It's possible to get the sound of a power drill to come through an electric guitar's pickups. Paul Gilbert does it at the start of this video. Does this adversely affect the pickups when done for long periods of time? Will it eventually damage them?

  • Do you mean using the drill on the strings, or on the pickups directly? Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 9:55
  • If you use the drill on the strings as Paul Gilbert does, I don't see any reason why that would damage your pickups... Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 10:43
  • @AlexanderTroup I meant just the interference of the drill with the pickups. The drill wouldn't be touching anything. Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 10:16

2 Answers 2


The EMF won't do any damage to the pickups (or the amp, for that matter... one of the longer-remaining applications of tubes outside music was in military electronics, because unlike solid-state elements, tubes hardly bother about the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear bomb until they're melted by the heat. And the speakers are driven by the tubes, which aren't spec'd to be able to damage them.) If there is something you might worry about a little, it's excessive mechanical vibrations – those can damage solder joints, the thin pickup wire, or even the magnets. But as long as you can painlessly hold the drill in your hand, this shouldn't be an issue either.


Won't harm the pickups. Just watch your amps. That kind of sparc noise smokes through tweeters at volumes that you'd consider way on the harmless side.

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    Your right that sparc noise is evil, but guitar amps are designed so nonlinearly that such impulses come out hardly different from signals you might produce in ordinary playing. (And guitar cabs don't have tweeters!) Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 21:06

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