Gremlin Classical Parlor Guitar w/ Three Piezo Pickups

I had inherited this old Gremlin classical guitar from an old friend some years back. It played terribly and the tuners barely moved, but it seemed to have potential.

A few of the tuning keys were broken and the action was high, so I purchased a new set of tuners and I replaced the plastic saddle with a couple pieces of brass rod. It played decently and stayed in tune, but I thought I might try something new.

I wanted to amplify the guitar and I had a 5-way Fender-style selector switch laying around, so I broke open three piezo buzzers and started constructing a plan. I wanted all of the electronics (switches and pots) to be concealed within the sound hole, but accessible from outside the guitar. Plus, I wanted a low key 1/4″ jack for amplification.

I constructed and soldered all of the components together outside of the guitar, which allowed me to test the function of the pot and selector switch relative to each of the three piezo pickups. Once the unit was in working order, I began working on easy ways to mount each component to the guitar. The selector switch was easy; a small Radio Shack project box served as an enclosure, which was then adhered to the high E string side of the sound hole via Command Strips. The volume pot was installed in a second project box and adhered to the low E side of the sound hole via Command Strips. Both of thee components were seated well and stuck out just far enough to be easily manipulated.

The piezo pickups were mounted in three separate areas. According to tradition, the first was mounted near the bridge and the second beneath the fretboard, leaving the third up in the air. Wanting to have an altogether different sound for this position, I decide to place the third piezo on the back of the guitar, which emitted a somewhat distant sound. All piezo pickups adhered to the guitar with thin Command Strips.The 1/4″ jack was easy to install.

I used an endpin jack that doubled as a strap button, which created fewer holes and was more functionally and aesthetically sound.

I built this small coffin case for transporting my parlor-sized guitars. It is made completely of duct tape and cardboard—plus, hidden neodymium magnets hold the lid on. Follow this link for additional photos and build notes related to this case:

Check out the quick video demonstration:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s