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Author Topic: it's NOT the pick-up!  (Read 1950 times)
headsup
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« on: June 12, 2014, 05:10:47 AM »

I was called to do a short notice sub this evening.
 The regular guy is a local favourite, and has a great deal of notoriety as an awesome live and studio player.
he was in a jam, and asked if I could step in.

it's a solo gig, and 'friends" of his, might get up and "play a song or two".

i did my best, dialled up good tones on the go to OM-60 .
typically getting nice compliments on my tone, clarity, what kind of guitar etc.

One of the friends asks to play, i let him.
the same beautiful sounding larrivee now sounds like crap, harsh, attack transience, and huge "quack" everywhere.

clubs I play have very very good house systems, and monitors, there is NO reason for anyone, these days to pound and lean into any guitar that hard to produce such horrid sounds from an other wise beautiful sounding instrument.

it's not the guitar, it's not the pickup, it's the player.

best tone is with the fingers, pick, sure, but don't lean into it, let the sound system do the work.

every guitar will sound better through a house mix, if we don't over compensate.

I told the guy to take it easy on my guitar, and the sound got better. immediately and hugely.

don't believe me?
 record yourself at home, with different attack techniques. you'll find out pretty quick where and how the best tone is generated from your guitar, through a pick up.
 any guitar, any pick up.

honest.


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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2014, 01:57:06 PM »

I have no problem with people sitting in but I never let anyone use my gear.A long time ago I let someone use my guitar to sit in,he was a friend of the bass player,when he came off the stage he handed me my guitar and said something nasty about my guitar.I told him next time bring his own guitar and amp to play thru.After the gig I told the band that if they have someone who wants to sit in they need to bring there own stuff as my stuff was now off limits.

Many players don't understand how to play an acoustic guitar with a pu in them,let alone playing thru a mic.
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broKen
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2014, 03:25:30 PM »

Thanks for the education Kevin. It's always good to hear the voice of experience.
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carruth
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2014, 08:22:51 PM »

Guitars sound best without any amplification. Second best is a high quality condensor microphone. Third best is a pickup.
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flatlander
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014, 01:13:36 AM »

Yep Your right. I still beat on mine a little when rockin though,  :)  But yea when you're just playing along it's kinda like singing. You don't want to scream all the time. When playing with voice you treat guitar like another voice that's harmonizing. Same when playing with other instruments.
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ZachStevenson
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2014, 04:43:12 AM »

Great thread headsup, so much comes from how you play. 
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2014, 05:18:03 AM »

Guitars sound best without any amplification. Second best is a high quality condensor microphone. Third best is a pickup.






yes true  dat, however, live stage performance levels make a mic hardly an option.
Pickups have come a long way, even though it's STILL taking saddle and top vibrations, rather than sound hole/studio accuracy.
However, for the performing professional, or semi professional, with careful EQ, and a sensitive touch, through high end gear, a very pleasing, rich, full and sweet acoustic sound can be had, and believe me, I;'ve been on this one for decades. And I feel I have come as close as I've ever been, and studio/live engineers will attest to the fact.

I knew in my gut that it was really about how we approach the concept of UST pick-ups, but for some weird and strange reason, after having my own guitar sounding typically awesome, for so long, in many different rigs, and then seeing how another person turn it into absolute crap and horrid sounding, made me realize, ore. and more, the attack transience issue every one complains about (quack) is not about the pick up, but rather how a player approaches the electrified instrument on a stage.
At my age and stage in my professional career, (4 more gigs this week-end-festivals, with bands, what ever) I  simply need to share this simple bit of very cool wisdom I learned, from my own rig, my own guitar, and how a different player can take a perfectly wonderful sounding instrument and make it sound dreadful.
 I might add, for those (like myself this week-end) who play their acoustic guitar, competing with piano, bass and drums, AVOID the inclination to play harder to get volume, therein your guitar will sound harsh. Ask the sound man and monitor desk for more gain, play softer, and watch how quickly the other band mates bring their volume down.

so stupid to just be understanding this so late in the game (i'm 61)

just passing along hard but worth while lessons around having your nice acoustic guitar sound beautiful on stage.....
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broKen
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2014, 06:32:09 AM »

Thanks for all that Kevin.
A link to a TE vid today sent me on another youtube search for some more of his (Tommy's) stuff and watched him explain how his rig is set up, including where all the dials are set and the controls on the guitar. I learned something. He has the volume on the guitar turned all the way up and then adjusts the volume at the amp. I tried that and got a much nicer sound through the Genz Benz.
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2014, 11:19:58 AM »

As The Stones so aptly put it, it's the singer not the song.   
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ktron
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2014, 02:35:22 AM »

As The Stones so aptly put it, it's the singer not the song.   

Really? Care to post some examples?

Very few poor songs make their way through history, but no matter how many lousy singers may butcher a song . . . the song remains the same.
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