Prismatone host guitar

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Prismatone host guitar

Postby George Beasley » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:51 am

I have had my Prismatone for about a year, but have not yet installed it, as I did not have a guitar that I wanted to put it in. About 6 weeks ago, I became aware of a 1970's Aria model 780 classic guitar at a local guitar shop in Peoria. It has a good feeling neck, sounds decent acoustically, is in decent shape....and was CHEAP ($100). I bought it tonight. I think it may be the perfect host for this pickup.

Question....if I route the current bridge to accept the pickup, lining up the existing saddle with the saddle of the Prismatone, the pickup will extend beyond the existing bridge wood. Is it acceptable to place a shim under the leading edge of the Prismatone...or should I remove the bridge and replace with one purpose-built to Prismatone specs.

Also note that removal of the wood to accept the pickup will result in no place to attach the intonation screws...though Chet, Paul, and others just use a brad to attach the pickup, and forgo those screws.

Thoughts? Pics attached:
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Thanks,
George
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Re: Prismatone host guitar

Postby craigdobbins » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:52 am

George-

That's exactly how you do it. It doesn't matter if the Prismatone extends beyond the front of the bridge, just so the saddle lines up properly. That's normal, unless the bridge was designed and placed with the pickup in mind. It's also normal to shim the pickup. As far as the screws, just pinning the bridge is fine, too.

On my McCullough Clawmaster, the pickup has a wood shim underneath to set the action. The bridge was designed to accept the pickup, so it uses the intonation screws. On my old Takamine (with a vintage 1960's Prismatone), the replacement bridge was routed for the pickup, so it extends a little beyond the front edge. It didn't need a shim underneath- as a matter of fact, it's routed almost down to the top of the guitar, to get the action right. (The neck is set at a lower angle.)

On the Takamine, I actually glued the pickup into place with a few drops of Elmer's wood glue, with the pickup held in place by string tension while it dried. It's held since the mid-90's, with near-perfect intonation.

It is important for the pickup to rest on a flat surface with good contact.

Hope this helps.

Craig
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Re: Prismatone host guitar

Postby PhilHunt » Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:40 am

George,
Craig is right, make sure it is perfectly flat underneath the pickup (weather it's the bridge itself or a shim). If you wanna keep the adjustment pole screws, you need to get another bridge from Mel or Keith Adams and let an expert mount it (someone good).It looks nicer that way. Now, if you wanna take a gamble (if you're not bothered about doing surgery on it yourself), you can rout that bridge out and remove the pins and the pole pieces on the pickup and slap it right on there. Mind you though, like Craig said, you may have to go almost all the way to the body when routing, sanding, chiseling...or whatever because if you don't the action will be too high. You can always shim it underneath to raise the action. It took me all day to do mine. When I used a dremel and a skinny SHARP chisel, I went practically all the way to the body and left almost a paper thin remnant of the bridge.
THIS IS NOT A VERY EASY TASK, SO IF YOU DON'T FEEL COMFORTABLE DOING IT.....LET A REPAIR GUY DO IT FOR YOU. IT WOULD BE A SHAME TO SLIP UP AND JACK THAT NICE ARIA UP. I had an old beat up yamaha so I didn't care what happened if I screwed up.
Good Luck,
Phil
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Re: Prismatone host guitar

Postby bill park » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:22 pm

George -
Keith Adams (Bonnie, IL) installed mine - here's a before-after photo. The Prismatone does extend a bit beyond the original bridge, but it's no problem. Keith chose not to use the intonation screws, and placed a rosewood spacer behind the pickup to fill in the space (he routed the original bridge). I believe he routed out all the way down to the top, and used a flat saddle to lower the action a bit from the arched one (he also radiussed the fingerboard of my Barbero - what a difference!):

Image

Like Phil said, it's a challenging project - I was in no way prepared to tackle it. Keith did a great job, even put in some slider controls for the preamp on the upper bout.

Image

Good luck with your installation, let us know how it turns out!
Bill
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Re: Prismatone host guitar

Postby jay » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:02 pm

Hey Phil, a quick question...

Plugged in, is there a difference between the sound you get from your Baldwin, as opposed to the Prismatone II on your Yamaha?

thanks,
jay
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