April 2006

Installing a Fishman Ellipse Matrix Blend pickup system in my Martin OM-35

I bought this guitar in April 2006, and did the pickup install as soon as I got it home.


Ready to begin.



Drilling the hole for the under-saddle pickup lead. (Nice of Martin to have dimpled the exact spot for it in
advance so I didn't need to lay it out).


Despite owning a zillion tools, I didn't have access to an expensive end-pin jack reamer like the one from
Stew-Mac, so my method was to a use succession of drill bits, each one only 1/64" larger than the previous
one, to get the hole up to the required 15/32".  This way there was little stress and little chance of splitting
the wood.  The extremely slight chip-out around the edge of the hole using this method was easily covered
by the hardware.

DISCLAIMER:  Although not a luthier, I have been an amateur woodworker for many years and I was confident that
this method would not cause visible or significant damage.  But it definitely does not cut the perfect squeaky-clean
hole that you get from a reamer and I DON'T recommend that you do it this way. Unless YOUR experience convinces
YOU that it is safe, buy the reamer! 



Several other steps are not shown: mounting the electronics to the sound-board (using double-sided tape),
and sanding down the saddle base to accommodate the under-saddle pickup.  In order to sand down the base
of the saddle, I sawed a close-fitting groove in a block of wood using a table saw, into which the saddle was
placed.  This insured that I could get a perfectly perpendicular and flat surface when I sanded it down
(very important).  Also, the 9V battery holder was mounted to the neck block using CA adhesive per Fishman's
instructions.  My new M-18 VME Custom came with this pickup factory-installed from Martin, and they now
have a less-invasive way to mount the battery, in a cloth/velcro holder that appears to be double-sided-taped
to the inside of the guitar.

Also, if I were to do this again I would seriously consider using the Tapastring end-pin jack to avoid having
to enlarge the hole.

Here's the guitar with the electronics installed.

More pictures of this guitar

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Please visit my home page at www.jaykeller.com
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Last revision: 1/22/007