Elixir® Strings Tips & Tricks

A Simple Way of Installing a Pickup in the Soundhole of an Acoustic Guitar

"GUITAR PLAYER" DAN ERLEWINE’S MOD SQUAD

My friend—and honorary mod squad member—Freddie Cisneros grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, a blues town once known for its juke-joint mecca on the Jacksboro Highway. Today, Freddie owns Mercy Guitar Hospital in Prescott, Arizona. Recently, he shared with me his simple way of installing a pickup in the soundhole of a favorite acoustic. This mod lets you use any pickup you like, and it is neither expensive nor difficult. You simply enlarge the hole in the guitar’s end block for an endpin jack to be mounted, and then cut a hole in a Feedback Buster.

“Really, there couldn’t be an easier installation,” says Freddie. “Using a fresh #11 X-Acto blade, I had the pickup installed in no time. The installation could be done so that it’s completely reversible—with the exception of the endpin jack installed in the tail block—although you could run the pickup wires out the soundhole, and then fasten them to a jack taped somewhere on the guitar’s body.”

I love finding out what my fellow techs are up to in their shops. Plus, talking with someone like Freddie, I get to enjoy a little nostalgia. I know he wishes he had kept the ’58 Custom shown in the photo below. I have a guitar regret of my own—I traded the Jazzmaster I’m holding in my photo [below left] for the ’59 Les Paul that I later traded to Mike Bloomfield for his ’54 goldtop.


What do these two bands have in common? Well, each has five pieces, and a guitarist that doubled as a guitar tech. That’s me, sitting under the Wurlitzer in the Prime Movers with my brand new Jazzmaster (photo at left). Freddie is the guy slinging a ’58 Les Paul Custom with Reverend Filmore and the Flames in 1966.