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Old 12-03-2018, 07:23 PM
Kpronline Kpronline is offline
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Default Built in pickups...or not?

I found a lot of threads here where when it comes to searching to create a certain tone, the guitar does not matter much when you are plugged in. This would depend more on the type of pickup and or effects etc.

So I am after a certain tone when plugged in, and a new guitar. Since the pickup being used may matter more then the guitar itself, wouldn’t I want to purchase a guitar that does not already have one built in? That way I can try different external pickups to find the tone I am looking for?

Em I way off here?
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:39 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kpronline View Post
I found a lot of threads here where when it comes to searching to create a certain tone, the guitar does not matter much when you are plugged in. This would depend more on the type of pickup and or effects etc.

So I am after a certain tone when plugged in, and a new guitar. Since the pickup being used may matter more then the guitar itself, wouldn’t I want to purchase a guitar that does not already have one built in? That way I can try different external pickups to find the tone I am looking for?

Em I way off here?
You might not be "way off", but having done that on a few acoustics in the past I experimented a bit and always decided a K&K Pure Mini provided the best and most realistic plugged in tone.

The problem is the K&K Pure Mini isn't an "external pickup" and has to be installed before you can evaluate it.

If you're looking for a new guitar with built in electronics and a certain sound you'd be far better off going somewhere that had a good selection so you could pick one out. That's the only way you're going to be able to be 100% certain of the results.

Oh, and the guitar absolutely does matter. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear and you're not going to end up with great amplified tone from a guitar that doesn't have it to begin with.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:44 PM
Oldguy64 Oldguy64 is offline
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Agreed, your best bet is to choose a shop with a decent selection of guitars with pickups.

Then choose an amp, and audition a few guitars.
If playing out is your main focus for this guitar, Find a shop with a load of Taylors and Takamines.
A lot of people hate “barn door” preamps.
But the adjustability in a Tak is second to none.
It doesn’t hurt that the preamp modules are interchangeable.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:50 PM
Skip Ellis Skip Ellis is offline
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My advice: get a really good guitar that sounds great and a really nice mic to make it louder. There is no pickup out there that gives a true acoustic sound...period. If you want an electric guitar, get an electric guitar; otherwise, see above advice. Just my $.02.
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Old 12-03-2018, 08:03 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip Ellis View Post
My advice: get a really good guitar that sounds great and a really nice mic to make it louder. There is no pickup out there that gives a true acoustic sound...period. If you want an electric guitar, get an electric guitar; otherwise, see above advice. Just my $.02.
All true! No pickup will recreate the acoustic tone of your instrument.

That said, there's plenty of situations where acoustic guitar with a pickup works fine, and especially at higher volumes can certainly be less problematic than a microphone. My Taylor 322 with a K&K Pure Mini sounds very nice and I have no feedback issues. It does not sound like my Tele, nor would I want it to.

My first foray into playing Taylor guitars was a GS Mini that I purchased when I had a year long recovery from a "pulverized" collarbone. I had a gig that I was obligated to do about 6 months after getting the GS Mini so I added a K&K Pure Mini and a sound hole cover. It allowed me to play comfortably for 3 hours at high volume bar band level without discomfort. I didn't miss slinging my Tele for that 3 hours.

There are circumstances where playing an acoustic with a pickup is totally
acceptable.
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Old 12-03-2018, 08:07 PM
Willie Voltaire Willie Voltaire is offline
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I avoid buying guitars with installed pickups, or I usually end up replacing the stock one. So I think giving yourself choices is a good thing.

I also think microphones are the best at reproducing your guitar's voice, and so I like the Baggs Lyric, and also dual-source systems in which one of the sources is a mic.

Needless to say, when you use a mic, the natural tone of the guitar matters a lot more than when you don't.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:19 AM
ripdotcom ripdotcom is offline
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Out of my maybe 20 acoustic guitars, I have only one with a pickup in it because I need one. If you dont need it, use a mic.
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:26 AM
Dreadfulnaught Dreadfulnaught is offline
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I like the Baggs Lyric (internal condenser mic) for trueness to the sound of the guitar. Use a soundhole plug in a noisy environment or it can feed back. I have several guitars with them. Baggs Anthem is basically a Lyric with an under saddle pickup blended in. My classical has an under saddle pickup, which works ok with no feedback. My Marlboro has a Fishman stacked humbucker soundhole active pickup. The sound is quite good, these have come a long way. And I always keep one of those Bill Lawrence things in my gig box, one of those wood pickups that just slip in, in case someone’s sound goes out during a show. All work, all have their strong and weak points.

Everything’s better than it used to be, you have it easy getting the sound of an acoustic heard today.
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Last edited by Dreadfulnaught; 12-04-2018 at 06:33 AM.
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:54 AM
Osage Osage is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip Ellis View Post
My advice: get a really good guitar that sounds great and a really nice mic to make it louder. There is no pickup out there that gives a true acoustic sound...period. If you want an electric guitar, get an electric guitar; otherwise, see above advice. Just my $.02.
I completely agree that a mic sounds better but it just isn't practical at all gigs. Believe me, I was a true holdout but after years and countless sound guys at countless venues having actual trouble micing an acoustic, I finally relented and put a K&K mini in one of my guitars. I've since put one in a second guitar as well. I still ask to be miced but if the sound guy scoffs, I can just plug in. I played a show literally last week where they didn't have enough mics to mic my guitar, so I just plugged it in.

As for the K&K, it's by far the best acoustic pickup I've heard and I've installed a number of different pickups in other peoples guitars.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:37 AM
Kpronline Kpronline is offline
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Thanks all. These are all great points and making me really think how I want to go about purchasing my next guitar. Since I would like a new one ( new for me, prob will buy used) for open mics, it sounds like I may want to find something I like to play and feel comfortable with, over a big price tag and sound quality, since I will need to put in a pickup.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:39 AM
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varmonter varmonter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osage View Post
I completely agree that a mic sounds better but it just isn't practical at all gigs. Believe me, I was a true holdout but after years and countless sound guys at countless venues having actual trouble micing an acoustic, I finally relented and put a K&K mini in one of my guitars. I've since put one in a second guitar as well. I still ask to be miced but if the sound guy scoffs, I can just plug in. I played a show literally last week where they didn't have enough mics to mic my guitar, so I just plugged it in.

As for the K&K, it's by far the best acoustic pickup I've heard and I've installed a number of different pickups in other peoples guitars.
Whenever i can i use a mic. Seems lately that
is less and less. The craft brewery industry
here in vt has blossomed ( Think Napa valley)
and so has the gig opportunity. But most are
loud hard rooms. I think as well that the kk mini
sounds great. But it requires more external processing
to get it there . The LR Baggs M80 is now my
go to pickup. It's a soundhole pickup that has
a body sensing attribute. I can plug it into
anything an quickly get a decent sound.
plus i can take it with me if i sell the guitar.
Can't do that with kk. So if you buy 3 guitars
and equip each one you've spent more
on kk then what it cost for the m80.
When i can i add a mic and blend the two.
The mic adds a bit if air to the acoustic sound.
Most places it just isnt enough by itself but
a bit adds a nice nuance.

Last edited by varmonter; 12-15-2018 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:49 AM
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ljguitar ljguitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kpronline View Post
Thanks all. These are all great points and making me really think how I want to go about purchasing my next guitar. Since I would like a new one ( new for me, prob will buy used) for open mics, it sounds like I may want to find something I like to play and feel comfortable with, over a big price tag and sound quality, since I will need to put in a pickup.
Hi Kp

You are ruling out the possibility that the pickup is linked to the acoustics of the guitar? Not so…the attack, sustain, intonation, squeak of the strings, and tonal balance of the guitar will be reflected by most pickups.

Well…if you install a magnetic pickup (as in electric guitars) you won't reflect the acoustic properties, just the string attack, intonation and sustain properties.

All four of my acoustic guitars have K&K pickups in them, and my lowly travel guitar sounds far different through the PA than my best guitar…despite the fact it wears the same pickup and is played through the same sophisticated preamp.

I imagine if you coupled a less expensive guitar with a ToneDexter, you'd be able to pull the samples from any guitar. Then playing a less expensive guitar would sound like a more expensive one. Of course the ToneDexter is likely to cost as much as the guitar.



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Old 12-04-2018, 07:59 AM
Eric_M Eric_M is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kpronline View Post
Since the pickup being used may matter more then the guitar itself, wouldn’t I want to purchase a guitar that does not already have one built in? That way I can try different external pickups to find the tone I am looking for?
I wouldn't rule out that approach. But I think you should be open to buying an acoustic-electric. You might just like the built-in pickup and the guitar itself. Plenty of guitars come from the factory with good pickup systems. And if open mics are your primary goal, being ready to plug and play is a big benefit. What's your price point?
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:42 AM
Willie Voltaire Willie Voltaire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by varmonter View Post
The LR Baggs M80 is now my go to pickup. It's a soundhole pickup that hasa body sensing attribute. I can plug it into
anything an quickly get a decent sound. plus i can take it with me if i sell the guitar.
I have one of these as well, and agree 100%. It's one of the simplest, most reliable ways to get decent acoustic tone without modifying the guitar (except for the optional endpin jack). This is how I amplify my dread, and coupled with the venerable Baggs PADI, it's pretty hard to beat when a mic is impractical.
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:00 AM
nickv6 nickv6 is offline
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Maybe a bit controversial.......
I've generally found over many years that the better the guitar is acoustically, the harder it is to amplify it successfully. And the best amplified acoustic guitars I've heard have been less than average acoustically. So if you can't use a mic, and you need to amplify it, you do not require a fine sounding guitar, quite the opposite in fact. For instance, I've never yet found a Maton I thought was good acoustically, but never yet found a guitar to amplify that sounds better than a Maton.
Just my opinion of course.
Nick
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