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A Sliding Guitar Pickup? - No Way!

A bizarre yet oddly interesting idea…

…came up on Monday evening which I thought I’d share with you. Simply, rather than having multiple pickups, why not have a single pickup that you can move to various positions? A sliding guitar pickup?

A bit of backstory

A friend and I both train on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Our training sessions last an hour and typically we spend just as long, if not longer, chatting about guitars afterward. He’s actually building a guitar from scratch; it’sa Les Paul copy so nothing out of the ordinary. As it’s his first build, he is trying to keep it as simple as possible. Inevitably, as he’s been getting on with the build, various ideas for modifications and “improvements” have popped up along the way which we’ve been chatting about.

The Pitch

Now I’m not usually one to dismiss ideas quickly but, when he said a sliding pickup, I had to laugh. “A guitar pickup on rails? That’s not a thing.” But, as he began to pitch the idea, it did kind of start to make sense. Rather than having multiple pickups, you could just have one single pickup of your choice that can slide between where the neck and bridge pickups would usually be positioned.

And the more I thought about it on the way home, the more I could see something like it actually working. It could possibly make sense from a costing point of view; one pickup is cheaper. It might sound cool being able to switch positions as you solo. But there has to be some issues with it, surely? I’m no expert but there must be a reason why no-one has used one before?

Well, I did some digging and guess what I found…

The Pole Position Sliding Guitar Pickup

Yes, that is an electric guitar and yes, that is a pickup that slides.

Here’s a short extract from the manufacturer’s description:

“The patented Pole Position guitar offers guitarists the quickest, easiest way to achieve subtle or dramatic changes in tone as often as desired, even while playing. With its easy-to-operate slider handle, and a humbucker/single coil A/B switch, it offers the fullest range of tonal possibilities, effortlessly and immediately. Unlike other guitars which have a stationary pickup (or pickups) offering a limited number of tone choices, the Pole Position utilizes a single moveable pickup which can be moved with a single finger to any position from the bridge to the base of the neck for unlimited choices.”

What’s the thought?

So what do you think – a cool idea? $350 I would say is fairly reasonable for a project guitar and clearly was very tempting for those who pledged that amount. But I’m also too aware of how us guitarists are very much stuck in our ways, with this being possibly a step too far for many.

It’s a shame really, the Pole Position project looks as though it never came to anything. Even with a good number of backers and an innovative idea, the project never got past the prototype stage. A potential lawsuit from the backers is never a good look (see the comments section) and I can’t seem to find anything else from Canavan Musical Products. I wonder what happened there then?

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