Six Pack

Six Pack

Hexaphonic Pickup Project

Update: This project has been superseded by the Nu v2 Series Modular Active Pickups. Same technology in a modular form. The Nus are the culmination of the Six-pack project.

The Six Pack is an active hexaphonic pickup system with six low impedance coils and individual balanced, low-power, low-noise preamplifier for each six coils. Unlike the Roland GK hex-pickups, this is not designed for MIDI conversion, but rather, for polyphonic string processing. The intent is to have complete effects chains for each string, thus allowing different effects settings for each string for distortion, EQ, compressor, delay, pan, pitch-shift, etc. It will also enable envelope extraction and control over each string, opening up the possibility of having time-variant amplifiers (attack-decay), time-variant filters and time-variant pitch-shift. Such extensive processing is now very possible due to the advances in digital signal processing.

Cycfi Six Pack Active Hexaphonic Pickup
Cycfi Six Pack
Active Hexaphonic Pickup

Again, this pickup is not intended for a MIDI synthesizer. MIDI guitar synths lose the nuance and feel of the original raw guitar signal. A MIDI guitar synth cannot capture tonal character variations resulting from guitar playing techniques such as forced and natural harmonics, finger position, finger and pick attack, string noise, etc. Ultimately, unlike a MIDI synthesizer, the real sound of the guitar is what you will hear.

This page details the design, development, and evolution of the Cycfi Six Pack Hexaphonic Pickup. This page will be an organized collection of links from the blog as the project evolves. This is an Open Source Hardware project. Feel free to join the Google+ Community forum where we discuss issues such as preamps, ADCs and so on. I would love to hear your thoughts!


  1. Introduction
  2. Open Source Hardware
  3. The Coils
  4. Choosing a good Audio Op Amp
  5. Let it Breathe
    1. Frequency Analysis
    2. More Frequency Analysis (part 2)
    3. Frequency Response
  6. Singles or Doubles?
  7. Version 1.0
  8. Version 1.1
  9. Pre-Production Prototype


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