Installing 3-Sensor Pick-ups in Nylon Acoustic

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:06 am
Location: Japan

Installing 3-Sensor Pick-ups in Nylon Acoustic

Post by KenO » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:23 am

Hello CGF! This is an addition to my "Mystery Guitar" thread previously posted in "Advice on buying, selling or valuing a guitar". Bought this nylon beater on Yahoo Auction thinking it was just a laminated el-cheapo guitar. When I received it, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the guitar was made from all solid woods.
I've been trying to figure out the origins for this thing for months with no luck. Here are the specs:

Scale: 650mm
Total Length: 970mm
Body: W: 287, 237, 360mm; L: 485mm; D: 90mm
Neck Width: Nut: 52mm; Neck/Body Joint: 62mm
Table: Cedar w/ 1912 Ramirez style bracing
Back/Sides: Ovangkol
Neck: Mahogany
Fretboard: Ebony
Bridge: Ebony

This is probably a local amateur build that was retired after some years of use - left in some corner in a sun lit room. Over the years the nitro lacquer finish faded and the adhesives let go causing most of the bracing to come loose. The sound hole reinforcement was loose causing an annoying buzz - which was replaced with a straight Birch reinforcement brace. So after gluing the braces back into place, this guitar became a French Polishing practice jig with little hope for much else.
Some days ago, I just happened to tap this thing all around, and it seemed to resonate quite well. Decided to string her up to see how she sounds and was very pleased. The Ovangkol back and sides really emphasize the mids and give her a clear punchy voice. The Cedar Table is only 2mm thick and resonates well with medium gauge/medium tension strings. Some time ago, I purchased these sensor pick-ups here...
https://www.e - b a ... 5b36105d5e
was curious to hear what this nylon string cutaway would sound like with them; so I took some time to install them. First things first. Taped up the area where the sensors would go and did some dry runs to see the best positioning for the sensors.
The adhesives on the masking tape are a bit sticky, so I softened things up by taping and untaping the strips on my arms. This way my half done French Polish finish won't be damaged. Then the sensors are positioned appropriately onto the masking tape.
The dry run requires several attempts to find the best position for the sensors. After each dry run, the quarter inch jack is plugged into an amp to verify the sound. Once the ideal position is located, the sensors are carefully peeled off with an exacto-knife and the positions marked on the masking tape.
Once the final sensor positions are marked, it's time to drill the hole in the body for the quarter inch output jack. Started with a 16th" drill bit, then an 8th" to position the center for a half inch spade bit.
A string is fed through the quarter inch jack hole and the sound hole and tied to the quarter inch jack output.
The jack is pulled into the sound hole, into position and secured in place with the washers and bolts provided.
Once the jack is in place, the sensors are secured under the table in accordance with the position markers previously marked on the masking tape. Using both hands feel under the Table to make sure braces are not interfering with the sensor placement.
Finally, the wires are secured into place to ensure they do not buzz against anything.
Just for practice, I decided to trim the head stock. The original shape was very pointy and very dangerous!
Strung her back up and took her for a spin. She sounds remarkable both acoustically and electronically. I was going to just toss this guitar after practicing my finishing technique; however, I think I'll wrap things up with a clean French Polish finish and keep her. Thanks for letting me share my journey with this interesting instrument! :bye:
'06 Asturias Prelude S; '02 Yamaha CG101; '00 Ovation CS249-4Y; '68 S. Nogami Concert Tenor; '67 Hashimoto No. 232; '?? Mystery Guitar

Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:18 pm

Re: Installing 3-Sensor Pick-ups in Nylon Acoustic

Post by EPeczek » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:34 pm

Great job! I'd be interested to hear some audio samples. Any chance of a quick recording?

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