Got this Taylor Swift Edition last week for installation of JJB Prestige 220 pickup. It was always going to be a pleasure to “handle” Taylor Swift so I thought I should make this a detailed guide. 🙂
This guitar is essentially a regular Baby Taylor with the extra paintwork on the spruce top. It has got some flower painting together with the words Love and of course, Taylor Swift’s name. In terms of build and tone, it is identical to the regular BT1.
Let’s shake it up and get down to the installation.
Test the pickups
Simply plug in the JJB 220 to any amp and gently tap the transducers. If there is sound coming from the amp, you know the unit is working.
Drilling a 12mm hole at the base
The JJB input jack requires a 12mm hole for installation. I removed the endpin that was already on the guitar and used the hole as pilot. Tape up before drilling. This prevents cracks or chips on the guitar. You can use a step drill bit to ensure that the hole is drilled progressively from 2mm to 12mm.
Wow, that’s kind of messy. 🙂
Clean up the wood dust and we got a nice and smooth 12mm hole.
Fixing the end jack
I use a copper wire as fishing line for this purpose. Slide in through the base, exit from the sound hole.
Then secure the end jack with holes found at the end.
Slowly and carefully pull out through the base and the end jack will be in place. The thicker part of the thread should be just shy of being flushed with the base.
Fasten the washer and nut with a small plier, Wrap a towel around the nut to prevent stripping it. Be careful not to use excessive force here.
Finally, hand tighten the end piece.
Making a jig for the transducers
I use a hard cardboard for making a jig. This is very useful because I don’t need a mirror. Cut out a suitable size to match the bridge.
Poke through the bridge pin holes using a wooden toothpick. Don’t use a metal object because you will ruin the guitar if you slip or mess up while poking through.
Use two bridge pins at both E string slots as anchors. Trace out the saddle line and mark two crosses at where the transducers will be mounted. For the 220 that has only two transducers, I marked the spot around the E/A and B/e string areas.
Next put some sticky material at the back of the transducers and mount them onto the jig. I use this thing called Blu-Tack.
Now I have a super useful jig for mounting the transducers under the bridge plate.
Mounting the transducers
Before the installation, clean the shiny sides of the transducers with lighter fluid. This removes any dust or dirt that may have accumulated. It is a good idea to do many rounds of “dry practice” to get a good sensing of where to place your hand and where the entire jig will end up when you stick it into the sound hole.
“Sticking it into Taylor Swift”. How nice. 🙂
Put generous amount of gel superglue on the transducers, taking care not to drip any of that on the guitar.
Let’s stick it in. 🙂
Once you see this, it means the transducers are in place. Hold on to the jig for about a minute to allow the glue to set. Doesn’t matter if the cardboard stays there for now. You can always peel it off much later.
While waiting for the glue to set, I took some time to give the guitar a Bearclaw Special. First the fretboard. I use 0000 steel wool with lemon oil to moisturise the ebony fingerboard and lightly polish the frets. I taped up this part because there are two screws for the neck joint on Baby Taylors.
Clover was happy to sit and wait while he admires Guitarbear at work. 🙂
Next I lubricate the nut slots using pencil. This prevents a “sticky” nut.
Since this is a satin finished guitar, I used a clean and smooth cloth to wipe it all over before restring and retune. Wombat comes in to inspect. Sound check turns out all OK!
All happy to see another successful installation.
For installation tutorial for JJB 330 on full sized guitars, click here.
For installation tutorial for JJB 110 on ukes, click here.
Credits to Rob Di Stefano for the original tutorial.