Guitar Soundhole Pickup (December 30th, 2015)

For Christmas I got a Fishman Neo-D passive soundhole pickup and today I installed it in my guitar. I don't really have much of a need for it since I don't play gigs or anything, but I thought it might be cool to play around with recording stuff. I didn't find much in the way of how to install these things, so I thought I'd make a page about it even though it ended up being fairly simple.

First I bought a Retro Parts RP390C chrome end pin jack which measures .5" in diameter. I took off the sling stud on my guitar and used a 31/64 drill bit to drill a hole through into the body. I went with an undersize drill bit because it's easy to drill the hole oversize with a hand drill and I'd rather it be a tight fit than a loose fit. I got this style of end pin jack because it can also be screwed to the guitar if the hole works loose.

Installing a Guitar Pickup


Next I cut off the 1/4" plug on the pickup and fished it through the hole I drilled. Then I stripped back the insulation and soldered the wires to the end pin jack. The shielding wires go to the ground pin on the pickup. This is the one that's fastened to the case of the jack. Then the signal wire is soldered to the tip pin which is the shorter of the two remaining pins. I didn't use the third pin, I think it's a switch for powered pickups.

Installing a Guitar Pickup


I beat the end pin jack into place with a rubber hammer and it's tight enough I didn't bother with the three tiny wood screws. I left myself plenty of slack in the wire in case I ever need to solder in a new jack, so I bought some Blue Key World adhesive cable organizers to hold the wire to the side of the guitar. I wouldn't stick these to the top or bottom of the guitar's body.

Installing a Guitar Pickup


Here's the jack in place.

Installing a Guitar Pickup


And here's the pickup.

Installing a Guitar Pickup


I currently have a 13-inch mid 2012 MacBook Pro, so I need a preamp since I don't have a dedicated line in port. I can use a 1/4" female to 3.5mm male adapter on my 2006 MacBook since it has a line in port, but that computer only works when it's plugged in and is generally pretty worn out. So I also got a Focusrite Scarlett Solo preamp. I'm a complete noob when it comes to recording stuff, so about all I know is it has good reviews and sounds ok to me. It has a jack for a three pin XLR connector and another for a 1/4" plug which is what I'll be using. Both of the jacks have a volume dial and on the far right is a switch and volume knob for monitoring what the pickup is doing. I have a 1/4" male to 3.5mm female adapter plugged in since all I have are normal earbuds. Also I got a 10' Kirlin cable to connect the pickup to the preamp.

Installing a Guitar Pickup


So! Now maybe I'll give guitar recording a more serious try. I've got a list of songs that I think lend themselves to being played entirely on the guitar. Drums, vocals, chords, etc. We'll see what happens.