Guitar, and bass pickups are not often a matter of deep innovations because after all there are not that many ways to capture the vibration of a string to convert it into an electric signal. As a matter of fact, the invention of Just L. Pauls de Pauls 3D Systems is a variation on the most usual technology to date: magnetic pickups with coils. In the 3Dxy system patented in mid 2010, the vibration of the 6 guitar strings is captured by 12 coils that read the strings horizontal, and vertical movements while traditional pickups read the movement in one axis (Y axis i.e. vertical string movement).
The right coil (R), and the left coil (L) read different but complementary signals which produce an effect that Just L. Pauls calls “natural stereo”. The pickup can be configured in order to get the “natural stereo” output signal (by using a stereo jack for example) or a “natural mono” output signal (by adding both R, and L signals) sent via a standard mono cable.
If you listen to the samples of the 3Dxy pickups you will actually hear a strong difference between the standard mono signal (of a standard magnetic pickup), and the 3Dxy natural stereo / 3Dxy natural mono signals. Both seems to be more rich, and surrounding than the sound from the traditional pickup either on the bass pickup or guitar pickup samples. I would listen closer with different monitors if I could because mine are not that great (but that’s all I have while I am writing this post) but I think that it would be even more interesting to check that live.
I guess this will have to wait a little because it seems that Just L. Pauls just finished the conception of the prototypes… But the adventure of the 3D pickups revolution seems to be starting well, and I wish him good luck.
For more information about this innovation: Pauls 3D Systems.