I just got back from a trip to
Switzerland and, boy, what
a trip it was! I usually avoid
writing about gear or technical
stuff, but this time I can’t help
it. Last Thursday, I had the
honor of test-driving the world’s
first antimatter guitar pickup.
That’s right, folks, antimatter
technology is here!
The pickup is being made
by Uniglo, and it’s pretty
incredible. It just blows my
mind to think that inside the
“lipstick” aluminum cylinder is
a mini universe ... and it’s being
used as a guitar pickup!
So how does it sound?
Spectacular! It has a warm,
organic tone, and I found
myself loving every note and
getting giddy like a 12-year-old
who has just discovered distortion
for the first time.
The pickup’s magnetic field
is so strange. If you move your
picking hand over it just right,
you can increase the sustain—
and, if you really
get close and
cover it up a bit, the sound
almost takes on an EBow-like
quality. It certainly will require
learning new techniques to master
all that this pickup can offer,
but if you’re like me, you’ll simply
think, bring it on
Installing this bad boy does
require some skill, as some pickup
cavities may need a touch of
routing work. The wires terminate
in easy-to-attach connectors
(no soldering needed). However,
your guitar’s potentiometers will
need to be replaced with Uniglo
components. So, although it’s
not a big deal, I’d recommend
that you hire a professional
luthier to do the installation.
What is antimatter exactly?
Antimatter is the opposite of
everything that is. It’s actually
moving backward in time ... it’s
... okay, I still don’t really know
what it is, except that it
makes black holes, time travel,
and Star Trek
Apparently, antimatter can destroy
the earth—and possibly the entire
universe—if not handled properly.
So, again, hiring a professional
luthier to do the installation
would be a wise move.
So how did we get here?
How did we actually get to
the point of harnessing antimatter
for products such as
guitar pickups? Well, there’s
this huge underground tunnel
in Switzerland that forms a
perfect circle—I’m sure you’ve
heard of it. It’s called the Large
Hadron Collider or CERN.
Governments have spent billions
of dollars on it in hopes of
finding the secrets of the universe
and new technologies that
can be used to solve the world’s
energy problem. Last year, the
scientists at CERN discovered
how to capture and control
antimatter. They also discovered
hundreds of cool uses for it and
have started selling patent rights
to several companies.
I’m told that antimatter cannot
come into contact with matter,
so how do we safely contain
it? It’s easy, actually. I watched
as scientists crashed two atoms
together at the speed of light
—there it was, a tiny
black hole contained inside an
invisible magnetic field. (That’s
the key, a magnetic field.) Then,
technicians carefully placed
another magnetic field inside
the Uniglo pickup cylinder
and slowly placed the cylinder
over the antimatter. When the
two magnetic fields come into
contact with each other, they
become one. The techs explained
that this was like two drops of
water that touch each other.
Then the antimatter just follows
the magnetic field up into the
pickup cylinder. The cylinder
is then permanently sealed and
that’s it. It’s really entertaining to
watch the whole operation—it’s
quite ritualistic, almost like a
dance. You can check out the
process at uniqlo.jp/uniqlock/
highly recommend it.
True—the pickup only has a
two-year life span, but Uniglo is
offering an exchange program.
For a small service fee, they will
recharge the pickup with antimatter.
The cost of the pickup
is rumored to be near the $500
mark. But, as with anything else,
I’m sure in time that price will
Uniglo has bought patent
rights to this technology and is
planning to release the UNI-QLOCK
guitar pickup on April
1st, 2012, permits permitting.
They are also working on
other products like the Waste-to-Aqua toilet filter for good
tasting H20 and a portable cat
washer called Cat in the Box.
The company currently sells
oceanfront property in Utah,
and I suggest you buy some!
I’m digging mine.
builds guitars for Jack
White, Jimmy Page, Joe
Perry, and other adventurous
like bone, flowers, copper,
and solid ebony.