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As a thought, several times in this discussion we've mentioned using a preamp. There is an alternative to this that works very well: using a micro-transformer coming off the pickup. This is fully detailed in an article I posted here sometime back. Check out Option #2:
" Good tips, worth a try! "
Well, you got my curiosity up and I had to try it. Yup, there was definitely a very light hint of sound as the strings acted like coils (to a very minor extent). I tried attaching two different preamps to it and increased the sound. The problem was that the background hum increased right along with it. The result was an audible but weak signal and hum just about as loud.
I have been very curious as to how they make the Lace Alumitone:
Says a commenter:
"it is a low impedance pickup with a transformer for stepping up the voltage. It is not fundamentally different; it is different in execution. Models they are currently selling have a frequency response similar to a standard humbucker."
Would love to know how that is done.
Fixed the link http://handmademusicclubhouse.com/photo/wireless-pup-stick
BTW, couldn't find your prototype. Link just lead right back here.
Ted, I've experimented a bit with different magnet strengths. There is a fine line of function there. Too weak and not enough signal gets through (requiring a preamp). Too strong and it literally bends the strings down to the pickup. Not much room for fudging. Of course with an electromagnet as you're thinking you could fine-tune that pull to precise settings. Sounds like a very interesting experiment... especially if it produces high-quality or differing tones!
Only way to tell is if you try something.
But now that we are in experiment mode, I have 2 ideas for pickups that might be interesting. ( I have a few others, but I'll share these)
Here's one I already confirmed to work, but could use a preamp. Hard to describe but here is how you can test it. You need a strong magnet and a jack with 2 wires with alligator clips on the other end. Clip one to a string between nut and tuner and the other between bridge and tailpiece and plug into your amp. Next, place a magnet near the string and it will pump something into your amp. Here's my prototype: http://handmademusicclubhouse.com/photo/wireless-pup-stick
My next pup innovation idea is to use a variable voltage electromagnet so I can change the mag power and see what it does to tone. Wound like my other mag pups, and I wonder how much tone/volume will change when I change the properties of the magnet.
Tell us how it works out. Sounds interesting.
450 ohms isn't much... but it might work with a single-string pickup. Dunno, never tried it.
What I was thinking about using for the coil is the coil of a solenoid from the inside of an old tape changer, it pulls 450 ohms on the meter, center hole is slip fit on a 1/2 shaft, and some .048" dia. high tensile strength steel wire for the string on a diddley bo to test it
The reason I'd said a phono pre-amp is simply because I have one of those on hand, and it was made for the kind of cartridge that had prompted my question. .
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