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Installing a K&K Pure Mini Pickup on the Guild F50

I mentioned in a previous post that the Guild F50 had a pickup installed at some point.  Ironically it was removed and the NoJack installed in its place.  However, I've wanted to put a pickup in it all along.

So let's do it.

I do not like undersaddle pickups at all.  They just don't sound good to my ear, especially that "quack" tone.  If I want quack, I'll play a Stratocaster on the in-between pickup settings, you know what I mean?

Anyway, I'm installing a K&K Pure Mini bridge plate pickup.  I was impressed with the sound clips on the K&K site, and I know the pickups are popular.  And they are not undersaddle pickups, so they can't be too bad.

The good folks at K&K give you almost everything you need to install the pickup.  Even a couple of wood pins, a golf tee, superglue and putty - we'll see how these are used.  Very well done.

I'm leaving out a few of the fine details.  If you every install one of these pickups, you'll be able to follow the excellent directions.  But I wanted to give the highlights.

Take the pickup assembly out of the box.  (Well, duh!)

There are three small transducers that will get glued to the bridge plate.

In the case of the high E string, one of the transducers needs to be placed directly under the saddle and directly under the E string.

The other two transducers will get placed under the saddle but between the G and D and the A and E strings, respectively.

Make a jig using a piece of cardboard from the K&K pickup box.  Use a nail to make two holes that align with two of the string holes.

Then superglue a headless wood pin (included in the kit) into one of the holes.

Use the pin and the golf tee (also included) to align the jig on the bridge.

Then put a piece of putty (yes, it's in the kit too!) on the jig and place a transducer on the putty directly over the saddle and in line with the high E string.

Practice this next bit a couple of times before the Real Event.

Spread a generous amount of the superglue (it's a gel and has a relatively slow setting time) onto the gold foil on the transducer.

From inside the guitar, line the headless pin up with the E string hole.  Then line the golf tee up with the other hole in the jig.

Then press the jig upward so the pickup will contact the bridge plate.  Hold it in place for 30 seconds.

Clever, eh?

Do the same for the two remaining transducers.

Here's my finished and perfectly placed pickup transducers.

The grey stuff is the putty.  It doesn't hurt anything - on one pickup head it just stuck to it.

No big thing.

The hard part is done.

Now we just need to install the end pin jack.  Fortunately, my end pin hole is already enlarged (although whoever did it did a hack job).

We need to know the thickness of the end block inside the guitar.  I took a paper clip, straightened it out and formed a hook on one end.  The other end goes into a piece of foam.  (You could use thin stiff wire for this as well).

Insert the clip into the end pin hole, and get it to hook onto the end block.  Then slide the foam down on the clip until it contacts the body of the guitar.

Carefully remove the paper clip and measure the distance between the bend and the foam.

That's the thickness of the end block.  In my case, about 21mm.

Now set the adjustment nut on the jack to the width of the end block.

I added a couple of millimeters to compensate for the nut that will go on the outside of the guitar body.

Slip the jack through the end pin hole.  I used a wood dowel inserted into the jack to fish it through the hole.  Then slip the washer and nut down over the dowel and finger-tighten the nut.

The nut takes a 1/2 inch or 13mm wrench.  There's a couple of holes drilled in the shaft that can be used to hold the shaft stationary while tightening - I just used a small screwdriver to hold it.

Put on the strap piece, and plug it in and test.

It works.  Whoo hoo.

And the hack job hole is pretty much covered up.

And a mirror shot of the whole pickup assembly in the guitar.  K&K thoughtfully adds a piece of tubing on the wiring which you can slide up or down to tidy up the pickup leads.  The length is perfect - not too long so that wires dangle (and bang against your now-amplified guitar) and not to taut that they put tension on the connections.

The whole install was a breeze and I'm impressed with the quality of the pickup and the well thought-out way to install it.

Now I just need to get the neck back on the guitar so I can hear it!


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