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B Investigation into electric guitar pickups

  1. Aug 22, 2016 #1

    I am currently taking the IB program and have decided to write my EE (extended essay [4,000 words]) in physics. I am going to investigate electric guitar pickups and I need help adding more 'depth' to the essay.

    Currently, I plan to create my own model pickup by winding a coil of enamel coated copper wire around a magnet, and seeing how it picks up sound from a vibrating string. I will be changing the amount of turns on the coil, as well as the cross sectional area of the coil to see how it affects the induced current. I also plan to experiment with how the position of the pickup along a string (on a sonometer, that is) affects the output.

    The topic question i have so far, is: How does pickup winding and pickup position along a string affect the tone and timbre of the signal? I am worried that there won't be enough to write about on a high school level. I plan to analyze the tone by looking at different frequency levels and harmonics in the signal, but I feel I need more physics in this physics essay, if that makes sense. Is this a good topic? What do you think i could expand on, or analyze more to create a better, and more scientific essay?

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 22, 2016 #2
    It' a subject that gets much discussion on guitar groups so there is plenty to measure and talk about. All those things you have mentioned will make a difference to the tone and output of the pickup. Even the magnet material of the coil may have some effect. There are also single coil and humbucking pickups to consider.

  4. Aug 22, 2016 #3
    Yes, remember your coil must be constructed by winding it around a magnet.
    If there is no magnetic field present then the coil won't produce any output at all.
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