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Old 10-23-2017, 01:26 PM
Splitear_Leland Splitear_Leland is offline
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Default Need Help with Amplification

Hi Everyone,

I posted this in the amplification section as well, so please forgive me for doubling up, but I'm not sure where it best fits.

So, I may get accused of blasphemy, but I'm needing help getting my old Gibson L7 to sound the way I want it. I play in a country band, mostly strumming, and I just can get more of the open sound that I'm used to with my flattops. I know I'll never get it to be a flattop, but I would like to get a bit closer if I can.

Now, I know the easiest solution is to just use a guitar that fits, but this guitar has a lot of sentimental value as it belonged to my Grandfather, and I can't help but feel a piece of him up there with me when I play it.

Currently I have a K&K Definity pickup under the saddle, and I use a Zoom A3 to help model a little bit. Before I drop another few hundred on it, I wanted to get the opinion of people who know more than me. Do you think that getting a floating pickup would help, or does anyone have a better suggestion. I've been watching videos, but everyone is demonstrating their archtops (appropriately) on jazz songs. I can't find anything that really points me down the right road, and honestly, there may not even be a road that gets me where I want to be.

My only caveat is that I don't want anything that I have to alter the guitar in order to use, ie. drilling or routing.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
Leland Bunting
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Old 10-24-2017, 01:28 AM
Mr. Scott Mr. Scott is offline
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In order to get an amplified sound which has little to do with the instrument's natural acoustic, sad as it is, you will need a floating magnetic pickup which whilst not interfering with the natural sound will produce a signal you can mess with. A K&K will not do this completely as it relies on vibration to work.
To find suitable culprit look at the companies who deal with "soundhole" pickups (although you don't need one of those), Kent Armstrong or maybe a company like Seymore Duncan who produce an number of products you may like to consider . Baggs and possibly even Gibson will do as long as the signal is generated from the strings and not the body. It will, however, always sound like what it is to a certain extent, It'll never be a Telecaster!
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Old 10-24-2017, 09:17 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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In my view a magnetic pickup will make it sound like an electric guitar. If you happen to like the sound of an electric guitar, then you can experiment with a magnetic pickup floating off a pickguard, which is a fairly inobtrusive modification. Placement of the pickup makes a great deal of difference. If I was to try to get a guitar to sound like an acoustic, I would try a single coil pickup quite near the bridge - maybe 2/3 of the way down. A Fender Jazzmaster pickup would be what I would try - single coil, clean, and thin enough to easily fit under the strings. Other than that, if you like the un-amplified sound of the L7 then a lot of people just use a microphone, often a clip on mic that sits near the strings and over an F-hole.

Brian Evans
1935 Dobro model 25 resonator
1943 Paramount (made by Kay) mandolin
1946 Epiphone Zephyr electric archtop
1957 Hofner Senator archtop
1962 Gibson Melody Maker electric
1963 National Dynamic lap steel
1996 Landola jumbo
1998 Godin Artisan TC electric
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2015 Evans electric archtop
2016 Evans archtop
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:38 PM
Splitear_Leland Splitear_Leland is offline
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Location: Upstate New York
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Thanks for the help, I appreciate the advice. I may slap a floater on it at some point just to see what I can do with it. I love the guitar, and it has a lot of meaning to me. Thanks again!
Leland Bunting
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Old 10-26-2017, 02:17 PM
JGinNJ JGinNJ is offline
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What are you using for an amp? A modeling amp with an Acoustic setting may give you more the sound you're looking for.
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Old 10-27-2017, 10:10 AM
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Al Acuff Al Acuff is offline
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Check out the floating version of the gold foil pickup from Jason Lollar. I put one on my 1953 L4 and it sounds pretty good in a country blues kind of way. It's a single coil pickup so it's got more bite than a floating humbucker.

My gold foil pickup is attached to the pick guard which is not the original guard. If you have the original pick guard you might want to get a replacement to use for the pickup mount and keep your original pick guard unmodified. I used a Schatten volume and tone control that you can find here.

The nice thing about a floating pickup is you don't have to drill any holes in the guitar itself except for your end pin jack, if you want one.
Al Acuff
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1949 Gibson J45
1953 Gibson L4C
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Last edited by Al Acuff; 10-27-2017 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 10-27-2017, 11:02 AM
hotroad hotroad is offline
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You will have to use an acoustic amp of some sort to get what you want. Then with an acoustic amp you can still get as much electric tone as you desire using pedals. I use an acoustic amp for my archtop to get more of an acoustic sound but then modify it as needed with pedals from chorus, reverb, wah, flange, tube screamer, etc. A great little pedal is the Valeton Choral Mod. It has several effects and works well on an acoustic or archtop. Its very clean and cheap too. You can add a floating humbucker at the neck position and that will help a lot too. With both pickups and an acoustic amp with a multi-effect pedal you are set.
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