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  1. #1

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    I have an old 1930's Gibson archtop. I forget which model, but it's an "L" something with a small body and dot inlays. I believe it to be a student-to-midrange model. Anyway, there's no room under the strings to mount a pickup at the end of the fretboard. There's only about 1/4" clearance there. Has anyone made a pickup that mounts to the side of the fretboard but sits above the strings? I could see where it would get in the way of the picking hand but I could just mount it a few frets more towards the neck where I neither pick nor fret.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    Have you checked out Krivo pickups.

    Micro-Stealth PAF-Style Pickup for Archtop Jazz Guitar

  4. #3

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    A DeArmond "monkey on a stick" pickup would work, but you probably wouldn't be able to put the pickup up against the neck. It's usually a couple or three inches back on those. They come up for sale occasionally, and I think they sound really good.

  5. #4

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    A PU above the strings seems to be a somewhat awkward solution. Maybe a piezo under the bridge would give acceptable results. With careful additional eq-ing it might be possible to get a sound which resembles a magnetic PU.

  6. #5

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    Clamp a mic to the guitar.

  7. #6

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    I used a Fishman pickup for years that is basically a replacement bridge. Everybody and their grandma congratulated me on the sound. Still don't know why I recently swapped it for a floater.

  8. #7
    Thanks for the suggestions. I had considered mics and piezo pickups/bridges but I have a more electric sound in my head so I've been pretty set on a magnetic pickup. The Krivo may be the ticket. Any opinions on the sound?

    Has anyone found a way to buy the new Gretsch rhythm chief copy without buying the guitar? And how does it sound? The suggestion above of getting a DeArmond is interesting but they are rare and expensive.

  9. #8

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    I don't know where you live, but the Dearmond Rhythm Chief reissue pickups are available from Thomann, directly from Guilad, as well as plent of other stores...

  10. #9
    Is this Roman S from Austria who I met on the Steel Guitar Forum years ago and am friends with on Facebook? If so, this is James Ashley M.

  11. #10

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    I am not sure you're gonna be able to get a RC reissue under the strings the way you describe it...I have one on a Harmony, and offhand I would say it's at least 3/4" thick if not more.

    You might have to bite the bullet and cut into the guitar to mount a pickup. Or go the piezo route.

    Guitar Fetish sells a thin floater that is really cheap and actually sounds quite good--I installed it on a Godin 5th Avenue. It's about 5/8" thick. They also sell a surface mount vintage-style pickup that is low profile.

    KP - GFS NYII Pickups, Black/Chrome - Kwikplug™ Ready

    BTW, re' the MicroStealth pickup page I LOVE the guitar they feature that an Emerald? Looks like Koa or maybe Cocobolo...

  12. #11

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    Rhythm Chief reissue pickups are readily available from a number of sources. But I don't think they will fit under the strings at the end of the neck. The original DeArmond monkey-on-a-stick pickups are not that uncommon on Reverb or other sites. They are not cheap, but if that's the only feasible choice, you may have to pay the price. There are no pickups that I know of that mount above the strings. Your options are the DeArmond or to route a hole in the top for a set pickup. The Krivo magnetic pickup might work, but I have never had the opportunity to measure one, so I can't say.

  13. #12

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    James, that's me, indeed, small world...

    Here are a few other suggestions for very slim pickups, all of those have to be mounted to the top of the guitar, though (with screws or double-sided sticky tape...):

    Hershey Bar(R) – Mojo Pickups


    Sixtus flat guitar pickups - Elmar Zeilhofer

    Ultra Slim Acoustic (USA) Sensor
    – Lace Music Products

  14. #13

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    Blu-Tack works better than double-sided tape, IME. It leaves no residue, and won't harm finishes, plus gives better contact. I use it under my Rhythm Chief, and it works very well for me.

  15. #14

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    [QUOTE=Sabicas;994555]I have an old 1930's Gibson archtop. I forget which model, but it's an "L" something with a small body and dot inlays. /QUOTE]

    Sounds like it might be a L-30 or L-35. My guess is that the Krivo micro-stealth might work out well. A DeArmond rhythm chief or "mike" is too thick and you can only get it about half-way up between the bridge and bottom of the neck.

    (Interestingly enough a 1930's Gibson L-30 was BB King's first guitar and a picture of it shows a DeArmond "mike" attached (halfway or midpoint between the bridge and bottom of the neck). It turns out the famous story about BB King naming all his guitar Lucille after a fight and a fire broke out at a bar where he ran back in to rescue his guitar, the guitar was the L-30 and not an ES-335 or 355 as he's most known for playing.)

  16. #15
    Here it is. It was my dad’s. He bought it in the 60’s.

    pickup that mounts ABOVE the strings?-bc1901f5-a25f-419e-9794-85f12110b5b5-jpg

  17. #16

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    I have a reissue DeArmond RC1100. It’s fairly thin, but you also need to leave some space between the top of the poles and the strings. I think you’d need at least 1/2” clearance between the soundboard and strings to be sure it would work.

  18. #17

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    Based on the photo of your guitar, it looks like a 1940s Gibson L-30. I still think the deArmonds are too thick for it. String clearance between your body and string is probably around 9 mm near the neck and 14 mm halfway between the neck and bridge. (I base these measurements from my own 1935 L-30.)

    A deArmond RC1000 (reissue) is 9 mm thick and the RC 1100 (reissue) 11 mm thick. An original deArmond FCU "Mike" is also around 11 mm thick. With any of these pickups you will be limited to keeping your pickup close to the bridge. Forget about putting it near the neck.

    Meanwhile, a Krivo micro-stealth is about 6.5 mm thick. It will give you much better options for pickup placement, including possibly right up to the bottom of your neck.

    Good luck with your choice. Nice guitar by the way...

  19. #18

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    I use a krivo (the micro manouche model) and absolutely love it. My guitar actually has a fair amount of clearance underneath the strings but went for a Krivo simply for the ease of use and ability to maintain my guitar acoustic and attach the pickup easily when I want, and am very happy I did. I actually originally ordered the micro stealth PAF but it wasn't balancing well with acoustic strings (sounded great though), but Jason was kind enough to let me return and exchange for a micro manouche - highly recommend Krivo both for the pickups and the customer service.

  20. #19
    Thanks for the input. Krivo looks like the way to go. In fact, they are made in the same town (Portland, OR) where I currently live so I'd be supporting a local business.

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by archtopeddy
    Good luck with your choice. Nice guitar by the way...
    Thanks. I actually prefer the size and the tone over just about any acoustic guitar I've ever tried. It's the only guitar that I own (quite a few) that I don't second guess or hear differently from day to day. It's got the right kind of character.