Ron Hoag, inventor of the optical pickup for stringed instruments, announced his retirement today. This has been close to a 40-year trek for Mr. Hoag.
Since his introduction of his instruments at the 1969 Chicago NAMM he has been encouraged to continue his work from many noted musicians and companies alike. Sometimes termed "way out," he has always remained steadfast with his belief in the Optical Pickup approach to stringed instrument amplification.
Mr. Hoag has expressed and interest in composing and recording music and placing them up for sale on the web. His basic style could be classified as jazz or perhaps bluesy jazz.
Ron Hoag questioned what are called standing waves--the notion that harmonic waves are static and stand on the vibrating string. If this was true, his optical pickup placed at the bridge or fulcrum point, would be missing all these overtones. After a year of research and experimentation in 1970, he made sense of this phenomenon and has been producing optical pickups ever since. Noted musicians, that have played his guitar are amazed of its sustain and clarity. Any type of string may be used on optical pickup-equipped guitars, including steel, bronze, nylon, etc.