Will you be able to install an Amulet system in your guitar ?
Well, the quick answer is: probably!
Of course, you'll need a better answer than that; please read on for the info
you need to know in order to be able to answer that question for your guitar
Our Amulet® systems can be installed in most steel string guitars with standard bracing, but there are things you should check on in order to be sure about your guitar. Here are some questions answered that will give you the info you need, and if you still have any questions about the suitability of our systems for your particular instrument, please feel free to contact us!
So what about my particular steel string guitar? Do you have a list of guitars that will work with the system ?
With the amazing variety of acoustic steel string guitars available these days, there's no way for us to be familiar with the construction of all of them.
We see a lot of guitars here, but we haven't seen everything, so it's a good idea to check things out yourself. Our pickups are installed inside the guitar on the bridgeplate at about the saddle line, and in general, most steel string guitars have standard bracing that will allow for placing the pickups in that location.
Here's how to check to make sure your guitar's bridgeplate doesn't have any space conflicts -
If you haven't already, please check out our pickup install instructions. This will show you where on the bridgeplate the Acoustic Lens pickups are installed, and you can look inside your instrument to see if there is bracing or a space conflict in that location. The footprint of each Lens is 1" x 3/8", and you can make a couple of proper-size models by cutting up a business card or old credit card to check things out. We suggest making a template out of cardboard as
described in the instructions and, using that with the Lens footprint size, you can place the template inside your instrument to see if there is anything blocking the area where the Lenses need to be, or if there is sufficient space on the bridgeplate.
You keep saying "steel string guitar", but I have a classical nylon string guitar that I really want to use your pickups in
Unfortunately, we probably can't help you. Most classical guitars are constructed with fan bracing, which blocks the area of the bridgeplate where the pickups need to be installed. We haven't seen a classical guitar that doesn't have this issue. If you find a classical guitar that has a different bracing style that will accommodate our pickups, we'd love to hear about it; please let us know!
What about my vintage guitar?
Many vintage instruments are great candidates for our systems, but some vintage guitars were built with very small bridgeplates (some older Martin® guitars, for example), so it's especially important to check out the bridgeplate for space conflicts (see info on checking for space conflicts above). We also recommend checking your endblock depth (see below).
So what about my endblock depth? Do I need to know what it is?
We have yet to meet an endblock that the original Amulet stereo system's custom endpin can't accomodate! And even with the Amulet M series, it's not an issue for most modern guitars, but it's a good idea to check your endblock depth especially if you have a vintage guitar. Please check out our detailed info on how to do that here.
NOTE: both the Amulet stereo system and the Amulet M systems utilize a standard 15/32" (1/2") endpin jack hole. Many guitars come already equipped with this standard size hole; if yours doesn't, contact your local luthier or guitar repair person to do the job!
What about different types of wood? Does it matter what kind of wood my guitar is built from?
Not at all! Our pickups will be happy with any wood you choose.
I had a pickup installed on the bridgeplate with superglue but it's been removed. Is that a problem? What about pickups installed with epoxy or plastic epoxy?
Superglue on the bridgeplate often renders it unusable for our pickups for a number of reasons. Superglue soaks into the fibers of the bridgeplate wood, and unpredictably and permanently alters the characteristics of the way that it transmits vibration (which is what our pickups listen to to do their job). The same holds true for epoxy and plastic epoxy. It's very difficult to sand smooth this type of damaged bridgeplate to restore a surface that we can reliably bond to for our transducers, and the bridgeplate often has a varying vibration response because of the random way the superglue fills and changes the stiffness characteristics of the wood when it's applied for installation. This can change the frequency response or volume level (or both) of the pickup, making it difficult to get a good result. Sometimes this isn't a problem, but sometimes the only reliable fix is to have the bridgeplate removed, and replace it with a non-damaged one (not a trivial task).
The special adhesives we provide to install our Acoustic Lens pickups will never soak into the wood or damage your guitar's bridgeplate!
What about the saddle? Can I install a system with an undersaddle pickup in my guitar?
If there is an undersaddle pickup already installed, we recommend removing the pickup and having a solid saddle of the proper height made before installing our pickups. Anything under the saddle, like a pickup or shims, will act as a vibration sponge and will block how our pickups can best function.
What about my carbon fiber guitar?
Carbon fiber is not a good candidate for our systems. The material responds very differently than wood, and our pickups are not designed to accommodate the differences.
What about Lowden® guitars?
Lowden guitars, because of various things about their construction, are usually not very good candidates for installation of our transducers. Because of the pinless bridge design, there is no easy way to implement the template install method we recommend.
That means that you have to do any placement of the transducers via mirrors placed inside the instrument, which makes proper placement considerably more difficult. We've also found that the bracing tends to cross over the bridgeplate area too closely, blocking the ideal locations for the transducer placement. And the split saddle design can cause problems as well. We've seen instruments where the short saddle slot is cut at an angle, making the high E depth less than the B, and affecting the volume produced by each at our transducers. This has necessitated re-cutting the saddle slot so it is flat to the top to get a proper balance.
We do not recommend installing on a Lowden.
I have a guitar with Kasha bracing (i.e. : a Klein® guitar, or a Gibson® Mark series); can I still install your pickups?
Unfortunately, no. Kasha Bracing has elements that block the bridgeplate which makes installing our pickups impossible.
My guitar has a non-standard bridge (i.e.: a JLD Bridge System/Bridge Doctor® or an adjustable bridge, or a floating bridge). Can I still use your systems?
Unfortunately, no. The Bridge Doctor (frequently used in Breedlove® guitars) blocks the area where the pickups are installed. Adjustable bridges and floating bridges present a different problem; our pickups function by getting the vibration of the strings directly through the saddle. As these types of bridges are supported on either side by an adjusting screw, the vibration isn't transferred to the bridgeplate evenly, so our pickups can't capture a balanced sound from your strings.
Well, that about covers it! Please contact us with any questions, or to place an order. And we're always happy to help guide you through the install process once you've chosen your Amulet system!