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  #1  
Old 12-20-2020, 04:22 PM
dc. dc. is offline
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Default Archtop Pickup Options for a Natural Acoustic Tone?

I am interested in hearing about pickup options for achieving a natural acoustic tone from an archtop guitar. Magnetic pickups are great but I would like to learn more about the other types of pickups that are available these days.

I have a Kinman noiseless P90 magnetic pickup installed in my fully-hollow Eastman archtop. Since the guitar has a beautiful acoustic tone, I also like to amplify the guitar using a microphone. I blend the two sources together or switch back and forth between the two. I have come to prefer dual source systems like this since installing them on my acoustic guitars, and the result is just as pleasing on my archtop. The Kinman magnetic pickup sounds great; it's my favourite magnetic pickup that I've tried to date, but I find that I like the sound of the guitar through the microphone just as much. It's also fun to record a rhythm track on a looper pedal with the mic and then solo over it with the magnetic pickup (or visa versa). I get great results by using FX on the magnetic pickup and blending that with the clean acoustic sound.

After using this sort of setup for some time, I find I really miss the microphone when I don't have it, but I'm hoping to find a natural sounding pickup that I can use as a suitable replacement for the microphone. The mic is a pain in the neck to deal with in general, and feedback is always a concern. I'm looking for a practical plug-and-play alternative. Ideally, I would like to wire the magnetic pickup and acoustic pickup to a stereo endpin jack for the sake of convenience and simplicity.

Thanks!
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Old 12-21-2020, 06:01 PM
neilca neilca is offline
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I have installed these piezeo's in a Loar LH300 and an Ibanez mandolin.

http://jjb-electronics.com/prestige-220.html

The glue to the bottom of the sound board. I like them.
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Old 12-21-2020, 08:35 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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I've also installed twin head JJB's in multiple instruments (fiddles, banjos, mandolins, upright bass, lotsa guitars) including my Eastman archtop.

I also have a Kent Armstrong floating neck pickup. Both are wired to a TRS output jack, then through a stereo 1/4" cord to an LR Baggs MixPro blending preamp. This allows me to select all mag pickup, JJB piezo or blend of the two. The output goes through a regular mono chord to my amp or house PA.

The JJB provides a nice natural tone in every instrument I've used it in.
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Old 12-22-2020, 11:56 AM
dc. dc. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
I've also installed twin head JJB's in multiple instruments (fiddles, banjos, mandolins, upright bass, lotsa guitars) including my Eastman archtop.

I also have a Kent Armstrong floating neck pickup. Both are wired to a TRS output jack, then through a stereo 1/4" cord to an LR Baggs MixPro blending preamp. This allows me to select all mag pickup, JJB piezo or blend of the two. The output goes through a regular mono chord to my amp or house PA.

The JJB provides a nice natural tone in every instrument I've used it in.
Which size of transducer did you choose for your Eastman archtop, the 15 mm or 20 mm?
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Old 12-22-2020, 12:17 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc. View Post
Which size of transducer did you choose for your Eastman archtop, the 15 mm or 20 mm?
20 mm. I use the smaller sized 15 mm in smaller instruments - fiddle and mandolins mostly as there isn't much room in there with tone bars, bass bars, braces, etc. I really haven't noticed a difference in volume or tone between the two sizes.

I install the heads on the underside of the soundboard just under the point where the bridge feet make contact. I've had very good tone using blue tack putty vs superglue in most instruments. It forms to the curved soundboard better, is removable, and lasts (some of mine have been mounted this way over 10 years). Again, I don't hear much difference attributable to the mounting method between superglue vs putty. There are so many other things that could account for a different tone between one instrument and another.
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Old 12-22-2020, 01:14 PM
Dave Richard Dave Richard is offline
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Mandobart, what is the 'blue tack putty' you mentioned?
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Old 12-22-2020, 04:25 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Richard View Post
Mandobart, what is the 'blue tack putty' you mentioned?
This stuff. This other stuff will likely work too.

K&K twins used to ship with a very similar grey putty, the idea being you use it temporarily to try out different mounting locations.
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  #8  
Old 01-15-2021, 10:48 AM
jimmy bookout jimmy bookout is offline
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I have this pickup on 2 archtops:

https://www.pickup.world/product/archtop-guitar/

It is a GREAT pickup...as close as "sounds like my guitar, only louder" as I have ever experienced.

I have it as the ONLY pickup on one archtop and wired in stereo with a Bartolini floater on the other.

Be aware that this is very LOW gain pickup, you MUST use a preamp with it.
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Old 01-17-2021, 11:37 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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I have heard that the Barbera pickup system is excellent, it's a bridge topper (or whole bridge) custom made to order. I spoke to him about ordering one, very nice guy, but I didn't follow through with it. https://www.barberatransducers.com/
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