Mag vs RF pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by dougazbass, Nov 18, 2012.


  1. dougazbass

    dougazbass Supporting Member

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    Why do guitar manufactureres use Magnetic pickups and not Radio Frequency pickups?
     
  2. grisezd

    grisezd

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    Can you give me an example of an RF pickup? I'm not sure how that would work.

    Magnetic is easy, well understood, inexpensive, sounds good, and is well accepted in the marketplace. Competing technologies have faced an uphill battle.
     
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

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    Because the bass doesn't operate at radio frequencies?

    What exactly is a radio frequency pickup?

    The way magnetic pickups work is as variable reluctance transducers. The steel string disturb the magnetic field (and are actually magnetized) and produce current flowing in the pickup coil proportional to the movement of the strings.
     
  4. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

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    There are magnetic transducers that sense changes in inductance or reluctance by applying RF to a coil. That might be what the OP is talking about. A metal detector is an example. There are also some linear position sensors that operate on this principle.

    My guess is simply that variable reluctance is the thing that works and requires no power source.
     
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  6. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

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    I'm guessing that metal detectors don't have permanent magnets. The magnet in the pickup is the power source.

    I suppose you could make it work, but it might induce noise into the system. Metal detectors were not designed to reproduce the sound of a string.
     
  7. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

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    That's definitely true on both counts. The conventional magnetic pup works.
     
  8. line6man

    line6man

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    Most people associate RF with frequencies millions of times higher than the human hearing range, but the bass, and human hearing range is considered extremely low frequency through very low frequency in the spectrum, so the term can still be applied.

    But I'm equally confused at what this is about. :confused:
     
  9. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

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    Right, RF starts at about 3k.
     
  10. line6man

    line6man

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  11. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp Supporting Member

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    I don't believe the radio frequency pickup has been invented yet. Like many here I have trouble even imagining what an RF pickup would be and I am an RF engineer. Light wave pickups have been made but have not attracted much of a following.

    Ken
     
  12. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

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    Not sure if you would consider that the radio frequency band though, since it's outside of the radio wave range. That's more like ultra sonics like what whales use.

    The difinition for "radio frequency" is:

    "a frequency or band of frequencies in the range 10[SUP]4[/SUP] to 10[SUP]11[/SUP] or 10[SUP]12[/SUP] Hz, suitable for use in telecommunications."

    Wikipedia list it as:

    "Radio frequency (RF) is a rate of oscillation in the range of about 3 kHz to 300 GHz, which corresponds to the frequency of radio waves, and the alternating currents which carry radio signals. RF usually refers to electrical rather than mechanical oscillations, although mechanical RF systems "

    The article on "Radio Waves" states:

    "Radio waves have frequencies from 300 GHz to as low as 3 kHz, and corresponding wavelengths from 1 millimeter to 100 kilometers."
     
  13. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

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  14. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp Supporting Member

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    I don't think there is really any hard lower limit to the radio frequency spectrum, other than DC. If you can make an antenna large enough then very low frequencies will propagate as electromagnetic waves and any EM wave with a wavelength longer than infrared is a radio wave. As far as I know EM waves have been generated down to at least 7 Hz. Of course for a radio frequency pickup to be properly called such the distance from the pickup to the strings would have to be on the order of 10 or so wavelengths and that rather severely constrains the lower frequency limit on an object the size of a bass guitar. That would imply a frequency well over a GHz. Anything else, even though it may use radio frequency circuits, would just be a near field proximity detector.

    Like a Theremin.

    Would you want a pickup that acted like a Theremin as you moved you hands around? Perhaps this is why the RF pickup has not been invented yet.

    Ken
     
  15. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    yes!

    it would make everyone around angry as soon as i plugged it in; i could market it as the "Troll Pickup"!
     
  16. dougazbass

    dougazbass Supporting Member

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  17. dougazbass

    dougazbass Supporting Member

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  18. Angel LaHash

    Angel LaHash

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    Theremin

    I did think i seen some effect you attach, but i think its more using the oscillation side of it
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MINI-XLPC...?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58987a66c4[/url]
    I like the theremin and been trying to find time to build one.. sadly if i have the time i have no money, plus the last one blew up one of the chips was in the wrong way around on the dam circuit drawings
    so was last time breaking it down in to parts, been so long i cant remember were i put them all
     
  19. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

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    Interesting. I have some proximity sensors here. I see this is similar to those but using a different approach.
     
  20. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp Supporting Member

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    Those are basically proximity sensors. They are designed to give square wave outputs so that a digital device can measure speed by counting the pulses per second. I think you would have to convert them to analog operation somehow to make a useable guitar pickup and other than freedom from power line hum I am not sure what the advantage would be over the pickup technologies we already have.

    Ken
     
  21. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

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    My thoughts exactly.
     

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