According to Pete - DIY Guitar Pickups Continued

Check it out as Pete wraps up his guitar project!

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Today, we have the first September edition of "According to Pete." In today's episode, SparkFun Director of Engineering Pete Dokter is back at it with his guitar project. Watch at Pete wraps up his project and gets three surface transducers up and running:

As usual, feel free to leave any questions, suggestions, or haikus in the comments section below. We'll be back in a couple weeks with more "According to Pete." Enjoy!

Comments 23 comments

  • analogWrite(...) is for the PWM pins on the Arduino. They're labeled on the silkscreen on the Uno and most of the others, but the size of the Mini probably doesn't allow for such luxury. :-)

    • Indeed, most of my arduino projects are with pro minis. I could have looked it up, but it ended up unnecessary to do so. If I had been more attentive to my audience, I may have had that info available. But often, I get the job done as quickly as I can, then tell that story. Sorry if I've lead anyone astray.

  • PWM is on pins 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, and 11.

    They're the pins with circles around them.

  • My haiku:

    Jump cuts, wind-swirled 
    leaves in face, annoy greatly!
    Still a cool project.


  • Sweet video Pete ! We'd love to see your code... EQ chip is compelling. Thanks for sharing.

  • The screwdriver is significantly changing the magnetic circuit, coupling more flux into the pickup.

  • I didn't see it in the earlier comments, so.. to be pedantic:

    E2 (note name - the low E string, not a chord voicing) is actually 82.41 Hz (110 * 2^(-5/12)). Not that being able to reproduce the fundamental overtones accurately has ever stopped anyone from building any musical instrument/amplifier, electronic or acoustic.

    If you want to limit external sources - you could always try potting the sensor inside the cavity somewhere. Take one of your pickup cavities, Actually just potting the element into an epoxy blob with a screw hole so you can screw it down to the body would probably take it a long way towards getting a good mechanical coupling.

  • you should try with some piezos, it works like a charm ;)

  • Using a Jackson guitar may have been a bad choice...

  • [unrelated] I just realized that there is a random product function! Search for something; you'll see it on the left-hand bar. and the URL is random=you-betcha

  • Are your glasses a bit crooked?

  • Maybe this has been answered already... But have you tried ceramic piezo tranducers? If so, what was the difference in sound quality and output?

  • I believe the reasoning on the screwdriver helping is that it just more massive. The transducers work by picking up vibrations in what is basically a very tiny guitar pickup. By adding mass, they can pick up vibration better.

    • I hadn't considered that, but seems plausible. The larger one sure picked up the bass, and that was only duct-taped on.

  • How about you try and use a hall effect sensor on each string?

    • That might make an interesting alternative to the existing system, but I suspect it would be a lot more work. Each sensor would need its own supporting circuit... but I bet it would make a cool sound.

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