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Mounting Pickups Directly To Body


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Hi,

I'm new at this, but the design i have drawn up for a v style guitar doesnt have room for pickup rings around the dual humbuckers.

What I'm asking, is how would you go about routing/mounting for pickups like this:

http://www.ibanez.co.jp/products/eg_page09...p;series_id=264

Would you just route the sides of the pickup where the screw is, and then use a very short screw at the bottom to avoid going through the back of the guitar?

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Yea, that's pretty much it. You can still use rubber tubing or springs for height adjustment. Also, you'll need to route the cavity shallower than normal, but you have it right. Oh... make sure you use wood screws.

The body of the guitar was going to be relatively thin anyways, its solid mahogany, and would weigh a ton otherwise. How much shallower would you recommend?

I was thinking of cutting a square of foam and using that underneath the pickup? good/bad idea?

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How much shallower is going to be a question you have to answer for yourself. Draw out the side view with the string height and the pickup locations, and the body thicknes. Use the actual dimension for the height of the pickups, if you have the pickups great, if not a lot of them can be gotten online from the manufacturer. Give yourself some room for adjustment, but this should get you pretty much right where you need.

If you are using a tremolo bridge with a thin body your cavities might go through to your spring cavity, so this is something to plan for. You might need to do a rear mounted routing. You route out a rectangle in the back, and a small rectangle in the front for the pickup to go through. Then drill two holes to mount the pickups through. Works similar to a pickup ring, without actually using a ring.

For top mounted the block of foam will work just fine as long as it is thick enough.

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How much shallower is going to be a question you have to answer for yourself. Draw out the side view with the string height and the pickup locations, and the body thicknes. Use the actual dimension for the height of the pickups, if you have the pickups great, if not a lot of them can be gotten online from the manufacturer. Give yourself some room for adjustment, but this should get you pretty much right where you need.

If you are using a tremolo bridge with a thin body your cavities might go through to your spring cavity, so this is something to plan for. You might need to do a rear mounted routing. You route out a rectangle in the back, and a small rectangle in the front for the pickup to go through. Then drill two holes to mount the pickups through. Works similar to a pickup ring, without actually using a ring.

For top mounted the block of foam will work just fine as long as it is thick enough.

No trem on this one, it will be strung through the body though. I will play it by ear, its only in the planning stages as of right now. Thanks for the help!

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Usually a non-issue with modern pickups, but vintage styled humbuckers have quite long "legs", which can be a hassle when direct mounting, and if you've got a thin body, could foul things up a bit. Just something to keep in mind.

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I was thinking of cutting a square of foam and using that underneath the pickup? good/bad idea?

It is a good idea...I do this on all direct mounted pups to keep the pickup flat to the strings...Don't use it in place of height adjusting springs though...use both springs and foam.

A tip...sometimes people don't think about this,but you can cut a standard pickup height adjustment spring to any length you want with a pair of wirecutters...I do this all the time because I don't like to rout deep holes on the sides of the pup cavities to fit the long ass machine screws..o I cut the screws and the springs...but that is on guitars with pickup rings...

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You can use foam, springs, tubing, washers, etc ... if you just want the "look".

But if you're one that believes that hard mounting a pickup effects tone, than I would think all of these methods would be pretty pointless.

I fabricate wooden pickup shims that help raise the cavity to the proper height so the pickups can be mounted directly to the wood.

Just place masking tape over the cavity, trace the outline, and use this as your template.

Thickness may vary from one guitar to the next, so a mock-up is always a good idea. :D

BEFORE:

DSC09391a.jpg

DSC09398a.jpg

DSC09402a.jpg

AFTER:

DSC09406a.jpg

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hard mounting to the wood does increase the vibration transfer between body wood and pickup quite drastically

its definatly changes the tone. i like it for clean to classic rock sounds, but like wes says - its not always good for metal

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hard mounting to the wood does increase the vibration transfer between body wood and pickup quite drastically

its definatly changes the tone. i like it for clean to classic rock sounds, but like wes says - its not always good for metal

Ah, that might explain why I'm just not getting the chunky sound I wanted from my Capricorn R7t! I made it have direct-mount pups. I originally put it down to cheapo pickups, but I've since replaced those with DiMarzio Blaze ones, and the sound is not really any better. I'm finding exactly what you said - the cleans are good, but any attempt at a decent metal tone just seems to lack high end bite. "Decreases articulation at high gain" is an excellent desciption of it. Interesting! Or, more accurately...dammit! Does that mean I'll end up having to sacrifice the look for the benefit of the tone????

Also, you get those little metal inserts that screw into the body, and then you can use short machine screws instead of (self-tapping) wood screws. That would be another way to mount directly.

(BTW-I know the ones in that link above are for plastic, it's just to make the point!)

DJ

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try putting some foam or a pickup sponge underneath it to isolate it from some of the bodies vibrations, obviously it wont be as isolated as it is on a ring but it should help a bit if you are not digging the direct mount sound

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You can replace the pups with EMG 81 at the bridge,85 or 60 at the neck,and you will gain back "some" of your bite...

But the best I have found is metal rings suspending the pups...I LIKE the look of metal rings...

I do have one guitar that is mostly maple with barely any mahogany at all,and it has an acceptable tone even with the pups direct mounted...

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It's a seven-string Wes, but I take your point!

As I say, I have other guitars with EMGs already, and it's nice to have some variety!

Also, my R7t has a mahogany body and ebony fingerboard (neck is maple with bubinga stripe)

I'm assuming a dense, heavy body like that (and it is heavy!) would darken the tone anyway?

Bridge-wise it's a tun-o-matic style with thru-body stringing. I get brilliant sustain!

I even moved the pickpus a little nearer the strings to improve things.

It doesn't really matter and I'm kinda hijacking this thread, but I'd never really considered pickup mounting to have that big a bearing on tone, esp. a really distorted tone. Hmm....we never stop learning eh?

DJ

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Not that it helps at all,but I made a seven string Vee a while back ...it was a set maple/mahogany/maple neck with pau ferro fretboard and an alder body...I mounted two 81/7s on springs with the foam underneath them that the pups come wrapped in..it had an original floyd bridge...it sounded great...very articulate,yet sweet..

the pickup rings you see are phenolic,and do not attach to the pups in any way....Dave at fretsonthenet made them for me...they are just for looks.

l_c4d98fd5123e42d0b8f5067f1b47cf5d.jpg

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Hmm, interesting! I have the same here on my Aria 7-string. Same rings, same source!

P5200050.jpg

(Ignore the fact that they're HZs in the photo - I've since replaced them with a 81/7 in the bridge and a 707 in the neck!)

My pup rings are also just for looks, and are only there at all because I didn't want to refinish the guitar to fix the screw holes that removing pup rings altogether would leave! I really wanted that clean ring-less ESP kinda look, but wussed out of a re-fin! Wish I had now. :D I still prefer the look of it.

Never mind, the sound is fantastic on this guitar, which I always put down to the fact that it sports active EMGs, rather than being anything to do with how they're connected to the body. Food for thought I guess! I think it has an alder body. The neck is maple with rosewood 'board.

DJ

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You can use foam, springs, tubing, washers, etc ... if you just want the "look".

But if you're one that believes that hard mounting a pickup effects tone, than I would think all of these methods would be pretty pointless.

I fabricate wooden pickup shims that help raise the cavity to the proper height so the pickups can be mounted directly to the wood.

Just place masking tape over the cavity, trace the outline, and use this as your template.

Thickness may vary from one guitar to the next, so a mock-up is always a good idea. :D

BEFORE:

DSC09391a.jpg

DSC09398a.jpg

DSC09402a.jpg

AFTER:

DSC09406a.jpg

Regardless of whether or not it affects tone, and regardless of the fact you can't see them when the build is put together, those are pretty ace, and very well done. Whenever I can make something that fits that well, it's the sort of thing I'm very satisfied and proud of. Same sort of feeling you get from a perfect dovetail or mortise you've made.

That said, if we're building the guitars from scratch, why not make those routes the perfect depth to begin with?

I like the rings Wes and hollowman have around those EMGs, too. I'll have to keep those in mind if I ever get around to a planned build with those.

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That said, if we're building the guitars from scratch, why not make those routes the perfect depth to begin with?

...ahem....yeah, I kinda wondered that too......

DJ

If you look at the neck pocket of that guitar it looks like he's refinishing it. There seems to be leftover paint in it.

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That said, if we're building the guitars from scratch, why not make those routes the perfect depth to begin with?

...ahem....yeah, I kinda wondered that too......

DJ

If you look at the neck pocket of that guitar it looks like he's refinishing it. There seems to be leftover paint in it.

If you're refering to the pictures I posted, yeah ... it's a refin.

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Sorry....well spotted! :D

So it's a conversion to ringless pickups?

Is that a new top, or has it just been sanded?

DJ

It's a cheapy OLP guitar.

I replaced the neck, installed new pickups, installed an Original Floyd and refinished it for someone.

I also did a couple little things like replacing the 4-screw neckplate with 5-screw neck ferruls.

The top had a cheesy photofilm "quilt" that I sanded off.

DSC09185a-1.jpg

Here's the mock up.

DSC09407a.jpg

And here's the finished guitar ...

DSC09829-1.jpg

DSC09842.jpg

FinishedHeadstock.jpg

FinishedGuitar.jpg

The original pickups used foam to support them.

It worked, but IMO it was just cheesy.

The new pickups were taken from a Peavey Wolfgang and the shims worked perfect.

Even if there are no tonal benifits, it still makes for a cleaner build IMO.

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