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  1. #1

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    I've got this weird hybrid guitar - a flat top acoustic with f-holes rather than a standard sound hole. The finger board is as on any other flat top, so about 3 to 4mm above the soundboard.

    I'd like to put a mini humbucker at the end of the fingerboard but there isn't the right clearance. Could I route a hole in the top, stopping short of any bracing, to allow a little extra clearance without ruining the rather good acoustic tone?

    If I did, what would be the best way to secure it? I'm pretty sure there isn't room for a full sized humbucker with surround.




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  3. #2

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    I don't think this route will drastically alter the acoustic sound of your guitar since at this spot the soundboard is very stiff to begin with. Re fastening a pickup I've been very happy with using silicone putty as a removable "glue" - I've stuck a floater directly onto the soundboard with that stuff and removed it without a trace when I sold the guitar.

    Check out this pickup since it's VERY thin :
    Micro-Manouche Universal Humbucking pickup for all Guitars.

  4. #3

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    Look at the AD65e (the successor to your model) for inspiration. It has a set P90 in (or on - I can’t tell which) the top and is probably what you envision. You could have a thin pickup installed in yours or move to the 65 - it’d be very helpful to see the undersurface of the top. There are a few for sale on Reverb at present.

    That MicroManouche looks cool too. I’ve never seen one and would love to know how it sounds. The fact that it’s said to work equally well with most metal strings is very interesting.

    The alternative is a piezo or hybrid pickup of some kind. This wouldn’t give you a classic archtop tone, but I’ve never heard a 65e and have no idea how it sounds through an amp either.

  5. #4

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    Since this guitar is by the looks of it constructed like a flat top steel string guitar it will sound like a steelstring with a magnetic pickup, NOT like an archtop- the fact that it has a pair of F-holes instead of a central round soundhole does not convert it into a different guitar.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    Since this guitar is by the looks of it constructed like a flat top steel string guitar it will sound like a steelstring with a magnetic pickup, NOT like an archtop- the fact that it has a pair of F-holes instead of a central round soundhole does not convert it into a different guitar.
    Well, yes and no. It doesn't sound like an archtop but nor does it sound like a standard steel string acoustic. It's somewhere in the middle.

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  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    Since this guitar is by the looks of it constructed like a flat top steel string guitar it will sound like a steelstring with a magnetic pickup, NOT like an archtop- the fact that it has a pair of F-holes instead of a central round soundhole does not convert it into a different guitar.
    That's what I thought too. But I found a few reviews of the AD65e with a P90 that describe its amplified sound as "halfway between a flattop and an archtop". These are not cannons by all reports - the bottom end is described by most reviewers as sounding thinner & more like a laminated small body than a solid top dread or jumbo. One web discussion includes a post from an owner that says his 5055 is ladder braced, which makes sense. I'd be very surprised if the upper transverse brace between the sound hole and neck found in round hole flattops is anywhere close to as heavy in this one, as it prevents top vibration in an area that contributes little to the sound of a round hole instrument but a lot more with F holes.

    The first 5055 was a knockoff of a J200 and is reportedly a cannon. But the OP's is the later F-hole version, by all accounts a totally different and much tamer guitar. I'm assuming (with no basis in fact) that the 65 is built much like the 5055 and would sound similar with a P90 or humbucker.

  8. #7

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    They are very similar guitars. I think the main development between the 5055 and the AD65 was some binding around the headstock. I've seen pictures of the ones with the P90. I assume there must have been a change in geometry somewhere because on mine there is no room for one.

    Mine has an undersaddle active piezo which brings, frankly, nothing to the party.

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  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gladders
    They are very similar guitars. I think the main development between the 5055 and the AD65 was some binding around the headstock. I've seen pictures of the ones with the P90. I assume there must have been a change in geometry somewhere because on mine there is no room for one.
    Looking at the pictures I see of the 65e with P90 and assuming that it has ladder bracing, I suspect that the pickup is cut into the top rather than surface mounted. If this is correct, you could have a luthier mount a pickup with little difficulty, but at a cost that might make it more practical for you to switch to a 65e. I have no idea how expensive it would be to mount a pickup, controls, and a jack - it's not hard, but it's time consuming and has to be done right. It would be great (and for me, essential) if you could play or at least hear a 65e first, to know that you like the sound you'd be getting. If you really want a true archtop sound (whether thunky, woody, or somewhere between), I suspect you won't get it from these Alvarez models.

    Trying to make a guitar sound like something it's not reminds me of the story about the old man who went to the ballet and saw toe dancing for the first time. He looked at the dancers up on their toes and said, "If they wanted tall girls, they should have hired tall girls."

  10. #9

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    That's interesting. The AD65 is the same as the 5055 with a few cosmetic changes. The AD65e is actually an archtop with floating bridge, tailpiece and pickup.

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  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit

    Trying to make a guitar sound like something it's not reminds me of the story about the old man who went to the ballet and saw toe dancing for the first time. He looked at the dancers up on their toes and said, "If they wanted tall girls, they should have hired tall girls."
    I take your point but I've got an archtop. I just like this guitar and wonder what it would be like with a pickup mounted. It's cheap, so if it's a disaster, I'll just chalk it down to experience.

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  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gladders
    I take your point but I've got an archtop. I just like this guitar and wonder what it would be like with a pickup mounted. It's cheap, so if it's a disaster, I'll just chalk it down to experience.

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    In that case, it’s a great project. You may find a new and different sound that’s really good! Let a luthier look at it to check the bracing. If there’s plenty of room for a set pickup between the braces, it should be an easy job.

    I saw a few posts from owners of 65 electrics about raising the pickups in their mounting rings to get more output. So even the limited string clearance over the top was apparently more than enough. One owner said he thought the stock pickup was a P90 style from an Epiphone. It does look like the one on a ‘90s Epi Junior, as I recall.

    Please let us know what you decide to do and how it works out.

  13. #12

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    Beautiful guitar! Which does not say anything about the sound, of course.

    I once had a difficulties to find a thin enough PAF kinda pickup to my floater ES-165. I asked Pete Biltoft about it and he made one, fast and reasonably priced. And it sounded good too.

    You coud ask him for a ’on the top’ version of a pickup.

    Oh, the Lollar Gold Foils are quite thin too. Great pickups!
    Gold Foil Pickups: Handmade in USA | Lollar Pickups