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  #1  
Old 11-18-2016, 02:53 PM
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815C 815C is offline
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Default Looking to get an unplugged archtop tone when plugged in

Take a listen the guitar in this big band. My L-5 can get pretty close to this tone when unplugged, however I'm struggling to get this same vibe thru an amp.

Any suggestions?

Thx!!

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Old 11-19-2016, 08:30 AM
Mr. Scott Mr. Scott is offline
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Mic it up. That's the only way to get an acoustic sound amplified.
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Old 11-19-2016, 04:56 PM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
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It's so sad to to have watched as the general level of ensemble musicianship has slid down the slippery slope of technology. I love watching YouTube videos of big band performances when todays tech had yet to intrude on performance parameters and become a crutch of sorts.

There's nothing like the sound of a high action, heavy strung, rock-ribbed jumbo arch-top chunking away. To get that sound today you'd likely have to give the guitar its own mini-PA and use a mic. A pickup will never give that body sound that so defines the genre.

http://www.freddiegreen.org/instruments/amplify.html
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Last edited by Wyllys; 11-19-2016 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:04 PM
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An L5 with a built in humbucker wasn't really designed to be an acoustic instrument. A guitar amp wasn't designed to produce much outside of the midrange frequencies you get from an electric guitar. So, while you'll get a nice sound, one which people expect and very much like, it won't be pure acoustic.

Of course if you go down the path of a real acoustic sound (carved archtop with an unimpeded top, acoustic strings, acoustic pickups and/or mic's) you'll likely feed back so bad that your bandmates will not be happy. That and I doubt anybody will appreciate the nuance outside of a solo guitar setting.

If it's bothersome, you could try a Charlie Christian style pickup (they come in a humbucker drop-in format). IMHO, quite a bit more acoustic sounding than a humbucker. You could also try a K&K Definity pickup mixed in or a DPA mic.. but I think you'll find it's an awful lot of hassle compared to the one guitar, one amp approach.
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Old 11-25-2016, 05:17 PM
Archtop Guy Archtop Guy is offline
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Agree with Spook that your Wes is not optimum for that sound, but still I played around with a couple of mine this morning (L-5 with floater). Here's my steps:

No tone knob, or tone set to minimum attenuation.
Low output on pickup, volume set very low, like three or four, but not so low as to roll off too much treble.
Bass and treble on amp boosted, or mids cut.

OK, that gets me closer to a regular acoustic flattop tone, but maybe not the tone in your example.

For that, how about:

Keep the bass cut a little, boost the mids around 400-800 Hz, boost the treble. Still keep the guitar output low so you can really swing at those strings.

Mmm, a challenge. Keep us all posted.
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Old 11-28-2016, 07:42 PM
jimmy bookout jimmy bookout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 815C View Post
Take a listen the guitar in this big band. My L-5 can get pretty close to this tone when unplugged, however I'm struggling to get this same vibe thru an amp.

Any suggestions?

Thx!!

That guitar is mic'd, no question. Sadly, there's just no way a floating pickup can get that sound. Here's another example of the sound you're looking for I believe:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOKteC-pHxQ
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Old 11-30-2016, 07:57 AM
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Two things... The first is dynamics. If the band is at full throttle all the time and doesn't cut you or each other any space, then you don't have a prayer. It's not necessary for everybody to play more quietly all the time, but all of the instruments need to vary their dynamic intensity throughout a tune to create a sound space for each other. Once that happens, it's pretty amazing how your sound will pop out: you will be heard, and you can hear yourself. Check out the book, Let Your Music Soar. It is the only book I know of that deals with this and it gives some very easy-to-do tips for making this happen.

Hmm. What was the second thing. Oh yeah. I dropped an Alumitone pickup into my Heritage 575, carved a solid bridge, tossed the pick, put on round wound strings, and plugged into an AER. After all that screwing around, the rest is excuses. It doesn't sound like Freddie Green, but it sounds real acousticy.
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Old 11-30-2016, 01:02 PM
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Maybe check out John Pizzarelli. I think he gets a pretty nice acoustic sound. I think he plays various boutique archtops (Benedetto, etc.) with a floating humbucker...not sure the amp. His tone always sounds more acoustic to me than a lot of other archtop players.
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Old 11-30-2016, 01:46 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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John's a good example...uses Moll guitars, I believe. At one time, definitely used Jazzkat amps.

Big things would be round wounds and the floating pickup, and not too much amp volume...just enough to be heard. Remember, Freddie was kid of there for the band even more than he was for the audience...

Neil Levang often used a flattop. Dennis Budimir used an Ovation at times...which sounds crazy, but as someone who has recently started playing one, it actually does make some sense. I'm actually playing that role Friday and using the O, larger ensemble, Christmas tune gig, then a few solo #'s/backing up a singer...I'll let you know how it goes.
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Old 11-30-2016, 03:08 PM
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K and k definity pickups are not bad and are designed for archtops. There are some samples on their website. One is on an Ibanez archtop. The other is with a Loar LH 300. While the player on the Loar is not pushing out a big band rhythm pulse, the tone is impressively acoustic
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Old 11-30-2016, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Livingston View Post
Maybe check out John Pizzarelli. I think he gets a pretty nice acoustic sound. I think he plays various boutique archtops (Benedetto, etc.) with a floating humbucker...not sure the amp. His tone always sounds more acoustic to me than a lot of other archtop players.

Etc. = luthier Bill Moll and frequently with LaBella tape wound strings.

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Old 12-01-2016, 07:08 AM
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Like others, I have NEVER heard ANY pickup of any brand or model that could create a wave package similar enough to that of an acoustic one where I could not easily discern a significant difference, that "electric" edge if you want to call it that. If one is trying to get "acoustic-ness", some pickups and EQ setups can get close, but to connoisseurs about as close as TVP meat substitutes to the real thing. The other thing to consider involves what music is being played. If playing styles that evolved on guitars with pickups, most if not all acoustic renditions will sound lacking to ears whose internalized expectations are otherwise. However, styles that evolved on acoustic instruments come alive when pickups are unplugged and played through mics.
Here are two masters just fooling around acoustically....awesome sounding....



compare that sound to this one, equally awesome sounding but electric for sure


Last edited by rustystill; 12-01-2016 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 12-03-2016, 07:45 AM
Dave Richard Dave Richard is offline
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I too have been on this quest, and I've concluded that only some type of microphone can faithfully amplify the acoustic tone of an archtop. The trick is, which mic is the least cumbersome? I have the K&K Meridian(which clips to the guitar body), and while it does produce decent tone, it's a bit of a hassle to use. I think I will try one of tailpiece clip-ons, either Audio-Technica(in my budget) or DPA(probably not in my budget). Good luck!
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Old 12-13-2016, 10:10 AM
PistolPete PistolPete is offline
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I've been using the Thomann DPA copy called a 't-Bone' attached to the tailpiece with a cello clip & pointed roughly in the direction of the bridge & I'm very pleased with how it sounds for minimal investment. Annoyingly, after using it very successfully for a couple of months, at my gig last night i was competing with a noisy crowd & found myself fighting the feedback.

Now I'm wondering if the Fishman piezo bridge might be a worthwhile investment.
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Old 12-13-2016, 12:25 PM
jomaynor jomaynor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PistolPete View Post
I've been using the Thomann DPA copy called a 't-Bone' attached to the tailpiece with a cello clip & pointed roughly in the direction of the bridge & I'm very pleased with how it sounds for minimal investment. Annoyingly, after using it very successfully for a couple of months, at my gig last night i was competing with a noisy crowd & found myself fighting the feedback.

Now I'm wondering if the Fishman piezo bridge might be a worthwhile investment.
Maybe, although a floating DeArmond type mag will provide more feedback resistance in a noisy environment. And the single coil sound, while certainly not a spot-on recreation of the acoustic sound, can provide a good percussiveness to the attack, and is inherently less plummy than than the dual coil.

Here's a video from last night of my tremendously talented friend, Olli Soikkeli (who is more known for playing a Selmer-Maccaferri style guitar) playing an archtop with a floating mag pickup.

https://www.facebook.com/ollisoikkel...4695634960441/
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