How to Transform a Gold Foil Pickup into a Vintage Top Mounted Pickup

The C. B. Gitty Gold Foil acoustic pickup is one of the most versatile and easiest magnetic pickups to mod for cigar box guitars. At only $14 each, they’re deliciously cheap and I always have a half dozen of them in my woodshop at any time. (It should be noted that these suckers have such a gloriously trashy 1960’s vibe to them, just like Hound Dog Taylor’s guitars.)

I recently used a Gold Foil in a cigar box guitar and I radically modded it to look like a rusty old Harmony/Teisco top-mount pickup. Here’s how I did it.

How to Mod a Gitty Gold Foil Acoustic Pickup to become a top-mounted electric pickup:

1. Paint cover. (Optional) Gently remove the cover by unscrewing the two side screws. Paint the cover with spray paint. I used Rustoleum dark brown textured paint for a rust look. Put the cover back on the pickup before continuing with the next steps. This will protect the pickup coil.
2. Grind Down bottom rivets to remove mounting tabs. Remove the bottom mounting tabs by grinding them off on a belt sander.

3. Making smaller side tabs (not covered in the video above): Using pliers, bend the side tabs downward at a 90 degree angle. Using tin snips, cut off the side tabs. Leave about 1/4 inch of metal on the sides to become mounting tabs. Round the sharp corners with a belt sander.

4. Drill screw holes in the new mounting tabs.
5. Hardwire cord to a guitar jack. Cut off the pre-wired cord and solder the wires to a 1/4-inch guitar jack. (BTW, the yellow wire is ground and the red wire is lead.)

That’s it. Here’s a little sound demo I did on the pickups in a previous build: