I have been playing around with making my own pickups and have some questions that I hope someone can answer.  I have made some individually wound pickups for individual strings that seem to work pretty good but I have questions on how to wire them together for multiple strings (individual pickup for each string).  The way I see it, there are 3 things that can be done.  1. The coils can be wired in parallel or series. 2. The coils can be wound in the same direction or alternated. And 3. The magnet poles can all go in the same direction or can be alternated N/S every other pickup. With these choices, there are 8 different ways to build this (2 to the 3rd power).  Can anyone tell me the best way (or results of the different ways) of wiring these?  Will certain combinations cancel out the magnetic field and cause problems?


BTW, Attached is a picture of the coils that I am using.  These coils are found in a brake system ABS module and work great and if you can get your hands on some scrapped ABS modules, the coils just pop out (you have to remove the metal shielding).  Just add a magnet and wire it up.

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Hi Dale,

What an interesting idea.

I picked up some solenoids off eBay with the idea of making individual string pickups for a 3 string CBG but then got side tracked. I was approaching it from the idea of using position to emphasise the string sound (bass string pickup nearest the neck, treble string pickup nearest the bridge and middle pickup in the middle).

I haven't tried it on a single string pickup but extrapolating from 6string pickups (so it may be a different response to what you get)

coils in series gives max output and in parallel you get less output but a brighter sound. Two distinct sounds so worth having.

I have some guitars with a phase reversal switch and it tends to give a slight quack to the sound especially with bar chords. As you say due to signal cancellation. Using individual strings with different tunings that are out of phase I have no idea what you will get (probably a case of try it and see).

So more questions (effect of pickup position) rather than answers :0)

Good luck with the project.

David L

Here are some more pictures of the coils. Depending on the ABS module you find, it will have anywhere from 8-12 coils. The ones I found had 12 coils that were 4 different colors; green, yellow, purple and Blue. The purple coils were around 4 ohms, the yellow and green were 5.5-6 ohms, and the blue coils had 3 leads that were 2 ohms between lead 1 and 2 and 4 ohms between 2 and 3.

The coil diameters are bigger than the string spacing so I will have to stagger them. Attached is a photo of 4 coils under the strings of my latest build just to show the spacing. This is not necessarily the guitar I am going to put a magnetic pickup on since it already has a saddle pickup. The last picture is a wired single coil sample pickup i made. I used 2 rare earth neodymium magnets sandwiched around a short iron/steel spacer. The magnets are from Harbor Freight (10 for $3) and fit perfect in the hole in the center of the coil.



Not 100 % sure Dale.others a bit more knowing might help,but i'd think if you used 2 of the higher rating coils,1 upside down with opposite mag polarity,mounted them side by side with a piece of bar going between the 2 magnets as a pole piece,you've just about got a humbucker [i think]

I think you have it right here's a pic...


Thanks, but this is the wiring for a humbucker where you have 2 coils wound around 2 sets of 6 (for 6 strings) pole rods/slugs.  The 2 sets of pole rods have opposite N/S Poles.   Each string on a humbucker excites 2 poles of opposite magnetic field which reduces hum.   I have found lots of diagrams for humbucker windings.  What I am doing is different.  I am individually winding each pole slug instead of 1 winding around all poles and only using 1 pole per string.  I did find a patent 3983778 that talks about individually wound coils http://www.google.com/patents/US3983778

Valid point, but ... the noise cancellation properties have everything to do with the fact that you have 2 coils in opposite directions.   The ambient noise is cancelled... The hard part is when you have 3 coils, you'll effectively have 1 coil's worth of noise.

To me your options are:  Aligned and potentially noisy.  1 coil (and magnet) reversed.) to reduce some noise, or go 4 coils.  These coils are big enough that you could pack 4 into a small space.  The magnetic field should be large enough to encompass all strings, and the coils sensitive enough that a string not centered over a pole should work too... but you may find that string to have a different volume...

I'm anxiously awaiting your experiments!

Thanks for the input.  I am going to try to do some experimenting this weekend and will post my results when I can.  I am going to try combinations like in my first post but also try using less coils (i.e. not one coil/string) as you suggested.  Lots of combos to try out.

I should note that most of my builds are 4 and 6 strings.

As far as i know,you can have 2 opposite windings/magnet polarities around a common pole,think along the lines of Elmars' flat pups.Might not be a humbucker,but it does buck hum

Wonder how they would humbuck if you stacked two of them? I know, that's a bass thing, but us CBG guys are the rule breakers and changers, right? Stacked and staggered, each string would have it's own little 'bucker. Extra wiring and switches and you might end up with LOTS of different sounds..

Check out Bart Hopkin's book Getting a Bigger Sound. He's done the same thing with solenoid coils. You would wire them in series. If you reverse the wiring and magnet orientation on every other one, it's humbucking. About 1 M ohm (1000 ohms) per string would make it most similar to regular guitar pickups.


Or for fun, hook them up temporarily with alligator clip test wires and a jack. You can hold them above the strings and experiment with listening to various hookups before deciding on a permanent arrangement.

Thanks Skeesix,i was hoping one of you guys with a bit of experience would comment,i was pretty sure, but not confident enough to be positive


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