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Publication numberUS2964985 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 20, 1960
Filing dateDec 12, 1956
Priority dateDec 12, 1956
Publication numberUS 2964985 A, US 2964985A, US-A-2964985, US2964985 A, US2964985A
InventorsJames D Webster
Original AssigneeFred Gretsch Mfg Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sound pick up device for stringed instruments
US 2964985 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1960 J. D. WEBSTER 2,964,985



United States Patent SOUNDPICK UPiDEV-ICE FOR STRINGED INSTRUMENTS James D. Webster, .Northport, N-.Y., assignor to, The

Fred. GretschMfg. .Co., Brooklyn, ,N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed Dec. 12, 1956, Ser. No; 627,907 [14 Claims. (Cl.84--1.15

The present. invention relates :to sound. pick: up devices for; ,s.tringe,d. instruments. to. enable .the.=,tones produced. by

the. instrument; to. be, amplified and, more particularly, to

banjo, Hence, the expression. stringed instruments is intendedytoZinclude; all-.such instruments which have: a

fingerboard, a soundboard, a bridge and bass and.treble strings;

the tones of; eaChstringand to connectthedevice to an It has also been proposed to provide such devices which can be moved as anentirety'between the. fingerboard and, thejbridge to. adjustthe .volnine or amplitudeof the-tones produced by .the; instrument. It has further been proposed to use-two or more amplifiers placed at different locationsto create desired sound-effects.

The present invention aims to provide asound pickup device adapted for connectionto two electronic amplifiers which isza-still further advance. in the. art ofplayingelectronic guitars or. the likezandoffers the guitarista tonal scope'andrange, never-before made possible by the prior arrangements.

Accordingly, an object. of the present invention is to providesuch a device which enhances themusic produced by electronic stringed instruments.

. Another; object is, to provide such. a device which. is

,readily adaptedfor use. in connection with all makes of guitars and other stringed instruments.

Another object isto provide such a devicewhich alfords maximum adjustment of tonal effects.

Another object is to, providesuch a device which can be arranged to produce theeifect oftwoguitars'by playing asingle instrument.

A further. object is, to accomplish the foregoing in a simple, practical and economical manner.

Gth'er' and further objects will be obvious uponjan understanding of the illustrative embodiment' about to be described, or will be indicated in the appended claims and various advantagesnot referred to herein will occur to andtransducer means adjacent the treble stringsadapted for electrical connection to another amplifier.

For example, in a sixfstring instrument, such as. a guitar, the sound pick up is split ,into two sections, each section having its own volume and tone .control." One section covers the first, second and thirdfplaying strings,

, Heretofore-, j it. has. beenyproposed' .to provide, a. sound I pick up device whichyincluded an element. for. picking up 2,954,935 Patented Dec. 20, 1960 ice and the. other section covers 'the fourth, fifth and sixth playingstrings. Each. pick up section is slidably mounted on the soundboard, so that the. bass, and treble sections;.can.bje, placed at points where tonal reproductions can be best balanced. to suit the most critical player. Thus, by placing the bass sectionnear the. lower end of the.fingerb oard. and placing the treble section near the bridge, a' pure tonal scope between bass and treble is attainedwith separate volume and tone control to give substantially perfect balance between bassand treble. By the same token, the player can bring out the trebleand subdue the bass or bring out the bass and subdue the treble. The. volume shadings between bassandtreble together with the tonal colorings so derivedenable the instrument equipped with the device to produce exceedingly pleasing music. i

To further clarify this principle of tonal. control, when the bass section is at the fingerboard and .the treble section is at the bridge, a well rounded bass side and a crisp sharp treble side will be heard. When the instrument is played infull chordform, it gives the effect of. two guitars. When single string solos are played, the cross over between-bass and treble creates a freshsound and affords the player greater. variation in solo work, once again giving the effect of two guitar. parts. i

In the. drawings:

Fig. 1 is a plan view of.a guitar-equipped, with. a sound pickupdevicein accordance with the present invention.

Fig. 2 is. an enlarged, fragmentary plan viewilluStratingimdetail the device shown. in Fig. 1.

Fig. 3 is. a.sectional .view taken .alongthe-lineS-S on Fig. 2.} r i Fig. 4 is asectional view taken along theline 44. on

10 is shown which comprises a fingerboard 11, a soundboard12, a bridge 13., three bass strings. 14, 15 and 16, three, treblestrings 17, 18 and 19, and av device, 20, about to be described in detail, mounted on the. soundboard between the lower end of the fingerboard and the bridge. The guitar further includes means. adapted for connection to bass and treble electronic amplifiers 21 and 22, a master volume control 23, bass and treble volume controls 24 and 25,'respectively, bass and treble .tone controls 26 and 27, respectively, and switches 28 and 29 for the. amplifiers 21 and 22, respectively. These means are of conventional construction and any novelty of the use herein resides in their arrangement in relation tothedevice 20, as will be described hereinafter.

As shown in Figs. 2 to 4, the device 20' generallycomprises a sound pick up head or microphone 30 adjacent the bass strings and a similar head 31 adjacent the. treble strings. These pickup heads may be of the'electromagnetic type, as shown. herein, andv more specifically described in United. States Patent No. 2,612,541, but could also be of the piezoelectric type, if-desired. Since the function of these heads is to convert the mechanical wave energy or sonic energy into electrical wave energy capable of amplification and electronic modulation, these heads are transducer means in a generic sense. i

Each of these heads is electrically connected. independently of the other, with the head 30 connected to the amplifier 21 through the volume and tone controls 24 and 26 and the switch 28 and with thehead31 conume'control 2'3is' utilized to simultaneously. vary the volta supplied? to both. of theamplifier circuits and thereby controls the overall volume of the instrument, regardless of relative volume adjustment between the bass and treble. V

The device 20, in a simple and practical form, as shown herein, comprises a rectangular panel 32 having side Walls 33 set into a rectangular opening in the soundboard 12 and secured thereto in any suitable manner, and suitable means for individually mounting the heads 30 and 31 on the panel.

In carrying out the present invention in its broadest aspects to provide independent bass and treble pick up and amplification thereof, the heads may be secured to the panel in predetermined positions between the lower end of the fingerboard and the bridge to give a desired bass-treble effect. However, since the present invention contemplates adjustment of the relative positions of the heads by the player to create such effects to his or her satisfaction, the heads are slidably mounted independently of each other for lengthwise adjustment along the strings between the fingerboard and the bridge.

Such adjustment is accomplished by providing the panel with six slots 34, each below one of the six strings, and mounting each of the heads 30 and 31 on a plate 35 which is slidably supported on the panel 32 and adapted to be secured thereto in the manner about to be described. Each of the heads 30 and 31 has three elemen s 36 projecting upwardly therefrom and each directly beneath one of the six strings for enabling each string to modify the electromagnetic head by its sonic energy. Theseelements are in the form of screws which are threaded through the core of the head and the plate and extend into one of the slots 34 and the upper ends thereof are thereby adjustable with respect to the strings to produce a desired tonal end amplitude balance between the strings. The lower ends of the screws ride in the slots or guideways 34 to maintain the plates 35 incrosswise alignment, and the plates are adapted to be secured in a desired position by a screw 37 which extends through a tab 38 at one end of the plates and into a slot 34 and nut 39 fastened to the screw 37 at the underside'of the panel 32 (Fig. .4). Preferably, the elements just described are assembled on the panel as shown before the panel is attached to the instrument, and t e final operation in such assembly is to deface the threads at the lower end of the screws 37 to prevent the nut 39 from backing off and falling into the instrument.

In Fig. 5, another arrangement is illustrated which differs from that just described only in that two heads 39 and two heads 31 are moun ed for independently slidable adjustment adjacent the bass and treble strings respectively. The heads 30 are connected to the amp ifier 21 and the heads 31 are connected to the amplifier 22. The four heads provide for tonal blends, coloring and shading having a broader range and scope to produce even more pleasing two guitar effects.

In Fig. 6, still another arrangement is illustrated which demonstrates that each string can be provided with its individual and independently adjustable picking head. For example, three heads 30a, 30b and 300 may be provided for the bass strings and three heads 31a, 31b and 310 may be provided for the treble strings. This concept can be further extended to provide a pair of independently adjustable heads for each string either slidably mounted for movement in a single slot or in separate pairs of slots, respectively as shown. This arrangement accomplishes the ultimate in tonal and amplitude effects for a two guitar simulation. In this arrangement, the heads 30a, 30b and 300 are connected to the amplifier 21 and the heads 31a, 31b and 31c are connected to the amplifier 22.

From the foregoing description, it will be seen that t e present invention provides an improved pick up device for electronic string instruments which opens up an entirely new field in playing techniques heretofore undreamed of with unlimited combinations and variations which may be devised by the artist. All this is accom plished in a simple, practical and economical manner and in conjunction with standard electronic equipment already employed. This is very advantageous because the present invention can thereby be embodied in exist-' ing as well as newly constructed instruments.

As various changes may be made in the form,. con-- struction, and arrangement of the parts herein, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention and without sacrificing any of its advantages, it is to be un-- derstood that all matters are to be interpreted as illus' trative and not in any limiting sense. 5

What is claimed is:

1. A musical instrument of the string type having at least one group of bass strings and at least one group of treble strings, individual electrical pick up means oper-- atively associated with each group of strings, electro-- acoustic translating means connected to said pick up means, and individual control means operatively associ'-- ated with each of said pick up means, whereby tones pro-- duced from each of said groups of strings may be selectively controlled.

2. A musical instrument according to claim 1, including means tor slidably mounting said pick up means ndependently of each other for lengthwise adjustme \t along the strings.

3. A musical instrument according to claim 1, wherein each of said pick up means includes a pair of independent heads.

4. A musical instrument according to claim 3, including means for slidably mounting each pair of heads for lengthwise adjustment along the strings.

5. A musical instrument according to claim 1, wherein each of said pick up means includes an independent head for each string.

6. A musical instrument according to claim 5, including means for slidably mounting said heads for lengthwise adjustment along the strings.

7'. A musical instrument according to claim 1, wherein each of said pick up means includes a pair of independent heads for each string.

8. A musical instrument according to claim 7, including means for slidably mounting said pairs of heads f0 lengthwise adjustment along the strings.

9. A musical instrument according to claim 1, including a plurality of guideways extending lengthwise beneath the strings, means for slidably mounting each of said pick up means including an element for each of said strings extending into each of said guideways, and means on said slidable mounting means cooperating with said guideways to secure each of said pick up means in a desired position of adjustment.

10. A musical instrument according to claim 9, wherein each of said elements is positioned directly beneath a string and is mounted on said pick up means for vertical adjustment thereof to vary the characteristics of said pick up means.

11. A musical instrument according to claim 9, wherein the number of guideways and elements corresponds to the number of strings, and two mounting means in which each has one of said pick up means thereon.

12 A musical instrument according to claim 9, wherein the number of guideways correspond to the number of strings, two pairs of mounting means in which each one has a pick up means thereon and each pair of the pick up means is operatively associated with one of said groups of the strings, and elements on each pick up means correspond in number to the strings of each of said groups.

13. A musical instrument according to claim 9, wherein the number of guideways corresponds to the number of strings, and a pick up means having an element thereon is provided for each guideway.

14. A musical instrument according to claim 9, wherein pairs of guideways are provided corresponding in number 5 6 to the number of strings, and a pick up means having an 2,114,019 Friebus Apr. 12, 1938 element {hereon is provided for each guideway. 2,175,325 Sunshine Oct. 10, 1939 2,294,861 Fuller Sept. 1, 1942 References Cited in the file of this patent 2,612,072 Armond M Sept. 30, 1952 UNITED STATES PATENTS 5 2,897,709 McCarty g 1959 1,877,317 Hitchcock Sept. 13, 1932 FOREIGN PATENTS 2, 41 Lesti 7, 1936 717,842 Germany Feb. 24, 1942 2,087,106 Hart July 13, 193 657,320 Great Britain Sept. 19, 1951

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3072007 *Aug 1, 1960Jan 8, 1963Burke Glen FGuitar construction
US3147332 *Aug 21, 1961Sep 1, 1964Clarence L FenderElectric guitar incorporating pickup means adapted to minimize beating effects
US3178501 *May 16, 1961Apr 13, 1965Atuk CorpControls for electrical string instruments
US3249677 *Oct 19, 1962May 3, 1966Ormston Burns LtdPick-ups for guitars and coupling circuits therefor
US3483303 *Jul 29, 1965Dec 9, 1969Warner Lorenzo AElongated pickup for metal stringed musical instruments having ferromagnetic shielding
US3496955 *Jun 10, 1965Feb 24, 1970Xerox CorpElectrically-actuated bistable fluid amplifier
US3629483 *Nov 21, 1968Dec 21, 1971Ruel E WelchMultivocal music system
US3780202 *Jun 19, 1972Dec 18, 1973C LawMounting bracket for pickup in a stringed musical instrument
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U.S. Classification84/723, 984/370, 84/726, 84/267, 84/DIG.210
International ClassificationG10H3/18
Cooperative ClassificationG10H3/183, Y10S84/21
European ClassificationG10H3/18D