The CBG I am going to build will mainly be played acoustically without any amp. It might even be that I will never ever use any amp at all. Still I am considering to add a pickup just in case I would end up playing somewhere were the acoustic sound is not enough. Adding one at the building stage would be so much easier than adding later.

Most pickup installation videos places the pickup in a such way that it would dampen the acoustic sound. Is there any placement that would minimize the dampening effect and what pickup type would you use for this purpose?

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Hi, there are many builders that have experimented with piezo placement and each will have a position/location that worked best for them, in their instrument. Some use a piezo to improve the volume of their acoustic instrument, and others will also add a preamp to the system to tame and control the output.

Some use the piezo just as a pickup and not worrying about acoustic properties and play it through an overdriven amp. A cheap way to get an electric guitar.
Magnetic pickups convert the plucked moving string into sound. The piezo disc pickup/transducer converts the moving/vibrating top [or whatever it's attached to] into sound. As a rule, the more intense the vibration the louder the output.
So really it's up to your ears, I think, to put it where it works best at reproducing the acoustic tones of your instrument.

The piezo transducers I use in my full-size guitars are of professional quality, so the manufacturer has worked out where they perform best, directly under the bridge. There are three discs in all, and a kit and 23 pages of instructions are supplied to ensure it is done correctly.
However, in a CBG the range in tone is not as full, and each box is different, so experiment.

Bottom line, with such a small vibrating area in the box guitar I try not to waste any of it with surface-mounted bits inside or out. Except for a disc piezo transducer. What I want to hear from my acoustic CBG when plugged in is a louder acoustic sound. A piezo does this better.
Some might say there is not much difference when putting "stuff" on the soundboard, but that may depend on the quality of the acoustic sound in the first place.
Cheers Taff

Hard to have a pickup that doesn’t touch the soundboard. I don’t think a pickup takes that much away from it, maybe what you need is a internal microphone that doesn’t have to touch or clip on type pickup? Personally, I would build an electric & an acoustic so I’d have both?

Hi, I thought I would show how I mount pickups in my CBGs and still keep the top free of any damping effect.
We all know about the piezo disc pickups that do mount to the top with possibly zero damping effect on top vibrations. Besides the microphone unit shown by Brian Q, there are two other methods I use one for magnetic pickups and another using an under-the-saddle [UTS] piezo that comes up through the top under the bridge.
In the photos you can see an unfinished guitar with a single coil pickup, the difference is that the pickup is not attached to the top, but to a bracket attached to the neck block and protrudes through the top as if through a sound hole. In fact, the pickup hole could double as a soundhole.


Taff has also mentioned using an adjustable pole piece pickup with the pole pieces extended thru holes in the top.

Then there are the hot flat wound pickups that are mounted under a thin top, but not quite touching.

Picture 7 of 12

i have tried one of these in a 6 string i was given free, it workes quite well. the mic worked better than i expected. what i heard coming from the amp sounded just like the acoustic sound. plus you can also mix between the under saddle piezo and the mic. only issue is the mic is on a bendable arm and could get knocked around.

i have also got one of these from ebay. mine says fishman but it has to be a ripoff. this has the mic built in and hopefully is even better. 

Picture 10 of 10

Picture 8 of 10

this shows the mic better.


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