I stumbled upon a vey interesting post on JustinGuitarCommunity.com : Experimenting with the pickups magnetic field to create new music

I want the opnion/experience of StkEX's Musicians Community on this

I don't think typing everything again so hereby I am quoting the exact post:

Today,My bro suggested to use a coin as pluck/plectrum after I developed calluses on my thumbs due to practicing I noticed that using coin made tone a brighter/crisp(since it's hard metal) and also it subtly affected the tone due to magnetic field of pickups attracting it downward(try to strum/plcuk slowly and you will notice the difference) The another idea came to my mind of using magnets as pluck to see if the interference in magnetic field produce any difference but in my case it didn't I used a key ring magneti attached to coin and used coin as a pluck(since it wa so thing that it cannot be directly used),maybe that's why it didn't affect the tune(because magnetic field strength was quite low) or maybe ibanez's default pickups are not that great


SO anybody tried this or going to try? If yes

Please post the .wav recording(RAW/Unedited) and follwoing details

  1. ) Pickup-used

  2. )Magnet strength(optional)

  3. )Magnet type
  4. )Magnet's dimension( lxbxh or diameter/thickness)
  5. )Any effects used
  6. )Amp setting/Amp Name
  7. )Way of Using/Plucking:Directly plucking through magnet or attaching magnet to some metallic object and then plucking it
  8. )Orientation of Magnet :Which side of magnet was plucking the string(NP or SPole)
  9. )Pickup Arrangement
  • This question gave me an idea. Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 5:56
  • Waving a magnet around the strings will induce current, but the strings are isolated from the pickup-amp pathway, so the only audible effect will be from any induced motion of the string (an ebow merely induces/reinforces string motion). If you wave a magnet around close to the pickup, the magnetic field will induce a current in the pickup coil. The key is that the magnetic field must be in flux to induce current.
    – Yorik
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


My opinion? I don't think the difference in sound he noticed has much to do with magnetic interactions between the pickup and the metal pick. He used a metal pick instead of a plastic one, simple as that. (Try using different picks on an acoustic guitar, or an electric with only piezo pickups, if you don't believe me.)

Changing your pick or just your picking technique will cause huge changes in sound. (Whole books could be written on that topic.)

Finally, yes - holding magnets or bits of metal can change the sound of the pickups slightly. I suggest you experiment to see (I have). I don't think collecting randomly recorded extracts on the internet from different people with different equipment and technique is a reliable way of quantifying it though.


Isn't this what an E-bow does? Get one of those and go wild with it...

  • 1
    No, the E-bow is an active device which works by acting as a feedback loop, driving the string with a varying magnetic field.
    – Johannes
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 8:39
  • Unless I'm wrong, two magnetic fields in close proximity cannot help but interact. Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 5:47

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