The Technology Behind Willcox Guitars Revolutionary Optical Pickups
We created the LightWave Optical System to give musicians a non-intrusive, absolutely transparent pickup that allows the purest and most natural sound from string instruments. Conventional pickups interfere with string vibration. The LightWave Optical Pickup System uses our patented infrared light technology to detect string vibrations, the first and only of its kind. Our pickup ‘sees’ the vibration of the string without affecting string motion in any way. It harnesses the pure power of light to deliver accurate, full-range sound.
How It Works
The LightWave technology utilizes light sensing electronics to “see” the vibration of the string, enhancing the strings’ true voice by eliminating the magnetic influence or “pull” on the metal strings. As a non-contact sensor, optics do not interact with the movement of the string. Instead, they provide a flat, even response throughout the tonal spectrum of the vibrating string, producing a sonic foundation that accurately represents the instrument and the musician. This neutrality allows the string to vibrate naturally, resulting in the most powerful and responsive method of string transduction ever developed, and a sound advantage for today’s music. Music at the Speed of Light
The optical pickup is a proprietary type of transducer which utilizes an infrared emitter and an array of photodetectors for each string. The emitter casts a shadow of the string onto the photodetectors. As the string vibrates, the size and shape of the shadow changes accordingly and modulates a current which passes through the photodetectors. This current is the analog electrical signal which represents an accurate depiction of the vibrating string.