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  #1  
Old 12-08-2018, 09:27 AM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Default Schatten HFN (New Design)

Hi all,

I know there's not a lot of Schatten HFN users out there compared to everything else but Schatten make some great pickups and have an awesome reputation. I recently contacted them and was totally unaware myself that their HFN pickup has been redesigned. They no longer use the rosewood base and now use an ABS base. They say there's no tonal difference but it's getting a fraction more output. They also said they're in the process of updating their website. Figured I would share this info for those who are also unaware and would like to know. Also, is there anyone out there who had a chance to try one of these yet?
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  #2  
Old 12-08-2018, 10:00 AM
stevecuss stevecuss is offline
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That is great to hear. I've been following their SBT line from a distance - I like how non invasive it is, but I think reviews have been wide ranging, so I've stayed away. I'm always on the hunt for more non invasive SBT solutions.
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2018 Mcilroy A25c (Cedar, English Walnut) with Trance.
2017 Martin 000-18 with BGM Elevation.
2004 50th Anniversary Fender Am Std Strat.

If I played as much as I read threads, I'd be a pro....
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2018, 10:10 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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In 2012, my Schatten HFN Artist experience indicated that you've got to make sure all three feet of the pickup base make and stay in contact with the brideplate. This means possibly having to sand one or more of the feet to comply with the curvature of the brideplate when under string tension. I used the thin foam supplied with my Scahtten HFN Artist (ordered directly from Schatten Design) to mount the pickup in two different guitars but the amplified tone was too thin and I suspect one of the legs made less than ideal contact with the bridgeplate. I ended up sending the pickup system back to Schatten for a refund. There's likely no reason this system shouldn't supply excellent amplified tone when installed with a proper and lasting mounting. One of the things I liked about the pickup was its rosewood three-legged mounting with the piezo system running along the top--it looked so cool!
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Old 12-08-2018, 10:44 AM
philjs philjs is offline
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I just received two of the new ABS-base HFNs (passive), one of which will shortly be installed in a "cittar" (a guitar-bodied 5 course (10 string) cittern) but I won't be able to report on it until March or April. They were back-ordered for over a month so took awhile getting here. I wasn't aware of the material change...their website tech stuff still says "rosewood for its main structure" (as of today) despite that they're obviously already shipping the revised pickup.

But I have to say I trust Les...if he thinks it's a good change (and I can see potential issues with rosewood in these days of CITES and cross-border shopping) then I'll go along with it. I've had HFN passives in every guitar (and guitar-shaped) instrument since getting my first one in 2010 and have nothing but good things to say about them (other than they do tend to go a bit overboard with the amount of lead wire!). Right now I have no planned use for the 2nd one, just like to have one on hand (and got a good deal on these two).

Phil
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Larrivée: '89 J-09 (spruce/rosewood) Lowden: '91 O10 (cedar/mahogany), '10 O23c (cedar/Claro walnut)


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  #5  
Old 12-08-2018, 10:45 AM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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My luthier, Jim Kozel, has spoken very well of the Schatten pickups in the past. He's installing something else these days, but I definitely recall that he thought well of the Schatten soundboard pickups.
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Old 12-08-2018, 11:53 AM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Most negative reviews that I've read on previous Schatten pickups have been with passive versions and people not realizing that they needed to be using some sort of preamp with them. The price and ease of install/removal is most definitely appealing. I've really been on a pickup binge the last few months and no matter what type of pickup I try or hear there's always something to critique. I realize there's no perfect system out there, but overall things are improving in the pickup world. Maybe one day we'll all have what we're looking for.
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  #7  
Old 12-09-2018, 11:34 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philjs View Post
I just received two of the new ABS-base HFNs (passive), one of which will shortly be installed in a "cittar" (a guitar-bodied 5 course (10 string) cittern) but I won't be able to report on it until March or April. They were back-ordered for over a month so took awhile getting here. I wasn't aware of the material change...their website tech stuff still says "rosewood for its main structure" (as of today) despite that they're obviously already shipping the revised pickup.

But I have to say I trust Les...if he thinks it's a good change (and I can see potential issues with rosewood in these days of CITES and cross-border shopping) then I'll go along with it. I've had HFN passives in every guitar (and guitar-shaped) instrument since getting my first one in 2010 and have nothing but good things to say about them (other than they do tend to go a bit overboard with the amount of lead wire!). Right now I have no planned use for the 2nd one, just like to have one on hand (and got a good deal on these two).

Phil
Well that date you mentioned is quite far away but I'm still interested in your results. Please keep us all posted.
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  #8  
Old 12-10-2018, 04:34 AM
philjs philjs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarLuva View Post
Well that date you mentioned is quite far away but I'm still interested in your results. Please keep us all posted.
As the guy waiting for the instrument, it's forever away! All of my other instruments already have one (two exceptions) and I'm not expecting to add anything to the fold in the near future (though accidents are known to happen)...

Phil

NB: the exceptions are a recently reacquired Lowden O10 that now has a K&K Trinity in it (though I don't have the preamp for the mic so it's essentially now just a PW mini) and the Larrivee J09 that Les Schatten customized an Artist (active) HFN for me so that it used two 500K pots for volume and tone instead of the usual soundhole wheel controls so that I could replace the old "factory-installed" Fishman UST controls in the side of the upper bout.
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Asturias: '17 GS Custom (Euro spruce/mahogany) Crosby: '10 FSE (redwood/black walnut),
'10 Bouzar (spruce/curly maple), '12 JE Baritone Multiscale (redwood/black walnut), '19 Cittar (Lutz spruce/figured mango)
Larrivée: '89 J-09 (spruce/rosewood) Lowden: '91 O10 (cedar/mahogany), '10 O23c (cedar/Claro walnut)


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  #9  
Old 12-10-2018, 07:33 AM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philjs View Post
As the guy waiting for the instrument, it's forever away! All of my other instruments already have one (two exceptions) and I'm not expecting to add anything to the fold in the near future (though accidents are known to happen)...
Ahhh yes the dreaded accidents I'm well aware of those!
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Old 12-10-2018, 09:45 AM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
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Interesting. I purchased and installed an HFN passive version about two months ago. It appeared that the base was rosewood but now I am not sure. Any idea when they made the change?

On a side note, I was discussing luthiers/guitar techs with a co-worker on Friday and he randomly mentioned that the best work he ever had done was by Les Schatten. He had no idea that Les was now building pickups. I remember hearing that Les was a very skilled luthier.
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  #11  
Old 12-10-2018, 09:48 AM
stevecuss stevecuss is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
Interesting. I purchased and installed an HFN passive version about two months ago. It appeared that the base was rosewood but now I am not sure. Any idea when they made the change?

On a side note, I was discussing luthiers/guitar techs with a co-worker on Friday and he randomly mentioned that the best work he ever had done was by Les Schatten. He had no idea that Les was now building pickups. I remember hearing that Les was a very skilled luthier.
Petty, what is your take on the Schatten vs other SBTs. I believe you're one of the few who have tried many of them
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2018 Mcilroy A25c (Cedar, English Walnut) with Trance.
2017 Martin 000-18 with BGM Elevation.
2004 50th Anniversary Fender Am Std Strat.

If I played as much as I read threads, I'd be a pro....
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  #12  
Old 12-10-2018, 09:56 AM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevecuss View Post
Petty, what is your take on the Schatten vs other SBTs. I believe you're one of the few who have tried many of them
I quite like it. The installation is about as simple as it gets, especially with the putty. It does still have that piezo quality to it but I find it's a bit more hi-fi than the K&K (in a good way) and for my experiments, it was a bit more full sounding than the Amulet M.

Interesting note though, when I first put it in, I used the putty and admittedly I think I used a bit too much. As a result, the lower strings were weaker sounding. I know Sprucetop has mentioned this issue but I believe it had more to do with me not evenly pressing it into place. The tone was great otherwise.

Recently I stuck my hand in and pressed down harder and more evenly. The tone is now much more balanced but it's a bit too hi-fi/thin now. I know Les recommends tape for a warmer tone so I might try that next or I make take it out and do a proper installation.

As a standalone pickup though, it's hard to beat the price, installation and tone. I have to be honest, after trying the K&k, Schatten and Amulet, I can't say there's a huge difference so it's hard for me to justify the Amulet pricing.
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Old 12-10-2018, 10:04 AM
stevecuss stevecuss is offline
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Thanks! I think the future of PU technology is going to be some form of SBT with putty with IR assistance to make it sound more natural. We're in exciting times and I'm going to add the Schatten to my list of options.
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Steve
2018 Mcilroy A25c (Cedar, English Walnut) with Trance.
2017 Martin 000-18 with BGM Elevation.
2004 50th Anniversary Fender Am Std Strat.

If I played as much as I read threads, I'd be a pro....
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  #14  
Old 12-10-2018, 11:14 AM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
Interesting. I purchased and installed an HFN passive version about two months ago. It appeared that the base was rosewood but now I am not sure. Any idea when they made the change?

On a side note, I was discussing luthiers/guitar techs with a co-worker on Friday and he randomly mentioned that the best work he ever had done was by Les Schatten. He had no idea that Les was now building pickups. I remember hearing that Les was a very skilled luthier.
He never mentioned anything in his message to me of when the change happened but I would guess pretty recent. Recent enough that they never had a chance to update their website yet but they're working on it. Not only was he a skilled luthier but very anal about plugged in tone too apparently.
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  #15  
Old 12-10-2018, 11:25 AM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarLuva View Post
He never mentioned anything in his message to me of when the change happened but I would guess pretty recent. Recent enough that they never had a chance to update their website yet but they're working on it. Not only was he a skilled luthier but very anal about plugged in tone too apparently.
You know, come to think of it, I remember when I got my HFN I did question whether or not it was real wood. I have looked at photos and the original is definitely a piece of wood. I believe mine was more of a black texture. I will have to look when I get home. It would definitely account for the hot signal I was getting. That was one surprise to me. I remember people complaining that it needed a preamp but even without, my signal was strong.
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