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Magnetic Pickups and Bracing

CampusfiveCampusfive Los Angeles, CA✭✭✭✭
So, I'm asking this here because I think there are some people on here how might actually know something about the subject.

I'm planning to install (not myself obviously) a UK Charlie Christian pickup in a new Loar archtop guitar. I would have installed it in an Eastman, but that would be a real waste of well carved top. Plus I picked up the Loar on ebay for $500. Not back for a pretty, but otherwise weak acoustic guitar.

Anyway, the Loar is parallel braced, and I'm guessing such a wide pickup will invariably involve cutting through the braces. So what happens then? Does the top sag. Do they do something else to keep the top afloat. I know the CC pickups are pretty heavy, so I'd expect they have to do something.


  • A.K. KibbenA.K. Kibben Tucson AZ USANew
    Posts: 217

    If you haven't measured the spacing of the parallel braces, I do believe braces will not have to be cut in order to mount the CC pickup...
    ( a mirror and light will make it possible to do this at home)...
    Like an inspection mirror, or with a Christmas light bulb inserted through the F-holes...
    You must have measured the braces in comparison to the size of the pick up already, correct?
    Is this the link to the model your are considering?
    Should have the spec's for hole size from the manufacturer...
    All pickups I have installed have the correct sizing for mounting...
    Try these links for more answers before you take it to your favorite Luther for mounting... ... /#comments ... hp?p=36980

    Hey, I know of a 1928 Gibson LL for sale from a friend of mine here in Tucson if you or anyone might be interested...
    Fine guitar and I have resent recordings of it...

    Best regards,

  • CampusfiveCampusfive Los Angeles, CA✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 98
    I'm just guessing so far, based on pics of parallel braced tops I've seen and my subjective memory of how wide a CC pickup is. I'm waiting for the pickup to arrive (it's kind of lagging....usps website has not updated the item's status since 11/8 - annoying), but I do have the guitar. I don't mean to be unkind, but the guitar will likely be much better as an electric than it is now as acoustic. Compared to my 16" Eastman non-cut, it sounds so wimpy. Perhaps I don't have as much experience with parallel braced guitars, but I'm pretty sure the Loars aren't much to write home about other than being nice looking.

    As far as those resources, they don't really talk about the width or the installation specs. The J+A website does mention that the luthier thought the install was hard (took a whole day). Anyway, I can't find the number of the repair guy I had been going to, who was supposed to be very good. But, he didn't seem to know all that much about pre-50's archtops and was baffled by my DeArmond pickups. I wasn't sure about trusting him with the install. I'm mostly trying to find out as much as I can, because I'm not confident that the guy (or anyone else around here) will know what to do. I bet the pickup will come with installation instructions, but I wanted to be sure about common procedure.
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    I love the mods I've done to my own guitars and applaud your idea. It seems like a good match up - Loar and CC pickup.
    Having modded old Harmony arch tops, and having found the "parallel" braces wide and the butt and narrow and the neck, I'll bet your gonna have to mod the guitar significantly. You'll have to measure first! You should measure now because: 1. The measurement won't change 2. It's likely to answer the question decisively so you'll be prepared either way as you wait for the pickup.
    I wouldn't mind sharing my limited experience with you, but I'd rather do it off of this website as my ideas are not appropriate for general use. They are truly just my ideas based on non commercial mods to my own guitars.
    Call me if you like at 206 842-9487
    Jeff Moore
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • Colin PerryColin Perry Montreal, QCNew
    Posts: 115
    I'm assuming you are using one of Colin Cosimini's pickups. I have a friend who put one of those in an old parallel braced harmony, and he did have to cut the braces. That having been said, I don't know if that means you would have to cut the braces in your guitar. Also, for what it's worth, i believe the ES-150's were carved top and x-braced, just like an eastman 805. The x-bracing creates a wider space at the neck where the pickup would go. It's true that adding the pickup pretty much kills the guitar as a purely acoustic instrument, though I find that carved top electrics do have something in their tone that pressed and laminate top electrics don't. On the other hand $500 isn't much and I'm sure that with that pickup you'd get great tone from a 2x4.
  • CuimeanCuimean Los AngelesProdigy
    Posts: 270

    I know the visual aspect of your band is a significant part of what you do, and the UK CC pickup looks like as much like the original as you're going to find nowadays, but if you're apprehensive about cutting the braces and want something that looks almost right and still gets the proper sound, you might try checking out these:

  • CampusfiveCampusfive Los Angeles, CA✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 98
    I already have the CC pickup for Colin, and the Loar. It looks the problem is not going to be the bracing at all - it will just barely fit. The fatal problem is going to be the amount of space between the top and strings. On the loar, there is a big dip in the top right before the neck, so the area where the pickup would go is unusually low, and because of the big magnets, it wouldn't reach close enough to the strings.

    At this point I'm looking for a lower level gibson archtop, because people have been putting CC pickups in them for years. The loar is going back on ebay unless anybody wants it. $450?
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