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Can Electronics – Pickup, Built-In Microphone, Controls, Tuner – be fitted retrospectively to a Classical Guitar, and What is Involved?

Really the title of this article is asking a naive question: electronics are (almost) always fitted after the guitar is finished.

So what’s involved?

Typically the electronics consists of several parts which are fitted as follows –

  • A thin pick up which fits under the saddle: to fit this the strings are removed, the saddle is taken out, a very small hole is drilled in the saddle slot through the bridge and the soundboard (taking care to avoid any struts underneath!)
  • A controller box and battery holder (which in better models has a condensor microphone attached on the inside) : To fit this a rectangular piece (about 8cms x 6cms) is cut out of one side of the guitar and the controller slotted in and tightened up so that the hole is air-tight.
  • A socket which doubles as a strap post. To fit this a hole has to be drilled through the base of the guitar
  • To complete the job the 3 parts are wired together and the cables tied together to stop them rattling or buzzing inside the body

The whole process is best done by the original maker but is not a complex job for any competent luthier or even for the guitar’s owner if he or she is experienced in fine woodworking and a reasonable toolkit.