Coming Patents for 2018-2019

From simple principles of circuit theory, a patent currently in examination (a Non-Provisional Patent Application, or NPPA) develops and enumerates all possible combinations of pickup circuits, from 1 to infinity, which have potentially unique tones. It claims all such circuits which are not already patented or currently in use. By replacing single pickups with humbucking pairs, it develops, enumerates and claims all humbucking pickup circuits (not already patented or currently in use) with potentially unique tones, made up of humbucking pairs, quads, hexes and up to infinity.

It demonstrates and claims methods for determining what kind of pickup connection reversals can produce potentially unique humbucking tones. It develops and claims a humbucking triple, demonstrating a principle that applies to all other such circuits with odd numbers of pickups. It develops and claims methods for identifying tones as bright or warm and the order of them from bright to warm. It claims a micro-controller pickup switching system which uses those principles to map tones in order from bright to warm, and provide a simplified user interface, to shift smoothly from bright to warm. With this digital controller approach, no more shotgun switching circuits, leaving it to the guitarists to figure out where the tones are, and which ones are noisy.

Recently filed Provisional Patent Applications (PPA, or patent pending), which will become NPPAs, develop, enumerate and claim:

  1. Humbucking circuits with odd numbers of pickups, from 3 to infinity, with potentially unique tones.

  2. From the preceding work, identifying humbucking circuits with potentially unique tones, for any number of pickups from 2 to infinity, a system for producing humbucking tones from active pickups using vector math and variable gains. The number of potentially unique tones is reduced, because active pickups no longer have different tones when connected in series and parallel. But all of the remaining tones for any number of pickups, odd or even, are produced, plus all those continuously variable tones in between. This mostly eliminates electro-mechanical pickup switching, replacing it with potentiometer controls.

  3. A micro-controller system with a simple user interface for the control of variable pickup gains, and the ordering of tones from bright to warm. It’s possible to use electro-mechanical pickup switching, but beyond 2 humbuckers or 3 single-coil pickups, the number of possible unique tones overwhelms what mechanical switches can do. And generally, mechanical switches do not lend themselves well to switching smoothly from bright to warm. The tonal transitions in mechanical switching tend to jump back and forth from brighter to warmer in a manner that challenges intuition.

  4. Modifications to analog and digital pots to provide variable gain control that evenly spreads the tones over the ranges of the pots, and to control K number of pickups with K-2 number of pots. That’s right, one control for all the continuous humbucking tones of a 3-coil guitar, from in-phase to out-of-phase. A modification also works for dual-humbuckers.

So far, these improvements are theoretical. But the math works and I trust it. It comes from tools I learned back in the 1960s as an electronics engineering student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as later signals analysis courses in grad school. See

Although the signal path can contain active, amplifying circuits, it is still purely analog. It does not get between the magic of the fingers and the strings, as does digital signal processing. Any digital micro-controller circuits are used only for simplifying the user interface, to measure the brightness of each switched or continuous tone, to provide a simple tone-shift control, and to drive any digital pots in the circuits.

© 2017 Don Baker dba android originals LC, Ph.D retired

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