Dentistry, aviation and lion taming are just a few skills I wouldn't attempt after checking out an online tutorial.
Installing an under-the-bridge acoustic guitar pickup? That seemed within reach.
JJB Electronics sells acoustic-guitar pickups kits from basic to complex. The Prestige 330 made a good fit for my first attempt. It is a passive three-piezo transducer set wired straight to an output jack. This means no soldering or hacking out battery or preamp cavities.
The only modifications needed included widening the strap button hole to mount the output jack and gluing the piezo discs under the bridge of the acoustic.
I recommend removing the strings, since you’ll have to work with Super Glue, and fishing the output jack though the body is a bit of an art form.
Widening the strap button hole meant taking the hole from ¼ inch to ½ inch. I taped off the outside area to prevent scratching. I gradually widened the hole with two different drill bits for a safer excavation. Once the hole was big enough for the output jack, it bolted right on.
Next it was time to glue the three piezo discs under the bridge in front of the saddles. Each disc goes between two of the six strings. Because you only get one shot working with Super Glue, I suggest measuring your bridge or taking a few pictures inside the guitar body.
To prep the discs, I wiped them (and the inside of the acoustic) with a damp cloth to remove potential dust. After that, one at a time I put a small drop of Super Glue on each disc and held it into place for about a minute to set.
Post-restringing and soaking my fingers to loosen up accidentally dried on Super Glue, I recorded some clips, which you can check out below. The guitar is my ever-so-fearless Yamaha FS700S. Clip 1 is basically a few chords; clip 2 is fingerpicked.
To pump up the passive pickup, I used my GMF Ai1 acoustic preamp to give it a bit more gain. Cranked up, I’m impressed with the string-to-string volume balance and low noise floor.
Price: Prestige 330, $49.99
You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.