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Author Topic: Not all pick-ups are equal?  (Read 11692 times)
headsup
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« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2015, 01:17:20 PM »

Once I plug one of my very nice hand crafted acoustic guitars into a sound system, it's electric right?
The audience is now hearing an electric guitar, like it or not.

I play well over 350 shows a year, sometimes 2 or 3 a day, with different sound companies, different expectations, different stage monitors.
 What I ALWAYS keep the same is my personal stage rig.

That is; any number of older hand made Larrivve guitars, every one fitted with the exact same pick-up system.
 (LR Baggs "Element") for consistency.

The only "difference" for me, is the acoustic tonal response of each guitar on that system.
The differences to others are almost inaudible, to me, even though it's an amplified guitar, the differences are just enough to help decide which guitar is most appropriate for which gig.

As far as my OP on this matter, as any tech type person might know, the saddle slot MUST be perfectly clean and flat, the bottom of the bone saddle must also be perfectly flat and even for maximum contact with the braided wire pick-up.

Last, and I've mentioned this before in other posts, in order to avoid attack transience (quack), it's important NOT to lean (overplay,play too hard, strum hard) with acoustic pick ups. Play with sensitivity, care and intelligence, and use the monitor desk to bring your sound where you need it on stage.
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« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2015, 02:20:40 PM »

Once I plug one of my very nice hand crafted acoustic guitars into a sound system, it's electric right?
The audience is now hearing an electric guitar, like it or not.
.

Being absolutely fair, that applies to a mic'd guitar also, right?

I never play in big places.  I almost exclusively play through the same amp (Ultrasound AG-50) which is well matched to the pickup I use (K&K).  When I play into any other amp or mixing board, I use the K&K preamp.  I get no booming, no extra bass, no quack (as long as there is someone competent on the controls).  The pickup and amp(s) make the sound louder and the "air" of the guitar fills in what the pickup doesn't do.  Would this work in a different situation, like a larger room or a rock combo?  No, probably not.  I'm not fighting off offers so I won't get too wigged over that.   

For recording I use a mic (or mics), though for the right affect I'd go with a pickup.   Several (well, ok many) years ago, I was only really playing electric and we wanted acoustic sound on one tune (there wasn't a decent acoustic amongst us) so we rigged up a mix of the bridge pickup of my Guild Starfire III (hollow body electric), a Barcus Berry Dot (remember them?) on the bridge, and a mic about 8" away from the front of the guitar.  It sounded great and anyone would be hard pressed to tell it wasn't an acoustic.

I fully agree with the original premise...  not all pickups are equal.  But then, not all situations are equal.  I don't believe there is a single solution to every amplification need.  It's great we have so many possibilities to choose from.

Ed
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dberch
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« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2015, 02:04:12 PM »

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.

Pardon the expression, but, Poo.  Try telling that to the dozens upon dozens of folk who have told me they love my plugged sound because it 'just sounds so acoustic.' I was running my K&K equipped Collings D1A through a Roland AC-100 once and a gentle man crossed the street to come in the coffee house where I was playing and told me, "I thought I heard a Martin." It was summer and he door was open. Well it's not a martin but I've a/b'd it with a D-18GE and the difference was negligible. I play finger style with a thumb pick and palm muting when needed and the K&K projects the truest tone of any pickup I've tried, and I've tried a bunch. iBeam came close, but feedback issues knocked it out.

Headsup, when you tried your K&K, did you back off the Mids? Makes a WORLD of difference and that's the only EQ I ever apply, other them mild tweaks to High and Low to suit the room.

Cheers,
David
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skyline
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« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2015, 01:51:31 AM »

Being absolutely fair, that applies to a mic'd guitar also, right?

For sure! The common denominator becomes the amplifier/speaker -  a whole other rabbit hole, replete with multiple eat-me's and drink-me's.

How do you establish a baseline?  Maybe you get a good recording system, setup and record your guitar simultaneously through the pickup and through a microphone?

Just record - don't monitor (except meters, to set levels)

Let's assume you're not playing in a shoebox or the local equivalent of the Taj Mahal - and you've spent at least half as much on the microphone as you have on the pickup - which do you think re-creates the sound of your instrument better?



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skyline
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« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2015, 02:13:49 AM »

Pardon the expression, but, Poo.  Try telling that to the dozens upon dozens of folk who have told me they love my plugged sound because it 'just sounds so acoustic.' I was running my K&K equipped Collings D1A through a Roland AC-100 once and a gentle man crossed the street to come in the coffee house where I was playing and told me, "I thought I heard a Martin." It was summer and he door was open. Well it's not a martin but I've a/b'd it with a D-18GE and the difference was negligible. Cheers, David

Poo as in The Tao of Pooh?

What does it mean if you were playing a Collings and someone thought they were hearing a Martin? 
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« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2015, 03:26:04 AM »

Poo as in The Tao of Pooh?

What does it mean if you were playing a Collings and someone thought they were hearing a Martin? 

If Bill Collings was within earshot, I bet you'd hear, "mission accomplished", or something similar.

Ed
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skyline
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« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2015, 01:35:39 AM »

If Bill Collings was within earshot, I bet you'd hear, "mission accomplished", or something similar.
Ed

Hmm, I would have thought he might be a bit put out . . . 
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dberch
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« Reply #27 on: April 03, 2015, 03:30:08 PM »

Hmm, I would have thought he might be a bit put out . . . 

Well, it WAS through a pickup. ;)
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« Reply #28 on: April 03, 2015, 04:41:14 PM »

Hmm, I would have thought he might be a bit put out . . . 

From what I understand about Collings, the sound of the early Martins is the goal.  I doubt he'd be put out.

Ed
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dberch
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« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2015, 03:39:22 PM »

From what I understand about Collings, the sound of the early Martins is the goal.  I doubt he'd be put out.

Ed

Bingo!
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George
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« Reply #30 on: April 21, 2015, 08:20:32 PM »

This thread appears to be rather a hot topic?  Lots of passion from the forum members about it.  My two cents summary;  I have UST's (or UST/mic blend) systems installed on all of my acoustic guitars and love the way they sound through a recording system set flat but with appropriate effects dialed lightly in.  I have recorded with several AKG and Neumann mics and I just don't play cleanly enough, consistently enough, to get through all the extra noise I create for me not to notice it as bad on my recordings.  I suspect the DPA d:vote 4099G guitar mic would give me the same issues, even though my DPA vocal mic is my absolute favorite (its side rejection is excellent and its sound pressure level handling is phenomenal, but it is not designed for micing musical instruments).  I find the Baggs Anthem systems to be about half the output volume of a typical Fishman or DTAR UST.  If you can keep the gain signal to noise down the Anthems perform extremely well.  I have not tried the Ibeam, but know several who prefer it over all else, but they also say it really makes the top of the guitar "hot" to the touch which is not good news for a flat picker like me.  I have not tried the K&K either, would someone please suggest a model with an internal preamp?  Most of the string balance issues mentioned here are common problems with anybody's UST, at least in my humble experience.  You know, this is a subject that really boils down to a whole lot of personal preference, as well as appropriate for individual playing styles... but is certainly the type of technical discussion I like very much!  I have not been on here for very long, but I am addicted...   
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George
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« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2015, 03:17:13 AM »

I've read and re-read everyone's responses. They all make sense - so I have to ask:

   • When we're considering pickups, how are we comparing them?

   • Are we comparing pickup to pickup?    •  Or is the baseline the sound we hear when we play acoustically in our favourite comfort-room?    •  Or is the baseline sound something we can record and re-play at any later time?

   • Is the live sound we are comparing to the ambient sound in the room? Or are we comparing to the sound we hear through a monitor, or is it the sound recorded off of a console, or an open mic?


When georbro3 describes getting a preferred performance through "pickups" - I suspect the crux of the biscuit has been hit . . .
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2015, 06:20:21 AM »

I've read and re-read everyone's responses. They all make sense - so I have to ask:

   • When we're considering pickups, how are we comparing them?

   • Are we comparing pickup to pickup?    •  Or is the baseline the sound we hear when we play acoustically in our favourite comfort-room?    •  Or is the baseline sound something we can record and re-play at any later time?

   • Is the live sound we are comparing to the ambient sound in the room? Or are we comparing to the sound we hear through a monitor, or is it the sound recorded off of a console, or an open mic?


When georbro3 describes getting a preferred performance through "pickups" - I suspect the crux of the biscuit has been hit . . .

To answer all 3 of your points, I would say "all of the above".  I think it boils down to which pickup/system/combination is "the best" for a given application.  The answer depends on one's definition of "best" and is very subjective in any case.
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skyline
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« Reply #33 on: April 25, 2015, 03:25:29 AM »

To answer all 3 of your points, I would say "all of the above".  I think it boils down to which pickup/system/combination is "the best" for a given application.  The answer depends on one's definition of "best" and is very subjective in any case.

Clearly it is subjective, but  "yes - all of the above"? Are you pulling my tuning pegs?
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #34 on: April 25, 2015, 05:59:26 AM »

Clearly it is subjective, but  "yes - all of the above"? Are you pulling my tuning pegs?

Not quite.  I'm turning your cranks. rolleye

I didn't articulate my answer very well.  I was trying to say that all of your examples of different comparisons might or could apply depending on the situation and the objective of the comparison.  So sometimes we want to compare pickups to pickups.  In another situation we want to compare the live sound to the ambient sound of the room, etc. etc.  I meant all of your examples could apply.  I think I was agreeing with you. wacko
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"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.


 
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