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Reamping THROUGH guitar pickups? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 22nd August 2012
  #1
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Reamping THROUGH guitar pickups?

Old 22nd August 2012
  #2
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NothingTheory's Avatar
 

im not following you. If you track properly all the voodoo is magically captured, and voodoo plus voodoo does not equal mojo.
Old 22nd August 2012
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noiseasy View Post
Well, for example how about if you are reamping a DI'd track?
A DI track should have all the sounds a pickup would put into the amp already. The DI is just a recording of what an amp would seecoming froma guitar.
Old 22nd August 2012
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x_25 View Post
A DI track should have all the sounds a pickup would put into the amp already. The DI is just a recording of what an amp would seecoming froma guitar.
This is true. However, if you want to experiment with some strange stuff and see what happens, then why not? I've many times in the past held up a small speaker (usually a tape recorder, but sometimes plastic toys that make noise) over a guitar pickup and played something through the speaker which in turn was picked up by the guitar pickup. So I wouldn't mess with playing the signal through a guitar pickup. I don't think it would offer any advantages, but if I did, I'd remove the magnets and just use the coils and perhaps poles. But a small speaker or headphone would probably be best as it shouldn't have impedance issues with whatever amp you use, assuming you have that all hooked up correctly.
Old 22nd August 2012
  #5
Gear maniac
 

I hate saying it but if you want to impart that type of mojo into the tone you should've recorded it that way in the first place. Like when you lay down a DI part you still are recording your take with volume/tone knobs and pickup selection.

If you really want to try to get close to that tone EQ it.
Old 22nd August 2012
  #6
Gear Addict
I think it should also be noted that a guitar pickup is for the most part, an output only device. Feeding it "signal" via a tiny speaker isn't going to get you anything worth using.
Old 22nd August 2012
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noiseasy View Post
Hi, trying to achieve a natural reamp tone.

Is there a way to play the track into the pickup of a guitar so that you have all the crazy inductance/impedance/capacitance etc voodoo that normally gets lost in the reamp process.

ie if you placed a pickup over your guitar pickup and played the original track into it would the track be induced in the guitar pickup which you could have wired up as normal to pedals/amps?

If not is there any other way to induce the original track into the pickup of a guitar?

I'll try this anyway when I get a chance but would love to hear any advice, thanks!
You're not quite digesting the idea behind DI. If the DI is good and the impedance values are proper between the guitar output and the DI, the singal you are recording is (ideally) the exactly same thing that an amp would be seeing. Then, again if the impedances are correct, you output that same signal to an amp from your DAW, you put the guitar signal that you played into the amp (after 2 conversions of course). The things you're calling voodoo are far from voodoo, all those terms are clearly defined and have been for a very long time. If your DI has an imput impedance similar to that of the amp you want to record with, you'll capture the same thing later. It seems rather asinine to try to use a pickup to excite another pickup and expect good results, the coupling will be really unreliable and unpredictable. You probably won't be happy with the results, but they may be a cool effect? IDK, its prolly not worth your time. Just Reamp and get on with it.
Old 22nd August 2012
  #8
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by noiseasy View Post
What if you could record DI with a neutral sounding broad range pickup then reamp through any pickup/tone circuit of your choosing?
Here's the thing- the reason this approach hasn't been pursued before, is because it's just not practical or even very realistic. Rather than using a "re-amping" approach to a guitar's p.u., it would just be easier and cheaper to record using the right guitar in the first place. Boutique pickups are not expensive or hard to get. Compare $$$ on a new active pickup to the price of a new Mesa Boogie, and you'll know why re-amping has a time and place. More importantly, I'm not even sure that this is possible from an electronics standpoint... I mean, a guitar pickup is a device that turns the physical vibrations of your guitar strings into voltage. To get the "pickup voodoo" you're after, you have to let it do it's thing by "picking up" those physical vibrations... not by feeding it an electronic signal. It's not designed, nor is there anyway for it to do the later. Not to be mean, but the rationale here is kind of like trying to make a plane by sticking wings on a car!
Old 22nd August 2012
  #9
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Silent Sound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by noiseasy View Post
Hey! Thanks for the positive attitude and practical advice, I think I posted at the same time so missed your input before.

I've seen bands use toy rayguns and dictaphones through guitar pickups, but always thought this was a microphonic effect- are the pickups responding to the sound or to the electrical activity? Would a pickup (rather than speaker) be the same thing?

Why would you remove the magnets from the pickup?

Thanks again!
The pickups are reacting to the shifting magnetic field caused by the coil in the speaker.

Now that I think about it more, I wouldn't run a signal through a guitar pickup. I can't think of any scenario where it'd offer any advantage over using a small speaker. They both would work pretty much the same way; electrical signal running through a coiled wire (basically a varying electronic magnet), but the guitar pickup would have some strange impedances that would be hard to match with a amplifier. I was thinking to remove the magnet to so that you don't have to worry about the disturbance it would have on the magnetic field created by the magnet on the guitar pickup you were using as an input device, which is why I thought to remove it. But the speaker seems like a better choice, and is plenty cheap enough. The magnet on the speaker would do the same thing, but it'd be hard to remove it, and who cares. It'd still work. I've seen it work many times before!
Old 23rd August 2012
  #10
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by noiseasy View Post
Thanks and point taken! This is Low End though, sometimes you only get one shot and the DI is all you have to work from, what if its wrong.

Isn't pickup tone more than just a fixed eq though? Its about how the pickup overdrives and reponds to different amplitudes and frequency.

What if you could record DI with a neutral sounding broad range pickup then reamp through any pickup/tone circuit of your choosing?

Sorry for blue sky thinking but I think its important to be able to entertain naive or even asinine ideas in order to make intuitive leaps of creativity...

Maybe I should rephrase the original question a little...
I've played guitar over 20 years this is hogwash, this is why players use different guitars I personally use about 9 guitars at a minimum in studio/live settings.

And a pickup is probably about 3% of the tone a guitarist has, you are overlooking so many details like the wood, string gauge and type, type of pick used, the player and their technique, the room, effects, the amp, mic used and placement, speakers, tubes, etc.

To get the nuances you are seeking you'd probably be looking for a boutique quality pickup and the only way to really produce quality tone is to actually play through the pickup (ie a tiny speaker won't work).

You could take a cool noise approach to using the microphonics of certain pickups to create neat tones, but it's not like changing guitars after the fact. If you laid down a track with a twangy bridge tele pickup and you should've had a low wind paf neck pickup on a 335 your kinda SOL. This is where people should've known their **** ahead of time, sorry if that's harsh, but it's the truth.

essentially the pickup isn't the defining characteristic of a tone about 80-90% of that comes from a player. The other 10% imho is the rest of the signal chain.

I run a low end project studio for my own music and to say you don't have time to experiment is BS, if you or the artists you record were half decent musicians that knew their material they'd have these details (like what type of sound works best on a song) long before hitting the studio. I don't see how you are restricted to having only one take either.

I'm an area manager and I run my own business so I literally work about 80-100 hours a week, I find time for more than one take on my projects. I think this is an issue of having material properly prepared and your approach to recording. This definitely wouldn't be my preferred workflow.
Old 23rd August 2012
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Crazy coolness

You can totally do this. Bunch of different ways. Some more insane sounding than others.

1. Weave a square of tin foil through the guitar strings over the pickups and put the speaker close and crank it. Massive fuzz and freak-out. Has the advantage of easy to do right now... Disadvantage = limited use. Bonus tip. Kicks ass for drums, especially dirtying up a snare...

2. Get a big empty coffee can (must be metal that a magnet will stick to...) and hold it up to the speaker and hold/mount a pickup really close to the bottom. This is actually really pretty cool sounding... You can just use the can-mic to start with too. Great for weird "telephone-can-on-a-string" vocals.

3. Use the lid (metal) that you got when you can opened the coffee and glue it into a scrap 10" speaker. Mount the pickup close enough to the lid so that it doesn't bottom out on it when it's cranked, and you're good. Just doing this to the speaker makes it kind of weird and cool sounding too. Don't use too much glue though.. a small bead of silicone will do the job.

4. Extra weird. mount a pickup as close as you can to a metal bladed old-school fan without hitting it and blast the sound into it. You need to bend the blades pretty flat to have it work best. It sounds coolest if you turn it by hand. The blades ring a little too so you can really get some wild vibroverb type noise.

The above ideas are all improved, I think, with massive compression...

Lots more ideas but I gotta' run. Thanks for dredging up the days when I did cool stuff...

Have Fun!

Peace.
Old 23rd August 2012
  #12
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Silent Sound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by noiseasy View Post
Thanks! Interesting. So the speaker is basically the same thing as a pickup with a signal being fed into it- a magnet with a wire around it- and its the magnetic field fluctuations that the second pickup responds to in either case?

I'd like to try your idea out but I don't have any small speakers lying around. I do have a bunch of pickups though so I'll be experimenting with them in the first instance.
You can sure give it a try. My concern would be the effect the impedance would have on the amp you're going to use to drive it. It may not work due to too high an impedance, or it could strain/damage the amp. It's gonna depend on the pickup and amp. But yeah, you're basically building a transformer here. A guitar pickup is a rather simple inductor. Now I will agree with what some of the other posters have said and say that you can't record a DI part with single coils, run it back through a P-90 and rerecord it through a humbucker and expect to get anything that sounds like either one of those three pickups. So I wouldn't be expecting this technique to be the equivalent of reamping but with different guitar pickups. It should technically work, however, and it may produce some interesting effects. It may produce a bunch of ugly noise that's unusable. Hard to say until you try. In either case, I'm interested to see what happens and I sure do love a creative experiment, even ones that fail! Sometimes, especially ones that fail! Post back with your results and good luck!
Old 23rd August 2012
  #13
Gear maniac
 
NothingTheory's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikegentry View Post
You can totally do this. Bunch of different ways. Some more insane sounding than others.

1. Weave a square of tin foil through the guitar strings over the pickups and put the speaker close and crank it. Massive fuzz and freak-out. Has the advantage of easy to do right now... Disadvantage = limited use. Bonus tip. Kicks ass for drums, especially dirtying up a snare...

2. Get a big empty coffee can (must be metal that a magnet will stick to...) and hold it up to the speaker and hold/mount a pickup really close to the bottom. This is actually really pretty cool sounding... You can just use the can-mic to start with too. Great for weird "telephone-can-on-a-string" vocals.

3. Use the lid (metal) that you got when you can opened the coffee and glue it into a scrap 10" speaker. Mount the pickup close enough to the lid so that it doesn't bottom out on it when it's cranked, and you're good. Just doing this to the speaker makes it kind of weird and cool sounding too. Don't use too much glue though.. a small bead of silicone will do the job.

4. Extra weird. mount a pickup as close as you can to a metal bladed old-school fan without hitting it and blast the sound into it. You need to bend the blades pretty flat to have it work best. It sounds coolest if you turn it by hand. The blades ring a little too so you can really get some wild vibroverb type noise.

The above ideas are all improved, I think, with massive compression...

Lots more ideas but I gotta' run. Thanks for dredging up the days when I did cool stuff...

Have Fun!

Peace.
Gold star for creativity !
Old 23rd August 2012
  #14
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikegentry View Post
You can totally do this. Bunch of different ways. Some more insane sounding than others.

1. Weave a square of tin foil through the guitar strings over the pickups and put the speaker close and crank it. Massive fuzz and freak-out. Has the advantage of easy to do right now... Disadvantage = limited use. Bonus tip. Kicks ass for drums, especially dirtying up a snare...

2. Get a big empty coffee can (must be metal that a magnet will stick to...) and hold it up to the speaker and hold/mount a pickup really close to the bottom. This is actually really pretty cool sounding... You can just use the can-mic to start with too. Great for weird "telephone-can-on-a-string" vocals.

3. Use the lid (metal) that you got when you can opened the coffee and glue it into a scrap 10" speaker. Mount the pickup close enough to the lid so that it doesn't bottom out on it when it's cranked, and you're good. Just doing this to the speaker makes it kind of weird and cool sounding too. Don't use too much glue though.. a small bead of silicone will do the job.

4. Extra weird. mount a pickup as close as you can to a metal bladed old-school fan without hitting it and blast the sound into it. You need to bend the blades pretty flat to have it work best. It sounds coolest if you turn it by hand. The blades ring a little too so you can really get some wild vibroverb type noise.

The above ideas are all improved, I think, with massive compression...

Lots more ideas but I gotta' run. Thanks for dredging up the days when I did cool stuff...

Have Fun!

Peace.
maybe I'm misunderstanding what the OP is trying to do I thought we were talking about using a different timbre of guitar tone after the fact. Like I DI'd a take with a strat and I meant to use a 335. So we were trying to use a reamped signal going through the pickup we wanted to use in the first place.

while all the above ideas are indeed creative, as I pointed out earlier, the outcome isn't getting a hifi swap this is to make cool effects

if you want to know how to make strange noises I can give you suggestions for days, but if you want to get the ideal guitar tone tracked you need to know your material before you go to record it and have it worked out beforehand (which guitar, pickups, effects, amp, etc)

so what is the point of your OP to reamp to essentially change guitars after the fact or to reamp to make some cool out of the box thinking? and if it's the latter why didn't you word it that way in the first place? the way you worded it is why you got shot down by so many of us. And the way it was worded was directly correlating at least imho to how the player, wood, pickup, strings, pick, etc all come together and that's not going to change in any way other than to lay down a new take.
Old 23rd August 2012
  #15
Gear Addict
I'm with indie folk guy. I think there's a distinction to be made between trying to actually "reamp" a guitar pickup (which, as explained earlier, is just not possible in the way that's being imagined), and making weird noises.

You have to know the rules before you can break them. Similarly, you need to know where a guitar's tone comes from, and how a guitar pickup actually works in order to intelligently approach this matter.
Old 24th August 2012
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiborg View Post
Here's the thing- the reason this approach hasn't been pursued before, is because it's just not practical or even very realistic. Rather than using a "re-amping" approach to a guitar's p.u., it would just be easier and cheaper to record using the right guitar in the first place. Boutique pickups are not expensive or hard to get. Compare $$$ on a new active pickup to the price of a new Mesa Boogie, and you'll know why re-amping has a time and place. More importantly, I'm not even sure that this is possible from an electronics standpoint... I mean, a guitar pickup is a device that turns the physical vibrations of your guitar strings into voltage. To get the "pickup voodoo" you're after, you have to let it do it's thing by "picking up" those physical vibrations... not by feeding it an electronic signal. It's not designed, nor is there anyway for it to do the later. Not to be mean, but the rationale here is kind of like trying to make a plane by sticking wings on a car!
Great post! to me it answered the question asked perfectly!
Other than getting cool sounds through messing about (which i would hope no one would shoot down an idea) its not really the way to go!
I use a Buddha machine played into the pickups as an amb sound in tracks, it works a treat!

Can i be really annoying and add that i have never used a reamp box as i think too much choice is a bad thing!
Less choice and more decisions has lead to better guitar tones for me.
Old 24th August 2012
  #17
I'll try send a line level signal (no reamp box) through a few pickups i have lying around after todays session! has anyone tried it yet?
Old 24th August 2012
  #18
Gear Addict
I don't think clean induction from one p.u. to another is really possible. You're still talking about impedance mis-matches (look up some pickup specs to see how widely they vary), as well as the fact that a pickup is just not designed to do this. I suppose I'm not an electrical engineer, so take it for what it's worth, but my $100 says it's one of those projects that wouldn't produce useable results. To be honest, I doubt you'd get any kind of voltage coming out of the "receiving" pickup.
Old 24th August 2012
  #19
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Just another point of view

Old 24th August 2012
  #20
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by noiseasy View Post
You may be right, but I'd take that bet if I could!

I mean the disturbances that guitar strings make in a pickup's magnetic field must be tiny it must be easy enough to induce those same disturbances from a second pickup as long as you're running it at the right level.

In fact I'd be willing to bet that if you're using two similar pickups you only need a slightly hotter input signal to get a similar output signal, just to make up for inefficiencies in the transfer process...

But hopefully we'll know soon anyway!
simply put you're willing to wager on it is illogical

I've provided a link that appears to be pretty accurate
Atlantic Quality Design, Inc., How do guitar pickups work?

this should explain to you some of the basic phsyics/musical acoustics/electrics of how a pickup works and explain to you why your idea simply won't work

At some point you are just gonna need to face the facts that you aren't being innovative you aren't understanding how the tools you are using work. The people that pushed boundaries with electric guitars knew their designs inside and out.

Again I'm trying to be informative rather than insulting. There are scientific reasons why your theory won't work for much more than interesting noises. To do what you want to do you literally have to recreate the same thing for the next pickup to "pickup".

IE the most practical way to do this isn't something like reamping but rather doing a new take.
Old 24th August 2012
  #21
Old 24th August 2012
  #22
IT WORKS!!

It made sense to me that it wouldn't but it does and pretty well at that!

I had a great big smile on my face as i listen to a recording of my strat out of my DA straight into a bassline j bass pickup resting on top of the strings of my jazz bass and out of that into a marshall head + cab! ha ha great fun!

Of course i was using a line level signal but i figured (and tired, long day) easiest/loudest will work if anything is gonna. It lost a bit of low end but if i had been bothered taking off the strings that may have been solved. I dunno if it would be a thing i'd do to get a different pickup sound but it was NOT a bad sound pretty clear and of course interesting, defo not a crazy buzzy sound fx!!

Fair play to you noiseasy! your attitude towards the idea enthused me to try it out instead of just assuming it wouldn't work!

Quote:
Originally Posted by indie folk guy View Post

At some point you are just gonna need to face the facts that you aren't being innovative you aren't understanding how the tools you are using work. The people that pushed boundaries with electric guitars knew their designs inside and out.
I read this quote before i tried out the pickup thing and kinda thought its half right! aren't the people that push boundaries also the ones who don't have a clue and ask questions and look at things from a completely new angle!
Old 25th August 2012
  #23
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JayBeez's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by IMJ View Post
IT WORKS!!

It made sense to me that it wouldn't but it does and pretty well at that!

I had a great big smile on my face as i listen to a recording of my strat out of my DA straight into a bassline j bass pickup resting on top of the strings of my jazz bass and out of that into a marshall head + cab! ha ha great fun!

Of course i was using a line level signal but i figured (and tired, long day) easiest/loudest will work if anything is gonna. It lost a bit of low end but if i had been bothered taking off the strings that may have been solved. I dunno if it would be a thing i'd do to get a different pickup sound but it was NOT a bad sound pretty clear and of course interesting, defo not a crazy buzzy sound fx!!

Fair play to you noiseasy! your attitude towards the idea enthused me to try it out instead of just assuming it wouldn't work!



I read this quote before i tried out the pickup thing and kinda thought its half right! aren't the people that push boundaries also the ones who don't have a clue and ask questions and look at things from a completely new angle!
Add this to the long list of "it'll never works" and chalk one up for innovation. If I want to hear the same old same old, I can just turn on the radio!
Old 25th August 2012
  #24
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IMJ View Post
IT WORKS!!

It made sense to me that it wouldn't but it does and pretty well at that!

I had a great big smile on my face as i listen to a recording of my strat out of my DA straight into a bassline j bass pickup resting on top of the strings of my jazz bass and out of that into a marshall head + cab! ha ha great fun!

Of course i was using a line level signal but i figured (and tired, long day) easiest/loudest will work if anything is gonna. It lost a bit of low end but if i had been bothered taking off the strings that may have been solved. I dunno if it would be a thing i'd do to get a different pickup sound but it was NOT a bad sound pretty clear and of course interesting, defo not a crazy buzzy sound fx!!

Fair play to you noiseasy! your attitude towards the idea enthused me to try it out instead of just assuming it wouldn't work!



I read this quote before i tried out the pickup thing and kinda thought its half right! aren't the people that push boundaries also the ones who don't have a clue and ask questions and look at things from a completely new angle!
here's the deal scientifically speaking there is no way other than to play an instrument to recreate the detail required to reamp through a pickup in order to do OTB pickup modeling so to speak. Personally I think doing multiple takes is easier to do and less time consuming than this type of experimenting.

You would have to literally create a device that transferred string vibrations, tensions, technique, every single last drop of nuance through an instrument that isn't actually being played.

To truly get 90-100% of that mojo that a different guitar/set of pickups provide you have to cut another take. I don't know of a way that is feasibly possible that would replicated playing a take on a guitar without someone playing a guitar. Unless there's some kind of fancy new guitar playing robot. You guys are overlooking what creates the original signal that a pickup is transferring. When you reamp in the conventional method none of those subtle nuances are lost it's just like I plugged into fill in the blank amp because it is always the DI signal that would normally be fed to an amp.

What you are trying to reamp is only a portion of the actual source material by the OP's desired method. This cannot be disputed, it simply can't it's scientific. Other things colored the tone like the original guitar used, how it was setup, the string type, the player, the pick used, the original pickups.

If I track a song using a twangy vintage tele bridge pickup and then reamp it through a humbucker or P90 that's not close to what the original harmonic structure was. That's not even factoring between the differences of that Tele body vs a PRS/Gibson (whatever) body. Nor would it account for the fact that I may use different gauges/types of strings on each of those instrument types. I don't know about you guys but I play each of my guitars a little bit differently.

I never once said that useable tones couldn't be achieved with the out of the box thinking we have, all of us acknowledge that there are cool/useable noises.

I have tried similar things myself in my years of tinkering my favorite guitar is an old Harmony with a gold foil DeArmond for doing these "pickup experiements".
Old 25th August 2012
  #25
A guitar pickup is an inductor. Run signal through one and it's no different than feeding a signal through a 3 or 4 henry coil.

That is the design basis of Gibson's Vari-tone circuit. Run the signal through that inductor, add a cap and resistor, depending on the order and drive to ground, you create a bandpass filter or a notch filter.
Old 27th August 2012
  #26
Single coils will add hum. The Varitone circuit I used had 2 coils stacked and bolted together to create a 4 henry humcancelling choke. There are passive insertion losses to deal with as well.

My on-board EQ's in my guitars are active, some with sweep mids too. That does the bandpass or notch thingy very well with a tuning ability and no insertion losses.
Old 4th September 2012
  #27
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Hey noiseasy, thanks for trying it! Definitely worth the experiment and now it's something we can all file under "tricks that may come in handy someday".
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