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Fitting a Pickup System on an Acoustic Guitar

KandK Pure mini Pickup system Installation
At Jack's Instrument Services I offer a pickup system fitting service. I take extra care to keep the aesthetics of your guitar the best it can, often a problem with pickup systems is that they can be ugly, intrusive or non-reversible (like the one below which is definitely permanent!)

endpin jack socket

Many systems come with an endpin Jack socket. The invention of "Strap jacks" is great, it serves 3 functions, somewhere to plug into, an attachment for your strap and an automatic on/off switch when you plug in to save on any batteries

There are a load of pickup systems on the market and it can be hard making up your mind. I have written this page to help you choose which system might be best for you.

  >Help choosing a Pickup System  

Here's Me Fitting a 3 Source Artec Pickup System

This is an Artec Tri-Blend System which uses an undersaddle transducer, a soundhole mounted magnetic pickup (singlecoil) and an internal condenser Microphone! It has a Preamp/EQ/Mixer mounted into the side of the guitar as well as a optional phantom powered Jack socket

before fitting pickup

Before the butchery! What lovely grain!

No matter how nice it is, I can't become too attached to it as I'll have to do this:

drilling acoustic guitar

Scary but fun! Everything is measured, and measured again for a nice, centred and tight fit.

guitar sawing

Using a small saw I made to safely cut through the sides and link up the holes I drilled

guitar sawing

Files are used next to clean up the edges of the hole. This is where I start to fine-tune the fit

I'm extra careful here to not cause lacquer chipping round the edges

preamp box fitting

Nearly in...

preamp box fitted

It's a nice tight fit guaranteed to not come loose or rattle around while it's being played. A nice tidy job - Screws are installed

the internal microphone is mounted onto the back of this preamp box with a flexible cable sticking out.

We're not out of the woods yet though..

Acoustic guitar jack socket

This extra crafty jack socket has a jack socket out as well as an XLR socket. This means the guitar's preamp box can be powered via Phantom Power. (Phantom power is a voltage sent down an XLR type cable, it's sent by a mixing desk.
Great on stage or if your battery runs out)

Another huge hole will need to be cut for all this trickery

Acoustic guitar jack socket

Wasn't so bad after all, looks nice and tidy. This should stand up to years of plugging in

undersaddle transducer

Next I need to install the delicate undersaddle transducer. It's an Artec gold plated PG-Series piezo crystal transducer. It works by the vibration of the strings crushing the piezo crystals which generates a tiny, tiny voltage. eash string has it's own crystal for clarity.

undersaddle transducer installation

You won't even see this undersaddle pickup. An interesting note: you need to take into account the height that the tranducer has just added. This will raise the bridge saddle's height so the saddle needs to be adjusted back

soundhole pickup

Next an easier one - the soundhole magnetic pickup is installed, a simple 2 screws hole this one on. This is a single coil pickup that senses the ferric cores of the strings similar to a standard electric guitar pickup. As it's a single coil; the sound will be relatively bright which is important. It's placed right over the soundhole which gives a deeper sound so the single coil balances that factor out nicely

soundhole pickup

And it's a 12 string guitar! So after 10 minutes of flinching and tuning up the excess of strings I can finally test and balance all the input sources.

electro acoustic guitar

All done, It's a very complex system offering alot of control. After all that butchery it still looks great and now sounds it plugged in too!

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