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The Submarine : Make one guitar sound like two

Apply effects to just two strings of your guitar

About the project

__ STRETCH GOAL __

We are proud to announce a new stretch goal of £20,000. If we reach it, we'll create a universal adaptor kit which will open up The Submarine for use on all archtop guitars. And, as if that weren’t enough, we want to massively upgrade the packaging. We want you to treasure and transport The Submarine safely, in a case you can keep forever. We’re thinking heavy duty laminated card, finished in high quality linen, with some embossing and a magnetic clasp. 

We'd love to hear your thoughts.

If we hit this goal, the universal adaptor kit and upgraded packaging will come as standard for all Submarines, now and in the future.

as featured in 

The Submarine is a new guitar pickup that allows you to "Make one guitar sound like two". Simply slip the Submarine under two strings of your electric or acoustic guitar, plug in and play through an effects pedal and you're away.

The unique design of the Submarine means you can apply effects to just two strings of your guitar. Used with the correct pedal you can add bass guitar to your electric sound or a searing lead solo to your delicate acoustic fingerpicking.

The Submarine uses the same electromagnetic principle as single coil electric guitar pickups. But unlike regular gear, and using a bit of clever design and geometry, the Submarine has a pair of micropickups. These pickups are targeted directly at the strings they sit underneath. This means that sound from other strings, body noise from the guitar and ambient stage noise are kept to a minimum. The Submarine is excellent at resisting feedback.

Select which strings you want to the Submarine to "hear"

All guitars are different and you'll need to adjust the height to suit yours with the allen key that comes supplied.

There are so many applications for the Submarine. You can stretch the range of your guitar. Add a bass to your acoustic or take your lead lines up by an octave or two. You're only limited by what you can get your pedals hands on and your imagination. Here are a few ideas you might like to try that we've had good success with:

  • Octaves up or down
  • Compression - Add sustain to part of your guitar. Useful for bass and lead lines.
  • Drench your top strings in reverb and delay for some sparkly atmospheric lead lines
  • Delay on the bottom strings for some otherwise impossible rhythmic fingerstyle guitar 
  • Clean Submarine output, heavily distorted regular guitar sound. Put some body back into your high gain tone.

What is worth the most to us is your enthusiasm. Yes, ultimately we need the cash, but successful projects are as much built on people's drive and belief as pennies in a piggybank. If you do believe in this project, convince a friend. Every extra pledge we gather means the Submarine sails closer to you. Tell your friends, ring up your old bandmates, your guitarist uncle, your blogger friend, that person you met once who knows someone who knows someone in the music biz. Email your favourite band. And of course you can do this:

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There's something for everyone here. Whether you just want to dip your toe in and show show solidarity for this project; pledge for one of the first Submarines or go wild and have your name or message preserved for eternity inside every Submarine.

What are the funds for?

Manufacturing costs money! The challenges in designing the Submarine were astounding. Where possible we solved them by using off the shelf components but a significant proportion of the parts are custom made. Each custom part requires custom tooling and this is what is expensive. The funds raised through this campaign will go toward setup manufacturing costs.

The Submarine will be assembled in the UK. This is important to us because it means we can keep a close eye on quality, the assembly process and conditions. This is not always easy when the factory is the other side of the world.

It has not been possible to source every single part in the UK due to the fact that the facilities simply do not exist here, but on the whole everything that can be done here, will be done here.

The funds we raise will be used for: 

35% Tooling (manufacturing set-up costs)
30% Assembly (Labour and facilities)
22% Materials and Components
8% Ulule fees   
4% Engineering Consultancy
1% Packaging

We have aimed to eliminate as many of risks as possible before seeking your help with this project. Personally I felt it was important to bring a design to you that not only works fantastically well but would also be achievable in terms of assembly process and cost. 

In March of this year 48 production prototypes were assembled. This is important because the challenge of making the leap from assembling 1 to assembling 48 is much, much bigger than transitioning from 48 to 1000 say. The process that was refined in making the 48 will remain largely the same.

Since the last set of production prototypes we have made some very small changes to the design. Whilst these are minor alterations it is of the utmost importance that these are tested fully before we push go. This final test before the manufacture will be the pilot run in October.

This means that with the assembly scheduled for November, those of you who have chosen Submarine rewards should have yours in December. 

Now here comes the small print... This is not a shop. You are helping a brand new product appear in the world. We will do out utmost to deliver on these dates we've set out but it is not possible to give you a 100% guarantee. 

About the project owner

My name is Pete Roe. I've been a professional musician for around ten years. I've performed at the smallest venue in the world, played gigs where the audience is the soundman and the bar staff, had that amazing feeling of a sell out show in my home town, the even more amazing feeling of a sell out show somewhere I've never been before and the very very strange feeling of performing on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury in front of 100,000 people. 

Two years ago, wearing my singer-songwriter hat, I was the solo support for a band much louder than me, with an audience to match. Struggling through the first show of the tour, I realised I had to find a way to make a much bigger sound. One aspect missing from my songs was bass. With no room in the van for a bass player friend, I hatched a plan. What if I could fit a bass player in my pocket?

I started winding a one-string pickup using a magnet and some enamelled wire – one wrapped around the other. 3000 times. Once fitted to my guitar under the low E, I plugged it into an octave pedal. The idea was to pick out the signal from just one string and make it an octave lower. Did it work? Did it heck!

But it was a start, and the next attempt fared better. I conducted one experiment, then another, and another.  And it's fair to say I was hooked. I spent a year locked away in a makeshift workshop surrounded by bits of guitars, magnets, and spools of wire. Propelled by a dream to design and manufacture a device that anyone could use.

It's taken two years to research, develop, design, study, forge partnerships, prototype, develop, test in the lab and on the stage, assemble and iterate. Oh we're so close. We need your help cheer the Submarine off on it's maiden voyage. I really hope you'll back us however you can.

Warm regards and heart thanks from a slightly soggy London,

Pete Roe, Founder and Designer of the Submarine.

For more information, please take a look at:

Website: The Submarine
Facebook: The Submarine
Twitter: The Submarine

Facebook: Pete Roe
Twitter: Pete Roe

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