Make your own mini-humbucker pickup from a scrapped electric toothbrush

Question: what do you do with a “wirelessly” re-charged electric toothbrush when its battery eventually dies?

Answer: salvage the tiny induction coil from inside the sealed body of the toothbrush handle. It’s ideal for making your own pickups. All it needs is a magnetic core and some patient, fine wiring work.

I glued a stack of a few 12mm diameter molybdenum magnets inside the coil’s bobbin, using a quick-setting epoxy resin. The results from a single coil pickup were so pleasing that I added a second, arranging the opposing magnetic senses and observing the required electrical polarities in order to make a mini-humbucker. I marked the magnets and the wires with red and black Sharpie pens to keep the assembly on track. The hardest part for me was stopping the fierce wee magnets from clumping together, so I used small clamps and glued them to a baseplate at two different times.

There are plenty more detailed photos in this shared Google Photos album of mine which might inspire you build your own version:

Have fun!

Views: 98


You need to be a member of Cigar Box Nation to add comments!

Join Cigar Box Nation

Comment by Southern Ray 17 hours ago

 Great thread! I learned a lot from this one. Brain hurt.

Comment by BrianQ. on Tuesday

I remember it, it kinda looked like a 60’s Burns with all the plastic control plates on the face? Line 6 pretty much has that modeling guit market sewn up with their Variax guitars tho? 

Comment by the anonymous pick on Tuesday

The Volkswagen guitar i mean . 

Comment by the anonymous pick on Tuesday

Yeah . it had a good concept ,  but was  generally considered a pos . Needed some more production  tweeking me thinks .

Comment by BrianQ. on Tuesday

That guitar has an onboard midi interface like the iRig software?

Comment by the anonymous pick on Tuesday

Thanks guys , It's spring cleanup nowadays in most places ,    a good time to look out for washer and driers ,  Older models have a  end of cycle buzzer , usually located in the top right of the   control panel .  looks like a  lil jackhammer  with an axle  usually banging against a piece of metal or the side of the machine . Another  coil grab. for ya . and some have some funky knobs too.

And then we have piezos .------  musical greeting cards , microwave ovens , some older stylophones , etc etc . aRE all good PIEZO grabs .

On another note . (Amp related , not pickup related . ) In 2006 volkswagon  had a deal with first act guitars ,   You would get a free vw guitar with  purchase of the car , and the car was fitted with a guitar amp in the radio . so you could tailgate party  and just plug you guitar into the car . open the doors and jam out . 

This had folks calling auto wreck yards looking for that radio ..  but . un-benounced to many . the  amp  wont work with  just plugging a regular guitar into it .   The first act guitar had an amp modular circuit in it  that allowed  it to work  with the car radio amp.

However ,  You can still do this with any  car radio and any  guitar , If your car has a 3.5mm input jack, you can get a preamp or headphone amp, and plugthe guitar into it, and the preamp into the car.  presto !  The reason you can't just plug the guitar into the car is that the stereo is looking for a line level signal, of between 1 and 1.6 volts while the guitar puts out about a third of that.

still may have volume issues tho . 

ok .   babble over . 

peace out. 

Comment by BrianQ. on Tuesday

Ray, best to use wall warts rated higher than 9 volts, the higher resistance will give a louder pickup?

Comment by Southern Ray on Tuesday

Thanks to Pick for the list. I knew of most of them, but not all. One thing to add, though. If the wall-wart doesn't have some heft to it, it likely doesn't have enough wire to do anything with.

Comment by Southern Ray on Tuesday

Thank you Peter! Oh goody! I have another thing to tear apart! 


Comment by Peter Bryenton on Sunday

Info for BrianQ:

The DC resistance of the pickup measured at the guitar's output jack socket is 7.3K ohms.

The output level works very well with my Crate GT212 amp at between 3 and 4 on its gain knob. Subjectively it's loud to my ears.

Cheers, Peter.

The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


Hardtail Bridge

Started by Seasick Mick in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Seasick Mick 3 hours ago. 10 Replies

String query

Started by Michael Myers in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Michael Myers Apr 6. 3 Replies

CallyFest 4

Started by Richard Sundberg in Fests and Concerts: Organizing and Promoting. Last reply by Southern Ray Mar 19. 46 Replies

Latest Activity

Gary W aka Rev. Bluejeans liked T-Gripped's photo
1 minute ago
t-belly johnson liked Gary O'slide's video
41 minutes ago
t-belly johnson liked Poorness Studios's video
44 minutes ago
t-belly johnson commented on Poorness Studios's video

Banjo Build Diary: Day 2 [Sanding & Finishing]

"Looking good! Great finish with just one coat of Danish. You put the effort in of  going down…"
44 minutes ago
t-belly johnson liked A.D.EKER's video
53 minutes ago
Uncle John commented on Dave Lynas's photo

Gib and Willy in Duck’s Store

"He quacks me up.   "
2 hours ago
Randy S. Bretz posted a photo

Comin down the home stretch

Won`t be long now till the strings go on it.
2 hours ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's photo

Duck, the Blues Dude

"Bunch of likes Rick. You throw enough down and something magic can happen."
3 hours ago
Seasick Mick replied to Seasick Mick's discussion Hardtail Bridge
"Finding different ways of making a CBG is part of the fun for me...Thanks for the info."
3 hours ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's photo

Gib and Willy in Duck’s Store

"Even Duck has a lady Unc.  He thinks she’s the greatest."
3 hours ago
Carl Floyd replied to Seasick Mick's discussion Hardtail Bridge
"Four screws, like a strat.  I have a mahogany heel that stick out.  Only two of the…"
3 hours ago
Gary O'slide posted a video
3 hours ago


© 2021   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->