3D Printed Pickup Cartridges May Change the Way We Play Guitar

Share this Article

3dp_pickups_strassellWith an ever expanding range of advanced 3D printing materials capable of a wide range of applications becoming available in the past year, FDM 3D printing is undergoing a bit of a revival. For years it was always ‘okay, what’s next’ but now I see makers lining up to use FDM 3D printing less as a replacement to other manufacturing options and more as just another tool on a workbench. Yes, we’re at the point where we can 3D print entire guitars capable of sounding exactly like traditionally manufactured instruments, but we can also use 3D printing to radically alter the way that guitars can be used.

When Andrew Strassell, the owner of an independent custom guitar company, was looking to innovate the way musicians use guitars, he came up on an idea that really could be the start of a massive upheaval to guitar manufacturing. One of the main drawbacks to guitars is the fact that pickups, the electronics underneath the strings on electric guitars, are almost impossible to swap out. Because different types of pickups will create different tones, musicians looking to experiment with different pickups in their music would generally need to have more than one guitar. Not only is that costly and unrealistic when you’re on a budget, it’s a little annoying to need to continuously switch between instruments while playing.3dp_pickups_full

It’s not that pickups can’t be changed on a guitar, but it’s time consuming and because the entire instrument needs to be taken apart and rewired to do so, there is a very real chance that the guitar could be damaged during the process. But Strassell designed a guitar that had a 3D printed pickup cartridge that would make the pickups completely swappable on the same instrument and as easy to change as inserting a video game cartridge. This allows musicians to easily switch between a traditional heavy metal sound, to a blues sound and then over to the twang of a country music guitar. It also allows guitar players to put the pickup cartridges in backwards which will reverse the polarity and open up an entirely new set of sounds to experiment with. All on the same guitar and all in a matter of seconds.3dp_pickups_cad

“Local bands, that’s the group of people who are going benefit most from this. They no longer have to go out and spend $1,500 on a Les Paul that they’re never going to want to take apart, because they spend $1,500 for it. It’s more high end than a cheap Korean-built guitar, and this gives you far more options,” Strassell told Mic.com.

Here is some video of Strassell showing off his first custom guitar with swappable pickup cartridges:

Strassell still holds down his day job while custom building his guitars at night and on the weekends, and currently he only takes on custom projects on a case by case basis, but he wants to change that. Strassell Guitars is still a small company run out of his New York City apartment, but he won’t be doing that for long once his idea catches on. He thinks that the idea is a big one and so he has filed a patent for the swappable pickup cartridges, and he just launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to expand into a larger workshop and bring staff on to ramp up production.

3dp_pickups_inprogress

The customization process for a Strassell guitar.

“The industry is lacking innovation. More and more people are moving away from playing guitar, and I think it’s a staple of music. The industry hasn’t pushed the innovation agenda. They’ve relied far more on, ‘Oh, here’s the reissue of the thing we did in 1960.’ I think there’s a demand for innovation in their instruments and figuring out a new way,” Strassell continued.

Strassell’s Indiegogo campaign is seeking an ambitious, but not unrealistic $50,000 to jumpstart the business. And because it’s on Indiegogo, the flexible funding option eliminates the need to hit his goal in order for backers to receive their custom guitar. Currently there are only a few completed guitars using the swappable pickup cartridges but that will be changing soon. He recently sold his first to musician Josh Shabtai of Brooklyn’s Controller, a modern dance rock band with a fun indie sound.

Controller's Josh Shabtai's custom Strassell guitar.

Controller’s Josh Shabtai’s custom Strassell guitar.

You can get yourself a custom guitar from Strassell Guitars by backing his Indiegogo campaign here. You can learn more about the swappable pickup cartridge system over on the Strassell Guitars website here. You can also discuss this story here.

 

Facebook Comments

Share this Article


Related Articles

Let Kids Design With Toybox’s 3D Printer

A 3D Printed Symphony of Violins Will Sound in Ottawa for 3D String Theory Concert



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Architecture

3D Printed Art

3D printed chicken


You May Also Like

3D Printing News Briefs: June 15, 2018

We’re covering news from the medical and automotive worlds in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, along with a few other stories to get you into the weekend. In Taiwan, ITRI...

Music to Our Ears: Winner of Canada’s 3D Printed Musical Instrument Challenge Announced

We often hear stories of people who need 3D printed prosthetics and assistive devices to play their chosen instrument, be it the cello, the drums, or the piano. And as materials...

Guitars Getting in Tune with 3D Printing

Over the last few years, 3D printing has opened up a wide variety of possibilities for guitar manufacturing. Top manufacturers such as Fender have adopted 3D printing technologies as an...

UCLA Chapter of 3D4E to Provide 3D Printed Ukeleles for Disadvantaged Children

The inseparable nature of art and science is continually demonstrated through 3D printing, from the creation of sculptures in which an innate understanding of the material and process of 3D...


Training


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!