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Author Topic:  My latest steel pickup. NOW WITH MIDI ALSO!
Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 10 Mar 2017 9:29 am     Reply with quote

My latest steel pickup, made from tortoise shell pickguard plastic, ¼” magnets, and I’ll be using about 8,000 feet (over a mile and a half) of 40 AWG (.0035”) magnet wire. I’m hoping that the larger magnets, fatter wire, and slightly lower impedance will fatten up the upper mids and higher frequencies.










Last edited by Brad Higgins on 22 Apr 2017 8:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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Rich Peterson


From:
Moorhead, MN
Post Posted 13 Mar 2017 8:52 am     Reply with quote

It will at least be a sharp looking unit. That much larger gauge wire will make a wider coil, sensing more of the string, so it should sound warm and full.
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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 13 Mar 2017 6:16 pm     Reply with quote

Rich Peterson wrote:
It will at least be a sharp looking unit. That much larger gauge wire will make a wider coil, sensing more of the string, so it should sound warm and full.


Actually Rich, that's not quite right, the most common wire used on pickups is #42 which .0025", #40 is only .0035" which is a difference of only .001", which won't make it much wider, besides, it's not the wideness of the pickup, it's impedance or resistance of the pickup that really matters most. #42 wire is 1660 Ohms per 1,000', and #40 is 1080 Ohms per 1,000'. Upper mids and high frequencies have much shorter wave lengths and when you start getting above around 9K Ohms you start choking the highs and fattening the lows and can even create distortion.
This Pickup is only going to have a little over 8,000' of wire putting it at about 9,000 Ohms. All four of my MSAs had pickups that were right around 18,000 Ohms, and NONE of them sounded as good as the little student model Sho-Bud that I bought for my kids, until I removed nearly half the wire from their pickups, it was an EXTREME pain in the butt but it made a huge difference. It brightened the tone, especially the lows, they lost their muddiness and became quite crisp. If I recall the little buddy pickup was only right around 10K or 11K Ohms. Stock Fender Strat pickups are only 6,000 Ohms. I've got a real good book called GUITAR ELECTRONICS by Donald Brosnac, and it goes into infinite detail about pickups and pickup construction. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is into making pickups. Anyway, thanks for your post Rich.
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Rich Peterson


From:
Moorhead, MN
Post Posted 13 Mar 2017 10:51 pm     Reply with quote

I was basing my comment on the difference between the Jazzmaster pickup and other Fender single coils. Assumed you would be putting same number of windings, but with thicker wire.

Now you've gotten me thinking of having my MSA Super Sustain modified....
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Per Berner


From:
Skövde, Sweden
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 1:14 am     Reply with quote

Classy fretboard!
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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 5:12 am     Reply with quote

Per Berner wrote:
Classy fretboard!


Thanks, it's a solid Brazilian Rosewood neck (from before the ban), they're real frets, and since they are crowned instead of flat, they reflect light in almost all angles so they can be seen in low light situations. The markers are mother-of-pearl, and I added an extra set near the very front of the guitar so that some markers can still be seen near the fingertips of your bar hand, even when the other markers are covered.

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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 5:34 am     Reply with quote

Rich Peterson wrote:


Now you've gotten me thinking of having my MSA Super Sustain modified....


Just changing the pickups alone didn't completely do the trick for getting the sound that I wanted, so I also moved the pickups farther away changers. Originally the MSA pickups were mounted around 1 1/4" from the changers (center of string fingers to center of poles). I moved the pickups so that they were 1 7/8" away just like the little Sho-Bud. This increased both sustain and output, because the string vibrates in a slight arc, and the farther from the bridge, the wider the string sweep across the poles. Think of it this way, if you have a two pickup electric guitar and both pickups are identical, you always have to raise the bridge pickup much higher (closer to the strings) if you want an even volume balance between the two.
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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 19 Mar 2017 12:14 pm     Reply with quote

Here is the original pickup that I made for it, about 11,000 Ohms of #42 wire, with 3/16" poles.


Here is the new pickup that I just finished, with 10,000 Ohms of #40 wire, and 1/4" poles. It sounds so much better, with hotter output, fatter highs, the lows are crisp, and it has a nice even balance across the strings. It also looked so much better that I couldn't help but clean and polish the frets, fingerboard, and brass changer mounting blocks.

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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 22 Apr 2017 6:51 am     Reply with quote

My Poor Man's STEEL RIDER (MIDI STEEL).

Though I wouldn't advise anyone else to do it because it was a real pain, but I very carefully disassembled one of my Roland MIDI guitar pickups and converted it to fit the center six strings on my 12 string universal. I'm just waiting for the connectors that I ordered so I can wire it up. What's great is, since it's on a uni, and my low D note is on my B string, I'm only missing the top three strings (G#, Eb, and F#)on MIDI when playing E9.




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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 23 Apr 2017 3:09 am     Reply with quote

One thing to remember is that you CAN’T use a stock Roland MIDI guitar pickup on a steel, the reason being that a Roland MIDI guitar pickup is actually 6 tiny pickups mounted together in a row, and each tiny pickup has to lock in on the frequency from one string and one string alone. The string spacing near the bridge on a guitar is much wider than the spacing on a steel so the tiny pickups just won’t line up with the strings properly, that’s why I had to disassemble this one and mount them on a piece of walnut.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 23 Apr 2017 3:15 am     Reply with quote

Brad Higgins wrote:
One thing to remember is that you CAN’T use a stock Roland MIDI guitar pickup on a steel, the reason being that a Roland MIDI guitar pickup is actually 6 tiny pickups mounted together in a row, and each tiny pickup has to lock in on the frequency from one string and one string alone. The string spacing near the bridge on a guitar is much wider than the spacing on a steel so the tiny pickups just won’t line up with the strings properly, that’s why I had to disassemble this one and mount them on a piece of walnut.


I really wish they made a Roland pickup to fit a steel or even one that is completely flat so I could mount it on my Fessy 6-shooter (which has wider spacing) but, of course there wouldn't be enough demand (bit like the pedal steel Show).
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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 23 Apr 2017 5:49 am     Reply with quote

Jeff, I know exactly what you mean, I've been wishing for a MIDI setup for my steel for years, but luckily I currently own three Roland GK-3 pickups, which made me a bit more willing to take a chance with one of them, hoping that I wouldn't ruin it in the attempt.
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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 12 May 2017 1:22 pm     Reply with quote

Here is a little noodling around with my poor man's midi setup.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOkbuXsHz7Y&feature=youtu.be
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Peter Harris


From:
South Australia, Australia
Post Posted 13 May 2017 5:01 am     Reply with quote

Hi Brad,

You maybe interested in reading this post (on the Vguitar Forum) ...if you haven't already seen it.. Wink

http://www.vguitarforums.com/smf/index.php?topic=8666.0


Cheers,
Peter
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If my wife is reading this, I don't have much stuff....really!
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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 13 May 2017 5:49 am     Reply with quote

Peter Harris wrote:
Hi Brad,

You maybe interested in reading this post (on the Vguitar Forum) ...if you haven't already seen it.. Wink

http://www.vguitarforums.com/smf/index.php?topic=8666.0


Cheers,
Peter

I checked out, and it looks like a great unit, but each individual string pickup seems to be too wide for the narrow string spacing of a pedal steel, but thanks for sharing.
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Jim Palenscar


From:
Oceanside, Calif, USA
Post Posted 13 May 2017 8:11 am     Reply with quote

In an experiment I rewound an old shorted out Sho~Bud pickup and was told by my guru pickup guy (thanks Chance Wilson) for the best vintage sound to put as much of the thickest wire on as possible so I used 38 and wound it until the bobbin screamed "No Mas!" I measured it and it measured 3.17k (amazing difference between the original 17k it started with) and, all other things being equal, would normally have expected it to be extremely shrill but it sounded great. Ry Cooder now has this in his Tele Smile.
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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 13 May 2017 8:24 am     Reply with quote

Jim Palenscar wrote:
In an experiment I rewound an old shorted out Sho~Bud pickup and was told by my guru pickup guy (thanks Chance Wilson) for the best vintage sound to put as much of the thickest wire on as possible so I used 38 and wound it until the bobbin screamed "No Mas!" I measured it and it measured 3.17k (amazing difference between the original 17k it started with) and, all other things being equal, would normally have expected it to be extremely shrill but it sounded great. Ry Cooder now has this in his Tele Smile.

Hi Jim, I believe you, these days people ALWAYS seem to go to extremes, they seem to think that if a little of something is good than more is always better, and that's completely wrong, everything is kind of a balancing act, and the middle way, or slightly off center is usually best. Thanks for sharing!!!
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 13 May 2017 8:37 am     Reply with quote

I also re-did a midi pickup to fit on a pedal steel but I haven't had the nerve to try it out yet.
I agree, it was a real pain! Whoa!
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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 13 May 2017 9:08 am     Reply with quote

Erv Niehaus wrote:
I also re-did a midi pickup to fit on a pedal steel but I haven't had the nerve to try it out yet.
I agree, it was a real pain! Whoa!

Good luck with it Erv, I've been having a ball with mine. I've been having trouble keeping myself from messing around with it and just playing steel alone. My Roland GR-30 has 384 sounds, and I can use two sounds per patch.
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Jim Kennedy


From:
Brentwood California, USA
Post Posted 13 May 2017 10:32 am     Reply with quote

Would the fewer windings, less resistance, less wire, reduce the 60 cycle hum of single coil pups? My Bud pup is 15.5kohms, and while the buzz is not untolerable, it is noticeable. I play through a late 70's 100 watt Twin Reverb that was recently serviced. All grounding on the guitar and amp is good. My Tele with Texas Specials at 10k and 8k cause almost no buzz, and none from humbuckers. Just wondering.
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ShoBud Pro 1, 75 Tele, 85 Yamaha SA 2000, Fender Cybertwin,
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Larry Allen


From:
Anchorage,Alaska & Kapaa,Hawaii
Post Posted 13 May 2017 10:38 am     Midi Pu Reply with quote

Hi Brad...I have this Roland GK2 on a ShoBud on strings 10-5 (4 gets picked up too)..with 10 being a low E..extE9..works well....Larry
Shocked

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Excel, Sho-Bud, Quilter & Peavey amps, Cadillacs, Mercedes
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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 13 May 2017 12:32 pm     Reply with quote

Jim Kennedy wrote:
Would the fewer windings, less resistance, less wire, reduce the 60 cycle hum of single coil pups? My Bud pup is 15.5kohms, and while the buzz is not untolerable, it is noticeable. I play through a late 70's 100 watt Twin Reverb that was recently serviced. All grounding on the guitar and amp is good. My Tele with Texas Specials at 10k and 8k cause almost no buzz, and none from humbuckers. Just wondering.


Hi Jim, I've noticed the exact same thing!
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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 13 May 2017 12:34 pm     Re: Midi Pu Reply with quote

[quote="Larry Allen"]Hi Brad...I have this Roland GK2 on a ShoBud on strings 10-5 (4 gets picked up too)..with 10 being a low E..extE9..works well....Larry

Very cool Larry, nice guitar also!


Last edited by Brad Higgins on 14 May 2017 2:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Larry Allen


From:
Anchorage,Alaska & Kapaa,Hawaii
Post Posted 13 May 2017 3:04 pm     Midi Reply with quote

Thanks Brad...I am using 1) Piano 2) Rhodes 3) Jazz Organ 4) Glide Organ 5) Vibes 6) Trombone 7) Acoustic guitar .....running thru an Alesis Midiverb4.NV112...Larry Very Happy

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Excel, Sho-Bud, Quilter & Peavey amps, Cadillacs, Mercedes
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Brad Higgins


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 14 May 2017 2:39 am     Re: Midi Reply with quote

[quote="Larry Allen"]Thanks Brad...I am using 1) Piano 2) Rhodes 3) Jazz Organ 4) Glide Organ 5) Vibes 6) Trombone 7) Acoustic guitar .....running thru an Alesis Midiverb4.NV112...Larry Very Happy
That's a nice looking rig, I'll have to go read about the Midiverb.
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