1/09 - Jens Moller -
Adding 1/4 inch Jacks
to an Acoustic Guitar
You decided to add a pickup to your acoustic guitar. You want to put a 1/4 inch phone jack in, but
its not easy to reach inside - is there a simpler way?
Drill your 5/8 inch hole...
A 1/4 inch (6.35 mm) phone jack uses a 5/16 inch (8.0 mm) hole for the jack hardware.
You will need to drill a hole (if there isn't one there already) for the jack.
In my case, I have a piezo transducer (a 3/4 inch diameter (approx 19 mm) piezo buzzer element)
that was glued (using silicon glue) against the underside of the bridge near the high `E` string), and
a cheap Stratocaster type of humbucking pickup to hook up - that means 2 holes.
You will find that you often need to ground the strings to the ground connection of your jacks - you
will see that I added a a blue wire that connects to end piece (this acoustic guitar used to
be a cheap 12 string, but it played horribly with 12 strings on it - it does not have a glued on bridge).
If you want to do something similar, but can't find a solder on tab with a 1/4 inch hole in it, look at
an auto parts store - they sell them there.
Check to make sure the hole is the right size before starting to pull anything in.
Solder up everything first. Make sure the wires are all long enough - a little extra length is a good thing.
The yellow wire you see connects the grounds of the 2 jacks together.
How the heck do you reach in...
I use a 1/4 inch wooden dowel rod (I am not sure what size this would be in mm, but a 6.0 mm should work if its available)
to run thru the holes an into the body - making it a simple task to pull them out again. The dowel rods need to be
about 2 feet long (about 60 cm). Hardware stores and woodworking supply stores sell wooden dowel rods.
Step 1 - Slide in the wooden dowel rods
Step 2 - Slide the 1/4 inch jacks onto the wooden dowel rods,
make sure that the jack 'tip' arm is pressing on them.
Step 3 - Pull the wooden dowel rods out of the guitar - be
easy on them. Work them out into the holes you drilled.
Step 4 - Put the washer (or solder tab as I did here) on,
then twist the
nut on the threads by hand. Once reasonably
hand tight, finish tighten using a wrench or pliers (be careful),
then pull out the wooden dowel rod (once its tight).
Obviously, you could have put that ground wire inside the guitar (the blue one you see in my photos), but since this
guitar is for use at home (with the 2 pickups I mentioned, it records exceptionally well with
both pickups connected right into the mixer board -
which is amazing considering its a old cheap guitar with a plywood top), I don't really care.
If you have a guitar you want to add a pickup and jack to, and you don't even want to
bother removing the strings, this is a way to simplify the effort.
Note: This also works on violins if you can find a small enough jack! 1/8 inch or 3/16 inch jacks may be used.
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