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Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar

K-Zoo 24 Jan 99 - 11:46 AM
Tiger 24 Jan 99 - 01:04 PM
Steve in Wisconsin 24 Jan 99 - 01:21 PM
Dan Keding 24 Jan 99 - 02:34 PM
Roger in Baltimore 24 Jan 99 - 04:44 PM
K-Zoo 24 Jan 99 - 06:32 PM
Big Mick 24 Jan 99 - 06:40 PM
catspaw49 24 Jan 99 - 10:42 PM
rick fielding 25 Jan 99 - 12:52 AM
szarak@telesys.net.pl 25 Jan 99 - 04:42 AM
K-zoo (Tom) 25 Jan 99 - 06:40 AM
RWilhelm 25 Jan 99 - 08:46 AM
Musicman 25 Jan 99 - 11:46 AM
Bob Landry 25 Jan 99 - 02:12 PM
Mike Billo 25 Jan 99 - 03:38 PM
K-zoo 25 Jan 99 - 05:08 PM
Don Meixner 25 Jan 99 - 06:12 PM
Roger in Baltimore 25 Jan 99 - 06:36 PM
catspaw49 25 Jan 99 - 07:45 PM
Roger in Baltimore 25 Jan 99 - 09:41 PM
catspaw49 25 Jan 99 - 09:58 PM
Big Mick 26 Jan 99 - 08:42 AM
Ted from Australia 26 Jan 99 - 09:19 AM
Ted from Australia 26 Jan 99 - 09:22 AM
Bo 26 Jan 99 - 11:21 AM
rick fielding 26 Jan 99 - 12:15 PM
catspaw49 26 Jan 99 - 08:20 PM
DonMeixner 26 Jan 99 - 08:35 PM
John M 09 Feb 99 - 12:31 AM
o'hanrahan 09 Feb 99 - 10:35 AM
KingBrilliant 10 Feb 99 - 09:33 AM
Big Mick 10 Feb 99 - 11:35 AM
Willie-O 11 Feb 99 - 09:50 AM
rick fielding 11 Feb 99 - 03:22 PM
Bert 11 Feb 99 - 04:21 PM
reggie miles 12 Feb 99 - 04:42 PM
mountain tyme 16 Feb 99 - 06:59 PM
Bert 17 Feb 99 - 10:34 AM
Rick Fielding 17 Feb 99 - 02:43 PM
liza 17 Feb 99 - 08:00 PM
Willie-O 18 Feb 99 - 02:15 PM
Knappo 19 Feb 99 - 11:10 PM
mountain tyme 20 Feb 99 - 02:49 AM
Rick Fielding 20 Feb 99 - 12:46 PM
Roger in Baltimore 20 Feb 99 - 02:27 PM
Art Thieme 21 Feb 99 - 11:03 AM
rick fielding 21 Feb 99 - 12:13 PM
Art Thieme 23 Feb 99 - 10:05 PM
Rick Fielding 24 Feb 99 - 12:44 AM
mountain tyme 24 Feb 99 - 07:12 PM
mountain tyme 25 Feb 99 - 02:12 AM
MichaelAnthony 14 Mar 02 - 12:18 AM
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Subject: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: K-Zoo
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 11:46 AM

Looking for information/opinons on pick-up systems for guitar from those more experienced than I. I'd like to stay under 200.00. Has anyone used the Symour Duncan "Perfect Timbre" system? Any thoughts on this one? Thanks, Tom (K-zoo)


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Tiger
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 01:04 PM

K-Zoo......

Depends on what, how & where you play. I use a Dean Markley sound hole pickup on my flattop, easy on & off, $42.50 from Elderly Instruments. Then again, I normally play alone and don't do gigs, but it works fine for me. As you move up to more serious performing, you'll probably want something better, but if you're asking as a first-time user, I'll guess you're more in my category.

Selection criteria for higher-grade pickups also include the type of electronic system(s) you will be feeding into. There, you have to co-exist with a mixed bag of equipment (mics, synthesizers, etc.), so there'll be a need for proper connectors, impedence matching, preamp equalization - you get the idea?

A final consideration, do you want a permanently installed or removable pickup? If the former, you should definitely have a professional install it.

Prolly not much help, but I tried. I'm interested in other comments on specific models.

......Tiger


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Steve in Wisconsin
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 01:21 PM

I put a Fishman under the saddle pickup in mine. I like it, but it really needs a separate preamp (though the claim is that it doesn't). It is very hot and it's hard to balance when playing with folks who are only using mics.

If I had to do it all over again, and if I had an additional $150 to do it with, I'd use a blend of internal mic and under the saddle pickup.

Hope that helps!

Acoustically (usually),

Steve


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Dan Keding
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 02:34 PM

I've always played acoustically but lately I've been tempted to try a pick up. I've heard some good things about internal microphones. Anyone have some experience with them?? Dan


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 04:44 PM

I don't play with pick-up on my guitar, but I have quite a bit of experience with providing sound amplification for those that do.

To my way of thinking, the blending of an internal mike and an under the bridge pick up is best, but you probably can't do that for under $200.

It is important to consider why you want/need a pick-up. The advantages of pick-ups include more ability to move around the stage while playing, a more consistent sound, better blend when you are dealing with a group where other instruments have direct inputs, and perhaps less problems with feedback.

The newest pickups can provide a very "acoustic" amplified sound. The worst can turn your acoustic into a bad electric guitar with no acoustic warmth at all. Adding pickups, blenders, and wires increases the chances of "ground hum." This is the biggest drawback for the sound person. And finally, many amplification devices require some physical modification of the guitar.

Tiger's pick-up is very workmanlike and will provide a good amplified sound, but it will have some "electric guitar" feel to it and will not sound the same as your guitar played into a mike.

I would encourage you to haunt open mics, sessions, etc. and talk to people who have "electrified" their guitars. You will learn much about different brands this way and get a chance to hear how the "device" alters the tone of the guitar.

I have not amplified any of my guitars. One, I don't think I'd be satisfied with anything short of a blend of internal mike and pickup. Two, I can be a cheap old coot at times and I'm not willing to put 350 bucks into the process. Three, I am wary of making physical changes to my guitars, two of them have reached the "vintage" age. Four, I don't like having "extra" problems at a gig. I have become pretty familiar with what I need to do to utilize a mike on my guitar and sound people seldom have hums in their mike cords or mikes. Finally, I am a solo act, so I am only competing with my voice, so I keep it simple, see?

Good luck, K-Zoo!

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: K-Zoo
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 06:32 PM

Thank you gentleman. I do plan on playing out with a partner also on guitar and would like the freedom to move about on stage. I'll keep the issue of ground hum in mind. Thank you Roger. Any thoughts/experience on using a middle of the road soundhole pick-up with something like a Fishman Pro EQ pre-amp. Or better (probibly) to start with a better Pick-up to start with. I'm guessing garbage in, garbage out. K-Zoo


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Big Mick
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 06:40 PM

I have what could be considered a "vintage" Guild 12 string. My concern was the modification to the intrument. I went to Elderly Instruments and after much investigation I settled on an LR Baggs Dual Source. This has a ribbon transducer as well as an internal mike. You can mix the two from a countrol that mounts on the soundhole. The pickup handles my needs very well. The only modification to the instrument involved installation of the endpin jack. If I had to give you a drawback, it is that the controls are very small. But overall I have been very satisfied and can get a nice warm sound out of it. It cost me $275 installed.On my 6 string I use a Seymour Duncan Woody soundhole pickup. It works fine but is not the best solution with regard to sound.

BTW, does your name imply that you are from Kalamazoo, Michigan? I live about 40 minutes north of there. I would be happy to stop by and show you the guitar and you can see for yourself. I am in Kalamazoo several times a week.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: catspaw49
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 10:42 PM

The pick-up is only half the equation...thought about the amp? Within the past couple years there has been a lot more emphasis placed on gaining "natural" acoustic sound by BOTH amp and pick-up manufacturers. As Roger suggested, hit as many sessions as you can and LISTEN...then ask. Also, when you find something you like or dislike (either way), see what the guitar sounds like UN-amplified.

I suppose you already have, but if not, check out "Acoustic Guitar." They have had several articles and tests of P-U, pre-amps, and amps within the past year...and if I weren't such a sorry excuse for a "Catter, I'd go look them up for you. As this would also involve awakening my wife (on the early shift), I have chosen marital relations over you K-ZOO. But good luck anyway.catspaw


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: rick fielding
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 12:52 AM

Wow, K zoo, this is a subject that can be debated endlessly. (and in certain quarters "is")

Over a performing career of 30 years I have probably spent a higher percentage of my income on equipment than anyone I know. (some folks collect stamps or sportscars, I collect acoustic instruments and ALL related paraphernalia).

With thousands of dollars invested in acoustic amplification over the years I've come to a few conclusions:

If you want a lot of volume, your Gibson, Martin, Laskin, or Larrivee is going to sound like a Yamaha or Takamine or other mass-produced instrument with pick-up.

Years ago a Shure Bros. Sm57 or SM58 mike with a decent sound person (preferably yourself) was as good as it was gonna get. Still true today.

Currently I use a combination of a Seymour Duncan "lipstick style" soundhole pickup with a small (but very expensive) Sony Lavaliere mike afixed with velcro at the edge of the soundhole on my Lowden. If you hold the guitar in front of you, neck up, it's about 1 o'clock position. It ain't perfect but some of the guitar's natural character comes through.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: szarak@telesys.net.pl
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 04:42 AM

Hi,

For 3 years I've used Fishman Natural Matrix in my acoustic and classic guitars (Sigma, Takamine, Martin, Yamaha). This goes under the saddle and has its own preamp. The whole set costs (in Poland) about $130. Mounting is not very complicated, but I always let it do by the professional ($60 extra). For a year I've used Fishman's saddles called ClearTone, that give perfect results. I've compared Fishman with other brands and, in my opinion, it gives the most "natural" sound :-) that is important for folkies. Of course I use Fishmans only when going thru mics is not possible, because sound cannot be compared with true acoustic (I hope you don't expect it can).

Regards,

Szarak


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: K-zoo (Tom)
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 06:40 AM

Big Mick, Yes I am from Kalamazoo. But I am now currently living in Branford, CT. But if you still want to drop by... Anyway, thanks for your thoughts on the issue. I hope your enjoying the snow this year, all we've gotten so far is rain :( K-zoo.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: RWilhelm
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 08:46 AM

I've never been happy with the sound of pickups on acoustic guitar. Probably because, as others have pointed out, you have to process the sound after it comes out and there is not always time to set everything correcly. I tried in internal mike but had terrible feedback problems. Now I use an Audio-Technica lapel mike clipped to the sound hole or, more often, I just play into a Shure SM57.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Musicman
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 11:46 AM

I've not had much experience with pickup/mics etc but have looked into it a little bit. Playing at church we used to mic my accoustic (daion 'bout 1980) until we ran out of mics one day. We then tried the lapel mic clipped into the sound hole and found that worked great for strumming or finger picking.(hey Earl!) Not a big problem with feedback and good 'natural' sound from the instrument. It also seemed to keep the resonance that I love so much in my guitar sound.

Just another opinion

Paul


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Bob Landry
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 02:12 PM

For the last 3 years, I've played my best guitar, a Guild 6-string Songbird model that came equipped with Fishman electronics ... pickup, pre-amp, equalizer. Mostly I play it unplugged since I don't have a good amp to plug into. The few times it's been plugged into other people's amps, I haven't been happy with the sound that I heard.

Recently, I've become (barely) good enough to play at open mike sessions and stretch past my comfort zone, which for years limited me to playing only in informal jam sessions in somebody's living room or basement.

I'm now thinking of buying an amplifier to use when I play with my electrified friends. The only amp I own is a small Crate practice amp that I inherited from one of my kids who's moved on to bigger merchandise. What sort of amp should I be looking for? My main priorities so far are that it it be lightweight and easy to carry, and that it should have two channels, one with the ability to bring out the sweet sound of the Guild and the other with enough vibrato or echo effects to add interest to my naturally flat voice. Any suggestions?

Bob


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Mike Billo
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 03:38 PM

Once I started attempting to amplify my acoustic guitar it turned VERY quickly into a money pit. I was buying pre-amps,amplifiers and all manner of gizmos without ever getting a tone that I was even remotely happy with. I guess if you're going to plug into an amp anyway, it may as well be with a solid body electric guitar.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: K-zoo
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 05:08 PM

Bob, Most times the acoustic is put through the PA mixing board along with the vocal mikes. I do know that some companies are now making amps designed for acoustic guitars. You may want to go to a music store and inquire and test out a few of those.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Don Meixner
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 06:12 PM

I have a Guild F-30 with a Fishman bridge pick up that is adequate when run through a pre-amp. I have yet to hear an accoustic guitar sound from a pick up no matter how much it cost. The best mix I've heard was a combination of a bridge pick up and a condenser mic on the guitar. It was in a studio setting and the equalization must have been a nightmare.

Playing out in a band I've heard a good mix. Buy an Ovation, tolerate the way it feels and the marginal sound and live knowing that you good guitar is home. Safe from the road and awaiting your return.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 06:36 PM

Bob Landry,

There are quite a few portable amps on the market now. Your music store may know them as "Singer/Songwriter" amps. Most have two channels, one for a vocal mike and another for an instrument. Some give you a choice of XLR or RCA input on both channels, some only on one. Most have some sort of equalization and either a built-in reverb or at least an "effects" input/output.

I have a Centaur I have used for gigs. It does very well in a Starbucks-like situation. I suspect it can push quite a bit more and fill a larger room. Don't know if it could handle a bar.

I have been very happy with it. My roadie fiancee can easily carry it and I have been very pleased with the sound. There are many variations on the market.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 07:45 PM

I agree Don, right on the money. I hate to sound like a Kamen rep., but the later Ovations sound as good as most anything else. If you must electrify, I still stand with my previous post, but Don's point is well taken. For the past 10 years especially, Ovation has put great emphasis on the"Plug It In" idea and when you do the listen test, I think you'll be surprised at just how good Ovation compares. Plus, they are tough! Now comes the time that everyone jumps in and says, "Bullshit"...BUT...I would also like to say that a lot of older Ovations are nice sounding guitars unamplified. Like Rick, I'm kind of an instrument junkie and I recently found a 1980 12/cust.bal that has a tremendous sound. I've owned 4 other Ovations since 1970 and they've all been more than acceptable. I don't care a lot for the Adamas style top when unamplified...but plugged in?..not too bad.

Sorry group...I like Ovation. Nothing beats the sound of a great guitar without amplification, but a great sound doesn't pass through the electrons any better. catspaw


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 09:41 PM

Maybe I'm missing something here.

I go to two or three live music performances (acoustic) a month. The absolutely worst acoustic "plugged in" guitars I have heard were all Ovations. The sound is muddy with little definition amongst the notes in a chord. They have little or no acoustic warmth.

Takamine makes guitars with the same goal, to be played "plugged in" and sound much better. I have just never heard an Ovation I liked. Yet this is not the first time they have been praised as a road guitar.

Of course, neither brand sounds too good without being plugged in. When I go into a store and start strumming one, the clerk usually comes up and says, "You really ought to try it plugged in." I suspect they figure their unamplified sound will not sell.

That's my two cents worth.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 09:58 PM

...and thank you Roger for being the first with a "you're full of shit catspaw" posting. Don Pardo, tell him what he's won.***smile***

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Jan 99 - 08:42 AM

Well Catspaw, it is you and me that they will say "bullshit" about. I have played Tak's and Ovation's plugged in, and I find the Ovation superior. But they sound like shite unplugged. With regard to the sound of a standard guitar amplified, it is my opinion that when you use something on the order of the dual source (mic and transducer) and take a little time with it you can get a very good sound. I have watched Danny Doyle set his up and the sound was gorgeous. After a bit, it becomes very easy to go to just the right settings for various sounds. I run mine through a board and into the system. Is it the same as sitting in my music room and playing to myself? No, but it is a very good, very fat sound.

With regard to amps, I prefer the Crate Acoustic series. You can pick up a beaut for around $7 US and it will have a few effects which you can use performing.

Bottom line is that I prefer to perform for small, intimate groups unplugged. It is like heaven on earth. But most of the paying gigs have to be done plugged in, and if you take time, and talk to a good luthier, you can get a very good setup. I am fortunate to live about an hour from Elderly, so I had mine setup by the best. And I have been very satisfied.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 26 Jan 99 - 09:19 AM

If you must plug in, leave your 'good guitar" at home and go and but a Fender Telecaster.

regards Ted


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 26 Jan 99 - 09:22 AM

For "but" read "buy" sorry


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Subject: Consider a Road Guitar
From: Bo
Date: 26 Jan 99 - 11:21 AM

I am certainly no authority on this but.. If you can aford the $ really consider a used already amplified acoustic guitar. You'll get to hear what it sounds like before you buy it, a great thing and they wont be taking drills etc.. to your baby.

Most people I know who mike their guitars do so for small club / folk club settings. You want a little more volume and control for your live sound. These settings also involve some travelling and hopefully a fair number of people. I'm a fan of Takamine, for making a rugged guitar (in so far as its possible) that sounds decent.

Add to this arguement, the bonus of having a couple of guitars for different tunings, a second 'emergency' guitar, the new toy factor and the premise that used guitars dont really depreciate quickly and I think there's a solid arguement for a 'touring' guitar.

If it doesnt have all the colour of your best guitar, but people can hear what colour it does have give it its due. If you can accept the mike that came with it you have no surprises and if a tragedy happens your #1 baby is safe at home.

Bo

Otherwise I echo Rick, or rather I'd like to Echo Rick. I've heard him play and he sounds good. :)


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: rick fielding
Date: 26 Jan 99 - 12:15 PM

Thanks Bo. One way to get more versed in this is just watch the tube a bit, 'specially Nashville network videos. What are they playing? A hell of a lot of amplified Taylors, (the current hip guitar) amplified (new) Gibsons, which were given out to "name" artists en masse, and Tak upon Tak upon Tak. They all sound adequate and all the same.

I used a thin body acoustic-electric Ovation during the "bad old days" when I played a lot of bars to pay the rent, and being the acoustic snob I am, I was a trifle embarrassed when an actual "folkie" ventured in. The number of times I let other people play that guitar was probably in the thousands. I'd be a lot more selective in who plays my Lowdon, Larrivee, Maccaferri or '46 Epiphone Triumph. Funny thing though....I have tapes of that old Ovation (now in the possession of someone far less "acoustically anal" than myself, and it sounded great!


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Jan 99 - 08:20 PM

The gear issue pops up in a lot of threads. I think I got an idea of a way to tie some of this up into some fun comments and the odd (and we are) educational post thrown in. Let me think thru a layout...later...catspaw


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: DonMeixner
Date: 26 Jan 99 - 08:35 PM

Cat,

I'm disappointed that I sounded like an Ovation rep. I'm not. I dislike them as much as I dislike burdocks in my beard. They are uncomfortable to hold. The round back puts the body and neck in an unnatural twist that nearly ensures tendonitis of the left wrist. BUT.... They are hard to kill. I find their sound just north of marginal. I play an Elite in the band I'm in. Why? Because I won't ruin my Guild in bars and the Ovation was a gift from a friend. It also has otherwise excellent action . If I had the money, I'd buy a Tak or Yamaha or any other accoustic electric with a flat back that fit the physical requirements of my ruined fingers. Ultra high wood and workmanship quality in electrified instuments isn't neccessary to getting a playable amplified sound. You only need a straight neck, good intonation, and a decent pickup. My brother gary who is just now beginning to post to this forum has some great ideas on just this issue. I'm sure he will hit this thread.

Regards to all

Don


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: John M
Date: 09 Feb 99 - 12:31 AM

For me this is easy, the warmest sound I've gotten from all the pick-ups I've used is the L.R. Baggs. You will need a pre-amp though. I'm sorry to say that some people have had problem's with them, but I have not. That would be my first choice.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: o'hanrahan
Date: 09 Feb 99 - 10:35 AM

On my vintage Martin 12 string I use a Fishman under saddle pick up.(approx.$150 U.S., plus $65 for intstallation) I really love the natural sounding results I get. I also use a Duncan sound-hole pickup in my 6 with SM 57 mike, but I think I'll put a Fishman in it as soon as funds become available.

I have tried Ovations and just can't get use to the "feel", they always slide off of my lap. I have also heard some that were pretty bad sounding but it could have been the PA mix. Any Takamine I've heard has sounded decent...I think they might use Fishman for the electronics but i'm not sure.

I always choose to play through the PA rather than a guitar amp but hey...Mick I'll take one of those $7 Crate amps if you have any...

O'hanrahan


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 10 Feb 99 - 09:33 AM

Every time I see this thread I read it as Onions on pick-ups for acoustic guitar. I'm getting quite fond of it.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Feb 99 - 11:35 AM

Jazus, O'Hanrahan, I just now went back and read that bloody posting. I must run right out to Elderly and buy up all the $7 Crate amps they have in stock, eh? Obviously I meant $700 (US). It was the condoms for the Crate Amps that cost $7 (US).

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Willie-O
Date: 11 Feb 99 - 09:50 AM

I play a 1973 Martin O-18 which had a first-generation Martin Thinline pickup installed many years ago. The pickup sound is decidedly mediocre, but I've never had a bunch of bucks to throw at it for an upgrade. In a performance situation, if its socially acceptable and numerically possible, I generally try to hog two PA inputs for the guitar, one for the pickup and one for a regular mike on a boom stand (usually my SM57). The blend fattens the sound a lot and I don't have the expense, complication and rewiring of installing an internal mic.

A good sound tech can make this minimalist setup sound quite quite good. A not so good one can't.

About a year ago I _had_ to get a Fishman Pro EQ, cause I was so sick of not having any control over the pickup sound. It's done excellent service as a paperweight and desk ornament, since I haven't been performing anywhere at all...(but I _had_ to have it, you know.)

"Singer - songwriter amp?" Now there's a scary proposition.

Ovations? Don't care for them personally, but there's no denying their droppability. As for the sound, Rick's probably sounded good because he's a good player, d'ya think? (I'm hypothesizing here since I haven't heard him play.) Makes the more difference than what the back's made of. Helps if it's in tune too.

Bill


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: rick fielding
Date: 11 Feb 99 - 03:22 PM

Bill, even good players can sound lousy with lousy guitars (or pick ups). I tried the Martin (Barcus-Berry)pickup on a D 18 a number of years ago and it sounded tinny and just plain awful. I took the guitar to my regular repairman to have it removed and he told me that the original instalation had been very badly done (at the Martin factory). He re-routed it, making sure that the contact was even, and it sounded a hundred times better . Still not as good as the ol' SM 57 though. As to my old Ovation... the biggest drawback was it's slightly convex body and my slightly convex body. Sort of like this: )( !


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Bert
Date: 11 Feb 99 - 04:21 PM

Sound like there's a really big market out there for guitars with concave backs.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: reggie miles
Date: 12 Feb 99 - 04:42 PM

Bert, my friend who has a rather large upper torso has suggested the same idea. Perhaps the idea of custom casting a guitar's back to match a performers front could be a worth while venture. My experience with amplification of my acoustic guitars has been a struggle as well. Though I love playing without, I've found it necessary to equipe my guitars with pickups. I heard a friend perform with two pickups that gave him excellent results. One was a magnetic style and the other was a transducer type. It didn't seem to matter what brand as long as they were of sufficient quality to keep from producing that 60 cycle hum. He ran each through a separate channel in the PA. All bass through the magnetic pickup and all treble through the transducer. Then he just balanced their volumes by ear on stage before his performance. I have yet to try this with my flat-top but I can't wait. The little mic in the soundhole and the under the saddle transducers and combinations of the two that I have heard on guitars of others, though adequate, have not been very successful to my ear by comparison to this magnetic/transducer blend. Of course nothing can beat a great mic operated through the right PA by a great soundman. I'm going to try this combination on my home-made rezophonic as well. Reggie in Sultan


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: mountain tyme
Date: 16 Feb 99 - 06:59 PM

I have found the "under the saddle" pickups to work well as in "electric guitar", but then you can no longer play acoustic (unless you change the saddle). If you have a quality sounding acoustic guitar this is not the way to go. The cheap new Martin guitars with onboard electronics sound great plugged in and I highly reccomend them, but they sound as bad as those O'plastics otherwise. I compare the success of a pickup with the great sound of a Sure 57 and its associated frequent feedback. I had always used a 57 for my D28 and just rationalized away all the down sides untill one day I began trying different mikes on a stand up bass. Great results were obtained using a Radio Shack lavalier with long cord. The cord and preamp are included for under $25. That worked so well I tried the Radio Shack wireless Electret Condenser lavalier inside my D28. The transmitter-preamp-antenna-powersupply-mike-AA-battery combo is only a few ounces. I turn it on, dump the entire thing inside, have no wires exposed, and it sounds great. (Frequency Response 70-10kHz) If I have to work close to a very hot studio mike I also install one of those heavy rubber soundhole covers to completely eliminate feedback. Under $70 and when I dump it back out I still have a great sounding acoustic guitar. I will agree with the pureists (of which I was once) after reading this, will comment that here we have a rather rinky-dink approach to a problem which is usually not overcome even by throwing money at it. This works very well for my D28 guitar, F12 mandolin Gibson banjo, fiddle and bull bass. What I like beyond the convenience and not having to drill holes in classic instruments, is the warm quality sound without being muddy. And all the instruments remain and retain their acoustic value. These wireless units are available in either 49.830MHz or 49.890MHz and can be used at the same time. Cheers!


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Bert
Date: 17 Feb 99 - 10:34 AM

Reggie,

Re: 'casting a guitar's back to match a performers front' Great idea. It wouldn't need a strap; just a projection to plug into his belly button.

It would have to have several sound holes around the edge instead of one in the middle. Perhaps we should call it an 'In-ovation'

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 17 Feb 99 - 02:43 PM

Right on (did I really use that expression?) Mountain Tyme, those little Radio Shack mikes are amazing, and of course very cheap. Once I asked my friend Eddie who is a sound technician (and does a lot of electronic repairs) what was the difference between my AKG lavalier at 200 plus and my Radio shack at 25 bucks and he said "90 % of it is in the name". From the sound each one makes I'd say he's right.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: liza
Date: 17 Feb 99 - 08:00 PM

...I forget who started this thread, I guess it doesn't matter anymore.

I have a Gibson set up with a Sunrise pickup. $200. It was recommended by a friend with the added comment that Richard Thompson uses one. Never having had a pickup before I was willing to try anything that didn't have that bad "rubberband" sound that I hear on all those under the saddle pickups. (transducer?) It fits in the soundhole, and each string sound can be adjusted by screwing in or out a small threaded bolt (I have had to adjust the sound of the high B & E, they were too strident)

It has a good strong signal, a fairly natural sound, and with no geegaws attached-- I have been happy with it.

However, for concerts when I want the best sound possible, no drums to compete with, I still use my other (better) guitar, and play into a mike.

Liza


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Willie-O
Date: 18 Feb 99 - 02:15 PM

Rick, its all in the setup, now, ent it? Any guitar that can be set up properly can sound good in the right hands. Even an Ovation ;)=

Anybody found that taking an under-saddle pickup out really improves the sound? Maybe I should try it.

As for the Radio Shack lavalier mikes, that sounds like my kind of technology--but am I to take it literally that you "turn it on and DUMP it" into the guitar--do you clip it to the soundhole or what?

Bill


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Knappo
Date: 19 Feb 99 - 11:10 PM

Well,well thanks for all the responses to this thread. What I finally put together was to use a Sony lapel mic into a Fishman Pro-EQ then to a PA. I clip it to the soundhole at about 1 o'clock,(looking straight at the guitar). Actually, I taped the mic to a short length of a clothes hanger wire so I could direct the mic to point at the strings from underneath then I cliped it to the soundhole. So far, so good I guess. Lots of wire to deal with. The preamp was essential though. Otherwise, I had to turn up the gain on the PA way too high for my comfort. I taped the little battery deal to the side of the guitar. I wish I could sit out away from the guitar to really hear how it sounds. I think I may look into the wireless Radio Shack system Mountain Tyme mentioned. The mic gives a nice airy sound, much different than the transducers. Not better, just different. Thanks again for all the suggestions and opinons or is that onions? Tom


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: mountain tyme
Date: 20 Feb 99 - 02:49 AM

Before I would drill or enlarge holes in a vintage guitar I would hope for a good sound person and a Sure 57. Piezo sounds no better than an O'plastic. Your guitar of choice is the sound. Undisturbed a saddle/bridge/nut will seat properly in a few decades. Carving the proper footing/fitting of these is a task few folks can achieve. Tuning down when finished playing not only solves the necessity for an eventual neck reset but precludes the need for a "tuner" and self carves over time the top of the saddle/bridge/nut. As for the Radio Shack wireless mike....you can clip the transmitter anywhere on you and clip the mike on your shoulder strap for a combo voice/guitar blend. Next you can use a sound hole cover and hang the mike inside the guitar/mandolin/banjo/etc. I have tried various versions and finally just turned it on and dumped it inside. Some times it rattled so I just shook a few Caribean beats till it settled down. At one point I mounted the mike inside the guitar to the brass bridge plate but the firmness of the mounting muddied the sound. Now I just slip a foam wind screen over the mike to quell the rattle and dump the whole mess inside. The range of this unit out of doors is almost 1/4 mile so I sometimes leave my tape recorder running in my motorhome, plug the receiver in to it and record entire sessions on the QT. With one of those heavy rubber sound hole covers you can walk right up to a very hot voice mike and never get any feedback. I love it! When I remove it I still have the quality vintage acoustic guitar sound I payed dearly for. For under $25 you can afford to experiment with finding the "sweet spot" or in the case of bluegrass the "G" spot sound you prefer.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Feb 99 - 12:46 PM

If you're trying to find that "perfect spot" on your guitar, mandolin, banjo, whatever, don't forget that wonderful invention VELCRO! Get the stuff with adhesive on one side..cut a tiny piece off, stick it on your mike, and start hunting for that spot inside your guitar where it all comes together. It took me about 4 hours of sticking and unsticking to find it for all of my instruments. I did my testing at the local folk club after hours, by bribing the sound guy to hang around with beers and anecdotes from 25 years on the road.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 20 Feb 99 - 02:27 PM

Well I rushed right out to Radio Shack. They had a $20 lapel mike that broadcasts to a standard FM radio. They also had $70 lapel mike that broadcast to a special $80 receiver unit. It used frequency's higher than regular FM and had a potential of 8 separate channels (using one at a time). As usual at Radio Shack, the guy knew no more than what the catalog said.

I am interested in this solution, but I need to know how to input into a PA system with the cheapo mike. It seems this technique is working for a few 'Catters.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Feb 99 - 11:03 AM

Playing music on a steamboat while putting up with the slap of the paddlewheel, the whistle, and the escaping steam sounds, as well as the delighted squeals of Bingo winners, made a decent pickup almost a necessity for me. (How do ya get 20 elderly people to say F_ _ _ ? Have one of 'em say "BINGO"!)

I found a pickup (a plastic strip of inducer material) that stuck onto the spruce top of the guitar with double backed tape. It gave me the most accoustic sound I'd ever heard from any pickup back then. Took the sound directly from the vibrating wood. I tried several spots on the top until I found "the spot"--where the sound was best. Folks in lounge chairs out on deck were hearing me through 3-inch little speakers all over the boat. Those inside where I was weren't hearing me much better than that. Often, on real great sunny days, EVERYONE would go outside to watch the river and listen out there. I was left totally alone---so I'd pretend I was doing a radio show broadcasting from the innards of the boat to the outer limits. Yes, I learned patience and humility on that job--something I needed badly---especially when we had a 2-hour delay going through a lock behind a double tow. (That has helped me a bunch to endure long downloads.) But those gigs got our son through college---kinda rare for a folksinger to get done. And the serenity of the river is always a gift I'll have with me for as long as I live.

Oh----back to the pickup.

I don't remember the brand...

Art


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: rick fielding
Date: 21 Feb 99 - 12:13 PM

Hi Art. It might have been a "Helpinstill". I'm told they were originally made (in larger form) for pianos. I remember mine fondly till it broke.

The only way I could have put anyone through college on my gigs was if they'd been the agent.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Art Thieme
Date: 23 Feb 99 - 10:05 PM

Rick,

No, I didn't need any "Helpinstalling" it. That was pretty easy--even for me... ;-)

Art


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Feb 99 - 12:44 AM

After talking about that pick-up I thought I'd see if I could repair it, so I soldered a broken wire and put it on the 12 string. Still sounds great. It's a piece of vinyl tape about six inches long with a transducer wire inside and you just stick it behind the bridge with two sided tape. It really is called a "Helpinstill" and if anyone finds one still there in a music store (I don't think they've been made for several years) grab it. Should be cheap, and doesn't need a pre-amp.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: mountain tyme
Date: 24 Feb 99 - 07:12 PM

Roger If you are interested in trying the wireless I mention using above it is listed in the new R S cat. on pg. 132 Their # is 32-1221 $49.99 I have two each in a different frequency. If you can deal with a wire the lapels on pg. 134 # 33-3003 and #33-3013 will also work well and are used by many sound men to mike stand up bull bass. With these last two you can replace the jack with an XLR for longer runs or to a snake. With any of the above also get a $5.oo rubber sound hole cover to quell feedback. If you want to go the $20.oo FM transmitter way R S has a service called Tech America where you can get a FM receiver and if you are a ham type hobbiest modify it to plug in to a board. If you need help with it mtntyme@blast.net


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: mountain tyme
Date: 25 Feb 99 - 02:12 AM

There is a doubleback tape transducer pickup about one inch square made by Barcus Berry. I have one installed on the treble side of the bridgeplate in my 40's Silvertone. It sounded OK but I didn't want to be teathered to a wire a'la monkey so i built a small preamp with 9v bat. for it, then a small 10 watt amp with another 9v bat. Each amp on separate pc boards. Added a two pole off/on switch to a volume pot, cut a hole in the back big enough to mount a 4ohm outdoor speaker and let the horn stick thru the sound hole. The horn is a bit raspy like an old wind up phonograph and when turned up produces feed back a'la Hendrix, otherwise it's rather pleasant and self contained. Its covert useage is rather well received as a curiosity but it is much appreciated at about half throttle where it will cancel the racket of three five strings. I call it my banjo killer. The preamp batt. lasts about three years. The amp batt. lasts about a year. The BB pickup was about $20.oo. I have played at indoor and outdoor concerts sans sound equipment, and over/thru sound reinforcement systems. The volume range is more than ample in all situations. I doubt if you can come up with any snide comments I have not already heard but hey, entertainment is where you find it.


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Subject: RE: Opinons on pick-ups for acoustic guitar
From: MichaelAnthony
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 12:18 AM

I wonder why the electonics in a koa-backed Taylor I played at the music store sounded better than the non-koa backed ones.


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