Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Not all pick-ups are equal?  (Read 11704 times)
headsup
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2090


WWW

Ignore
« on: January 13, 2015, 02:13:14 PM »

Hi folks,
I have posted my challenges regarding Acoustic pick-ups here before.
my main unit for all my stage guitars is LR Baggs Element.

It's constant, easy to instal, and provides wonderful results providing you don't lean on it.
 (All pups with have attack transient (quack) issues if you play to hard.

That being said, with every guitar purchase, and subsequent pick up instal, there is always some weird harmonic imbalance I have to deal with.

Usually the treble E or B (or both) falling off in volume, how ever with careful saddle dressing I always manage to make it right.

The current issue is around the old L09 in Maple I acquired.
Lovely player, but fickle with the Element.
in this case it's the D string, and bass E that is a tad lower in volume through the stage rig.
Back to careful slot inspection, and even saddle bottom, with a possible thin shim, under the Element proper.

always a challenge, good thing I always take a back up to the gigs....

Any body out there have similar issues?
after at least 20 instals, you would think I'd have this down by now...... whistling
Logged

"Senior" member means "old" right?
Like over 50?

Too many guitars to list here.
 Too few brain cells to be bothered with...
Barefoot Rob
Donuts?
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13988




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2015, 02:38:01 PM »

Having installed hundreds of them the problems with them lead me to tell my clients that there better off using a bridgeplate style pickup like thr Baggs IBeam  either passive or active.Though a pain to install {at least for me} the K+K button style pickups.
Logged

A REPAIRPERSON,Still Unclrob
OM03PA
Favorite saying
 OB LA DE OB LA DA,LIFE GOES ON---BRA,It is what it is,You just gotta deal it,
One By One The Penguins Steal My Sanity*Eat The Rich*, Keith and Barefoot Rob on youtube
Still unclrob
#19
12 people ignoring me,so cool
www.rpjguitarworks.com
Call PM me I may b
SMan
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1362




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2015, 02:53:13 PM »

I've had issues in the past with individual strings with low volume.  (My CS05 with I beam in particular.)  Using a granite surface plate with 3m Stikit paper reduced my saddle related issues.  While many do not like UST's, to my ears, I like them and am still using NOS Fishman Matrix Natural II pickups. 
Logged

Steve ....aka the SMan
dberch
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2039


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2015, 05:47:30 PM »

I've had K&K Mini's in about 7 guitars now - all stellar.  Had first bad one.  In a Larrivee OM-05 of all things!  Just sound like crap. tinny, no bass, weak volume.  Even sent it to K&K and hgad them install a new one.  Same result.  Turns out the guitar had (according to my Luthier) a bad bridge plate with uneven glue and air pockets and possibly several loose braces. But replacing the bridge plate didn't help much!  Go figure.
Logged

So many songs - so little time...
Finger Picking good Folk, Blues, Gospel, Roots, Rags, and Originals
www.davidberchtold.com
headsup
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2090


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2015, 09:52:21 PM »

Tried a set of the K&K mini's yanked them out after one gig, not my sound at all, hard to control frequencies etc.

 regardless, I did manage to tidy up the saddle slot of the problem guitar (ir wasn't perfectly flat) and the guitar and pick-up sound wonderful. (Gigging with it tonight in fact)

 always a challenge.....
Logged

"Senior" member means "old" right?
Like over 50?

Too many guitars to list here.
 Too few brain cells to be bothered with...
flatlander
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3782




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2015, 03:22:36 AM »

Yea been thru all that. Sometimes its a funky piece of bone too. K&K for me as well for a while now. Kinda bassy but that actually works for me as I Often run bass lines while partner strums. Plus I have K&K preamp (and others) I can use to sparkle it up if I choose.
Logged

10-1614 more than a number, it's body and soul.
skyline
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 419




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2015, 03:14:45 AM »

Pickups are certainly not all equal. They're on a continuum from "sounds like a bunch of rubber bands over a kleenex boxto  "sounds like an electric guitar"

A lot of the players we now consider classic used to play into microphones, or if they had to be really loud, they just played electrics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES8ZYtC25lU
Logged
eded
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2039




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2015, 04:22:23 AM »

Pickups are certainly not all equal. They're on a continuum from "sounds like a bunch of rubber bands over a kleenex boxto  "sounds like an electric guitar"

A lot of the players we now consider classic used to play into microphones, or if they had to be really loud, they just played electrics.


Hmmm...
Logged
skyline
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 419




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2015, 06:01:12 AM »

Hmmm...

Is that the starting note for an a capella piece or . . . ?

Sound reinforcement?

Amplification?

Pickups are pickups. Obviously they're not equal or there wouldn't be more than one of them.

The significant choices:

         1)  present an acoustic instrument

          2) present an electric instrument

1) Requires a good room (which will limit the size of your audience)

2) is more appropriate for entertainment or accompaniment

If you think you need a "pickup", save, yourself a lot of headaches and go electric.

Once you need a pickup, you're into a forum of presentation where acoustic irrelevant - the subtleties of a given instrument are subservient to basic pitch and rhythm.

Granted,  the big beautiful wooden beastie with it's exquisite woods may bolster your confidence.

But ultimately acoustic instruments are created for acoustics, not electronics.

Think about it.

When you need to be loud, there's really nothing wrong with playing electric guitar . . .


Logged
L07 Shooting Star
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3683




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2015, 06:57:50 AM »

So if we accept your solution, Skyline, next time a top bluegrass band or artist needs to perform in an arena or stadium, they should just switch out their D-28s and Mandolins for electric guitars?  How about the fiddles?   Same for country artists?  I would hate to see David Gilmour perform "wish you were here"  or Jimmy Page do "stairway to heaven" live, on an electric guitar, just because they don't have enough volume to do it in a large venue.  Your argument makes no sense at all.

Acoustic guitars have been amplified (with pickups or transducers of some sort) for at least 50 years on countless live performances and recordings.  Even the poorest-sounding ones sound more like an acoustic guitar than an electric guitar.  The best-sounding systems, properly EQ'd, reproduce the acoustic guitar sound almost flawlessly.  On the other hand, I have never seen an electric guitar that can reproduce the sound of an acoustic very well at all.

I think the point of this topic is, of the many systems available for producing realistic sound from an acoustic guitar, some work better than others for different players and instruments for various reasons.  To most of us, it's already understood that there is a need to amplify acoustic guitars and other acoustic instruments.  If that wasn't true, there wouldn't be an issue.  Everyone would just use an electric guitar instead, which is just silly.
Logged

"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
skyline
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 419




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2015, 04:13:26 AM »

  To most of us, it's already understood that there is a need to amplify acoustic guitars and other acoustic instruments.  If that wasn't true, there wouldn't be an issue.  Everyone would just use an electric guitar instead, which is just silly.

Sorry - I didn't phrase that very well..

Clearly, to play to thousands of people at one time, you will need volume beyond the ability of any known acoustic instrument. There's nothing wrong with pickups - but if you look around these forums, you'll see that they're a huge money-pit. A money pit that apparently leaves no-one satisfied (hence this thread)

I'm not saying "don't use a pickup", I'm saying "it's the music that counts" - ie if you know your tunes, and they're good tunes, what will count is the notes, not the timbre.

It is not "silly" to use an electric instrument. Like it or not, when you're audience hears you through a pickup you are using an electric instrument.  Yes Mr. Gilmour has done many "unplugged" performances with a plug:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3j8mr-gcgoI but even with Gilmour's relatively unlimited resources, the acoustics keep that "rubber band" sound:

But that's beside the point. If you really love the sound of your acoustic instrument, you'll be able to project that sound, as players have for many years, and still do, using a microphone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gL8eBrhVTJ4

If your goal is to play have fine acoustic instruments display their subtle nuances in hockey arenas, you're best off to invest in a flatbed that can carry a healthy P.A.,  carpets, baffles, and a good microphone or two. It'll be a lot more rewarding than trying to get an "acoustic" sound through a pickup - and way more predictable.

As for fiddles, on a fiddle, the difference between acoustic-with-pickup and electric is so subtle that silly might be the best adjective.

When it comes to Jimmy Page playing Stairway to Heaven live - did he ever perform it on an acoustic?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q7Vr3yQYWQ  (spoiler alert - there's a Mellotron on Flute setting playing the recorder parts!)
Logged
rockstar_not
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2310


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2015, 04:57:37 AM »

The only install I've done is my K+K mini Pure Western on my L-03 after the Larrivee supplied fishman UST or electronics crapped out.  I've never been very happy with the sound of the K+K by itself, and I've made a impedance matching cable on the advice of someone here many moons ago.  It sort of fixed the thump issue, but not really.  I've pretty much quit using it and just bring along an EV PL80 vocal mic which does a much better job  as long as I don't move around too much.

I've tried pairing the K+K with an L.R. Baggs Para DI that they have at our church and still can't get a nice thump-free tone out of it.

I've heard many people sing the praises of the I-Beam; never tried one myself.  The best in-build pickup system I've ever heard is that three-way thing that used to come on Taylors - and no, I'm not a Taylor lover (well, except for the 8 string baritone; that thing is magic).
Logged

2000 L-03-E
2012 Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue
1985 Peavey Milestone
2004 SX SPJ-62 Bass
2008 Valencia Solid Cedar Top Classical
2015 Taylor 414ce - won in drawing
2016 Ibanez SR655BBF

My Sound Cloud
L07 Shooting Star
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3683




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2015, 05:30:14 AM »

Sorry - I didn't phrase that very well..

Clearly, to play to thousands of people at one time, you will need volume beyond the ability of any known acoustic instrument. There's nothing wrong with pickups - but if you look around these forums, you'll see that they're a huge money-pit. A money pit that apparently leaves no-one satisfied (hence this thread)

I'm not saying "don't use a pickup", I'm saying "it's the music that counts" - ie if you know your tunes, and they're good tunes, what will count is the notes, not the timbre.

It is not "silly" to use an electric instrument. Like it or not, when you're audience hears you through a pickup you are using an electric instrument.  Yes Mr. Gilmour has done many "unplugged" performances with a plug:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3j8mr-gcgoI but even with Gilmour's relatively unlimited resources, the acoustics keep that "rubber band" sound:

But that's beside the point. If you really love the sound of your acoustic instrument, you'll be able to project that sound, as players have for many years, and still do, using a microphone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gL8eBrhVTJ4

If your goal is to play have fine acoustic instruments display their subtle nuances in hockey arenas, you're best off to invest in a flatbed that can carry a healthy P.A.,  carpets, baffles, and a good microphone or two. It'll be a lot more rewarding than trying to get an "acoustic" sound through a pickup - and way more predictable.

As for fiddles, on a fiddle, the difference between acoustic-with-pickup and electric is so subtle that silly might be the best adjective.

When it comes to Jimmy Page playing Stairway to Heaven live - did he ever perform it on an acoustic?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q7Vr3yQYWQ  (spoiler alert - there's a Mellotron on Flute setting playing the recorder parts!)

I think I misunderstood your meaning, Skyline.  Your points are well-taken.

I thought you were suggesting that any time you need more volume on a guitar, you should just play an electric guitar instead.  Sorry about that.  I acknowledge a microphone is the most accurate way to reproduce an acoustic's sound, but it is very limiting in other ways.  As a second choice, I still think that if you are going for an acoustic sound, an acoustic guitar with a good pickup/transducer, whatever you want to call it, is a better option than an "electric" guitar.

Silly me, I should have remembered Jimmy played that on his double neck electricguitar.   blush

 
Logged

"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
carruth
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1507




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2015, 08:24:30 PM »

The K & K works well for my finger picking style. THe K & K must be installed correctly to work properly.
Logged

Larrivee:
P09
OM03
OMO3R
OMO5
LO2
LO3R
LO3W
LO3K
fongie
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1946




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2015, 09:16:16 PM »

I think we all have our preferences, that's okay. I think it's always good to try different pickups, you eventually find what works for you and those that that don't.

I've had many, so many I can't even remember. I eventually settle on K&K. I run mine through a Orchid muting DI. Don't get me wrong, I think most are great but I prefer the natural sound more.

I also install all my K&K's myself, which makes it cheaper to purchase.
Logged
skyline
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 419




Ignore
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2015, 03:05:51 AM »

I've never been very happy with the sound of the K+K by itself, and I've made a impedance matching cable on the advice of someone here many moons ago.  It sort of fixed the thump issue, but not really.  I've pretty much quit using it and just bring along an EV PL80 vocal mic which does a much better job  as long as I don't move around too much

Has anyone tried the DPA guitar mics?

Apparently they are very directional (like miniature shot-guns) and they mount to the instrument (so you don't have to make like a statue when you play)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixdv3mE98j8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES8ZYtC25lU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwn1FxF6GGo
Logged
Barefoot Rob
Donuts?
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13988




Ignore
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2015, 04:30:48 AM »

I have tried just about every mic for getting my sound out there.Yes I prefer mic's,I used mic's but sometime's you can't use mic's.I play in a duo that 90% of the time I'm playing right along side of a main road and I'll say this mic's suck for use at those club's.I use the Bagg's active Ibeam and the Anthym SL in my guitars.For me its as good as it gets to being acoustic sounding.Electric pu's are a different beast all together.
Logged

A REPAIRPERSON,Still Unclrob
OM03PA
Favorite saying
 OB LA DE OB LA DA,LIFE GOES ON---BRA,It is what it is,You just gotta deal it,
One By One The Penguins Steal My Sanity*Eat The Rich*, Keith and Barefoot Rob on youtube
Still unclrob
#19
12 people ignoring me,so cool
www.rpjguitarworks.com
Call PM me I may b
L07 Shooting Star
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3683




Ignore
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2015, 08:15:30 AM »

The K & K works well for my finger picking style. THe K & K must be installed correctly to work properly.

I think we all have our preferences, that's okay. I think it's always good to try different pickups, you eventually find what works for you and those that that don't.

I've had many, so many I can't even remember. I eventually settle on K&K. I run mine through a Orchid muting DI. Don't get me wrong, I think most are great but I prefer the natural sound more.

I also install all my K&K's myself, which makes it cheaper to purchase.

I have the K&K's in both my L-07 and L-40 12 string.  I don't perform a lot, but seek to have realistic acoustic sound in my basement jam room.  I find that I can just plug both those guitars directly into my powered mixer and get a very accurate reproduction of the unplugged guitar with very little tweaking of the EQ on the mixer.  I also have played these guitars in live gigs thru my Baggs para acoustic pre-amp (properly gained and EQ'd) into several regular guitar amps with great success.

More than 30 years ago, Seymour Duncan produced a humbucking acoustic pickup, called the acoustic tube, that you can snap into your soundhole and that will instantly amplify your acoustic guitar.  I bought one of these when they first came out, and have bought a couple more since then.  These are great sounding and worth checking out before they are no longer available.  Stewmac has them for about $70.00.  To me, they reproduce the acoustic sound just as well as all these new-fangled systems offered today.
Logged

"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
rockstar_not
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2310


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2015, 02:30:41 PM »

Has anyone tried the DPA guitar mics?

Apparently they are very directional (like miniature shot-guns) and they mount to the instrument (so you don't have to make like a statue when you play)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixdv3mE98j8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES8ZYtC25lU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwn1FxF6GGo

For the price of one of the DPA mics, I would buy another guitar!  The original company that spawned DPA, if I'm not mistaken, is Brüel & Kjær or it's G.R.A.S. - both of which are high-end measurement microphone manufacturers.  G.R.A.S. was spawned by Gunnar Rasmussen who was at B&K for years.  Great microphones with a rich history behind them.  But also quite expensive.  I really like their guitar body mounting mechanism.
Logged

2000 L-03-E
2012 Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue
1985 Peavey Milestone
2004 SX SPJ-62 Bass
2008 Valencia Solid Cedar Top Classical
2015 Taylor 414ce - won in drawing
2016 Ibanez SR655BBF

My Sound Cloud
skyline
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 419




Ignore
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2015, 05:44:05 PM »

For the price of one of the DPA mics, I would buy another guitar!

At first blush they seem expensive, but you can use the same one on multiple instruments, and not just for performance (I don't know many people who pickups for recording)

So would the higher cost be spread out over multiple functions and instruments - if these work well ? 

Logged
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to: