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  #1  
Old 01-18-2019, 07:46 AM
chester0711 chester0711 is offline
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Default Acoustic guitar pickups

Are there drawbacks to having a Fishman pickup put in an acoustic guitar that did not previously have one installed?

this would be for home recording , nothing professional.

I guess i am just wondering if it can degrade the performance of the guitar or if recording from a mic is better?
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:59 AM
redir redir is offline
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Well, recording from a mic is always better imho. But no, you can certainly install a Fishman USP in a guitar that never had a pickup and not suffer any drawbacks. Just know that the saddle height will have to be adjusted to compensate for the thickness of the pickup.

Having said that the conditions have to be right to install a USP too. IOW if your saddle height is already too low then you might not be able to install one.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:05 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Fishman makes a bunch of different acoustic guitar pickups. It depends on what you want to use (sound hole, UST, SBT, internal mic, internal or external preamp, budget, comfort level on modifying/drilling on your guitar, etc.).

IME a decent quality mic will always sound better than a pickup for an acoustic instrument. It also requires no modification to your guitar. For home recording I would use a mic. I play out with a couple bands and as a soloist, so I have installed piezo soundboard transducers on all my gigging instruments because they don't affect the acoustic tone, can work with external preamps, are relatively inexpensive, provide more onstage mobility, etc.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:13 AM
roylor4 roylor4 is offline
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Why must it be Fishman?

If you want natural tone stay away from plain 'ol piezo UST's - they sound atrocious (IMO). A dual source pickup mag/mic or piezo/mic will provide mush better tone. The LR Baggs Anthem SL is not overly expensive and far superior to any Fishman piezo w/barndoor electronics you will ever hear.

& yeah, nothing records or sounds more natural than a mic.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:15 AM
Bigsbyman Bigsbyman is offline
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Please tell us more about the piezo transducers you use.

I just bought a Southern Jumbo, with a through-saddle bridge. Id like to be able to plug it in onstage. Looking for suggestions.

The Gibson Jackson Browne guitar uses a type of transducers Ive never heard of, supposedly they are very natural sounding.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:32 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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The only way to get your acoustic guitar to sound genuinely like it sounds is to use a mike - preferably a condenser mic. They need not be hugely expensive.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:36 AM
gr81dorn gr81dorn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigsbyman View Post
Please tell us more about the piezo transducers you use.

I just bought a Southern Jumbo, with a through-saddle bridge. Id like to be able to plug it in onstage. Looking for suggestions.

The Gibson Jackson Browne guitar uses a type of transducers Ive never heard of, supposedly they are very natural sounding.
Trance Amulet is the one in the JB model. It's great, expensive, but nice.

I am loyal to Highlander pickups. They are under saddles but I have never had any issues, no feedback issues and it sounds exactly like my instrument. None of the quack most have, just natural sound and really lush tones that are native to the guitars I have them in.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:37 AM
archerscreek archerscreek is offline
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There could possibly be some drawbacks. If you have a highly desired vintage model or even something like an Authentic, drilling out the strap peg hole and doing some other permanent modification inside the guitar could decrease the value to some. There are also various opinions on whether or not installation of certain types of pickups (especially under saddle) affects the acoustic quality/performance of the guitar.

If I was only recording the guitar at home, I'd use a mic. As it is I play out and did not want to alter my guitar or limit which dread I played with so I went with the Fishman Rare Earth Blend paired with the Platinum Stage Pream/DI and think it sounds great. I will admit having the wire come out the front isn't as convenient as it would be off the bottom.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:44 AM
Dirk_Z Dirk_Z is offline
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Same as redir,
soundwise there wont be any drawbacks.

Which Fishman are you thinking of ?
piezo, soundboard transducer, magnetic or mic

I think a combination of a well placed mic and some sort of direct sound always wins in a recording situation. You have a lot more possibilities when mixing.
And you might use effectpedals for the guitar :-)

Here is a clip of different pickups:
Might not be a good represantion cause I used different eq settings for each channel.
Maybe it will help you:

http://www.polyphon-recording.de/pickups.zip

Played on the same guitar Breedlove Atlas Solo
1. Fishman rare earth mic only
2. K&K pure mini western transducer
3. Fishman rare earth magnetic only
4. LR Baggs piezo
5. 1+2+3 together
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:46 AM
Goodallboy Goodallboy is offline
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The only way I would record an acoustic guitar is with a mic.
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  #11  
Old 01-18-2019, 08:49 AM
Dino Silone Dino Silone is offline
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Ive always been leary about doing anything that changes the mass of the top, or that messes with the mechanical coupling between the strings and the guitar. We make a big deal about saddle material, about getting the best possible seating of the saddle in the slot to maximize conduction, and then put a piezo element between that saddle and the bridge. And drilling the top and then weighting it with knobs and things, or with pickups (particularly in the lower bout), will, i believe, change the sound of the guitar - mostly by stealing some of the high frequency components.

The sound-hole pickup is least obtrusive in this respect, since its all the way up by a part of the top that doesnt vibrate much anyway. But even these, by reducing the size of the sound hole, will change the Helmholtz resonance of the guitar - probably not a show-stopper, but still - it will sound different.

I once had to repair the top of a mid-70s Aria guitar, as the bridge had pulled up and taken some of the top with it. This guitar had been made without a bridge plate, which may have contributed to why it sounded so much better than its price would have indicated. I had to make a bridgeplate and glue it in. The guitar still sounds OK, but nothing like it did before this happened.

I think a well-designed and built acoustic-electric would be ok, since the mass of the electronics and pickups is (I hope) designed in and accounted for. But any aftermarket mods will probably change the unplugged sound of the guitar.

A lot of words to say, yeah - an external microphone is the most faithful way to amplify or record acoustic guitar, though you probably have some feedback issues to deal with...
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Old 01-18-2019, 09:07 AM
gr81dorn gr81dorn is offline
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For what it's worth, and to pile on the suggestion for getting a Microphone if this is really about recording. There are a world of fabulous inexpensive microphones out there.

The best bang for the buck in my opinion is Audio-Technica AT2020. It's legendary for its quality at the price point. Should be able to get new for about $100. It can handle your guitar and your vocals just great.

Most decent pickups, if you don't install yourself, will easily be double to triple the price and require some or major irreversible modifications to the instrument.

Everyone should have a good mic, so I'd maybe start with that and see if you think you really need a pickup at all.
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Old 01-18-2019, 10:13 AM
rokdog49 rokdog49 is offline
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The Anthem SL is an excellent pickup. As far as UST's the LR Baggs "I-Beam" is far superior to any I have tried. My guitar tech recommended it for my 00 due to space restrictions. I originally wanted to use another Anthem SL but he was concerned it might not fit. No quack!
That being said, for recording purposes, use a good condenser microphone.
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Old 01-18-2019, 12:27 PM
DesertTwang DesertTwang is offline
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I agree with what others have said. The nature of the pickup is important. I personally have never heard an under-saddle pickup that sounds even remotely pleasing to my ears, and it would have to come out immediately if I were to buy a guitar that has been modified with such a pickup. If that in turn would then require me to replace the saddle and possibly revert other modifications, I would no longer consider buying that guitar unless it's something that's hard to find or the price would be right. In other words, we're talking reduced resale value.

If on the other hand, we're talking a guitar equipped with a soundboard transducer system like the K&K Pure Mini pickup, I would have no hesitations buying that, because my experience with that pickup have been extremely positive. Sure, it doesn't sound as natural as a mic'ed guitar, but no pickup system does.

Much of the decision also depends on purpose. I personally am under the impression that onboard-mics offer the best sound, from having heard guitars using that method of amplification at concerts.

But every single person I have talked to about those systems - so far - has discouraged that option, pointing out feedback issues unless one dials the system in very carefully, has sound people on hand that know what they're doing etc. Doesn't sound like a great option for a person like me who doesn't play professionally, but rather in cramped corners during a backyard party or something like that.

The style of music you play, the purpose of home recording you are trying to accomplish (simple backing tracks for practice or CD quality?) — all these factors determine what amplification system you choose.

From what I've gathered, no amplification system sounds as faithful to the guitar's unamplified sound as a high-quality condenser mic, and my understanding is that for professional recordings, several such mics are being used in the studio, arranged around the guitar at various carefully selected positions.

For live-on-stage situations, many recommend dynamic mics since they're less prone to feedback than condenser mics, but I know from experience that with the right equipment, one can get condenser mics to work really fantastic even in those situations.

So, there is no one-size-fits-all, best possible solution. All are trade-offs, and you have to make a decision based on what your priorities are.
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  #15  
Old 01-18-2019, 12:33 PM
DesertTwang DesertTwang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino Silone View Post
The sound-hole pickup is least obtrusive in this respect, since its all the way up by a part of the top that doesnt vibrate much anyway. But even these, by reducing the size of the sound hole, will change the Helmholtz resonance of the guitar - probably not a show-stopper, but still - it will sound different.
This is correct in that a soundhole pickup is the least obtrusive/invasive, but in my experience, it's also the worst-sounding option for an acoustic guitar, since it basically transforms an acoustic guitar into an electric guitar by picking up mostly the direct vibration from the strings. The body and the wood almost don't matter anymore with that type of pickup.
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