How to Make a Guitar Pickup

I play bass and I used to play electric guitar and I’ve always wondered if I could make my own set of pickups. Well, now I can and you will to with this how-to guide for homemade guitar pickups.

Basically you’ll need some durable plastic, you will cut it in the shape of a pickup, and for that you can just look in a music instrument catalog and find out what regular pickups look like. Glue the two cut out pieces of plastic to a wooden core, and make sure they’re glued on with hot glue, not wood glue because wood glue peals over time.

Secondly you have to wind the pickup with wire. The wire will feed to the output jack in your guitar and that will create the sound and the tone. If you have a Piezo pickup microphone, don’t worry about winding because the pickup microphone will carry the sound. After you wind the pickup leave a lag of wire and solder that to the output and input jacks running inside the body of your guitar. Hollow bodies are easier to wire and rewire because of course the bodies have been hollowed out for a more sustained tone and the sound carries better with hollow body guitars and bass guitars.

After wiring and soldering the lag to the output and input jacks inside your guitar, run a sound check to test the tone and overall sound. If there is no sound, consult a professional and let then wind the pickup. Winding the pickup is the most difficult part because you have to make sure you have enough wire.

Drill four small holes in the pickup and connect the wire to each hole. Check for sound and keep testing it until your indicator let’s you know you have a sound hookup. Take one small screw and screw it into the coil of your pickup, check for sound but don’t use anymore screws.

Lastly, dip the pickup in a small bowl of hot wax from any old candle around the house. Just melt the candle down, all you need is one so don’t overdue it, and dip the pickup in the wax for 1 minute to 1 minute 1/2 for an even coating. The wax will protect the pickup from damage over time.

When you’re all done screw the pickup into its proper place on your guitar. Sound check the guitar one more time to make sure the pickup is responsive.

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