DIY Pickup

I finally got around to trying my hand at spinning my own guitar pickup for a four string. I have always been curious about it so took the step after purchasing a small spool of 6,000 feet of .42 magwire for about $7 from a vendor on Amazon. Well technically this could be construed as my second attempt since the first spool I ordered was damaged so the wire kept breaking. The second spindle was great.

For spinning I had a piece of wood that I put a bolt through which would go into my drill as any drill bit would and used Velcro to hold it in place. I had a small box laying around and drilled a hole through it to retain the wire for feeding to the pickup and then used a box paper clip to guide the wire along with my finger for the back and forth horizontal movement while spinning. I have an idea using a reel from a fishing pole but that’s only on paper right now.

I visually spun the pickup with no counter to tell me how many winds but I did look up the reference for how many spins per minute my drill was capable of at high speed which was 1450 RPM. I would not be using full RPM but more half so I worked out how many minutes I would need based on that. I did previously modify a 99 Cent Store calculator for the endeavor but didn’t use it, opting for the quite simplistic setup I used instead. If I decide to spin more I will make a more proper spinner.

For the soldering of the leads I used a dremel with the smallest drill bit, drilled two holes and used brass brad nails which were perfect. I soldered the leads and used my test meter to make sure I had the correct ohms.

When finished I added four neodymium magnets at the bottom which are just a little larger than the heads of each nail used and tested the pickup on a test rig which is simply a 14 inch board that has a make-shift bridge, nut, steel strings and a couple of zither pins. There is really no design requirement for such a thing so your design can be any one as you see fit since it is just to test the pickup before going through all the trouble of mounting it in the project and then finding out it is a worthless POS.

The pickup actually sounds quite good for my first ever spun and I will update this post at some point with a sound file of it. I did not dip this (wax it) but I did wrap it in some twine for that old DIY slapped together look so I am curious how it will behave at higher harmonics. More will probably follow once I get it into a project I am working on. Please enjoy the pics from this project.

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