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Simple Homeade Pickup

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by mtshark, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. mtshark

    mtshark Tele-Meister

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    Hey guys, this week in physics we have to make an instrument for an assignment and I chose to make a lap steel guitar. When planning it I decided, "Hey, why not electrify it?" I've heard some things about making a simple pickup out of a magnet and some wire, but I'm not quite sure how to go about it. What kind of wire should I use? (that 42 gauge stuff on normal pups is NOT ideal for me.) How strong of a magnet do I need? How much wire do I need? How do I hook it up to (just) an input jack?

    If you could be of any help that would be great. This is due on Thursday, so time is of the essence.
     
  2. oldsoultroy

    oldsoultroy Tele-Meister

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    This is alot of information to ask of. I would have to sit and draw you out diagrams and explain lots of things, to put it best, you need parts you 99.9% cant buy locally and if you have to do it within this week, maybe you should consider using a microphone instead- its not a bad idea and it is certainly gonna be quicker as meijers, walmart, kmart usually all sell microphones for under 20.00- maybe you already have one or could borrow one. It's not that i dont want to help you with pickup information and plans, It just seems futile to spend all the time telling you ho to be making one if you dont already have the parts in front of you. To top it all off, building a pickup requires an apparatus for winding the p/u wire on with, I use a sewing machine motor rigged up to a small lathe I built and machined out of Hard Maple. You can use a old school Hand Drill...... (powered by the old arm!!!)- Go for the microphone idea.... Just use your imaginantion!
     
  3. mtshark

    mtshark Tele-Meister

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    Hm, I thought it could just be done by winding the wire around a magnet a couple times (well maybe more...) and hooking it up to an output jack. I could always pull one of the pickups from my Strat, but I'm not that desperate since it doesn't HAVE to be amplified, that would just get me some extra credit.
     
  4. onenotetom

    onenotetom Tele-Afflicted

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    If your lap steel is hollow you can make a piezo pickup out of a doorbell buzzer from Radio Shack. Cost about $5.00. Do a search on youtube to see how to make one.
     
  5. mtshark

    mtshark Tele-Meister

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    Nope, it's made from a plank :D It wouldn't happen to still work would it?
     
  6. udimet720

    udimet720 Tele-Holic

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    The piezo should still work.

    Go to Radio Shack and look for a piezo buzzer. This actually is designed to make noise from an electric signal. But, it works in reverse as well. If you apply sound vibrations, it will produce an electrical signal you can amplify.

    You will need to open up the black plastic case of the buzzer. You will see a thin metal disc inside with wires attached. Use some 2 sided tape to connect it to the surface of the guitar very close to the bridge.

    As the above poster said, google Radio Shack piezo pickup. You will find a number of good results.

    But, you will need some kind of small amp. Do you have a practice amp for your strat? If so, you can use that.
     
  7. udimet720

    udimet720 Tele-Holic

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  8. mtshark

    mtshark Tele-Meister

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    Wow, thanks, that looks fantastic! And yes, I do have a small amp. It's a bass practice amp, but it works well for guitar as well as long as you don't want too much dirt (which I use a Big Muff for.) If need be the band department has a small Roland Cube I'm sure they would let me use for an hour.
     
  9. mtshark

    mtshark Tele-Meister

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    Hey, the piezo pickup works great! Thanks for your help!!!
     
  10. whodatpat

    whodatpat Friend of Leo's

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    Get the Piezo Transducer, not the buzer. (The buzzers often have computer chips on them that prevent them working as a mic. AND they cost more.) Get two of them and wire them in series. Meaning conect the a red and a black lead from each pezio and the other two leads go to the jack. I also reccomend a 1000k Pot.

    I actually cut the piezo disk out of the plastic case and glue it under thre bridge.

    They call it an element on the web site and a transducer on the package.
    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062402
     
  11. LocustPlague

    LocustPlague Tele-Holic

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    No "chips" in any of the buzzers I've ripped open. Worked fine as a mic. Piezos are so incredibly simple, there is absolutely no need for any built in supporting electronics.
     
  12. MSquier

    MSquier TDPRI Member

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    Piezo's work great! I build them into the bridge on my cigar box guitars. In this pic the piezo is just under the aluminum plate. You don''t need a hollow body for a piezo. I like them duel wired parallel, it cuts some of the high peaks down and helps with feedback issues.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Bolide

    Bolide Friend of Leo's

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    If it's not too late, word to the wise:
    Be prepared to give a brief explantation of how the piezoelectric effect converts the string vibration into a usable electric signal. You know how teachers are.....
     
  14. whodatpat

    whodatpat Friend of Leo's

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    Try a series set, and a paralell set side by side with a single piezo. You will go series. And if yo uh add the pot you can back the gain off because they are always prety hot. A preamp is nice but not a rf all necisary to get a good sound.

    Piezo's are nothing more that a rudamentary mic. Sound waves hit the two plates causing vibrations on the neg and pos side. That curre.t is the sound wave and it travels down the cord to the amp.

    I have several examples on youtube under "whodatpat"
     
  15. MSquier

    MSquier TDPRI Member

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    I have seen the debate over parallel vs series. I must try the series out, I have compared single to double parallel and I like the double better. I put them in all my CBG's but now I'm thinking under the tele bridge may be a good spot for a couple of piezo's.
     
  16. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Tele-Holic

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    I'm going to buck the tide here and say that, yes you can build a pickup. All you need is a length of insulated wire and a magnet.

    The wire gets formed into a coil, for simplicity's sake you can wind it right around the magnet. This is pretty much what a lipstick type pickup is.

    One end of the coil wire is your hot (+) output and the other is the ground connection. Connect each to the proper terminals of an output jack and then you can plug into any guitar amp.

    However, it may not sound much like a standard guitar pickup. A pickup's sonic characteristics are dependent upon multiple factors, some of which are not easily manipulated. But, assuming the coil is not shorted out then you will get some sort of output.
     
  17. KCKC

    KCKC Tele-Afflicted

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    That is one cool cigar box!! love the single threaded saddle!

    I'll have to look into this piezo gig!

    KC
     
  18. udimet720

    udimet720 Tele-Holic

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    Yeah... That's the exact one I have used and had the best results with in terms of the nicest sound. But each piezo has a different optimal frequency response and sound. Ymmv.

    Glad to be of help!
     
  19. whodatpat

    whodatpat Friend of Leo's

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    I made one once out of finish nails, a magnet and the lightest gauge of coated wire they had at Radio Shack. I believe I had to buy three rolls even though i could only use the one. I soaked it in wax. It looks really cool and was terribly weak. I never put it in a cigar box guitar.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. LocustPlague

    LocustPlague Tele-Holic

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    I did the same thing once, but used neodymium magnets. The thinnest magnet wire that Radio Shack sells is 30 gauge in this set: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2036277

    My pickup was incredibly weak too. I don't think you will have a whole lot of luck. In this case, I think the piezo is the best way to go.
     
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