0% Interest for 24 Months! Learn more »
(800) 222-4700
  • Español: (800) 222-4701
January Clearance 2017

Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

Classic jazz magnetic pickup for an acoustic guitar


I was wondering if anyone knew anything about the kinds of sounds that one could get out of suspending a jazz pickup in the soundhole of an acoustic guitar? I'm looking for the classic jazz tone, but don't know if it's possible from such an idea. Does anyone has any thoughts / advice?
July 27, 2001 @12:09am

well, gibson made a model back in the 50's called a charlie christian, after the famous jazz artist, and they had a very specific pickup in them, i think only available in those guitars. i have seen those pickups available used at vintage music stores and guitar shows, altough they probably command some good money now. you could also try to find at those same guitar shows/music stores, a used de-armond pickup from that era, those are usually true to that classic sound, and would be fairly cheaper than their gibson counterparts. i'm not really sure how much difference they would sound in a flat top however.
July 31, 2001 @07:27am

Thanks for the response,
Gibson now makes a new guitar called the Super Fusion J 190 or something like that, and it has both a piezo bridge pickup and a magnetic neck pickup. It's really a nice insturment. I tried to find out what pickup they used for that guitar, but I couldn't find out. Thanks for your help, I'll look into the older vintage guitars and pickups.
August 1, 2001 @05:15pm

good luck. i've even seen people that have had excellent results with either PAF's (giboson humbuckers) or P-90's in thier flat top, and they play the old school jazz on them. the downside is there is usually is some permanant istallation that is involved, and if you have a really nice or vintage guitar, you probably dont want to go drilling holes in it.
there is something to that piezo/magnetic pickup combination, you can explore a wide range of tonal variations that were previously impossible. i know dean markely makes a great pickup for the bridge, about the most accurate to a true acoustic sound that i have heard (without a microphone). i cant remember the model, but it basically replaces your bridge, and is like a sandwich of bronze and some other material.
August 1, 2001 @11:35pm
R Whittington

really interesting question qsroft...usually it's the other way around.."how can I nake my electric sound like an acoustic?" When you refer to "classic jazz tone" are you referring to sounds we usually associate with semi-hollow guitars? ex ES335, ES175, etc?
August 4, 2001 @05:28pm

response to r.wittington,
yes, that is exactly what I'm looking for. I've been playing an acoustic ever since I started playing (its a personal taste thing), but I've always been heavily into jazz, so I've always wanted that "classic jazz tone" associated with the Gibson models that youve mentioned and the Gibson classic '57 humbucker. This will truly be an experiement though because everyone I've spoken to has had no idea what kind of tone I will get (assuming all the electronics are done correctly.) I personally believe it will work, just because the jazz guitars are somewhat hollow as opposed to being something that is solid, which I couldn't replicate with a hollow body acoustic guitar. thanks for the response and do you have any thoughts?
August 12, 2001 @04:20pm
R Whittington

I'm wondering if the physical differences between the two would limit the success of this...but on second thought the construction (internal bracing etc) is similar in some of the larger jazz models. I'd think an e-mail to Dan Erlewine at Stewart McDonald might shed some light. He knows as much as anybody about guitar construction and modification. I play a Gibson J160-E and when using the pickup it produces an interesting result, although I wouldn't think it's quite the result you're looking for. I wish I could pinpoint a course of action, but at this point I'd be guessing...please keep us posted on your results.
August 15, 2001 @03:03am

will do... I just recently found out about Stewart Macdonald through a review at harmonycentral.com and i had been thinking about contacting someone there... excellent, thanks for your help and honesty...ill surely send a post when I have completed the experiment.
August 16, 2001 @05:20am