Intro: Piezoelectric Pickup for an Acoustic Guitar
In this Instructable I will show you how to make piezoelectric pickup for an acoustic guitar using a piezo element from a buzzer. You may ask how this works. When you strum a guitar, the sound waves from vibrations go threw the piezo element and turns into electricity.
Step 1: Supplies
- Acoustic guitar (I recommend using a cheap guitar since you will drill a hole in the guitar)
- Guitar cable
- Shielded audio cable, approx. 25 cm length
- Audio jack
- Piezo buzzer element, with specifications similar to the following:
-Transducer type: Piezo-electric
-Transducer size: 1.1 in
-Audio range: 106 dB
-Noise level: less than -111 dB
- Soldering iron and solder
- Wire strippers
- Hot glue gun
- Power drill and 3/8 in spade bit
Step 2: Building the Pickup
- First you want to carefully break it open without damaging the piezo element. Bending it could make it break or lose sensitivity.
- Now strip the ends of the shielded audio cable. On one end solder the signal wire to the center of the piezo element and the ground/shielding to the metal/brass surface of the piezo element. On the other end, solder the signal wire to the signal tab on the audio jack and connect the shielding to the ground tab.
- make sure it works by plugging it into an amplifier and tapping it lightly
Step 3: Drilling the The Hole
- You are now going to mark where you want to drill the hole ( I recommend making your hole halfway through the curve on the end of your guitar). Take the tip of the drill bit and twist a mark by hand to make a small indentation in the wood.
- Next you are going to drill the hole. Loosen the string to get rid of forces that may pull on the wood. Also practice drilling on scrap wood to get the feel of the drill. For drilling into the guitar, very slowly (fast drill speed, very little pressure) and carefully drill the hole in the body. Be steady and smooth or you may cause the body of the guitar to splinter around the hole. The clean the edges of the whole
Step 4: Installing the Pickup
- Now you are going to get the audio jack through the hole you just drilled. Take the washer and nut off and stick your hand in the hole of the guitar. You will have to loosen or take off the strings of the guitar. It may be hard to find the hole you drilled but you have to just keep fishing. Once it is through, put the washer and nut back onto the jack to hold it in place. If you over tighten it the guitar may crack in it but if you leave it to loose the washer and nut will fall off.
- Finally you are going to mount the piezo element. The pickup will produce a better sound if you mount it hanging off of the guitar. Half of the element (brass side) is tapped to the bridge, and the other half is hanging in mid-air. The best place to mount the piezo element is on the back side of the bridge.
- To apply the pickup take a piece of double-stick tape, just enough to cover half of the element, and place it on the element. You may also want to use hot glue once you've found the best place on the guitar. The part with tape will be the part that sticks to the wood on the inside of the guitar. The other half will be hanging off. Then secure the wire that runs from the piezo element to the jack. That's it! You just made your acoustic guitar into an acoustic/electric!