You can never have enough guitars

DIY Pickup in 4 Easy Steps.

Here is my way to make Cigar Box guitars pickups.

1. Get a sewing bobbing.
You are lucky if you have a sewing machine at home.
That means that you should have plenty of small bobbin around it. Or inside it.
The worst case scenario (which is my case) you may buy them by $1 for a half-dozen in Walmart.

2. Get a copper coil from any accessible transformer. It can be found inside any old (Older is better) power supply. I had plenty of them form multiple electronic devices.
If you have enough patience to dismantle the transformer carefully you’ll get a plastic frame with two (primary and secondary) coils. Use one of them. No matter which. You can wind al of them and choose experimentally.

3. Winding. There are plenty of recipes of making/buying the winding tools around. I’ve got some idea from them and made it my way.
The drill with the bobbin on one side and the croc clip stand on the other. It is not perfect and not stable enough if you don’t make any extra fixing.
But it’s quite OK for temporary use and you don’t plan to do the winding for the rest of your life.
Just don’t rush and start with a very low speed. You may want to lead the winding with your free hand. So the coils will be placed smoothly over the full width of the bobbin.

More coils you can make is better. Just leave a bit of space, like 1 mm. to the edge for fixing the coils with the glue or any other self-adhesive materials.
I used double sided foam tape covered with dielectric isolating tape.

4. Magnet.
Now I have to add the magnet. I was not able to find something which can go through the hole in the middle of the bobbin. So I decided to spit this step in two.

First. I’ve found a bolt which fits perfectly in the bobbin. Remember, you probably need the bolt end to extend e bit from the bobbin_screwbobbin. Because later you will need to adjust the gap between the string and the pickup. The sound may appear too weak if this gap is too big. At the same tine it shoud not be too close. Otherwise the string may touch the bolt with the ugly scratchy sound if played on the higher frets.

Second. The magnet itself.
I started to experiment with the fridge magnets. Many of them have nice perfectly shaped ferromagnetic piece inside.
But later I’ve found that usually they a not strong enough. You still can use them, especially if you have enough room to put 2 or 3 of them together.
But later I’ve found another beautiful source.
I have a friend who’s working in the big call center.
They have broken head phones thrown in recycling bin almost every day.
So I started to use the neodimium magnets from the broken phones which are way stronger! triple_magnet
So I’m placing like 2 or 3 of these small buttons right on the bolt head underneath the bobbin.
No need to attach it with the glue or something else!
Just remember that the bolt has to have a flat head.

And if you find that the end of the bolt on the top extends too much you may add one or more washers between the bolt head and the bobbin in order to adjust it.



In the next upcoming post I’ll try to demonstrate the implementation of this type of the DIY CBG pickup in my “qick’n’dirty’ project that I call “CBU: Cigar Box Ukulele”.

2 Responses to “DIY Pickup in 4 Easy Steps.”

  1. David T. Kerf says:

    I am wanting to make the same pickups you mention here with the sewing bobbing. Is it 42g or 44g shielded copper wire you spin on to the bobbing?

    1. admin says:

      Hi. Sorry, I cannot answer your question. Because I was using some random spare transformer coil. I have no idea.

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