Looking for ideas on adding a pickup of some kind to my mandolin. Problem is that I only have $50 invested in the mandolin so I'm looking for something as inexpensive as possible. I would really prefer a mag pup for better output and control. I've thought about maybe using a bass guitar pickup but I'm unsure how to install it with no access to the insides of the mando. Another option I pondered was using a "floating" mini humbucker like the type used on some jazz guitars but not sure if that could be modified to fit the smaller neck.

Any ideas? Thanks.

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If you are happy to fit a single coil sized pickup I'd go for a suntekstore minihumbucker - being a hotrail type means there is no problem with pole piece spacings.http://www.suntekstore.com/goods-15006824-humbucker_pickup_for_tele... and at $5.92 with free delivery it is a great deal.  Also if you do a suntekstore voucher code search you can often save a little bit more of the price,

 

I have a fretboard mounted jazz guitar type humbucker and think it would be difficult to try and bend the fixing bracket to a thinner neck.  They do make a version which fits to the pickguard - I haven't used this type so I am not sure how you fix them http://www.ebay.com/itm/Artec-Side-Mount-Pickup-Arch-Top-Jazz-Guita...

There is an old thread about them http://www.cigarboxnation.com/forum/topics/pickups-7?commentId=2592...

How do these pickups sound? I noticed that they make a cheap chrome covered tele neck pickup - anyone try these?(sorry to go a little off topic)

I think they sound brilliant for the price (The minihumbucker - I haven't used one of the chrome tele neck pickups).  If you coil tap them I have found you get the best sounds using the Seymour Duncan Esquire wiring diagram http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/wiring-diagrams/schematics.php... if I have worked out the wiring I think this circuit on split coil option grounds 3 of the wires and leaves one going to the hot output and rather than a cut in sound it gives a nice growl.  I have tried a normal toggle on/on/on switch with this diagram http://www.warmanguitars.co.uk/wiring_diagram_downloads/3-way-humbu... which just cuts the circuit to one coil without grounding it fully and the change in tone is more subtle.

I am not real happy with my home made mandos.  But I am happy with how they sound plugged in with a simple and cheap piezo.

Here`s 2 of my custom mando bridges [ for flat top ] they both have rod piezo` in

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