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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Adding a pickup or just use the microphone?

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

bamapicker - Posted - 11/15/2008:  18:55:49

Does anyone have a preference on the type pickup to add to your acoustic guitar? or had you just rather use a microphone?


MitchellB - Posted - 11/16/2008:  13:09:00

I've never been satisfied with the sound of any acoustic guitar pickup or transducer I have ever tried and prefer a good microphone. However, there are situations where sometimes a mic will just not provide the volume needed without feeding back and you may want to add a pickup of somekind. I added an internal condenser microphone system to one of my guitars and I am quite pleased with the sound. However due to the feedback problem I had to add a rubber soundhole cover (Yamaha brand) and that cut down the feedback a lot. I can crank it on up there almost as loud as a transducer pickup, but its sound is much fuller like an acoustic guitar should sound without the aid of stomp boxes, EQs or filters.


mrbook - Posted - 11/17/2008:  20:36:03

I have never been thrilled with acoustic guitar pickups - mostly the sound, but also because many users can't or don't know how to back off when they are not in the forefront. There are times when they are useful however. I had a MacIntyre in a Martin once and liked it, but currently none of my guitars have pickups. I do have soundhole pickups by DeArmond and Seymour Duncan that work when needed, but i haven't used them in years


JonT - Posted - 11/18/2008:  11:21:02

I'm with the others. In terms of sound quality, I think a mic will always trump a pickup. But it also depends on what you're doing. If you're recording, a mic, for sure. But if you're concertizing or gigging, that's when a pickup might make some sense as an alternative. I've got an LR Baggs active i-Beam in my '81 HD-28 for exactly this reason. Sometimes I actually use the thing, and it mostly sounds pretty good. But a mic always sounds better.

Best - JFT

Tom Smith - Posted - 11/19/2008:  08:49:14

I believe that Tony Rice said there are two ways to record acoustic guitar ... one microphone or two microphones.

Tom Smith

brian2 - Posted - 11/28/2008:  15:41:36

Sorry to resurrect a dead (or dying) thread, but I use an LR Baggs M1 pickup. I was like these guys for a long time, never liked pickups; but imagine my surprise when I heard the M1. It truly sounds fantastic. It has none of that piezo quack, and it sounds natural. In fact, when I switched from a mic to the M1, there were several audience members who commented that they didn't know what I was doing different, but the guitar sounded better.

Recording is a different thing, but I'll never use a mic on a live show again.

Mr. Bill - Posted - 11/28/2008:  21:46:21

I've done both as well. I have a K and K passive that generally produces sound I like. Sometimes if I am not controlling the console, it can sound more "electric" than I would like. I'm considering a portable pre-amp for that reason. The pickup gives me more freedom to move on stage and can avoid some feedback problems with monitors and many open mics on stage. However, I can't control dynamics as with a mic and I still prefer the sound of a mic over a pickup. For me the pickup is there as a backup system or to simplify stage setup.

trickymicky - Posted - 12/05/2008:  12:23:35

I have just had a Headway pickup fitted to my 1998 HD 28 and it sound fantastic. I am really pleased, go check them out...

Johnboy109 - Posted - 12/13/2008:  18:05:24

Originally posted by Tom Smith

I believe that Tony Rice said there are two ways to record acoustic guitar ... one microphone or two microphones.

Tom Smith

Amen to that.Recording or amplifying an acoustic instrument means using a mic. Anything else is modeling(simulating)the authentic sound properties.

When they outlaw guitars,only outlaws will have guitars.

AllenShadd - Posted - 12/14/2008:  13:45:49

I prefer to mic the guitar, but to be heard sometimes it's a must to plug in. A general rule I follow is this, if the band uses a mic, then just mic the guitar but if any one member plugs in (aside from electric bass) then all members need to plug in, it just simplifies things. I use a Fishman blender when I plug in, with a McIntyre p/u and crown internal mic.

15bassman - Posted - 12/17/2008:  19:20:04

Originally posted by Tom Smith

I believe that Tony Rice said there are two ways to record acoustic guitar ... one microphone or two microphones.

Tom Smith

Well, there you go! 'Nuff said.

Don''t give God instructions.....just report for duty.

AllenShadd - Posted - 12/18/2008:  12:43:47

The quote above by Tony is fine if

A) You are in a controlled environment such as a recording situation, or
B) you can afford your own sound man to travel with you and know you can entrust that you'll be heard.

Those variables aren't always the norm though when performing live. And, as many times as I've seen Tony live, there's been a few when you couldn't hear him, even seen him stop in a performance mid-song before, to give the sound man some prodding to get the sound right. Now, TR can get away with that, but if most any of the rest of us ever stop in a show and call down the sound man, we probably just assured ourselves that the sound guy will sabotage the rest of your performance any way they can.

Guitarplr1975 - Posted - 01/02/2009:  13:22:06

You can't go wrong with a good mic......Shure SM57, Shure KSM-109, Shure KSM-25, and AKG C-3000 are my recommendations.

Larry Jackson "Bunky"

1951 CF Martin D-28
1970 CF Martin D-28
2008 CF Martin D-18GE

cottontop - Posted - 01/08/2009:  11:42:08

I know that most of you will probably not agree w/ me, but I will tell you what I did and the sound is pretty good. I play a Taylor that has no factory electronics. I installed internally a Dean Markley transducer and soldered the wire to an end pin jack. I plug the unit into a Fishman pre-amp and then into a Crate acoustic amp, and I have no complaints. I have been performing now for several months w/ this set up and it has worked for me.

HuntleySlim - Posted - 01/20/2009:  11:53:19

Originally posted by Guitarplr1975

You can't go wrong with a good mic......Shure SM57, Shure KSM-109, Shure KSM-25, and AKG C-3000 are my recommendations.

I'm thinking of using an SM57 when a condenser isn't an option. Do you find that you can play pretty comfortably, or do you really have to get on top of this mic? I would think it would be pretty good, especially in a small venue where condensers don't have a chance of performing well due to low ceilings, etc.

Chadtheguru - Posted - 01/21/2009:  05:18:42

Has anyone tried one of the homebrew condenser mics? There are a few plans floating around online. I'm kind of curious about it.

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