You might be wondering, “What do pickups have to do with ergonomic guitars?” In the case of the radically different Alumitone pickups, the answer is “Potentially quite a bit.”
When planning guitar build #1, one of my goals was a reduction in the instrument’s weight. So I started with a thinner than standard guitar body blank (1.5″ instead of 1.75″) and minimized hardware where possible. However, it hadn’t initially occurred to me just how much pickups might contribute to the weight of an electric guitar. This is where the Alumitones show potential.
Conventional pickups are heavy by nature due to their use of copper wires and magnets to generate voltage as the string is picked. Humbuckers are even heavier because they use two coils in order to accomplish noise cancellation.
Contrast this with the noiseless Alumitones – a fundamentally different approach to pickup design in which an aluminum exoskeleton combines with 90% less wiring resulting in a much lighter pickup.
According to Jeff Lace, the difference is so significant that replacing two conventional humbuckers with his current driven Alumitone pickups results in a 1/2 lb less weight. And in the battle to protect your back, that’s no small improvement.
To learn more about the Alumitone pickup, here’s “Alumitone Design Secret Revealed”: