Archtop tailpiece mount for 1/4″ output jacks

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September 22, 2019 by vicwomg

Ugh, drilling holes in old acoustic archtops, right?

Unfortunately, for adding an output jack there are not a lot of good solutions. In the past, I have super-glued them under pickguards, which works fine for the casual cross-legged sit-‘n’-play but it isn’t the most stable thing when you’re standing.

The Tapastring vintage jack (below) fits into most standard archtop endpin holes. It is a real problem-solver and looks great. But the sacrifice is the jack is the smaller 1/8″ size, which means you have to either carry a specialized cable or a dreaded “dongle” which you’ll undoubtedly forget to bring and you can bet that no one will ever have one for you to borrow last-minute. It’s also quite pricey at $79.

For my DeArmond FHC pickup, I mount it to my Epiphone Blackstone with the good old, awkward “monkey-on-a-stick“, which I just leave on the guitar to save myself the headaches of installing it every time. The cable coming out of the control box is wired to an output jack, which I temporarily affixed to the tailpiece with my favorite problem solver: the “zip-tie”.

Well, as these things usually go, “temporary” became 6 months. I got sick of looking at the whole ugly mess and needed something more stable. It would be nice if I could remove the jack without reaching for a pair of wire cutters and adding a zip-tie-sized chunk into that giant floating plastic island in the ocean, too. So I eventually prototyped this 3d-printed design that snaps onto the my trapeze tailpiece like so:

The enclosed jack came from a ukulele pickup I had that pretty much exploded. I deeply apologize for that wack heat-shrink tubing job. I’ll clean it up soon, I promise **6 months go by**

Its, well, incrementally less ugly, but profoundly more stable. Plus, I can remove it easily when I want to take the pickup off. It’s a little tricky since it grips quite tightly, but if you slide it down to the narrower part of the tailpiece, the mount will wiggle out more easily.

A couple of failed iterations. The clips didn’t hook under the diameter of the tailpiece bar enough to stay on. I guess they’ll make decent cat toys?

Every tailpiece is different and an elegant universal solution might not exist. But if you send me the dimensions and measurements of your tailpiece, I may consider doing custom work. Feel free to get in touch.


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