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Fishman Matrix Acoustic Guitar Pickup Install

Here’s the Ellipse Matrix Blend system prior to being installed into a 1976 Alvarez DY-74. These systems not only have an under saddle transducer and a microphone that can be blended at the player’s preference, but also an internal switch allowing a “Natural 1” or “Natural 2” setting. The first gives a fuller sound for singer/songwriter type environment, while the second setting takes out the boominess of the bass response when playing through a PA system with a full band. These systems are awesome. I have them in my personal instruments and think they sound the best for nylon and steel strings.

There’s very little drilling that happens with this system.

The strap button hole needs to be enlarged with a reamer to 1/2 inch:

Now a 1/2’ Forstner bit with drumming felt washers make the hole a clean cylinder:

These old Alvarez guitars have a Martin bracing pattern which is just enough clearance for the

mounting plate to not need a shim. The base has two neodymium magnets to hold the electronics in place.

Once the surface is cleaned with steel wool, a nice coat of Minwax Sanding Sealer preps the gluing surface.

This Matrix transducer must be perfectly placed for even transfer of sound.

A small hole is drilled to accept the wire.

In addition to having a brilliant design of not having a huge hole cut into the side of the instrument, Fishman eliminated the trouble of having a metal battery clip. Metal clips tend to vibrate at just the wrong moment anyway. This Velcro canvas pouch allows for just enough of the serial number to be seen.


Fried chicken grease, sweat, and road grime: it’s what’s for dinner.

After a long overdue cleaning, here’s the frets polished and fingerboard oiled:

This sleeping beauty will rest over night while the sanding sealer and fingerboard oil soaks in.

Now the small base of the pickup unit is stuck on with it’s self-adhesive.

Finger pressure is probably enough, but I go ahead and clamp it up for a few hours.

This endpin jack installation tool designed by Frank Ford is another one of those Why didn’t I think of that? inventions.

For only $12 to Luthier’s Mercantile, it’s money well spent. Thank you Frank for all of your great tool inventions.

Two wires from the saddle are then screwed into their appropriate sockets in the control base, a fresh 9-volt is connected,

and the two main wires inside the instrument are held out of the way with plastic clips that stick to the inner side walls.

Then the control base is held into place with the aforementioned magnets. Here’s the final result:



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