high(ish) output neck pickup that doesn't go deep into the body?

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high(ish) output neck pickup that doesn't go deep into the body?

Postby Dave Locher » Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:04 pm

I am planning to build a pretty thin solidbody guitar and I want a relatively high-output neck pickup but I don't want to cut a hole big enough and deep enough for a standard humbucker-size pickup. What are my best options?

I am a pretty traditional guy, so I was hoping for something that looks like a humbucker or mini-humbucker but without so much depth. I've considered lipstick pickups or dog-ear P-90 but they aren't so high output and I really prefer the humbucker sound. Can humbuckers be wound that are less deep or tall than standard? I've never had mini-humbuckers, are they the same height as full-size humbuckers, or are they shorter?
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Re: high(ish) output neck pickup that doesn't go deep into the body?

Postby Jason Rodgers » Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:29 pm

What sort of thickness are you aiming for? A standard humbucker bobbin is only 3/8" tall, and depending on your choices of magnets, keeper, core, and covers, you could build a pickup that's right around 1/2" to 5/8" tall. If you leave off the typical Gibson mounting brackets (that require deeper routes on the ends of the pickup hole), it doesn't have to be any taller than that.

Another factor in considering how deep a pickup hole needs to be is the height of the strings off the face of the guitar, which deepends on your bridge choice and the elevation of the fingerboard at the neck-body joint (no angle but raised, like a Fender, or back angle, like a Gibson.

Have you drawn your guitar full-scale? You may find that the pickup routes don't need to be as deep as you think, and stock pickups could work fine.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: high(ish) output neck pickup that doesn't go deep into the body?

Postby David King » Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:35 pm

Check out some of the thinner humbuckers that are destined for jazz archtop guitars. There are also thinner pickups that were designed to fit into acoustic guitar sound holes. You can raise the neck and fingerboard higher off the top of the body so that your strings have more room under them.
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Re: high(ish) output neck pickup that doesn't go deep into the body?

Postby Dave Locher » Fri Nov 13, 2015 11:29 am

Thanks, guys. I've been looking at a lot of different pickups, including the floating jazz pickups, and it's opened up my possibilities quite a bit. I've also looked harder at standard humbuckers and realized I can modify them to require a much shallower cavity. And drawing out the guitar full-size has been a REALLY helpful suggestion for all kinds of reasons. I should have thought of that before.
Thanks to both of you!
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Re: high(ish) output neck pickup that doesn't go deep into the body?

Postby Rodger Knox » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:04 pm

The real challenge of a thin solidbody is finding a switch that's not too deep.
The switch in the Gibson SG is the best I've found.
A man hears what he wants to hear, and disreguards the rest. Paul Simon
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Re: high(ish) output neck pickup that doesn't go deep into the body?

Postby Jason Rodgers » Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:26 am

Rodger Knox wrote:The real challenge of a thin solidbody is finding a switch that's not too deep.
The switch in the Gibson SG is the best I've found.

Good point, Rodger. Here's what I did to solve that problem. viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3990

It can't do a quick flick, but it works.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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