The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  1. #1
    So I'm the original owner of a strange Takamine bird from 1985 an EF-381 M.
    It's an archtop per se, but equipped with a flat top glued bridge and round sound hole.

    I have a historic attachment to it. However, acoustically it's nothing spectacular.
    Originally the piezo system made it come alive when amplified.
    In 2009 a reapir job ended up replacing the bridge and killed the piezo.

    My main question is,
    can I remove the glued bridge, fill the holes left by it,
    add a trapeze tailpiece and a floating bridge + electric flatwound strings
    and try to add a pickup to get as close to a floating humbucker pickup sound
    as possible?

    Are there laws of physics here I am unaware?

    I know the floating neck pickup would be tough to pull off

    I am including some pics including a bad photoshopped mockup of the end result that willupset the photoshop gods out there.

    Any repair/luthier hands on ppl opinion would be welcomed.
    Attached Images Attached Images Can this be done? Mod an acoustic archtop into an electric swapping bridge types?-modtakamine-jpg 


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    MUCH more trouble and work and expense than it'll be worth ! This is actually a rare bird, the prototype of which was made for Ry Cooder back in the day....
    - In order for a floating bridge to function properly the neck-angle has to be more steep than on a regular flattop.
    - There won't be enough clearance for any floating pickup. Have you tried a soundhole pickup ? The old DeArmonds are quite cheap and sound absolutely cool !
    - The bracing of an archtop guitar differs radically from that of other types.
    - I've not handled this guitar personally but my guess is that the top is pressed, the arch quite shallow and it was never designed as an acoustic performer.

    Let this one stay as it is and save up for a real archtop- plenty of affordable and good-sounding/playing models are available. The easiest and cheapest solution : get a soundhole
    pickup designed for steelstrings (with adjustable poles) and plug in !

  4. #3

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    Probably there is not enough room vertically for a typical archtop type bridge. I would expect that the conversion, various customizations, and costs would be much more than the result would be worth. The OP also said, "acoustically it's nothing spectacular." If it's nothing spectacular now, then extensive modifications will just make it an expensive "nothing spectacular".

    Additionally, the OP wrote "Originally the piezo system made it come alive when amplified." Why not have someone install a new, high-quality piezo system? That would be cheaper than the extensive modifications the OP described, and would be more likely to have an acceptable result. You could instead install a high-quality soundhole pickup like a Sunrise - relatively modest price, minimal modifications, likely acceptable result.

    This Tak is not an L5 and will never approach the sound of an L5. If an archtop is what you want, buy an archtop.

  5. #4
    Well, you've cleared the fog in my mind. Although there is a slight downward angle, it would not be sufficient to accommodate a floating bridge, you are right. And, yeah, a combo of flatwound strings and a sound hole mag pickup, may get it to sounding decent. Thank you for your advice.

  6. #5
    Yeah, sure don't want a "an expensive "nothing spectacular" " ! Lol. I don't know where this category of guitar falls into.
    Reminds me of an austrich. A bird with wings that cannot fly. That being said, a good mic would give it a boost. Thank you.

  7. #6

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    A soundhole pickup, as has been noted, will get you amplified in a economical fashion. Radically changing the basic geometry of an acoustic guitar is not advisable. Reversible mods are best mods, IMHO. Get the most from what you have, and save coin for something else - there are many, many good options these days. good luck in your quest!