View Full Version : Acoustic-Electric Conversion

06-14-2013, 05:27 AM
OK, so I am trying to turn a tragedy into an opportunity here. My son tripped and fell on his Koa Pili Koko. The soundboard is a total loss.

So now that the box is open, I am thinking, what if I convert this to acoustic-electric? I have several questions:

1. Since we are going electric, how much does the tone wood matter on the sound board when ampilfied? Should I try to replace it with acacia, or can I go with a cheaper laminate?
2. What kind of pick up is best for a soprano? What is the best location for mounting and attachment?
3. Any pitfalls to avoid? Can anybody who had done a conversion advise me?


06-14-2013, 06:32 AM
That sucks. I don't think it'd be economically viable to do that. The cost of making a new top, assembling etc probably will be close or even higher than the price of a new KPK. A luthier can install a pickup anytime on any uke, so that's not really an opportunity.

06-14-2013, 08:21 AM
Thanks for your comment. I am also considering replacing the body with a cigar box - again - with amplification.

06-14-2013, 09:38 AM
A top can be replaced. If you intend to keep it close to original that is one thing but as you consider changing tone wood for the top keep in mind that approximately 80% of the tone of your instrument is generated by the soundboard or top. Laminates are stiffer and do not resinate as well as a single piece or solid top for your soundboard. Plus, as a solid top instrument gets played and gets older, the better it sounds because it becomes more flexible. Laminate tops don't do that. The species of tone wood also has a huge bearing on the tone of the instrument. Cedar or redwood is softer and has a warmer tone than spruce. Maple is a close grain hardwood and thus is a brighter tone. Mahogany and Koa have a warm and full range of tone. Thickness of the top and the brace structure are also variables in tone. I'd consult a good repair person or a builder to review what your options are and bounce your ideas off of them to get a handle on the situation. Good luck and keep on strummin. Boz ;-)>

06-15-2013, 10:21 AM