Acoustic pickup question

jeff.longino

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I need some help either talking me off the ledge or pushing me over the edge.

I have an acoustic which has no electronics. I don't think it matters but for the sake of discussion it is a 1973 Alvarez Jumbo.

I really want to try out one of the new Tonewood amps (www.tonewoodamp.com) and they require a pickup to pipe into the "amp" unit.

I have several electric guitar pickups sitting around from various project left overs, several humbuckers and a P90.
I was considering directly wiring one of these into a 1/4" jack and mounting it in the tone hole to then route it into the tonewood amp.

Will an electric pickup work at all in an acoustic?
Do I need any sort of capacitor in the circuit?

Any other thoughts good or bad about this direction?
 

the great waldo

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An electric guitar pickup will work with a steel string acoustic guitar. With normal bronze or phosphor bronze strings your going to have to drop the e and b string polepieces and raise the E to G polepieces as the only magnetic material is the core. You nned to do this to get some kind of balance. If you use a steel (electric) set of strings you should have very little balance problem. I'd go with a humbucker if possible one with 12 adjustable polepieces like a dimarzio super distortion humbucker(also good because it's loud so you don't have to physically mount it so near to the strings. Mounting the pup will be the fun part. No capacitors required with just a normal straight out connection.
Good luck
Andrew
 

jeff.longino

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I pulled the pickups our of storage today and looked at them in relation to the specific guitar. Not sure if it is this guitar or a general acoustic thing but the string spacing on this guitar is a fair bit more narrow than the poles on the pickups. While I thought of using a humbucker for the reasons you mentions (more signal) i think the pole spacing is an issue. The P90 I can put in their and cock the angle until the poles line up with the strings, like an angles pickup on a tele/strat bridge position.

I have to get a 1/4" jack for this, i see tons to choose from. Any one got a good go-to for an acoustic jack?

I can't decide if I want one that is also a strap button or just keep them separate so that I can have a better/locking strap at some point.
 

cherrick

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You might consider Emerson's pre-wired jack.
 

the great waldo

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Or a bog standard switdhcraft endpinjack.
With a humbucker I wouldn't worry too much about the polepieces lining up with the strings 100%
Cheers
Andrew
 

MooCheng

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Sure, an electric guitar pickup will wok on an acoustic, the trouble is, its not going to get the best acoustic sound, guess it all depends on what you want

The K&K system is reasonably priced and has one of the most natural acoustic sounds around
It has 3 small p'ups that glue to the bridge plate inside the guitar
 

jeff.longino

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Yeah I know what i'm trying isn't the way to amp an acoustic and keep it "sounding acoustic". My main goal being to try the tonewood amp I assume that is a non-concern based on how that "amp" works. That said if I ever did use a real amp, which i never do today, I would likely be doing so the play we effects such as phase/fuzz/etc and not really trying to get a pure acoustic sound.

All that said this is largely about $$ as the tonewood amp is not cheap and I happen to have the pickups sitting here so they are "free". Apart from a hole for the jack there is 0 commitment on this to the guitar for the longer term...so any dislike of the result is easily abandoned. I largely just wanted to find out if there was any reason this just would 100% not work before I invested the time....and both your answers and some youtube videos of similar show it can work at some level. So now to order a jack and try this:)

I am interested in the comment about not worrying about the pole/string alignment on a humbucker. Why is that?
 

efstop

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Make something like this, buy the proper long jack, and ream out the end pin for the jack.

 

LtDave32

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I need some help either talking me off the ledge or pushing me over the edge.

I have an acoustic which has no electronics. I don't think it matters but for the sake of discussion it is a 1973 Alvarez Jumbo.

I really want to try out one of the new Tonewood amps (www.tonewoodamp.com) and they require a pickup to pipe into the "amp" unit.

I have several electric guitar pickups sitting around from various project left overs, several humbuckers and a P90.
I was considering directly wiring one of these into a 1/4" jack and mounting it in the tone hole to then route it into the tonewood amp.

Will an electric pickup work at all in an acoustic?
Do I need any sort of capacitor in the circuit?

Any other thoughts good or bad about this direction?

What it's going to sound like is this:


that opening riff, working around the sus 4th.

That's a Gibson J-160 acoustic, played by Lennon. He's going through the factory-installed p-90 pickup. A whole lot of early Beatles songs that sound like an electric were riffed and played on those J-160's. Both John and George used them.

If you like the sound (I do), then great. But it will sound like a hollow body electric.

It will also howl like a banshee, if it has a solid top. The J-160 started out its first year (1954) with a solid spruce top and a p-90 installed at the base of the fret board. It howled so bad, they went to a laminate top the second year and every year since in its original production.

What it is not going to do, is give you that amplified acoustic sound.
 

LtDave32

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Man, I love that band.

A ton of their early recordings had the plugged-in J-160 with the p90. A lot more than most people think.
 

jeff.longino

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Ok so....made progress....the pickup is in and fits pretty well. A little "prototype" looking but if I can get it working the way I want that is fixable cosmetic stuff.

Sound wise it is exactly what I was hoping for with one small but significant issue......buzz/hum. It is a grounding issue mostly as when I grab the cable end at the jack on the guitar most of it goes away. My question is what options to I have there? Unlike an electric I can't ground it to the bridge as it is wooden. How do you go about grounding a standard pickup in an acoustic?
 

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the great waldo

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Hi Jeff
You can ground the strings by sticking a piece of self adhesive copper screening foil onto the bridge plate inside the guitar ( solder a length of thin insulated wire onto the tape beforehand) press the tape down well with your fingers especially by the bridge pin holes so that the tape is indented. Then take a bridge pin and push from inside the guitar through each bridge pin hole so that some of the tape goes into the pin holes (push the pin in as far as possible) connect the wire onto an earth point (jack socket or grounded part of the pickup) and your done. Watch out with elixir strings as they are coated and can be electrically isolated from the ground.
Cheers
Andrew
 

pbekkerh

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You could have used a Seymour Duncan Woody and connect a wireless transmitter to it and place that inside the guitar.
Very easy to install and remove and no need for drilling out the guitar for a jack.
 


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