Removable pickups for acoustics; what are you using right now?

Started by nbs2005, March 15, 2022, 10:49:25 AM

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I'm not a fan of permanent mount pickups. But I am doing some open mics and am hoping to do more. I had a LR Baggs M1a permanently installed in my OM-40, but sold that to fund the Forum VI. I found that pickup OK, was not a fan of the extraneous noise from touching the body. Currently I'm using a Lawrence a300 which sounds surprisingly good, particularly with a little EQ. It does not have adjustable pole pieces, so there are slight balance issues. I also find it's higher position than even the M1a requires me to modify my playing position.

What I'm looking for is very good (not perfect) amplified sound for open mic nights, the ability to easily move it from guitar to guitar, and adjustable pole pieces. I'll also use this with a mic for home recording. Also, my experience is that for open mics, you do get a bit of ambient acoustic guitar tone from your vocal mic (I also tend to not crowd a mic while singing).

What are folks using that they like?

Thanks,

Jeff

The only removable pickups I know of are wound pickups.  Most/all I have heard sound so unlike an acoustic that I may as well bring an electric.

The only soundhole pickup I ever liked was an old DeArmond 260 with a piezo element in it.  It didn't have adjustable pole pieces though.

Good luck.

Ed

I like good soundhole PUs, but I have discovered the F-VI is a rabbit hole for installation. Others may have another view, but here is mine....

Installing a soundhole PU with adjustable poles in the F-VI is not easy or quick, due to the smaller F-VI soundhole, and the depth of the PU. On both the Baggs M-type and the Sunrise (for example), the PU has to be taken apart, mounting screws temporarily removed, and in the case of the Baggs, one of the internal ears has to be trimmed. And the strings removed to install the PU as well.

Unless you have a shallow pickup (like a Duncan Woody) you will not be installing/removing the PU quickly, and the Woody I have won't fit at all.
A spring-mount like the Lawrence works, but if you accidentally pull on the cord, you can yank the PU out of the guitar and you could damage something.
You might look at different solutions, like the iRig acoustic system.

I am not going to pursue the soundhole PU solution for the F-VI except short term, in the end I will have a pure mini installed.
This is just me.
Mike
Larrivee OM-03, OM-03 laurel, OM-50, L-03 laurel, LSV-03 walnut (Forum VI)

Interesting comment Mike. Wish I would have held off a bit on my order ;-)

I have a K&K Helix pickup on the way. Not a common pickup but some very spectacular reviews on-line. I think this will work (OK, on the SD-40) and allows the addition of a pure mini at a later date for a more complete solution.

I'll report back when I've had a chance to try it out.

Quote from: nbs2005 on March 16, 2022, 02:16:23 PM
Interesting comment Mike. Wish I would have held off a bit on my order ;-)

I have a K&K Helix pickup on the way. Not a common pickup but some very spectacular reviews on-line. I think this will work (OK, on the SD-40) and allows the addition of a pure mini at a later date for a more complete solution.

I'll report back when I've had a chance to try it out.
I looked up the manual on the K&K site and the pickup can be installed in a 90 mm soundhole (3.5 inches).
There are special instructions for the small soundhole installation.
Highly recommend you use the end pin jack for the pickup. The Larrivee is already drilled for it.
Mike
Larrivee OM-03, OM-03 laurel, OM-50, L-03 laurel, LSV-03 walnut (Forum VI)

Thanks for the advice Mike. I'll try it in the SD first, that should be real simple. Also been thinking about a Lyric for the LSV. That might be a really nice combination.

Cheers,

Jeff

K&K Helix arrived on Friday. Popped it into the SD-40, really simple to do with that large sound hole. Didn't look to bad in the none permanent install and he wires hung nicely out of the way. The strap button jack worked really well just slipping on. The gloss setting sounded really nice, very acoustic for a pickup. The Steam was big and noisy, I didn't think I'd use it much.

After a few minutes playing it as set up from the factory it became apparent that the B & E were really dominate. I played it though my powered speaker that has a decent if not great tone stack and couldn't tame the sound with EQ. Got out the tiny screwdriver and started adjusting. I got it so in sounded close though still high sting dominant (B and E about as far down as they would go, all others up really high, closer than my Tele stings) but this was in room so I'm getting a lot of acoustic volume.

Next I ran it through my computer using Reaper and my UMC-40 interface. Ugggghhh. So very high sting dominant. I mean ridiculously so. I added a bunch of EQ plugins, but really couldn't do anything with it. For giggles I plugged in the Lawrence a300. That doesn't sound very acoustic but at least the string balance is decent. Much better than the K&K.


So it's going back. For now the a300 will get me through open mics. Thinking about trying a Lyric or I-beam active next.

Thanks,
Jeff

You might want to try the nickle/silver strings from D'Addio,they work really nice with sound hole pu's
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I generally really, really prefer permanently mounted pickups.

Generally the only removable ones are coil type soundhole mounted ones, which always give an "electric gutiar" color to the sound.

That having been said, the one soundhole mount I do have is a California Lace.

The Lace sounds pretty good for a soundhole type, and it's available with a female jack which can clip over the endpin, so you can use a standard guitar cable.

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/lace-california-acoustic-special-guitar-pickup/j44320000000000?cntry=US&cur=USD&utm_content=J44320000000000--Lace%20California%20Acoustic%20Special%20Guitar%20Pickup

Edit to add:  It fits fine in both my Larrivee Parlor and my Rainsong Parlor, so shouldn't be an issue in a Forum-VI

I have a Fishman Neo humbucker that works pretty well with my L-01. Sounds pretty good for what it is and it's easy to put in and take out.

I've been using Fishman Rare Earth Blends with positive results for several years now. Easy to pull if necessary, although I wish they'd add a 1/8" or similar jack to make it even easier. Most importantly though, I've had several folks comment on how great it sounded.


The dimarzio black angel has adjustable poles and comes with cable or endpin so you can route the cable out of the sound hole or routed it to the endpin to plug in your patch cable so it looks less tacky.  I am contemplating this one myself, feedback seems mostly positive from what I read.

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