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View Full Version : Mounting pickups to the body?


Milo H
09-21-2011, 12:12 AM
I think Eddie Van Halen did this where he drilled the pickups to the body instead of the pickguard. I kinda want to do this with my project guitar and see what kind of difference it makes in the tone.

I guess I could put the screw in the pickguard and drill a bit until it makes a small indentation in the wood, then I'd know where to drill.

fumbler
09-21-2011, 09:09 AM
Yes, that's what EVH did. Most guitars that don't have pickguards or mounting rings are done this way. Here are a few tips.

1. Find some very narrow (but still long enough) wood screws. If you're lucky you can find some that will fit through the pickup's mounting holes WITHOUT messing up their machine screw threading. That way you can still re-mount the pickup in a pickguard if you want to reverse what you did.

2. EVH claimed that hard-mounting it directly to the wood gave him some tone benefits (then again, he made a LOT of claims.) But if you screw it directly to the body then the pickup height cannot be adjusted and it will probably be pretty dang low. You can use some pieces of scrap wood in the bottom of the pickup rout as spacers so you still have the "solid" thang going but you can still adjust the height somewhat. You could also use compressible foam under the pickup which will make it work almost like a "normal" height adjustable pickup; but then you lose the "solid" thang. Your choice.

Ronsonic
09-21-2011, 10:19 AM
You probably want to do a neater job.

Here's the insanely priced replica. I'm assuming it's accurate.
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Frankenstein

Maltese Fan
09-21-2011, 11:11 AM
My Ibby's have their pickups mounted this way. I don't think it makes a big difference in tone, and height adjustment (which does make a difference), is a PITA.

EADGBE
09-21-2011, 03:16 PM
I wouldn't do it myself. I don't believe there's any tone enhancement.

walterw
09-21-2011, 11:22 PM
it's not so much about "tone" as it is resistance to low-mid "howl" at insane volume levels, from the entire pickup vibrating as a unit (as opposed to "squeal" from parts of the pickup vibrating internally). bolting it hard to the wood prevents that movement.

the trick to height adjustment is to use small washers under the bridge legs, stacked up to the height you want. (you might need a longer mounting screw.) this keeps the mounting absolutely rigid.

Milo H
09-22-2011, 08:20 PM
Yeah, it doesn't sound like it'd make a huge difference.

I was just asking because first off my lipstick pups came with long screws, I had to cut them down because they hit the back of the pickguard compartment. After that, they had to sit high or they appeared to be sliding inside the guitar.

Thanks for the help guys! I'm gonna go mess around with pup heights and see the difference.

Eagle1
09-23-2011, 02:52 AM
No real difference .

fenderlead
09-23-2011, 07:57 AM
EVH only nailed the pickup directly to the wood on a few guitars as far as I know.

The Frankenstrat and the Destroyer for a few months and maybe some others.

All of the rest of EVH's guitars were the usual mounting.

Eagle1
09-23-2011, 12:45 PM
EVH only nailed the pickup directly to the wood on a few guitars as far as I know.

The Frankenstrat and the Destroyer for a few months and maybe some others.

All of the rest of EVH's guitars were the usual mounting.
Not true .
Franky,5150 ,musicman EVH and all the Wolfgang models are direct mount.

walterw
09-23-2011, 12:49 PM
i think fenderlead's referring to the other "regular" guitars eddie had and used in the studio (like the flying V he used for "hot for teacher").

yes, all his own designs from music man or peavey bolted the pickups right down to the wood.

Blue_n_Jazz
09-25-2011, 12:28 AM
The only tone diff I could see would be on a tele. Taking the pickup of the bridge directly to the body (aka Andy Summers) would have a more noticeable effect. Haven't tried, just thinking outloud.
http://www.tdpri.com/forum/telecaster-discussion-forum/186346-review-andy-summers-telecaster.html

dazco
09-28-2011, 09:16 PM
The only tone diff I could see would be on a tele. Taking the pickup of the bridge directly to the body (aka Andy Summers) would have a more noticeable effect. Haven't tried, just thinking outloud.
http://www.tdpri.com/forum/telecaster-discussion-forum/186346-review-andy-summers-telecaster.html

Yep. just did this a couple days ago and it really does sound different in a good way. Obviously because being mounted to the bridge plate causes some harshness in the top end and generally too much top end. Mounting it in the wood made a very noticeable difference in reducing that.

buddastrat
09-29-2011, 07:59 AM
The thing I've noticed about Ed, is he likes his stuff to be very solid so he can abuse it and it be relable through any torturous use. He wants it to appear "junky" but be very functional. I think it's easy to believe it'll sound better because you can attack it harder and it remain secure, so you can play with more authority and without worry. Go ahead and throw it odd the roof, pick it up and keep shreddin'.

Hard mounting a pickup falls into this stuff, along with eyebolt screws for strap locks, and screwing quarters on the guitar, leaving amps on at max volume for days at a time to see if they will still work... He likes that sort've thing. I always liked his uniqueness.

I did this once years ago. I think soundwise, there may be more of the coupling effect, plus big screws and washers adding a bit more mass. Everything is tight and ringing more together as one. It wasn't a huge thing but I did like how solid everything was. I never really mess around with the height once I have it right.

mannish
09-29-2011, 08:03 AM
happens all the time with P90s

pflo
10-01-2012, 08:08 PM
It DEFINITELY makes a difference in sound.More low mids.

Earthwormjim
10-02-2012, 07:32 AM
It DEFINITELY makes a difference in sound.More low mids.

What does that even mean?

RvChevron
10-02-2012, 09:10 AM
How much sonic difference really depends on how much the pickup is "potted".

The heavier the pickup is potted (less microphonic especially from the coil/windings), the less the difference.

Structo
10-02-2012, 09:48 AM
You can use surgical tubing or soft foam under the pickup to act as springs.
This helps feedback issues as well as performing as a height adjustment spring.