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Thread: 1/8" Pickup-Mounted Jacks for Hollow-Body Guitars?

  1. #1
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    1/8" Pickup-Mounted Jacks for Hollow-Body Guitars?

    Edit: that title should have said:

    1/8" Pickguard-Mounted Jacks for Hollow-Body Guitars


    I've run into a problem with one of my hollow-body guitars.

    After years of being careful never to tweak the 1/4" guitar cord all of my hollow-body guitars, it finally happened. I have a hollow-body that has a 1/4" jack mounted in the side of the guitar, and the plug got tweaked just enough to crack the finish. It's one of those guitars that directly mounts the 1/4" jack to the wood, rather than to a jackplate that's anchored to the wood.

    I've always been careful to only play those guitars plugged-in when standing up or when sitting on a stool. I always used a straight plug and kept away from banging it on anything. Recently I tried using a right-angle 1/4" plug, and that turned out to be a troublemaker, as it produced enough torque on the body to crack the guitar's finish (and maybe the wood underneath).

    Now I'm looking for options that eliminate the 1/4" jack on the lower bout of the guitar. I don't understand why all guitars have to have a ginormous 1/4" jack on them for use with a thick cable. It just seems bigger than what we really need. An 1/8" jack with a thin cable would be fine, and the smaller size might facilitate different placements.

    I've heard of jacks that go through the tail strap button. They require the hole for the tail button to be enlarged big enough to allow a jack to be placed inside of an enlarged button. Those would be great for playing on stage or sitting on a stool, but I think those would be in the way on the couch. I think that for couch use those would be just as dangerous as the bout-mounted jack.

    To protect a hollowbody, I'm thinking that it might make sense to mount a small, 1/8" jack somewhere that doesn't involve the guitar's soundboard or it's wooden sides... like mounting a jack horizontally under the pickguard, and to use a fine cable to run back to the strap anchor, looping it over the strap button to prevent pull-out.

    I'm wondering if anyone has done this, as now I'm looking for a way to mount a 1/8" jack (or something even smaller) sideways on the underside of a pickguard. The guitar of interest is an archtop design with a floating pickguard, with no pickups or controls mounted to the soundboard.

    I'm thinking that there has to be a way to anchor an 1/8" jack sideways under a pickguard, hiding it where it can't be seen. Can anyone recommend parts? I'm primarily interested in something that's invisible when the guitar is not plugged-in, and is small enough to be not objectionable when it is plugged in.
    Last edited by bob p; 11-04-2017 at 10:35 AM.
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  2. #2
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    MODS: Can someone edit the thread title to read "Pickguard" instead of "Pickup"? So it reads like this:

    1/8" Pickguard-Mounted Jacks for Hollow-Body Guitars

    thanks.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

  3. #3
    rjb
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    I've set up a Harmony Patrician in a similar manner. I just took an enclosed plastic body 1/8" jack (probably from Radio Shack) and epoxied it under the pickguard. The front of the jack is set back 1/2" or so from the edge, and over the F hole. A mini cable with right-angle 1/8" plug drops into the body, and runs to a 1/4" endpin jack. Endpin jacks don't go through the strap button; they replace the strap button. To install them, you do have to enlarge the hole in the endblock.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=endp...w=1366&bih=677


    Another way to mount an 1/8" jack would be to use an L-bracket (sometimes held in place by a control pot shaft).
    16327.jpg 16328.jpg


    For strain relief, you could wrap the cable around the trapeze tailpiece and over the strap button. It's been done before, but I think it's awkward and looks like ass. (I just wasted a chunk of time searching a borderline-comic photo I've seen of Kenny Burrel or Barney Kesssel or Tal Farlow or somebody....)

    As for the 1/4" plug getting in the way when you play on the couch, I can think of two solutions:
    1) Don't play on the couch.
    2) Don't plug in when you play on the couch. (Freddie Green never plugged in.)

    -rb
    bob p likes this.
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    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjb View Post
    For strain relief, you

    As for the 1/4" plug getting in the way when you play on the couch, I can think of two solutions:
    1) Don't play on the couch.
    2) Don't plug in when you play on the couch. (Freddie Green never plugged in.)

    -rb
    Just use a cord with a "right angle" plug on one end and run the cord behind your strap. And just put a larger plastic washer behind your 1/4" jack.

  5. #5
    rjb
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    Quote Originally Posted by olddawg View Post
    And just put a larger plastic washer behind your 1/4" jack.
    Nah, too easy. Then again, any job inside an archtop can turn out to be easier said than done....

    -rb

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    It goes without saying that I'm not Freddie Green.


    Quote Originally Posted by olddawg View Post
    Just use a cord with a "right angle" plug on one end and run the cord behind your strap. And just put a larger plastic washer behind your 1/4" jack.
    For 40 years I've managed to never fuck up an archtop with a straight 1/4" plug. Then, I got the bright idea to use a right-angle plug because it had a lower profile, and that's what did the damage. With a straight plug sticking out I know when I'm going to get into trouble. The problem with a right-angle plug is that it makes the damage occur silently. I thought that there was no problem when I was using the angled plug, but putting just a little bit of pressure on the shell ended up putting a lot of torque on the jack and splitting the finish. Right angled plugs are definitely not as innocuous as I had hoped. I transformed a dead-mint archtop into a very-good archtop because of the crack. I know, having an exposed wire looping around the trapeze may end up looking like ass, but if that keeps me from getting a crack at the output jack, then I'm willing to put up with it.

    For the time being I've gone back to the Tele for practicing jazz on the couch. As Keith Richards has shows us at 1:15, they're a lot more durable:




    On the subject of famous players looking silly with their gear, Barney Kessel got pissed off at Gibson and covered his headstock with black gaffer's tape at his performances just to stick it to Gibson. Eventually he had the logo stripped off and had the headstock refinished in gloss black. I think he started the trend of blacking out logos that's become so popular with today's rock acts that can't get endorsements.
    Last edited by bob p; 11-05-2017 at 07:05 PM.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

  7. #7
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjb View Post
    I've set up a Harmony Patrician in a similar manner. I just took an enclosed plastic body 1/8" jack (probably from Radio Shack) and epoxied it under the pickguard. The front of the jack is set back 1/2" or so from the edge, and over the F hole. A mini cable with right-angle 1/8" plug drops into the body, and runs to a 1/4" endpin jack. Endpin jacks don't go through the strap button; they replace the strap button. To install them, you do have to enlarge the hole in the endblock.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=endp...w=1366&bih=677


    Another way to mount an 1/8" jack would be to use an L-bracket (sometimes held in place by a control pot shaft).
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	45547 Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	45548


    For strain relief, you could wrap the cable around the trapeze tailpiece and over the strap button. It's been done before, but I think it's awkward and looks like ass. (I just wasted a chunk of time searching a borderline-comic photo I've seen of Kenny Burrel or Barney Kesssel or Tal Farlow or somebody....)

    As for the 1/4" plug getting in the way when you play on the couch, I can think of two solutions:
    1) Don't play on the couch.
    2) Don't plug in when you play on the couch. (Freddie Green never plugged in.)

    -rb
    I think endpin jacks would be great for use while standing up, or sitting on a stool, but not so good on the couch, as they're in an even worse location than the regular output jack... especially if you're wrestling a 17-inch guitar.

    But I really like the bracket idea. i was hoping to avoid gluing to the bottom of the pickguard because pickguard replacements can be hard to find for old archtops. I already have the pots mounted on the pickguard, so the bracket idea may work nicely. thanks. Where did you find that picture of GB's hardware? That's pure gold.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

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