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An App to Fix a Guitar

Luthier tasks are not easy. This app combo makes them easier.

My wife Katie‘s acoustic guitars both had active pickups installed. We weren’t completely happy with how they sounded, so I swapped them out for passive pickups from K&K Sound.

product photo

K&K Sound Pure Mini passive pickup

They don’t require 9V batteries, which is a major plus, and sound very natural. I typically scoop out a bit of the mid-range (around 400 Hz) to clean up the sound, but otherwise leave the signal mostly untouched.

The hard part about installing new pickups in an acoustic guitar is trying to perform the whole operation through the sound hole. Tried-and-true luthier methods involve lights, mirrors, and special tools to see and reach into the inside of the guitar. I’m definitely not set up for the real way of doing it. My hands are big and my forearm gets stuck easily.

[Cue improvisation]

In the past I’ve used video apps before for more traditional streaming solutions. Here, though, I simply wanted a camera inside the guitar (my iPhone running FiLMiC Pro) and a monitor on my desk (my iPad running Filmic Remote) to see what was happening.

Here’s what it looked like on my iPad…

screenshot of Filmic Remote app showing the inside of an acoustic guitar

This is a screenshot of the video my phone was streaming to my iPad.

There was a bit of delay in the video (a half a second maybe), but not enough to make it impossible. As with all guitar surgery going slow is best anyway. Using the FiLMiC apps on my iOS devices I was able to super glue the pickups in the correct spots under the bridge with confidence. Installation was quick and the pickups sound great.

This trick would probably work similarly in other scenarios too—auto mechanics, contruction & remodeling, exploration, etc. Hope this helps someone out there. Comment below if something like this has helped you with a difficult problem.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not affiliated with K&K Sound nor FiLMiC Inc. I’m just a satisfied customer happily using the great products these companies have made.