Simple DIY Pickup to record musical instruments

PUBLISHED Jan 14th, 2014

Let’s make a simple device to record your music!

A pickup is an electric device which can help you to record your musical instruments. It is connected to your instrument and a recording device like amplifier or computer. It translates the sound into electrical signals. There are a lot of such devices available in market, but here, let’s make a simple and cheap pickup that you can make on your own and will work beautifully !

Things Needed

We will make a Piezoelectric Pickup (learn more), which simply converts the musical vibration into electrical signals. It is simplest of all kinds. So we won’t need much things. These following stuffs are very close to home and can be bought from any local stationary or electronic shop.

  • 3, Buzzers or Piezo disc (transducers)
  • 1, Condenser mic
  • 1, 3.5 mm audio pin
  • some wires

That’s all you need ! Buzzer has a slim disc called as piezo disc or piezo transducer. You can either buy buzzer or piezo disc as they both are same. You just have to open the buzzer and take out the piezo from it. It might have some circuit in it but its useless. (at least for me)

I got all above in $1 !!!

Lets Connect them all

We will connect all the things in such a way that the mic and the piezos can be treated separately so that if you are using mic to record your voice, your vocals and the music will be kept separated.

  1. Connect the 3 piezo discs in parallel combination, i.e, connect all the blacks(-) and all the reds(+) together.
  2. Connect the black(-) of the condenser mic to the blacks of piezos that you have connected in previous step.
  3. Now You have a Black wire consisting of grounds(-) from all devices, mic and piezos. Connect this wire to the Ground ( – ve ) of the audio pin.
  4. Then connect the red (+) wires of piezo discs to the RIGHT of your audio pin and red (+) of condenser Mic to the LEFT. This will separate the sounds of Mic and piezo.

Use this Diagram for Help…

Pickup Connection Diagram

After connecting these, your pickup is ready.

My final product looks something like this, which I made with the help of my grandfather:


How to use this Pickup ?

  1. Use bubble gum, or a thick double tape, and stick these piezos to your musical instrument. If you are using a guitar, stick these three near the guitar hole.
  2. Attach the mic over the strings, you can also use this mic to record your voice, add your song too.
  3. Put the audio pin into the Amplifier if you just want to play it with some amplified effect or put it into your computer through a Pre-amplifier (search on google).
  4. This pickup will give you separate audio, one of the right or left channel will give the audio of mic (your vocals) and the other the instrument (music). So if you want to merge or play with these separate sounds, or make it Stereo again, you have to use some Audio recording Software like Adobe Audition, Goldwave(free), Audacity (free) etc.

This is a fun to make project which you will like playing with. Thanks for reading this. If you like this, please share !

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© Shubham Ramdeo, 2020
you are really awesome!