#1
Does anyone know if there is any way of acquiring optical pickups. Im really just curious because I would love to play around with them. From my own research, I can only find two companies that use them and neither of them offer the pickups by themselves.
Lightwave:
http://www.lightwave-systems.com/index.html
They are the obvious one and their site says that they do offer builders kits but you have to qualify as a dealer/builder which I doubt I would qualify for.

Anyways, anyone know anything?
#3
Are these available for anything other than bass guitars?
Quote by necrosis1193
Somewhere in a concert hall in Sweden, you have just caused Yngwie Malmsteen physical pain. You also caused him to catch on fire.


Quote by frusciante.ve
I like that new song of theirs that goes all "peeeeeaaaas wiiiill comeeeeee toooo meeeee"


Just because you Seymour Duncan, doesn't mean you Seymour Dunshould
#5
Damn those look hot
Gear :

Guitars
- BC Rich Warlock Platinum
- Dean BABY ML
- Les Paul Custom White
- Custom Uncle Paul [SOON]


Effects
- Line6 POD 2.0
#6
As far as I know you cant buy them atm.
I only know a few companies who actually use them.
Quote by letsgocoyote
No I'm not Jesus. I would aspire to be though. I think under circumstances he would let you pay less if you needed to.
#7
Yeah... I only know of Lightwave and one other whose name escapes me. The other company is actually the one who pioneered it I think. I just want to play with them but I guess it hasnt gone mainstream enough for anyone to offer it.
#8
It seems like it would be a somewhat simple idea. Take an Infrared diode and power it, and then have some sort of infrared sensor that produces a voltage when it sees infrared light. Position the string directly in between the two and then this would "see" the vibration.

Obviously its more difficult than it sounds to build, but the idea is quite simple.
#10
Quote by Fret Not
I'm sure the avid electronics tinkerer could easily make this work with modern photo emitter/receiver blocks. DigiKey or Newark probably have a variety of these parts.

The idea has been around quite a while:

http://www.gearwire.com/ron-hoag-interview.html


Yeah thats the guy that I couldnt remember the name of. Ron Hoag apparently pioneered it and his website offers instruments using them but not the pickups themselves. Other than his site and Lightwave, I havent found anything.
#11
That's a really cool idea. I wonder how they'd handle extreme distortion.
Bari Build

_\_\ll/_/_
__\ _ /__
___ \/ ___

#12
They have a very natural/acoustic sound to them but take very well (although a bit differently than standard p/ups) to effects pedals according to my uncle who played a lightwave bass at NAMM
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009
Quote by Shinozoku
You have a walnut stop sign banjo-tar signed by MAB

˙ןooɔ sı uosɐǝɹ ןɐǝɹ ou ɥʇıʍ ƃıs ɹnoʎ uı ʇxǝʇ uʍop ǝpısdn ƃuıʇʇnd
Quote by Scowmoo
You deserve an Awesome Award for Awesome People.
Seriously.

Stop Sign Guitar? HELL YES!
#13
From what I gather, they are digital. I'm not being resistant to new technology, but when it comes to music, I still prefer analog. Digital has gotten better(I use it often), but a CD/mp3 always loses to my vinyl. To me it is similar to the difference between a tube amp vs. SS amp. Something gets lost with most digital systems, or maybe I just hear incorrectly.
#14
normal magnetic and piezo pickups make a voltage proportional to amplitude, but you wont get that with light, it would be missing. but I never played one, could be wrong.

the reson I dont agree about the above, is not becuase digital sounds worse, but becuase its processed a lot more, vinyl never was.
Most of my collection is live recorded stuff, becuase it sounds better unedited.
#15
I would love to try these out, they sound pretty cool, still want to try those alumnitones by Lace too....

Quote by chokmool
From what I gather, they are digital. I'm not being resistant to new technology, but when it comes to music, I still prefer analog. Digital has gotten better(I use it often), but a CD/mp3 always loses to my vinyl. To me it is similar to the difference between a tube amp vs. SS amp. Something gets lost with most digital systems, or maybe I just hear incorrectly.

They're not digital

Quote by LightWave FAQ's

2. Is it digital?
No. Each string's signal starts out analog, and stays that way throughout.
Impossible is Nothing
#16
I really feel sorry for Ron Hoag, he really worked hard on these pickups only to be shot down by virtually any company he's talked to.

It'd be really cool if I could get a standalone one and use it with something that's got a Floyd Rose. There's great potential for some pretty cool sounds..
#17
Thanks for the clarification. I thought because they were light based, they would need to be digital. I must do better research.

You guys have adjusted to the changes in media. If you are under 30, you can also hear frequencies I can't. I have a Nakamichi DRAGON cassette deck, and we mixed down on metal tape. Even at the highest bit rate it loses some dynamics when I convert it to digital.

I guess my point was whether we really need to push the technology further? I guess the answer is YES.
#18
Quote by I_Am_Blashyrkh
they do offer builders kits but you have to qualify as a dealer/builder which I doubt I would qualify for.


not so fast there,,,, a well written email or business letter expressing the project you are working on along with links to prior projects with nice hi-res images could potentially work as a way to "qualify" as a builder. basically if you show them you have the skills and are serious they could hook you up. theres no harm in trying since you'll get a definitive answer instead of allowing your own doubt to decide for you.
#19
i think the bigger problem is that other than the acoustic's (which i think are a mix of peizo and his light system) only bass pickups exist. i may be wrong seeing as i skimmed but thats what i gathered.
~Defiant~
#20
Quote by chokmool
Thanks for the clarification. I thought because they were light based, they would need to be digital. I must do better research.

You guys have adjusted to the changes in media. If you are under 30, you can also hear frequencies I can't. I have a Nakamichi DRAGON cassette deck, and we mixed down on metal tape. Even at the highest bit rate it loses some dynamics when I convert it to digital.

I guess my point was whether we really need to push the technology further? I guess the answer is YES.

Even though the FAQ's said it was not digital, it definitely seems like theyd have to be digital, how else would they sense the light and stuff? Arent infraded sensors digital? I want to know more about how they work, like the path form sensor to pots/eq/output jack, etc

Quote by Aurex
i think the bigger problem is that other than the acoustic's (which i think are a mix of peizo and his light system) only bass pickups exist. i may be wrong seeing as i skimmed but thats what i gathered.

That what I thought too, but in the link above (which I didnt read yet), there is a picture of an electric guitar, so maybe they exist but arent for sale/mass produced yet.... found this on lightwave's website though:

"Currently available on our own Saber Basses, the LightWave technology is also being planned for other popular string instruments including electroacoustic guitar, electric guitar, upright bass and violin."
Impossible is Nothing
#21
Quote by solomon684
Even though the FAQ's said it was not digital, it definitely seems like theyd have to be digital, how else would they sense the light and stuff? Arent infraded sensors digital? I want to know more about how they work, like the path form sensor to pots/eq/output jack, etc
"


No they do not have to be digital to sense the light. Photo transistors would produce a voltage.

When the light hits the phototransistor it will produce a voltage based upon the intensity of the light. This voltage will be alternating, and could then be sent off to active filtering circuits, or passive for that matter, and then to the output. I think the volume would actually be adjusted by adjusting the voltage that goes to the LED.
Last edited by XgamerGt04 at Aug 20, 2009,
#22
Quote by XgamerGt04
No they do not have to be digital to sense the light. Photo transistors would produce a voltage.

When the light hits the phototransistor it will produce a voltage based upon the intensity of the light. This voltage will be alternating, and could then be sent off to active filtering circuits, or passive for that matter, and then to the output. I think the volume would actually be adjusted by adjusting the voltage that goes to the LED.

What actually makes something digital as opposed to analog?

Seems like its so complicated and that there's too many variables to make it work... why doesnt room/stage brightness effect volume, why doesnt the difference in thickness of strings mean they will all be different volumes since they let different amounts of light in, doesnt light hit the phototransistors from angles and affect it somehow? The more I think about it the more confused I get
Impossible is Nothing
#23
Okay, I'm over the the digital analog thing. Someone explain to me why tone wood matters with an optical system. Will what wood the guitar is made of matter? These PUs read string vibration. An electro-magnetic system would be affected by sympathetic vibrations, I don't believe an optic system would, not enough to matter. Flame me, and explain why I'm wrong.
#24
Quote by solomon684
What actually makes something digital as opposed to analog?

Seems like its so complicated and that there's too many variables to make it work... why doesnt room/stage brightness effect volume, why doesnt the difference in thickness of strings mean they will all be different volumes since they let different amounts of light in, doesnt light hit the phototransistors from angles and affect it somehow? The more I think about it the more confused I get


Digital refers to using discrete values that are finite, obviously 1s and 0s. Analog just means that the signal is continuous. Digital is segmented in sets of bits. The more bits you use the better you are able to represent an analog signal.

Stage brightness is not afactor, because the pickup is entirely enclosed from what I see. My guess is that it is also made so that light cannot reflect to the sensor.

Wood would also not be much of a factor anymore, sustain would be something.
#25
Quote by XgamerGt04
Digital refers to using discrete values that are finite, obviously 1s and 0s. Analog just means that the signal is continuous. Digital is segmented in sets of bits. The more bits you use the better you are able to represent an analog signal.

Stage brightness is not afactor, because the pickup is entirely enclosed from what I see. My guess is that it is also made so that light cannot reflect to the sensor.

Wood would also not be much of a factor anymore, sustain would be something.

These sound great if they work then.... super sustain, wood doesnt affect tone so a lot of tone control....
Impossible is Nothing
#27
courtkid, great point! maybe there is hope for you in GB&C afterall
just messin

however, just because they are dealers doesn't mean they have them in stock. Still good point though.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009
Quote by Shinozoku
You have a walnut stop sign banjo-tar signed by MAB

˙ןooɔ sı uosɐǝɹ ןɐǝɹ ou ɥʇıʍ ƃıs ɹnoʎ uı ʇxǝʇ uʍop ǝpısdn ƃuıʇʇnd
Quote by Scowmoo
You deserve an Awesome Award for Awesome People.
Seriously.

Stop Sign Guitar? HELL YES!
#28
Quote by courtkid1012
Someone has to have seen by now that you can probably go to any of these places and try it out:
http://www.lightwave-systems.com/DEALERS/dealers.html


Im pretty sure those are dealers for the instruments and not dealers for the pickups. Which would be useless to me seeing as how I dont want to buy the instrument to get the pickup.

To the analog vs digital thing...
taken from the site
"Is it digital?
No. Each string's signal starts out analog, and stays that way throughout."
But that has been pointed out already.

To the "how it would take extreme distortion" thing
taken from the site
" What about when I want distortion or other effects?
The signal source being clean certainly doesn't imply that downstream processing is impeded in any way. In fact, having a superior quality starting point is advantageous for overdriving or effects, including those which intentionally produce distortion.
top"
#29
Well atleast you could see how they are and see if you like them. also, most places that carry brands can easily contact the brand and see if they can order "replacement parts"
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009
Quote by Shinozoku
You have a walnut stop sign banjo-tar signed by MAB

˙ןooɔ sı uosɐǝɹ ןɐǝɹ ou ɥʇıʍ ƃıs ɹnoʎ uı ʇxǝʇ uʍop ǝpısdn ƃuıʇʇnd
Quote by Scowmoo
You deserve an Awesome Award for Awesome People.
Seriously.

Stop Sign Guitar? HELL YES!
#30
Sorry guys. I'm not buying it. I honestly don't see how it is a landmark improvement.
Maybe I've been reading too many of Tesla's theories lately, but I won't mind if I'm proven wrong. I just don't see why people would flock to this technology. It seems like a long way to go, for a marginal "improvement".
#31
^whats wrong with wanting to expand the ways in which we can get sound from an instrument?

plus, even if its just a marginal improvement, the awesome factor must be accounted for.
Anything different is always intriguing to people.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009
Quote by Shinozoku
You have a walnut stop sign banjo-tar signed by MAB

˙ןooɔ sı uosɐǝɹ ןɐǝɹ ou ɥʇıʍ ƃıs ɹnoʎ uı ʇxǝʇ uʍop ǝpısdn ƃuıʇʇnd
Quote by Scowmoo
You deserve an Awesome Award for Awesome People.
Seriously.

Stop Sign Guitar? HELL YES!
#32
blindsagacity
Want to buy a bridge in Brooklyn? I'll sell it to you wholesale.
#33
^doesn't even merit a reply, but I'm gonna give you one anyway, lets stop spamming up the thread ok?

If he's interested in optical pickups he has the right to be.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009
Quote by Shinozoku
You have a walnut stop sign banjo-tar signed by MAB

˙ןooɔ sı uosɐǝɹ ןɐǝɹ ou ɥʇıʍ ƃıs ɹnoʎ uı ʇxǝʇ uʍop ǝpısdn ƃuıʇʇnd
Quote by Scowmoo
You deserve an Awesome Award for Awesome People.
Seriously.

Stop Sign Guitar? HELL YES!
#34
Quote by blindsagacity
^whats wrong with wanting to expand the ways in which we can get sound from an instrument?

plus, even if its just a marginal improvement, the awesome factor must be accounted for.
Anything different is always intriguing to people.


I agree! I love experimenting and finding new ways of going about things. People just accept that magnetic pickups are the way to go because they caught on, and they caught on because the right people could make them and could do so in large quantities but they are by no means the only method for producing sound.
It was the same thing that happened with cars and gasoline. People experimented with tons of different methods for fueling vehicles at the dawn of the automobile but the right people in the right places had a lot of oil and realized they could use it to drive cars. It became accepted people forgot about all of the other possibilites but that doesnt mean we shouldnt experiment and find new ways to produce our results.
#35
Quote by chokmool
Sorry guys. I'm not buying it. I honestly don't see how it is a landmark improvement.
Maybe I've been reading too many of Tesla's theories lately, but I won't mind if I'm proven wrong. I just don't see why people would flock to this technology. It seems like a long way to go, for a marginal "improvement".


I would think a fan of Tesla would appreciate experimentation but regardless I believe the improvement is in the possibilities. You are no longer hindered by so many things. You can still combine other active pickups for increased tonal range but now you arent hindered by any of the drawbacks of magnetic pickups. These might have their own problems as well but Im intrigued to say the least.

Here is one of the things that I am most excited about:

"Do I have to use special strings?
No. Just the opposite, in fact. You can experiment with new strings you couldn't have considered before. Remember, the strings no longer have to be ferromagnetic. They don't even have to be metal at all. "

That just seems amazing to me! You can use just about anything as strings.


Also, to anyone who is interested, I sent an email inquiring as to what is necessary to qualify for a builders kit. If I get back anything interesting or useful Ill pass it on.
#36
I'll be looking forward to this. if your 'application' goes through, I think I might have to 'apply' for a kit myself
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009
Quote by Shinozoku
You have a walnut stop sign banjo-tar signed by MAB

˙ןooɔ sı uosɐǝɹ ןɐǝɹ ou ɥʇıʍ ƃıs ɹnoʎ uı ʇxǝʇ uʍop ǝpısdn ƃuıʇʇnd
Quote by Scowmoo
You deserve an Awesome Award for Awesome People.
Seriously.

Stop Sign Guitar? HELL YES!
#37
Quote by I_Am_Blashyrkh
I would think a fan of Tesla would appreciate experimentation but regardless I believe the improvement is in the possibilities. You are no longer hindered by so many things. You can still combine other active pickups for increased tonal range but now you arent hindered by any of the drawbacks of magnetic pickups. These might have their own problems as well but Im intrigued to say the least.

Here is one of the things that I am most excited about:

"Do I have to use special strings?
No. Just the opposite, in fact. You can experiment with new strings you couldn't have considered before. Remember, the strings no longer have to be ferromagnetic. They don't even have to be metal at all. "

That just seems amazing to me! You can use just about anything as strings.


Also, to anyone who is interested, I sent an email inquiring as to what is necessary to qualify for a builders kit. If I get back anything interesting or useful Ill pass it on.


I'm definitely interested. Though, I'm only really interested if there's some sort of whammy bar design to incorporate into these pickups or if there's any such thing as an optical pickup that's standalone.