Electrifying Your Acoustic Guitar on the Cheap




Introduction: Electrifying Your Acoustic Guitar on the Cheap

About: I'm a librarian.

After building my first lap steel guitar, I had one humbucker pickup left. I decided to use it on my acoustic guitar.

Please excuse any typo in this instructable, I 'm french and was taught english a long time ago ;)

Step 1: Parts and Material

Wood : I used some pieces of mahogany found in the scrap at my work (a local library)

Nuts and bolts (I choose brass since it is non-magnetic, thought it would be better)

Spring (also found in the scrap)

Humbucker Pickup (mine is an Epiphone. Many people change their guitar pickups and you can find a bunch of second hand mic on the internet)

Endpin jack

Soldering iron and solder

Step 2: Cutting Wood Parts

Depending on the sound hole size of the guitar and the size of your pickup, cut three pieces by your usual meanings :

  • a top plate : must be larger than the sound hole to keep the pickup near the strings and not in the bottom of the body.
  • two small bars to press the whole stuff from inside the body and maintaining things

Be careful when taking measurements,

Step 3: Assembling the Pickup Holder

Simple. the two small parts are fixed to the top plate with nuts and bolts. the trick is inserting springs under the small pieces to ensure the pressure on the table top from the inside of the body.

Step 4: Mounting the Pickup

Mount your pickup as usual :)

Step 5: Positionning in the Guitar Sound Hole

Finally, mount your pickup in the sound hole just by using the pressure involved with the springs.

Step 6: Wiring (and Small Tips)

You're almost done. Connect the humbucker to the endpin jack by soldering and mount this one as said by the manufacturer.

Put your strings back and enjoy your new electro-acoustic guitar :)

Tip 1. the springs can make a strong pressure. I suggest to round out the corners of the small wood pieces, This really helps when positionning the pickup in the sound hole.

Tip 2. This approach of electrifying acoustic guitars works well at a reasonable volume. Passing a certain point, you may experiment some feedback issues. In this case, it is possible to put some foam blocks inside the body of the guitar.

1 Person Made This Project!


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3 Discussions


3 years ago

Very interesting way of mounting. I ordered a piezoelectric transducer from E-BAY for under 12 bucks. Just waiting on delivery and will report back after install.


3 years ago

This is pretty cool! Kudos on choosing a humbucker, most commercial products are single coil. Using a similar insert design and a single coil pickup, and some more elbow grease, you could even add "low-profile" volume and tone control potentiometers. Maybe those would be excessive? I dunno, my only acoustic/electric has an on-board preamp and piezoelectric transducer. It's worth mentioning, but should be obvious, that this won't work if someone decided to use nylon strings. Adding thin rubber to the clamping sides of the mahogany would reduce the risk of damaging the finish and would help get a nice snug, vibration-free fit to the top wood.

All the same, great job! How does it sound amplified?


Reply 3 years ago

Thanks !

You're right, I'll try to had a rubber. It sounds well to my taste (I'm playing in a rock band inspired mostly by the Velvet Underground and 60's pop oddities). I didn't experiment feedback issues for now, on a Vox AC15. I had a piezo transducer mounted under the saddle before and remove it, the sound was thick and with a lot of trebble frequencies.

Surprisingly, the sound is more accurate than I expected (I thought it would sound more like an electric guitar, but believe definetly after testing that the body has a true effect).

I'm planning to build another version, more little. This approach works well, but the pickup is a bit massive to my taste, looks matters ;)