing and electrical boards are constructed for EMG pickups. The second clip shows some coils wound, the finished casing products for the pups and the extensive quality care control that EMG uses for every pickup produced.

Record player pickup winder and unwinder

Record player pickup winder

This is a home made pickup unwinder made by Bill Crozier, after he was unsatisfied with the sound of his Tex Mex pickup. He designed a pickup unwinder to unwind the pickup wire onto a reel, and then used the same setup to scatter rewind the pickup. He mounted the pickup on a rotating Lazy Susan, and the wire take-up spool on a record player.

Make a LEGO pickup winder


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 .

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

Make a pickup using GeoMag parts


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.

Make a hand powered pickup winder


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

Make a pickup with neodymium magnets


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.

Make a guitar or bass pickup


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

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