Access Panel

on . Posted in Repairs



It's not often that a new development in the guitar construction catches my attention to be worthy of considering adding to my own guitars. Although I like to build "custom" instruments, I often find that for the most part I am pretty traditional in my designs. It's hard to introduce a new feature in guitar construction because it is difficult to convince the cunsumer that the new feature is not going to effect the tone of the guitar. I have been fortunate enough to come across a very interesting feature that has been developed by a luthier named Harry Fleishman .
    It is a access panel that is located at the bottom of the guitar that gives the repairman full access to the inside of the guitar. Before now the only way to do any repair work on the inside of the guitar is to reach your hands inside or put a light inside and try to arrange a good clamping method to fix what needs to be done. This at best is very restrictive and sometimes nearly impossible. The panel allows you to actually see and manipulate almost any clamping procedure that needs to be done . Installing pickup system, or replacing batteries becomes a very easy process       access panel 1

 By removing the end block of the guitar and replacing it with a reinforced plate that is attached with small screws, the the ability to do repairs becomes a breeze. Having full access to the inside of the guitar means that any repair can be made with little or no fuss. In most cases you can even leave the strings on at full tension so that you can see your repair in "live action".

I had decided to install the panel in a guitar that I had built several years ago for Brian Henke, "The Dreamcaster". I had never installed a pickup system in this guitar at the time of completion partly due to the complications of having to control the over tones that the instrument produced. I, along with my good friend Chris Dehass came up with a solution. Chris built three seperate preamps that were housed in one small box and then a seperate transducer pickup was assigned to each of the preamps. Using a 5-pin midi jack we were able to seperate the signals by using only one cord from the guitar. This was plugged into a small transfer box that then had three 1/4" jacks coming out of it leading into a small 5 channel mixing board. This enabled us to E.Q. each of the pickups seperately so that we could control the overtones eminating from the large sound box.

Here are a few pictures of the details:

 access hole reinforced - Copy

 I removed the exsisting endblockand replaced it with     1/2"mahogony backers that I placed      10- 32 tapped inserts into to mount        the flush mounthex screws to.

 altoids preamp box - Copy  I thought it was pretty cool how Chris decided to use an Altoid can to house the preamps. The velcro is just to make sure that it does not open unexpectedly
 preamp open 1  Here you can see the three seperate preamps and the seperate cords coming from the transducers. the 5-pin connector at the top right is the connection to the exterior plug in