Paul Rubenstein - the guy who got Brooklyn kids building guitars - writes that:
"I've just made a few hexaphonic pickups (separate output for each string), and I have some for sale.Sounds like a great idea to me. I've been wanting to experiment with hex pickups for years. Way back in the 80s I experimented with having a single-string pickup a friend had made taped to my guitar and aimed at the low E string. This I fed through an Boss Octaver pedal so I could generate an instant - albeit simple - bassline. It was primitive and the taped-on pickup was not very practical. The dream was to have a guitar equipped with individual pickups for each strings and pan pots for each. You'd be able to postition each string in the stereo mix wherever you wanted, and to send different strings through different effects (such as an octave pedal for the bass strings).
They're electromagnetic, and each coil is height-adjustable. What you can do with them depends on how you wire them... six jacks to six amps (too many cables), a seven pin jack to seven pin cable to breakout box to 6 amps, pan pots or switches to stereo outs to two amps (that's how I set mine up)... or whatever else someone could come up with. I set one up with pan controls to stereo outs in an 80s Korean Squier (middle position) and here's a little demo, with every other string panned opposite: www.ubertar.com/creot/stereo.MP3
One side was recorded direct, the other through a Fender Champ and an RE20. No effects or eq, compression, etc. of any kind. The output on these is on the low side, but not unacceptably so. The signal to noise is very good, which makes up for that. They're electromagnetic, and there's no bleed between coils."
If you want to hear what a guitar with strings individually panned to different locations within the stereo spectrum can sound like, listen to "Top Jimmy" on Van Halen's "1984" album. This song features Eddie Van Halen playing a Ripley Stereo guitar, which basically has a hexaphonic pickup and pan pots.
I'd like to give Paul's pickups a whirl, but would need to find someone to help me out with wiring up a guitar for it with all the pan pots, as this is not an area I excel in.