Richie Dotson

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Chesterfield, Virginia 23932

 

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Richie Dotson

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Richmond, Virginia

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Banjo Lessons

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Richie Dotson

Acoustic Box

Richmond, Virginia

 

Fishman Pickup Installation Instructions

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If you have just purchased a cool, new pickup to install in your acoustic guitar so that you can play it through an amplifier, you may have obtained a Fishman.  Aside from following the manufactures installation and pickup selection information, here are some installation tips, tricks and how-to information that you may find helpful:

You will need a set of dial calipers or a very accurate way to measure the thickness of the pickup crystal before you begin the process.  Since they may vary from one to another I recommend that you always measure them before you start.  The reason is that the transducer will sit under your bridge saddle and raise your playing action unless you remove that same amount from the bottom of your bridge saddle.

I loosen the strings and since I plan on using these strings again because they are new, I first tape them to the neck of the guitar at about the 7th or 8th fret.  I then bring then bring the ball end of the stings back and tape them out of the way so I can do my work.  If you are going to change the strings anyway, you should remove all the strings at this time. 

Click on the photos for a larger view

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I then measure the pickup's thickness.  You read the caliper by looking both at the numbers starting at 0 where the jays are agape and at the numbers on the dial.  This one measures fifty thousands of an inch.  I then write that measurement down and remove the bridge saddle.  I mark the saddle so I can remove the same amount of material from the bottom of it as the thickness of the saddle (fifty thousands of an inch).

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When removing material from the bridge saddle I am careful to keep things square.  WARNING: If the bridge slot is too shallow to accommodate the new pickup I will have to deepen it by setting up a special router and guide.  This is usually not the case but in case it is I will not be describing it in this series AND it may eliminate this step, it may alter the final measurement that gets removed from the bottom of the saddle OR it may render the existing bridge saddle unusable and you will have to construct a new one.  This is not covered in this series.  The goal is to have the playing action unchanged from the pre-installation height.  If you run into difficulties know when to quit and hand the job over to a professional!

You will need a drill bit that is larger than the wire, but barely!

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