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[Development Short Story] X-series Pickup 100-piece Creation Challenge [X100]

About the little project "X100" challenge that Nekodamari Kobo Co., Ltd. decided to do

A random question: How many types of pickups are there?

Since Nekodamari Kobo started making pickups, a question has come to mind.

"Now that I think of it, how many types of pickups are there?"

After doing some research, I noticed some interesting trends. Aside from the differences in "manufacturers" and "brands," I got the impression that there really aren't that many varieties.

For example, let's do some calculations and break down the factors that need to be decided when making an ST type single coil.

If we were to roughly divide them, it would look something like this.

"Vulcanized fiber hobbing" x "type of magnet" x "type of copper wire" x "winding method" x "structure" = number of production possibilities

Considering this, most vintage-style ST pickups are made of vulcanized fiber. There are also resin hobbins in cheaper entry-level models, but we'll limit this to one type.

Magnets can be roughly classified into six types: Alnico 2, Alnico 3, Alnico 4, Alnico 5, Alnico 8, and Ceramic.

As for the type of copper wire, the wire diameter used for vintage taste is almost AWG42, plain enamel, etc. There are various types, but I will assume that there are roughly three types.

There are two main types of winding: machine winding and hand winding.

There are various structures, but let's classify them into three types: "normal," "active," and "stack."

Now, if we do the math, we get 1*6*3*2*3=108 possibilities.

Did you feel it was a lot?

At Nekodamari Kobo, we feel that the amount is a little too little.

In reality, I think there would be more differences, such as "We've changed the way we wrap it!" or "The number of wraps is different!", so the number could increase a bit, but what concerns me is that the range of possibilities is only 108.

It is not realistic to make all 108 types into products, but the task is to select from these 108 types the ones with the most popular specs and best performance.

With specifications selected from 108 different options, it's natural to think that all of them have been thoroughly developed in the 50 years since the electric guitar was invented, and when you take differences in "manufacturer" and "brand" out of the equation, the pickups all end up looking similar.

The range of possibilities that Nekodamari Kobo can think of

I mentioned earlier that 108 combinations are not many, but I'd like to explain why.

It's a simple matter, but before making the simple calculations mentioned above, we at Nekodamari Kobo calculated the possible types, and the number easily exceeded 100,000, and if you take into account coloring and slight differences, the number could be classified into hundreds of millions of types.

I don't really want to write a blog listing 100,000 types, so I'll apply the ST type calculation mentioned above and convert it into Nekodamari Kobo's formula.

First, it allows you to increase the number of types of constituent formulas.

"Hobi material" x "structure" x "magnet type" x "copper wire diameter" x "copper wire type" x "special work" x "lead wire" x "potting treatment" x "winding method" x "color" = the range of possibilities that Nekodamari Kobo can consider

As you can imagine, the number of varieties is increasing dramatically. Let's do a rough calculation based on the information above.

First, about the Hobin material.

As mentioned earlier, most commercially available products are vulcanized fiber, so we only consider it as one type.

There are several combinations of materials that could be used for Nekodamari Kobo, including vulcanized fiber, several types of resin hobbins, and special materials...but let's leave out the details and call it roughly five types.

There are three types of structures to fit the calculations mentioned above. We could also increase the number of magnets, but to make the calculations consistent, let's make it six types.

Copper wire is subdivided, so wire diameter types are listed separately. There are six possible combinations that can be used within a practical range.

There are many different types of copper wire, but here we will limit it to five types that we have used at Nekodamari Kobo.

There is a lot of room for creativity when it comes to special craftsmanship, but let's not break it down too much and stick to three types. Think of it as earth processing.

As for the lead wires, they are generally cross wired, but let's keep it modest and use three types to allow for some fun.

Regarding the potting treatments that we are exploring at Nekodamari Kobo, the number of varieties could be increased considerably, but we will limit it to a modest five.

There will be only one type of winding method, machine winding.

You can enter any number of colors you like, and a formula will be created that will conservatively calculate the number of types from the perspective of "elements that change the sound."

Now, let's do the calculations.

5*3*6*6*5*3*3*5*1*n = 121,500 combinations

The number easily exceeded 100,000.

By the way, if you add four pickup types, such as TL and JB, the total number of combinations becomes 121,500 * 4 = 486,000.

Let's add color and other elements to create five colors. 486,000 combinations * 5 = 2,430,000 combinations

The number of variations has now exceeded one million. This is a conservative calculation, so as new materials and processing methods are discovered and further improvements are made, the number could reach hundreds of millions.

As mentioned above, I have the impression that the range of possibilities for finding a "good thing" from the 108 types mentioned above is narrow, but Nekodamari Kobo's thinking is that a "good thing" must be found from among 100,000 possibilities.

It's difficult, but if you look at it positively, it can also be said that there is room to create pickups that go beyond the scope of existing preconceived notions.

So, we came up with this idea, adding a bit of fun.

X-series Pickup 100-type Creation Challenge [X100]

We have decided to call it "X100" as a tentative title, and roughly speaking, the project is to create 100 prototypes.

For the X-series, see my previous article. To summarize, this article is about how all pre-production pickups are classified as X-series.

[Development Short Story] About the X Series – Nekodamari Kobo Direct Online Store (

We would like to gradually increase the number of products, but in order to commercialize them, we need to stock inventory materials and go through various procedures, so it is not realistic to produce a lot in a short period of time.

If we make a one-off prototype, the burden is lighter, so the idea became, "Why not just make 100 different types?"

X100 Project Overview

We will be producing 100 prototypes of pickups (known as the X-series) at Nekodamari Kobo.

Project Point 1: Purchasable Prototypes

They will be numbered from #001 to #100, and all except those being provided to other companies or kept for research purposes will be sold on this website (Nekodamari Kobo's direct online store).

Key point of the project: Setting a low price

The price will be set at a discount from the estimated regular retail price. You can imagine a discount of roughly 20% to 30%. (Example: 30,000 yen ⇒ 24,000 yen / 21,000 yen)

Key point of the project: 100 examples of production

In addition, we will create a [Production Example] article for each numbering that describes the specifications and production method. We will create articles even if they are not for sale, so we hope you will take a look at them when you have time.

Restrictions of the project

As mentioned before, even with simple calculations, tens of thousands of different designs can be made, so I thought I'd add some restrictions. It would be boring to have 100 different designs with just different winding numbers...

・Prohibition of inflated specifications

For example, we wouldn't do something like, "Make 10 pieces with 10 different numbers of turns each, and you have 10 sets!" because that's not very interesting.

・The difference can be seen in the appearance

For example, we manufacture our products while minimizing invisible differences such as "It's Alnico 2 and Alnico 5!" or "The thickness of the windings is different!"

We plan to focus on producing products that have a visual difference, in that the difference can be objectively recognized.

・Refrain from making patterns

We try to avoid overlapping specifications as much as possible. If we do produce similar specifications, we will try to make some effort to add differences in appearance and functionality.

・The focus of production is on "materials," "structure," and "special craftsmanship."

Rather than focusing on the number of turns or the way they are wrapped, we will focus on creating interesting pieces using new materials, structures and craftsmanship.

The sound design is not too challenging

Since it includes materials that are still being verified, we plan to make many of the sound trends predictable and standard. We will not put too much fun into it and make things that are unclear whether they can be used, such as "resistance value 1k" or "resistance value 30k".

These specifications are theoretically usable as a general pickup, and we will focus on the standard winding and resistance value design.

Project Notes

・In principle, items for sale in this project will be one of a kind.

- As this is a prototype, the specifications and appearance may differ from those of the officially sold product.

・There may be unavoidable scratches etc. that occurred during manufacturing.

・There may be cases where there are reasons for the outlet, such as processing errors. In such cases, we will indicate this and set a slightly higher discount. In addition, we will not use items that have problems with normal use.

・If a malfunction occurs during normal use, we will provide free warranty and other support, just as we would for an officially sold product.

-We do not provide installation services as a general rule, so please use your own repair or customization workshop nearby.

If you have no such service in your area and installation is difficult, please contact us using the inquiry form. We will install the guitar by sending you the guitar body or pickguard. (Additional charges such as shipping fees will apply.)

- The dimensions are the same as those of general replacement parts, but may vary depending on the individual guitar, production time, manufacturer, etc.

Just to be on the safe side, we will list the design dimensions so please check them before purchasing.

・If you would like to have the same item as the published numbering, we may be able to accommodate your request on a semi-custom basis. If there is something you are interested in, please contact us.

・We will not be measuring or commenting on the sound of the actual prototypes in this project. We will only be sharing the design philosophy, as there may be variations due to individual differences in the mounting body, and materials are still being tested. If you find something that catches your eye based on the looks and published specifications, please buy it.


So, this is a relaxed project that is purely for fun, where we've tossed away the idea of ​​commercializing the product and just made whatever we wanted, however we wanted.

I would like to publish an article that will be interesting for people who have never been interested in pickups or have never changed them, making them think, "Wow, there are some strange ones out there," and also for people who don't think it works with their own equipment because they use an ST, I would like to think, "Wow, I might give it a try if I get the chance."

I think the items I'll pick out are technical and somewhat difficult to understand, but I hope they'll be interesting to read. Please check here for the products currently on sale.

[X100] X Series 100 types production challenge – Nekodamari Kobo direct online store (

If you have any questions about our products, please contact us using the inquiry form.

Contact Us – Nekodamari Kobo Direct Online Store (

Nekodamari Kobo Co., Ltd.

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