Making A Single Coil Pickup
This is part of the build process for a series of “custom box guitars” that I’m working on – basically a cigar box guitar with a box that looks a bit more like a classic guitar than something cigars came in. On the first one I built – making just a standard square box – I used a piezo pickup that worked quite well. But I wanted to get a normal pickup into the mix. When I mentioned this to my mate Aaron he texted back three words that he knew I wouldn’t be able to resist: Make your own.
So started several hours of research seeing what I could uncover online about how the hell I would actually do this. Because it’s just a three-string guitar I knew I would have to start from raw materials as there weren’t any three-pole bobbins available. Parts were easy enough to get from Stew Mac: some “flatwork” for the tops and bottom of the bobbin, a spool of 42AWG wire, some alnico 5 magnets for the poles, and a pack of the little eyelets for attaching the wire. Actually making the bobbin was challenging as there really isn’t anywhere I’ve found that shows you how – there’s lots of information on people making pickups with pre-drilled flatwork but nothing from scratch. Without a drill press, I drilled holes by hand and managed to get them reasonably well lined up, but they were a little small and required some well place hits with a hammer to sit the magnets in place. Whether this hammering will have affected the magnets I don’t know yet! Next time I think I’ll drill slightly larger holes and then get the magnets to be secure using a dab of superglue.
Once I get leads soldered on to it I’ll be able to see how it works – so stay tuned. And in the meantime, here’s a sneak peak of how the Custom Box Guitar project is progressing. There will be a more detailed post about it once I’m finished.