Put Foam Behind Your Pickups

By Dann Valentino

Just bought new pickups for you beloved guitar and it seems they doesn’t add much to your tone? Or you like your old ones but you want to add sustain, better harmonics and stabillity to them? There is a trick for you. I recomment this to all of my clients and I do it to all of my guitars! SHORT – Just stick a bunch of foam underneath the pickups to remove free movement. EXPLAINED : You’ll need: 1. Pieces of Foam 2. Screwdriver 3. Double sided tape (not strong, just to hold things while your putting your pickguard/electronics back in) 4.Razor or sharp knife All you have to do now in steps: 1. Take your strings off. 2. For guitars with pickguards – unscrew and gently remove the guard. Watch out for strained cables. For guitars with back-routed electronics – take off only your pickups. 2. Now take that razor/knife and cut pieces of foam big enough to fill you pickup cavities (not too tight – just to get in there nicely). 3. Put a little cut of double sided tape between the cavities and the foam to keep it there while you put your guitar back up. 4. Now try to close the pickguard/put the pickups/ with small amount of pressure. The goal is to have the perfect amount of foam so the pickups will not wobble when you try to move ‘em. But if you put too much especially on guitars with pickguards it will push your pickups up or it will be hard to get to the right height. 5. If everything is okay now screw back your guard/pickups. 6. Now you should have pickups that are mounted tight in the cavities and are not loose. They must feel almost like directly mounted to the wood and not too hard to get in the right height. The theory behind this is that if you have loose pickups they will catch unwanted feedback (yeah, you still will have feedback if you want it – just stand close to the speakers – it’s inevitable :) ) and will lose sustain quickly. If you make ‘em flush and stable in the guitar they will resist direct feedback, they will resonate with the body and not separately (especially in live or loud settings) and thus you will gain longer real sustain and harmonics. Its proven well over the time – Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert and Vinnie Moore and many more use this trick. Here is a bonus for the guys who got all the way down here.. If you wanna take the extra mile to make your guitar really scream with FAT sustain and rich harmonics… Try to mount your pickups directly in the wood. (If your pickups are already screwed directly in the wood – you are awesome!:)) If you have pickguard or pickups with rings (like LesPauls) this will be tricky. One way is to make small wooden blocks and stick them tight into the cavity with glue. But make sure to maintain your desired pickup height. Measure once , measure twice… and then measure again. Then all you have to do is put your foam ‘isolation’ in the cavities and put your pickups tight in the cavities directly mounted on the blocks with screws for wood. /If you want you can put back the rings for looks./ I have Ibanez Prestige S5470 with this mod done to it. For those unfamiliar with the model – it pretty ergonomic, THIN guitar. If you have similar type of guitar you have to be really careful not to damage the back of the guitar. (be careful also with the screw dimensions). If you are not sure how to do something – contact me thru my band’s web site – www.fullcircle-bg.com or FaceBook – https://www.facebook.com/dann.valentino . If you want I can make pictures or even explain step by step on WebCam. Don’t blame me if you damage you instrument. :)

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