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  1. #1

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    Hi,

    I saw an interesting YouTube video where a jazz guitarist named Rich Severson talks about an idea he got from visiting the heritage guitar factory. He puts either a nylon washer or a thin cut piece of surgical tubing between the pickup rings and the top where the screw to mount the rings goes.
    He called this suspending the mounted pickup.

    He said that it is similar floating the pickups and can make a dead sounding guitar top come alive more.

    I was wondering if anyone has tried this and got positive results.

    Was thinking on trying on a 76 dual humbucker L5.

    Here is the full video





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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    this is interesting - and RS has got a lot of very helpful stuff online - great guitar comparisons for jazz players - and very practical lessons (try re-learning all your scale fingerings using just the two easiest fingers - 1 & 3) - reminds me of when i replaced the pickup springs on an LS17 with surgical tubing in order to stop buzzing - it stopped the buzzing alright - but it made the whole guitar feel dead (like someone had wrapped it in a blanket)i just could not believe the impact that bit of rubber had on the sound of this laminated instrument. i had to put the buzzy springs back in (the solution was very long springs not rubber tubing)everything matters on a jazz guitar even what earings you're wearing

  4. #3

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    These artifacts really only play a role when you're playing un-amplified, at least in my previous experience. The pickup-springs, tunomatic screws, the tailpiece etc. can all introduce sympathetic vibrations OR actually hinder the maximum resonance of the instrument. The idea of de-coupling the heavy pickups from the top (at least in terms of not transferring extra string/vibration-energy to them and thereby loosing this energy as their mass does not transfer it back into the top) is worthy of further investigation and experimentation....

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by gitman View Post
    These artifacts really only play a role when you're playing un-amplified, at least in my previous experience. The pickup-springs, tunomatic screws, the tailpiece etc. can all introduce sympathetic vibrations OR actually hinder the maximum resonance of the instrument. The idea of de-coupling the heavy pickups from the top (at least in terms of not transferring extra string/vibration-energy to them and thereby loosing this energy as their mass does not transfer it back into the top) is worthy of further investigation and experimentation....
    In my experience in playing situations, having as much acoustic tone from the guitar as possible makes the guitar feel snapper and makes it easier to play and groove on, whether you are playing electrically or acoustically. It’s so important to me because i like my guitar to be percussive. I’m always looking to improve my guitar’s percussiveness tone. I also work on bringing an acoustic like tone out when I’m practicing. I’m a die hard user of flats too, so I’ll take whatever acoustic tone I can get!


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  6. #5

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    I've done a little amateur experimentation, and I think there is a difference in tone between having the pickup firmly attached and suspended. I haven't tried putting washers under the pickup ring, though. I think having the pickup vibrating with the top, under the vibrating strings, gives a richer tone. I have a DeArmond 1100 mounted on my carved top Wu, and I hear a difference in the sound between having it floating and having it coupled to the top via Blu-Tack. I prefer the sound with the Blu-Tack between the top and pickup by a large margin, and I can hear no difference in acoustic tone or volume with or without the Blu-Tack. I considered installing a set humbucker, but I've given that up because the guitar sounds so good as it is. I did install a SD Benedetto A6 pickup in my big Wu, with an ebony pickup ring, fitted and firmly attached to the top, and that sounds great also. I want the pickup to vibrate along with the top, because I prefer that sound. YMMV.

  7. #6

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    I allways take the scratch plate/pick guard off mine, I believe it helps not haveing the lower f hole covered. The strings are high enough that my pick wont hit the guitar body. I also take the covers off my humbuckers because the metal covering half the poles makes them sound muddy, with the poles exposed they sound more clean and articulate. I think the washer under the pickup ring could make the top a little more resonate, I guess you could trim the bottom of the ring so it dosent sit on the body would do the same thing.

  8. #7

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    I'm ambivalent about pickguards. It depends on the guitar. My carved archtops have none, but some of the laminates do. From time to time I might remove or replace one, just because.

  9. #8
    I did briefly try unscrewing the bridge pickup and sort of letting it hang there a bit and noticed a slight change in the acoustic presence.

    Before I go and do this, does anyone think that inserting a small nylon washer or piece of oxygen in the 4 places where the bracket meets the top could cause any undue a stress on the top. Since it would be just 4 corners touching the top would a smaller distribution of the weight of the pickup potentially lead to a crack, especially in a solid top L5?


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  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzer04 View Post
    I did briefly try unscrewing the bridge pickup and sort of letting it hang there a bit and noticed a slight change in the acoustic presence.

    Before I go and do this, does anyone think that inserting a small nylon washer or piece of oxygen in the 4 places where the bracket meets the top could cause any undue a stress on the top. Since it would be just 4 corners touching the top would a smaller distribution of the weight of the pickup potentially lead to a crack, especially in a solid top L5?


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    Doubt you could do any damage unless you really over tighten it, and maybe not even then.

  11. #10

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    I play my Super-400CES with larger groups and also with my organ trio so the volume level is quite high. Not ear-splitting loud but still a bit more than with just drúms, a single horn/singer and bass. I also go for a decidedly electric archtop tone in the tradition of Kenny Burrell, Wes, Benson, Martino, Malone etc. so an acoustic overtone is not really wanted. Nevertheless I still think that the added weight of the pickups and the resultant loss of vibrational energy driving the top is a relevant factor re the VOLUME of the guitar : when the top vibrates freely and to it's full potential more energy is fed back into the string and you can use the full dynamic range of the guitar - it doesn't clam up under a heavy attack but translates the pick attack into a louder and stronger signal via the de-coupled pickups.

    Point-in-case : I ordered my Trenier Jazz Special (a lam-top 16" ) with a floating pickup - an Armstrong single coil - and it is a LOUD barker, both with and without amplification ! I can really dig in when comping and she just keeps going, driving that un-hindered top so efficiently that I can even roll down the pickup volume completely and still get heard behind the bass and sax in my drummer-less trio.

  12. #11

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    I did this on 3 of my guitars. Used the nylon washers. It works as advertised. Not a miracle but does add some acoustic tone. It is noticeable when amplified.

  13. #12

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    I did this several months ago to my Herb Ellis Aria Pro ii after watching Rich's video. I went to the local hardware store and bought 4 rubber "o" rings (very small ones) and put them under the bridge PU ring only. It was a noticeable difference in the acoustic sound of the instrument. Not like a carved top but it did open up the sound and is more acoustic sounding. It's really a non-intrusive modification that takes only minutes to install and if you don't like it, it's easy to go back to original. I'm a fan

  14. #13

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    rickenbacker has been doing this for decades...rubber grommets

    Nylon Washers under Mounted Pickup Rings-110133-jpg

    cheers

  15. #14

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    Screws still have hard contact with the body and the pickup ring in this set up. So vibrations are still transferred to the pickups through the stem of the screws. What I did in the past to alleviate that is, I put small washers (thinly cut rings of surgical tubes) under the head of the screws as well. So there will be washers between screw heads and the pickup ring. That decouples the pickups from the body almost completely.

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by skiboyny View Post
    I did this on 3 of my guitars. Used the nylon washers. It works as advertised. Not a miracle but does add some acoustic tone. It is noticeable when amplified.
    Sweet, can’t wait to try. What size washers did you use and where did you get em?


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  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zina View Post
    ......I thought I only imagined it, but the VU meter on my tapemachine shows it's true; 1.5db in the same microphone position. That's a lot, no?.....
    To me 1.5 dB in the same microphone position is not a lot at all for a guitar, where the slightest difference in the way a note or chord is struck (and various other factors) could be responsible.

    I don't doubt that you are hearing a real difference from the scratch plate removal though.

  18. #17
    Well I got some o rings from Home Depot. The smallest ones. I can’t say it made enough of a difference yet that it was worth the effort. At least it wasn’t the difference I was hoping for.

    We’ll see in a few days!



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  19. #18

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    I got them from e-bay seller from hong kong cost like a dollar. Not sure what size m3 maybe?? They are black, small enough to sit under the rings and not show at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzer04 View Post
    Sweet, can’t wait to try. What size washers did you use and where did you get em?


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  20. #19

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    Results depend on the guitar (and player's taste). Not every guitar sound better with this mod IMO. My Byrdland sounded too throaty and muffled when I put washers. I removed the bridge pickup after it was the same. Putting washers gets you close to the sound without the bridge pickup (if it's done right). Byrdland is a shallow depth guitar without much bass response . Because of that the acoustic sound got too unbalanced with overpowering mids and lower mids. I removed the washers it sounds wonderful and very balanced now with directly screwed pickups (ie stock configuration).
    On the other hand my ES 175 benefited from washers. It depends on the guitar.

    If you don't put washers, you may still need to address possible ratting of the bridge pickup. I put picks between pickups and pickup rings (more like pieces cut from suitable picks).
    Also if you're putting washers, I think it's important to not to tighten the screws very much. Leave them a bit loose but still stable to get the most out of this mod.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 10-17-2019 at 12:47 PM.

  21. #20

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    Even if you just *think* it sounds better, that helps! Right?

  22. #21
    Actually I thinking I’m finding a more clear and hollow/woody tone with the mod on my 76 l5, electrically but a less noticeable change acoustically

    I did it to both pickups



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