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hi folks - when installing a clip-in magnetic pickup in an acoustic guitar i frequently want to tape the shielded cable to the guitar body, keeping it down out of the way of the picking hand, routing it around the side, across the back to the tailpiece area to the 1/4" jack.

 

has anyone found a good tape to use that won't damage the instrument's finish?  the only thing i've come up with is blue painter's masking tape but even that says that not to leave it on for a long period.

 

thanks - ed

Tags: pickup, soundhole, tape

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Hi Ed,

How long is "long"?
If you have a nitro type lacquer finish any tape over time will leave a mark. If you have a poly finish you can use any tape that will hold without hurting the finish. What ever residue it leaves will just buff off with guitar polish or a light rubbing compound. A small piece of black gaffers tape will hold well. You can think about taping it on the pick-guard this would be safer. There is something that 3M makes that might work, I will check into it and if it works in this case I will post the details.
I guess by "long period" i mean about a year. i would clean the instrument at least that often. (it's a 12-string and not my main player).

i've used gaffer's tape and left it on for a "very long period" (don't ask!) and the residue it left hardened and was pretty tough to get off completely.

also, i'm not very familiar with finish types, but this is a mid-60's gibson acoustic that i'm working on. thanks, ed
Well that is too long to leave tape one anything. I have a better suggestion. You are using a pickup on the guitar, please do yourself a favor and install an end-pin jack. Even if it is a 1960's guitar it is not going to effect the value but damaging the finish with tape will. For sound hole pickups we always install a Switch Craft mini jack and secure it with Velcro inside on the back. This way it is easy to remove and reinstall the pickup when needed.
You should ask to Jimmy Page! He used some kind of tape to hold the cable in place on his D28. Anyway, why don't you use another kind of pick-up? Let's say KK. Something with a cable that runs inside the box and comes out just with the end-pin jack.
Hey Ed, That ol' guit box is most definitely a nitro finish....
thanks everyone for the advice and i hear the message: install a jack, which BTW is already there. i just like to occasionally swap pickups and i have a female RCA phono jack in-line to support that. now my angst is over cutting the 1/4 inch jack off the pickup in order to add the male RCA plug (it's always something huh?). i guess i just need to build a bridge and get over it! thanks to all for the chat. - ed
Hey Ed, check out K & K Sound's website. They sell a "Vintage" endpin jack that fits into the tapered endpin hole. It's basically an 1/8" headphone jack in a brass endpin. This a great solution and I've installed many of them on vintage guitars without any mods to the instrument.

Hope this helps,
Ryan

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