DiMarzio The Angel System User Manual

The angel™ system dp232 installation instructions

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The Angel™ System combines the Angel™ magnetic soundhole pickup and the Shadow
Nanoflex undersaddle pickup with a specially designed preamp. It includes two volume
controls mounted within the soundhole for easy access. The preamp is powered by a 9-volt
battery (not included), which is mounted in the guitar on or near the neck block in a battery
pouch. The Angel™ System works with standard bronze strings, but nickel-wound and
compound strings can also be used. It will not work with nylon strings. [FIG. 1]

The soundhole must have a minimum diameter of 3½ inches (89 mm).

IMPORTANT: Installation of The Angel™ System is complex. We strongly recommend that
installation be done by a qualified guitar technician.


(1) The Angel™ soundhole pickup
(1) Nanoflex undersaddle pickup
(1) The Angel™ dual preamp module and endpin jack
(1) Self-stick dual volume control assembly
(1) Self-stick battery pouch
(1) 20-inch (51 cm) pickup-to-preamp cable
(1) 12-foot (3.5 meter) cable for no battery operation
(1) 3⁄32 - inch Allen wrench

(6) Self-adhesive cable retainer clips
(1) Self-adhesive piezo cable retainer clip
(1) Spare set of pickup mounting cushions
(2) Alcohol wipes
(1) Instruction sheet
(1) Warranty card

Please read the installation instructions carefully. Installation of The Angel™ System requires
the use of the included preamp/endpin jack.


Measure the string height of the first and sixth strings before removing the strings and record
the measurements. Carefully remove the original saddle and drill a hole with a ##42 drill bit
(0.093-inch or 2.40mm) in the corner of the saddle slot at the bass string side of the bridge.
[SEE FIG. 2.] The hole must be drilled at an angle of 30°– 45°. Check the top bracing before
drilling the hole to avoid damage. Clean up the saddle slot and remove all wood dust and
chips. Push the pickup cable through the hole in the bridge and place the pickup into the
saddle slot with “NFX top” showing. [FIG. 2A] To restore the overall height of the bridge,
reduce the

height of the saddle by 1⁄32 inch (0.8 mm) [FIG. 3] by sanding the bottom surface of the

saddle. It is important that the bottom of the saddle be absolutely flat.

Insert the saddle back into the slot and secure it temporarily with a piece of tape. Later, when
you restring the guitar, make sure the strings do not tilt the bridge saddle forward toward the
neck. [FIG. 4]

Use the black cable retainer clip to guide the wire from the pickup to the underside of the
top and secure the cable into it. [FIG. 2] Failing to secure the cable will cause excess noise.
The clip should secure the cable where the cable is insulated with the black protective
sleeve. Do not attach the clip on the exposed braided metal section of the cable.


The Angel™ System preamp has an output jack for a standard guitar cable and four inputs
to connect the cables from the volume controls, the battery, and the pickups. All four cables
must be plugged into the preamp before the preamp is installed in the guitar. [SEE FIG. 5]

VOLUME CONTROL: Look carefully at the volume control connector before plugging it into
the preamp so that you insert it in the correct direction. Attempting to force the connector
into the preamp jack upside down will damage the preamp. The volume control cable
connector must be inserted firmly into the 6-pin port on the side of the preamp. [SEE FIG. 6]

LEVEL TRIM CONTROLS: There are independent piezo and magnetic trim controls on the
preamp which have an adjustment range of approximately 9dB [FIG. 7]. These controls
have been preset at the DiMarzio factory, but they can be readjusted if you need to alter the
balance between the Nanoflex and The Angel™ pickups. The Angel™ trim control is preset for
maximum output, and the Nanoflex trim control is preset approximately 4.5dB below maximum.

BATTERY: Look carefully at the battery connector before plugging it in so that you insert it in
the correct direction. Attempting to force the connector upside down will damage the
preamp. The battery cable connector must be inserted firmly into the 2-pin port on the side
of the preamp opposite the volume control cable.

PICKUP CABLE: The pickup cables must be inserted firmly into the mini jacks on the end of
the preamp. [SEE FIG. 7]. Note the mini jacks are labeled MAGNETIC and NANOFLEX.

When the pickup cable, volume controls and battery cable have been connected to the
preamp, install the preamp in the guitar.


With the strings removed, place your guitar on a flat surface.

The preamp [SEE FIG. 8] requires a clean


⁄32 - inch (11.9 mm) hole in the tail block of the


IMPORTANT NOTE: If your guitar already has a hole of the correct diameter for
an endpin jack in the tail block, proceed to the paragraph below to complete
the installation of the preamp. If your guitar does not already have a hole of the
correct diameter, we strongly recommend that a qualified guitar technician
install the preamp as follows:

• Remove the existing endpin and place a piece of masking tape on the

outside of the instrument over the endpin area to prevent chipping of the

guitar finish.

• Enlarge the hole with a


⁄32 -inch (11.9 mm) tapered reamer, available from

Stewart-MacDonald (www.stewmac.com), part number 4323.

• Remove the masking tape and proceed with the installation.

Remove the strap nut, hex nut, and one flat washer from the end of the preamp assembly.

1388 Richmond Terrace • PO Box 100387
Staten Island, NY 10310



There should still be one locking washer, one flat washer, and two hex nuts remaining on the

Using care to keep the washers on the jack, bring the preamp down through the soundhole
into the body and insert it into the hole in the tail block.

Adjust the internal nut so that the larger threaded section of the jack remains recessed



inch (0.8 mm) below the outside surface of the instrument and most of the smaller
threaded section protrudes from the guitar. The nut on the jack closest to the preamp is
factory installed and must not be adjusted. Adjusting this nut can damage the preamp.

With the preamp in place, lay the remaining flat washer over the threads outside the
instrument and install the external hex nut hand tight.

Insert the included 3⁄32 - inch Allen wrench through the cross hole in the jack and hold firmly

while tightening the nut with a wrench. To avoid damage, do not hold the preamp itself
while tightening the nut. Use of a proper wrench instead of pliers will help prevent damage
to the guitar. To avoid cracking the guitar finish, do not over-tighten the nut.

NOTE: If the jack will not tighten firmly, remove the external hex nut and re-adjust the
internal hex nut until the larger threaded section is recessed at least 1⁄32 - inch (0.8 mm)

below the outer surface of the instrument.

Finish by installing the strap nut hand tight. It should cover the retaining nut and washer. For
best results, the end of the jack should be recessed ever so slightly from the end of the strap

Once the preamp is installed, install two of the self-adhesive cable retainer clips on the inner
back surface of the guitar to hold down the pickup cable and prevent it from vibrating
against the guitar.


The battery pouch will be installed on the flat surface of the neck block or the side of the
guitar adjacent to the neck block as shown in FIG. 9. Clean the area where you will mount
the pouch using the included alcohol wipe or a cotton swab moistened with rubbing
alcohol. Let dry. Separate the battery pouch from the Velcro patch. Peel off the paper liner
from the Velcro patch and attach the patch to the chosen location. To set the adhesive,
press firmly on the entire area of the patch with your fingertip, especially around the edges.
Attach the battery clip to a 9V alkaline or lithium battery, install the battery into the pouch,
and re-attach it to the Velcro patch. Install one of the self-adhesive cable retainer clips on the
inner back surface of the guitar to hold down the battery cable and prevent it from vibrating
against the guitar.

NOTE: The adhesive under the Velcro patch requires 24 hours to achieve a full bond, so
take care not to stress the adhesive if you remove the battery pouch less than one day
after the initial installation.


Locate two flat areas on the underside of the soundhole where the volume controls will fit.
Clean the area where you will mount the controls using the included alcohol wipe or a
cotton swab moistened with rubbing alcohol. Let dry. Install each volume control by peeling
off the paper liner on the smooth side of the circuit board and pressing it firmly inside the
soundhole as shown in FIGURE 10. The Nanoflex volume control cable is red, and The Angel
™ volume control cable is black. The volume controls should protrude from the sound hole
just far enough to be easily adjusted, as shown. Install one of the self-adhesive cable retainer
clips on the inner back surface of the guitar to hold down each volume control cable and
prevent it from vibrating against the guitar.


Loosen the clamp screws on both ends of the pickup top plate using a small Phillips
screwdriver until the clamps are open wide enough to mount the pickup on the top of the
guitar. [SEE FIG. 11] Then slide the pickup into the soundhole.

For small soundholes, it may be necessary to remove one or both clamps, slide
the pickup into place, and then reassemble the clamp(s) once the pickup is
correctly positioned. When reassembling the clamps, be sure they slide into the
slots molded into the pickup housing.

We recommend installing the pickup as close to the bottom edge of the fingerboard
(towards the neck) as possible.

Adjust the pickup so that it is centered in the soundhole and the pole pieces are aligned
with the strings. [SEE FIG. 12] A slight mismatch between your guitar’s string spacing and the
spacing of the pole pieces will not affect performance.

Tighten the clamp screws firmly, but do not over-tighten. Over-tightening can damage the
pickup or guitar finish.

Once the pickup is securely installed, plug the cable from the preamp into the pickup
output jack. Restring your guitar and you’re ready to play.


Plug your guitar cable into the endpin jack to power up the preamp. Before plugging The
Angel™ System into the amplifier, turn the amplifier volume all the way down. Adjust The
Angel™ volume controls in the soundhole all the way up, then adjust your amp volume to the
maximum level you want. The blend of the Nanoflex and The Angel™ can be adjusted by
reducing either of the volume controls. It is possible to solo either of the pickups by turning the
volume control of the other pickup all the way down.

You can expect about 600 hours of playing and standby time from a fresh alkaline battery, or
as much as 1000 hours from a lithium battery. To extend battery life, unplug the guitar cable
from your guitar when you’re finished playing. Remember, the preamp continues to operate
and uses battery power whenever a guitar cable is plugged into your guitar, even if you turn
down the soundhole volume control, unplug the cable from your amp or put your guitar amp
on standby. A weak or distorted sound from The Angel™ System means it’s time to replace
your battery.

If you ever experience unexpected battery failure and can’t replace the battery before you
have to play, you can play The Angel™ magnetic pickup without a battery by disconnecting
the preamp cable from the pickup and plugging the included 12-foot (3.5 meter) guitar
cable into the pickup. This backup cable connects The Angel™ directly to your amp without
a volume control.


The pole pieces of The Angel™ are preset for standard bronze acoustic strings (four wound
strings and two plain), but this setting is only a basic reference point. The pole pieces are
adjustable with the included 3⁄32 - inch Allen wrench to provide the best balance for your

specific guitar and string set. Raising a pole piece will increase the output from its string, while
lowering it will decrease it.

IMPORTANT: The pole pieces have a maximum downward adjustment range. When you
encounter additional resistance at the bottom of the adjustment range, do not force the
pole piece further. This could result in permanent damage.

















FIG. 1

FIG. 3


FIG. 4

Original Bridge Saddle


0.8 mm

Nanoflex Pickup

Bridge Saddle


Instrument Bridge

FIG. 2

Bridge Saddle

Top of instrument






Nanoflex Pickup

Drilled Hole

(30 – 45º Angle)




Black Protective Sleeve

Nanoflex Pickup Top