Placement of the pickup on the guitar is critical. The pickup should be installed as close as possible to the bridge. Why is this? Well another popular misconception is that the pickup needs to be placed here in order to sample the unique harmonic properties of the string’s vibration at this point – perhaps it contains more information as to the specific note being played. This however, is not the case -the pickup is placed here because at this position the excursion of the string vibration is at a minimum, and so the pickup can be placed very close to the strings without impinging on their movement. Why do we need to get so close to the strings? Because we need maximum separation and signal isolation for each string. The Pitch detection techniques used in the synth engine are monophonic – that is they will only work if fed a clean, unambiguous solo input. The guitar synth uses six “channels” of pitch detection – one for each string. Now, as the pickup is a magnetic device, it’s possible that placing it too far away from the strings will cause “crosstalk” whereby each pickup pole-piece detects the vibrations not only from its string, but also those from adjacent strings. This can create havoc as the pitch detection circuitry cannot handle confused polyphonic signals. Whilst this positioning is the optimum, there are plenty of reports of satisfied players with pickups installed near the neck -string gauge and picking strength will often determine whether this approach is workable. |
Another issue is the pickup radius. In most cases, they are designed with the average Strat neck/bridge radius in mind. If your guitar has a very different radius however, don’t worry as the differing string to pickup spacings can be fully compensated for by adjusting the individual string sensitivity at the synth engine end. We’ll look at this next.
An optimally mounted pickup