Experimental Study of Guitar Pickup Nonlinearity

Antonin Novak; Bertrand Lihoreau; Pierrick Lotton; Emmanuel Brasseur; Laurent Simon
DAFx-2018 - Aveiro
In this paper, we focus on studying nonlinear behavior of the pickup of an electric guitar and on its modeling. The approach is purely experimental, based on physical assumptions and attempts to find a nonlinear model that, with few parameters, would be able to predict the nonlinear behavior of the pickup. In our experimental setup a piece of string is attached to a shaker and vibrates perpendicularly to the pickup in frequency range between 60 Hz and 400 Hz. The oscillations are controlled by a linearizion feedback to create a purely sinusoidal steady state movement of the string. In the first step, harmonic distortions of three different magnetic pickups (a single-coil, a humbucker, and a rail-pickup) are compared to check if they provide different distortions. In the second step, a static nonlinearity of Paiva’s model is estimated from experimental signals. In the last step, the pickup nonlinearities are compared and an empirical model that fits well all three pickups is proposed.