Dumbest or brilliant archtop question, I can't decide

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
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44,888
I tried Googling for info. on this and found absolutely nothing so maybe I'm the first person in the world to ask about it. Which may make me the dumbest SOB on the block or brilliantly original, I can't tell! But here goes ...

I have a small, true hollowbody archtop guitar. I LOVE its acoustic tone. I LOVE its playability. But I don't care for how it sounds amplified and I've already tried a variety of pickups so I think what the issue is is that I just don't like amplified archtop tone all that much.

This is my #1 guitar now for learning new songs, noodling while watching TV, or just playing guitar unamplified.

So here's my question. Cosmetics aside, if I simply pulled the PUPs and left the pickup holes empty, how would that sound? Would the guitar sound a bit more like an acoustic guitar due to the pair of smaller, rectangular "soundholes?" Or would it just sound like crap?

I realize my question is kinda like asking what's the sound of one hand clapping? The best answer is, "Jon, pull the PUPs and find out for yourself!" And I just might do that eventually. But pulling the PUPs is easy. Putting them back a bit harder.

So I thought I'd ask here first. There are so many nut cases here just like me, maybe someone else has actually already done this and can report on it. :eek: :)
 

dreadheadhaha

Member
Messages
255
I have a hollow body that I made in high school... not the best guitar to play, but I still like to pick it up. I harvested the electronics and left the holes. It got a bit louder than with just the f-holes open.

I think if you like the sound already, then go for it. If you don't like the results AND you don't plan to play it as an electric, then you could simply put the pickups back in without wiring them.
 

doc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,774
My bet is not a lot of change to the sound, but no worse. The minuscule change will be mostly noticeable to someone listening in front of you, not to you while playing anyway.
 

lemonpaul59

Member
Messages
2,065
I tried Googling for info. on this and found absolutely nothing so maybe I'm the first person in the world to ask about it. Which may make me the dumbest SOB on the block or brilliantly original, I can't tell! But here goes ...

I have a small, true hollowbody archtop guitar. I LOVE its acoustic tone. I LOVE its playability. But I don't care for how it sounds amplified and I've already tried a variety of pickups so I think what the issue is is that I just don't like amplified archtop tone all that much.

This is my #1 guitar now for learning new songs, noodling while watching TV, or just playing guitar unamplified.

So here's my question. Cosmetics aside, if I simply pulled the PUPs and left the pickup holes empty, how would that sound? Would the guitar sound a bit more like an acoustic guitar due to the pair of smaller, rectangular "soundholes?" Or would it just sound like crap?

I realize my question is kinda like asking what's the sound of one hand clapping? The best answer is, "Jon, pull the PUPs and find out for yourself!" And I just might do that eventually. But pulling the PUPs is easy. Putting them back a bit harder.

So I thought I'd ask here first. There are so many nut cases here just like me, maybe someone else has actually already done this and can report on it. :eek: :)


Not worth the effort. Kindly leave it as is for the next generation.
Removing the pickups won't enhance the tone, thought it might be a bit louder.

What type of amp have you used with this guitar?
 

Rotten

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,752
Some people like one pickup hollowbodies and floating pickup hollow bodies under the theory that most of the sound/tone comes from the way the top vibrates. I think that would be true. However, the hollowbody guitars that I play are laminate tops, which are made to resist feedback. I would think that with those, other than having a small sound hole or two, the effect would be negligible.

One thing you might try is changing the bridge. A wood bridge to metal or vice versa can make a noticeable difference plugged in, in my experience.
 

Whiskey N Beans

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,097
Put some P90s or DeArmonds (or T-Armonds from TV Jones) in it and don't look back. If it sounds good acoustically, it will sound good with the right pickups. Plus - play loud through the amp(s). Bedroom volumes where you hear both the acoustic and amplified tones can be a bit weird and off-putting sounding. If you like it unplugged, you owe it to yourself to get someone to wind the right pickups for you.
 

NotWesYet

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,358
I found the best luck of capturing the acoustic tone of an archtop by switching to a Benedetto A6 but I had to use the recommended 250k pots. Picked up a couple of Duncan easy turn or smooth turn pots (I foget what they are called) and a OIF cap and the little Eastman sounded exceptional.
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
44,888
Got any pics of it?
Brutonw-strap_zps52b8a94a.jpg
 

Whiskeyrebel

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
31,406
`If you have even a mm or two of adjustment left on the bridge height, you could get those film tab contact sensors that are designed to go under the bridge feet of a cello or double bass, and blend that with the magnetic pickup to make it sound more like its acoustic voice.

I did something similar on a thinline Epiphone hollowbody, except I used a Fishman archtop pickup which is built into an ebony bridge. It has sensors sandwiched between the one-piece wood saddle and the bridge base. Trapping sensors between the bridge feet and the guitar's top would functionally give you a similar signal, albeit with more vibration from the top relative to the strings.

Because my guitar originally had a TOM style bridge with nylon saddles, the Fishman bridge actually improved its acoustic sound. Seeing as you are pleased with the sound of your stock bridge, I thought you might not bee keen on the idea of swapping it. For that reason I suggested the pickups that would work with your existing bridge.

Fishman does sell "Full Circle" sensors that would replace the height thumbwheels on your bridge, but they cost more than the complete bridge assembly!

Incidentally, I installed a Baggs CTRLX preamp for buffering and blending.
 

Jon C

Member
Messages
17,877
I'd not pull pickups just to have those mounting holes open.

Minimal improvement IMO. Find pickups you think sound good (I'd be happy to play it plugged in and give my $.02 as a hollow body 'mo re the current sound) or just play it unplugged and enjoy it.
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
44,888
I'd not pull pickups just to have those mounting holes open.

Minimal improvement IMO. Find pickups you think sound good (I'd be happy to play it plugged in and give my $.02 as a hollow body 'mo re the current sound) or just play it unplugged and enjoy it.
I'll be watching the football game you care nothing about today from 1-4 - when can I expect you? ;)
 




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