Introduction: Wireless Mic to Guitar Hack

Wireless guitars are great, without cables to trip on the life expectancy of an energetic guitarist is greatly increased.  However, they are expensive, way more expensive than wireless microphone systems.  In fact, if you're like me, you might happen to come into a wireless microphone system for free.  Using it for your guitar is a ultra-simple hack that almost anyone can do in less than an hour.  



Step 1: Tools and Materials

Tools required:
  • Soldering iron
  • Wire strippers
  • Drill and 3/8" bit
  • 1/2" wrench
Materials required:
  • 1/4" guitar jack
  • Solder

Step 2: Disassemble

Before you rip into the mic, test that it works!  It could save headaches later.

Most of these mics just screw together to allow for the occasional cleaning.  Twist the top off and pull out the microphone-holding center piece.  Cut the wires as long as you can so that there is enough slack that the wires don't break when the microphone is screwed back together.  If there isn't enough you may need to extend them a few inches.



Step 3: Drilling the Top

Using the 3/8" drill, drill a hole in the top of the microphone, through the mesh.  Using a drill press and vice is best for this, since it is likely to snag on the mesh.  Do be careful.

Once the hole is drilled, apply some tape around the inside, on the top of the mesh, and beneath.  Its likely that if the guitar jack makes electrical contact with the housing of the mic, it won't work properly.  I had this problem and I solved it with tape.


Step 4: Wire the Jack

Strip the ends of the two old microphone wires and solder them to the lugs of the 1/4" guitar jack.  I guessed that the red one was signal and green one was ground, but I don't think it matters.  If there is an issue, try flipping the wires.

Step 5: Re-assembly

Push the jack up into the microphone head and attach using the included washer and nut.  Tighten with the 1/2" wrench. 

Screw the head of the mic back onto the body.  Plug it in and test it out!

Step 6: Bonus Step: Belt Loop

If you've got some rubber, sheet metal or leather around, you can make a simple belt loop for the mic so that the antenna is exposed. It's likely it won't fit in your pocket very well.
  • Cut a 5" strip of rubber, punch two holes in the ends
  • Cut a strip of aluminum sheet metal 
  • Drill a hole in it
  • Bend it over an edge into a tight U shape
  • Assemble with a screw and nut
A  belt loop keeps the mic nearby for a short patch cable.


Step 7: Ready to Use!

Jack in, plug in the receiver, and hit the on switch, and your amp will roar to life with musical power.  I found that I had to keep my guitar below about 3 on the volume knobs otherwise there was distortion, the pickups in a guitar create a more powerful passive signal than the microphone element must have.


Comments

author
MahulC (author)2017-01-17

I tried and it worked.
But battery issues are there..
How to increase the battery life.?

author
mattthegamer463 (author)MahulC2017-01-18

Sorry I can't think of anything that would improve battery life. The hack should not result in a change in battery performance.

author
MahulC (author)mattthegamer4632017-01-18

I used a fm transmiter with guitar and it worked also.
I charged it with a powerbank.
But fm mic is very easy to fit so can i connect any additional batteries with it?

author
mattthegamer463 (author)MahulC2017-01-18

You can connect more matching batteries in parallel with the original battery to increase the battery life.

author
Rhitosparsh (author)2016-06-23

Hello Matt!
First of all, an amazing hack!
I have a question.
http://www.amazon.in/gp/aw/d/B017EO4ITI/ref=pd_aw_sim_sbs_267_of_38?ie=UTF8&dpID=41QCRosrmEL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_SL500_SR100%2C100_&refRID=1H4SKHH53NKBFRGKP9RY
Can I use the above mic's transmitter, if I use a 1/4' male to XLR male jack?
Regards.

author

That looks like the same unit I used. There is no need for an adapter, there is an XLR antenna for the mic. The transmitter itself is inside the body of the microphone. The mic also can be used as a corded mic using the included cable.

author

you saying about the switch and in line that is correct

author

Well, I thought that the antenna was the transmitter itself! Silly me....
Well, I was thinking, isn't there a less destructive way around, by which I can use it both as a mic as well as the guitar wireless transmitter?

author

If you can find room for the guitar jack elsewhere, you could put a switch in line with the microphone, and add the jack in parallel with the microphone/switch combination, so when you plug in the guitar and flick the switch to OFF it will take the guitar input, but when the guitar is unplugged and the switch is set to ON you'll have the mic.

Only issue is there isn't much room in the tip for that. You could make the guitar jack completely external if you wanted.

author

Thanks for your valueable suggestions! That external idea seems great to me.
I was thinking a little differently. I thought I'd place the input jack a bit lower down the body. Then I'd use another 1/4' jack to connect it to the wires that come out of the actual microphone. This way I'd be able to plug in both the mic or the guitar, whichever I wanted. However, I'd need another mesh to be able to use the device as a microphone.

author

The top part screws right off, so you could probably find a way to make it swappable in that area.

author
adrian.palusinski (author)2015-10-21

I think the best idea would be to add the step down impedance transformer (as guitar is hi-z device ) right after the input jack in mic enclosure. This way your guitar should volume shouldn't need to be dialed out anymore.
I'm talking about sth like this, it's kinda penny-sized.
http://www.neutrik.com/en/accessories/nte10-3

I suppose you wouldn't need the low->high impedance matching transformer after input of the receiver as, while it has jack plug, it should be already hi-z.
Hope that would help.


Best Regards,

Adrian

author

I think the original microphone was pretty high impedance as it was a condenser mic, just not as high-Z as the guitar is. a 2:1 or 3:1 transformer might improve the performance.

author

oh I see. There's one more thing i think about - if it was condenser and had bias voltage on it then transformer would isolate pickups from being biased and therefore there would not be disturbance in their magnetic field. (I think there could be some) .

author
Silvester Jay (author)2015-04-22

Hi mat . . Your hack was absolutely easy and simply superb . . I have a question. Usually some presentation microphones come along with a wireless transmitter with an input for microphone jack. Can this transmitter be used directly to plug in the guitar cable ? Thanks

author

Most cheap microphones used now are a type called "electret" microphones, which have a built in transistor that amplifies the signal from a small condenser element into a more usable signal that is easier to work with. This is a good idea for sound but if you want to apply an electrical signal from a guitar instead, it is more difficult. The transmitter is expecting a signal that is probably 100x higher than the signal from the guitar, also there is a voltage being applied to the microphone jack so that the transistor can be powered, and some people say this can affect the sound of the guitar.

In short, it can be done, but with a wireless transmitter the volume may be too low. I have plugged my guitar into my PC mic port before and it works, but the sound quality is very bad and the volume and microphone boost must be maxed out to hear anything.

The reason this particular hack works is because this wireless microphone used a simple condensor microphone and not an electret, so the signal levels from the condenser and the guitar were of similar power.

author
cdpoloz (author)2014-06-29

Hi, pretty awesome hack! Do you think it could work with low frequencies from a bass guitar?

author
mattthegamer463 (author)cdpoloz2014-06-29

Should be fine. It might be filtered to minimize frequencies at 60Hz and below though.

author
cdpoloz (author)mattthegamer4632014-06-30

Ok! Hope to test it asap and I'll let you know, thanks!

author
jdelgadillo1 (author)2014-05-04

Is it possible to solder a capacitor or resistor to the jack then the wires so that you can use the guitar at full volume?

author

You can add a resistor, but that would just be the same as turning the volume down, since your volume knob is just a resistor anyway, and it would be more permanent. You may want flexibility for different guitars and pickups.

author
idydstie (author)2014-03-24

could you put a resistor in series with the jack so that you could turn up your guitar without the signal distorting? Also, is a dynamic microphone an electret or a condenser?

author
mattthegamer463 (author)idydstie2014-03-24

I think possibly adding a load resistor would help reduce the voltage from the coils. Also, a dynamic mic is neither an electret or a condenser. Electrets are just a subset of condensers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microphone#Dynamic_microphone

author
DirtyMex (author)2012-04-28

wouldnt you be able to do the same thing with a guitar hero mic but instead of it being wireless wouldtnt you also be able to connect it to a computer per say?

author
mattthegamer463 (author)DirtyMex2012-04-28

Possibly. One thing is that it is important that the mic element is a condenser type, not an electret microphone element. Electrets have integrated amplifiers and require a DC offset voltage, meaning they will have a much higher voltage output than a guitar, and will put DC into your guitar coils which may not be good.

These problems can be solved with a small transistor amplifier circuit.

Also you would need a driver for your PC to be able to use the guitar hero mic on it.

author

do you know which kind the guitar hero mic is? thanks.

author

Almost surely an electret. They are cheapest and used in 99% of microphone applications.

author
jensenr30 (author)2012-04-30

really neat!
i like it!

thanks for sharing!

author
yellowcouch (author)2012-04-26

My grandpa and i are actually doing the exact same thing right now.... I think even the same MIC's ... our problem is that lets say you want more than two MICs (i think the kit came with two mics and a receiver) if you bought 4 of these they use the same frequencies as each other and so one drowns out the other. Do you know of any fixes for that?

author

The system is basically just an AM radio and transmitter, so usually to modify the frequency you just open it up and bend an air-coil a bit to change the transmitter frequency, the problem is that the receiving coil must be bent in the exact same way to match, its a time consuming process. It could also end up ruining the mic or receiver if you can't ever get them to match up again.

Also that would require modifying the receiver so now you would need 2 receivers for 4 mics.

author
Elipsit (author)2012-04-25

Well done! With all of these great inventions under your belt you should start your own company!

author
mattthegamer463 (author)Elipsit2012-04-25

Yes I should. You are hired. 8 AM Monday.

author
cyberviper42 (author)2012-04-25

That is an awesome way to make a wireless guitar. Totally original and simple, the marks of a great instructible.

author

Thanks very much :)

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