Jump to content

Entry for August 2019's Guitar Of The Month is now open!
ENTER HERE

Difficulty: Experienced

Adjustable Pickup Mounting With Threaded Inserts

Long-time forum regular John Wallace describes his simple but effective method of direct mounting pickups to the body using threaded brass inserts; far kinder to the instrument than the standard wood screw, and adds a whole new level of class to the finished instrument.

I just finished up a build that called for direct mounted pickups. I wanted these to be adjustable but more importantly I also wanted to preserve the threads in the pickup baseplate tab threads that normally get screwed up or drilled out by using regular wood screws to mount the pickups just in case I ended up pulling them out for any reason.

I ended up using 2-56 Brass screw-to-expand inserts along with matching half inch 2-56 thread pan head screws from McMaster-Carr. These simply press into an eight inch pilot hole and are reinforced with a drop of CA glue.

These screws are slightly smaller than the existing 3-48 threads in the pickup tabs. They do catch the existing threads just a bit but they will screw through the holes but will want to grab the pickup threads when fully inserted.   To avoid any thread damage to the pickup I filed off about an eight inch of threads just underneath the screw head so it wouldn't damage the existing pickup threads once fully inserted and turned while adjusting. I did this by chucking up the screw in a drill and using a file under the head.

5.jpg
Machine screw and threaded brass insert

4.jpg
Threaded insert mounted in the pickup cavity

3.jpg
Machine screw test fit

 

I tried using these with two layers of foam under the pickup but the pickup could be pressed down pretty easily and felt kind of spongy. I fixed this by adding two pickup mounting springs cut in half. They are now quite firm and can be adjusted infinite times without worrying about the screw stripping out of the wood.

2.jpg

 

1.jpg

 

Pretty simple but it works quite well. 

----==----

 

John is a long-term contributor to ProjectGuitar.com, a popular Guitar Of The Month winner and a good guy all round. His sublime boutique carved-top guitars include the signature Dimple model and are sold under the John Wallace Custom Guitars marque out of San Diego.

 

 

 


Report Tutorial


User Feedback


uncleglenn2002

Posted

I do the same with virtually every screw possible on my guitars though smaller ones can be difficult to source.

What i have done on my latest project was buy small brass screws with corresponding nuts the countersink the brass nut into the pickup cavity with super glue(recess is possibly more technically correct). Ultimately stops wood stripping out. And despite electric guitar mythology, anything to reduce guitar body vibration is good. Plus it just looks cool

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
bluedot

Posted

Would you be so kind to help me find these at McMaster-Carr? I have an account there - so would like to try this great idea on my builds. Thanks!

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
mistermikev

Posted

I went looking for these at home depot and although it says they had some in stock, I was unable to find them.  So then I went to ace (god I love ace) and found similar.  #4 4-40 threaded inserts.  This type has flat head screwdriver grooves at the top and threads into the body as opposed to expanding.  I believe they were $.60 ea and the #4 1" brass screws I bought were $.33 ea.  Just wanted to let those in need know.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
bluedot

Posted

Thanks for reviving this post mistermikey

I've got a new build on the bench with surface mount pups called for. I am not near a Home Despot - but luckily I found some on amazon and some 1/4" machine screws for the pickup attachments.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002KWL01Y/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/Machine-Screws-Phillips-Stainless-Quantity/dp/B01CPSZ7PW/ref=sr_1_3?s=industrial&ie=UTF8&qid=1517770509&sr=1-3&keywords=4-40+machine+screw+x+1%2F4

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
Prostheta

Posted

AvE reference? :thumb:

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
TreasureState

Posted

On 2/4/2018 at 9:20 AM, mistermikev said:

I went looking for these at home depot and although it says they had some in stock, I was unable to find them.  So then I went to ace (god I love ace) and found similar.  #4 4-40 threaded inserts.  This type has flat head screwdriver grooves at the top and threads into the body as opposed to expanding.  I believe they were $.60 ea and the #4 1" brass screws I bought were $.33 ea.  Just wanted to let those in need know.

+1 for Ace Hardware.  Our store here in Helena, MT is known for stocking all of those hard to find bits. 

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
Frankimuni

Posted

Hey Folks,

I'm looking for something like this for an independent nut. One for each string. Can't find any small enough. Any suggestions?  Building a fretless and need very close clearance at the nut. Something like this. Figured this would also look better than a standard nut.

Thanks 

Frankimuni

 

downloadfile-17.jpg

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
Prostheta

Posted

This looks like it isn't adjustable or easily serviceable, and are just brass posts filed to the point that a standard nut would serve. Just bullets of brass rod set into drilled holes.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
Frankimuni

Posted

Thanks for your reply. I apologize, the 1st. image is just an example of the type I'm trying to do. Each string sits on a separate slotted screw head, where you can turn the screw to raise and lower the action. Similar to the pick-up adjustment you have in your post. This image is closer to what I'm looking to do. Any and all ideas are welcome. Thanks.1790451109_2019-08-0310_41.12ba3d289a20a5.thumb.jpg.f4e117c12cd7575fb74657e4854ce147.jpg

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
Prostheta

Posted

I'd say that a fine-pitched screw is all that is needed, however given the play in most threadforms I'd hazard that threading your own would be better. An M3 fine thread would allow .175mm of adjustment per half revolution if the witness point were symmetrical. This isn't difficult and uses off the shelf parts.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
Frankimuni

Posted

Ah... Prefect. Thank you for your help. It will save me the time adding the inserts, as I thought would be the way to go. I'll use them for the pick ups. Thanks again. I'm glad I found this site. May become a regular here :)

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
Prostheta

Posted

You can still use inserts, but with something like brass screws to act as individual string nuts. I was thinking whether the example above has some method of keeping the individual screws located tightly, or whether it depends on string downpressure.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
Frankimuni

Posted

OK... I was thinking using a loc-tite type compound. very little, just enough to give it a resistance. My thoughts are the tension should be enough to hold but, would use a compound for extra assurance.

I didn't mean to hi-jack this post. If I did, I do apologize. Been searching for awhile and got a bit excited when I found this article. If there is a different area to post tech of build questions, I will use that next time.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
Prostheta

Posted

All useful conversation is positive! No hijacking here, simply an extension of the idea presented I guess.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...