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Mini Switches For Pickup Each

WAK Guitars

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First of all I don't know much about electronics so don't be afraid to correct me about stuff. I had an idea with a friend today about pickups. Ok so, take a strat for example, with the three singlecoils. Would it be possible to, rather than having a singlecoil for 6 strings, have one for each set of three strings (E,A,D and G,B,E)? So on a strat, that would make 6 different pickups.

Would it then be possible to have each "mini pickup" controlled by a mini switch to turn them on and off? So instead of having a pickup selector, have 6 mini switches.

That way you could have the lower pickup of the neck pickup and the higher pickup of the bridge or middle, not to mention many other combinations. Would something like this be possible? Would it be worth it?


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What you want to do is not possible with conventional pickups - they are not constructed like that. You can't isolate each string unless you build a pickup that has six little coils of wire in it, one for each string. It would be a real pain to try and wind a pickup like that, but I suppose anything is possible if you're determined enough.

I don't think the benefits would be worth all of the hassle, though. You could accomplish roughly the same thing with an EQ pedal.

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Another issue is that you wouldn't be able to completely isolate the strings, since the pickup for the A string, for example, would most likely pick up some of the signal from the E and D strings, depending on how your pickups are wound and how big the magnetic field is that you are creating for each string.

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I have been avoiding this as it seems a question without real purpose...still...

Yes...bilateral pickups do exist...fenders z-coil and G&L types similar to the above copies, but most famously the P-bass pickup are examples but remember, these coils work together to make humbucking series arrangements. These half single coils on their own will have half the wore length and power of a full sized pickup or a pair in series as intended above.

Of course there is the issue that in making such devices you are effectively doubling the work required...the pay off in the above example of series pairs being noise reduction with a single coil type sound...the downside in this proposal is less than half the power and likely no noise cancellation properties at all!

So...what would the advantages be...after all, separation is going to be a little bit of a problem and in fact bending the G string will invariably put it over a D string pole on all but coils mounted very close to the bridge (the reason hex pickups are located there)... (BTW...the early hex devices for synths were actually made from tape heads and still share similar technologies!)

Unlike your proposal...a separate output of bass and treble strings would suit very specialized players (say someone like charlie hunter) who could process the high and low strings separately through separate outputs...something synth players also do by assigning discrete string outputs.

So...in general...

Would something like this be possible? Would it be worth it?

Yes but probably not and not in the way envisaged that I can think of. However...if one really wanted to do such a thing, one could take pairs of single coil pickups and angle them so severely that they only span the lower and upper string sets.

Hex (6) coil pickups are not unheard of but each coil on their own is pretty low impedance (1/6th or less) and so really need to be wired togther to be effective. Six switches wouldn't be a very practical solution as you would need a switch scheme that selects different pairs...something like a super switch might be able to do this...

Again...it comes down to what you really wanted to achieve...I really don't see a lot of point in one half of a guitar having the neck pickup sound and the other the bridge and as Paul pointed out...a lot of this effect could already be achieved with EQ. The fact that no one does it is a testament perhaps to the worthiness of the idea!

Still...good to keep thinking.


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