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Old 06-17-2021, 03:57 AM
Colinguitar Colinguitar is offline
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Default Addition of Electronics

What are your thoughts on the following.

Other than gigging where extra loudness might be required, is there any need for electronics in medium to higher end acoustic guitars? After all, the sound should be produced by the guitar and not the electronics which can be set to requirements to a large extent.

If electronics are to be added, do you go for higher specification to reflect the specification of the guitar.

I am thinking of treating myself to a more upmarket guitar and can’t decide on any electronics. Because it would be played at home, I think the answer is a straightforward no. However the above questions still intrigue me.

Thanks for any suggestions, ideas and thoughts.
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Old 06-17-2021, 04:08 AM
cmac cmac is offline
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For me, the only reason for electronics in a guitar is either for playing through a PA / amplifier, or for recording. If you aren't planning to do either of those then you can save your cash and leave the guitar unmodified.

As for 'high spec pickup in a high spec guitar', it depends on the purpose of the pickup. For me, there's no value in installing a super-expensive pickup over a K&K (which is what I went for). When I've plugged in to a PA I have also been singing, and there are usually some others in the band as well. As far as the audience are concerned, the guitar is just part of the package of sound and if I had spent 5x as much on my pickup and preamp they would not notice.

If, however, I was making a living from this and performing instrumentals to guitar-minded audiences then there's an argument for putting the time and money into getting a really authentic tone from your pickup.

Bear in mind, of course, that my K&K + preamp combo would already be seen as a bit high-spec compared to what many guitars have when they leave the factory. My car is cheap compared to a BMW 7 series, but is expensive to someone who drives a ten year old hatchback. It's all a matter of perspective.
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Old 06-17-2021, 04:54 AM
pieterh pieterh is offline
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I think you’ve answered your own question: if you’re getting a high end guitar and only planning to play it at home then don’t bother with electronics.

If you decide down the line that the new guitar should be played out then you have two basic choices: if you’re sitting with the guitar then either a good directional mic in front of the guitar (you can get extension arms that clamp to vocal mic stands for example) or even a good body-mounted mic such as the dpa 4099 (my favourite) which gives you more freedom to move around.

That said, most people in your audience won’t hear the difference or even care as long as it sounds good enough. That might sound harsh but is my experience.

If you are going to be playing venues where a bit of volume is needed then some sort of onboard pickup is the way to go. As the previous poster mentioned, the K&K Pure Mini is discreet, involving minimal changes to the guitar, and sounds pretty good straight out of the box (so to speak) and darn good with some light compression and a bit of eq. These are needed with any pickup system anyway. The biggest issue with the Pure Mini is the hole for the end pin jack and many new guitars have already prepared for pick up installation.

So, are you going to ever use it live?
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Old 06-17-2021, 05:02 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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Go without.

Use a mic' for open mic' nights if playing and singing solo. Or indeed for many venues up to 5000 seats. At least, that's what I have seen a good number of singer songwriters perform with.
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Last edited by Robin, Wales; 06-17-2021 at 05:08 AM.
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Old 06-17-2021, 05:05 AM
Roccorobb Roccorobb is offline
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Agreed. Skip electronics unless you are regularly performing in a context that requires it.

I have a lot of acoustic instruments, and about half are lacking electronics. I have still managed to use them in live performance with well placed mics.

Even for recording, I would not recommend electronics. A good microphone - or even a mediocre one - will be far superior.
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Old 06-17-2021, 05:09 AM
Colinguitar Colinguitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmac View Post
For me, the only reason for electronics in a guitar is either for playing through a PA / amplifier, or for recording. If you aren't planning to do either of those then you can save your cash and leave the guitar unmodified.

As for 'high spec pickup in a high spec guitar', it depends on the purpose of the pickup. For me, there's no value in installing a super-expensive pickup over a K&K (which is what I went for). When I've plugged in to a PA I have also been singing, and there are usually some others in the band as well. As far as the audience are concerned, the guitar is just part of the package of sound and if I had spent 5x as much on my pickup and preamp they would not notice.

If, however, I was making a living from this and performing instrumentals to guitar-minded audiences then there's an argument for putting the time and money into getting a really authentic tone from your pickup.

Bear in mind, of course, that my K&K + preamp combo would already be seen as a bit high-spec compared to what many guitars have when they leave the factory. My car is cheap compared to a BMW 7 series, but is expensive to someone who drives a ten year old hatchback. It's all a matter of perspective.
Cmac, thank you for those thoughts.
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Old 06-17-2021, 05:09 AM
TobyB TobyB is offline
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Playing at home, or recording... agree, no need.
I use pickups when playing in a band through a PA, cramped on a small stage often, no room for mic's and would be too much bleed. Sounds fine in the mix, levels balanced, audience there to dance, not listening to instruments.
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Old 06-17-2021, 05:12 AM
Colinguitar Colinguitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pieterh View Post
I think you’ve answered your own question: if you’re getting a high end guitar and only planning to play it at home then don’t bother with electronics.

If you decide down the line that the new guitar should be played out then you have two basic choices: if you’re sitting with the guitar then either a good directional mic in front of the guitar (you can get extension arms that clamp to vocal mic stands for example) or even a good body-mounted mic such as the dpa 4099 (my favourite) which gives you more freedom to move around.

That said, most people in your audience won’t hear the difference or even care as long as it sounds good enough. That might sound harsh but is my experience.

If you are going to be playing venues where a bit of volume is needed then some sort of onboard pickup is the way to go. As the previous poster mentioned, the K&K Pure Mini is discreet, involving minimal changes to the guitar, and sounds pretty good straight out of the box (so to speak) and darn good with some light compression and a bit of eq. These are needed with any pickup system anyway. The biggest issue with the Pure Mini is the hole for the end pin jack and many new guitars have already prepared for pick up installation.

So, are you going to ever use it live?
Pieterh, thank you for your input. Yes, I have answered my own question and I think I will save my money and go without electronics. I have another, lower end of the price range guitar, with built in electronics if I ever needed them.
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Old 06-17-2021, 05:14 AM
Colinguitar Colinguitar is offline
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Robin, Roccorobb and TobyB. Thank you for your thoughts. I am in agreement and am going to save my money!
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Old 06-17-2021, 05:29 AM
cmac cmac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roccorobb View Post
Even for recording, I would not recommend electronics. A good microphone - or even a mediocre one - will be far superior.
At the risk of dragging things off topic a bit, I record through an 8 channel interface, which gives me capacity to record the pickup output alongside the microphones I use. Usually I'll keep a little of the pickup signal in the mix to complement what I get from the microphones.

If it's an either / or then yes, I agree that you would go with a microphone over a pickup for recording. But I think there's a place for both.
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Old 06-17-2021, 06:10 AM
jklotz jklotz is online now
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In my eyes, a pickup is a compromise. It can't possibly help the acoustic tone, and maybe even degrades it a bit. It adds unnecessary weight to the guitar and complicates a beautifully simple design. I very much prefer no pickup, however, I perform so I have to have them. On my guitars that won't be leaving the house, there is no pickup.
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Old 06-17-2021, 06:23 AM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colinguitar View Post
What are your thoughts on the following.

Other than gigging where extra loudness might be required, is there any need for electronics in medium to higher end acoustic guitars? After all, the sound should be produced by the guitar and not the electronics which can be set to requirements to a large extent.

If electronics are to be added, do you go for higher specification to reflect the specification of the guitar.

I am thinking of treating myself to a more upmarket guitar and can’t decide on any electronics. Because it would be played at home, I think the answer is a straightforward no. However the above questions still intrigue me.

Thanks for any suggestions, ideas and thoughts.
Evaluate how you might use your new instrument in the future, as well as how you normally use it at present.

A built in transducer or pickup can be used obviously as a live performance tool or for it's ability to be used as an easy method of recording, but there are other uses.

I've posted details in previous topics, but I routinely use my guitar with a looper and small amp for developing songs and just pure fun, as I can use the looper and a small bass guitar rig to almost instantly make "backing tracks" when practicing new material.



The main takeaway from this is to carefully consider your need for a built in pickup and how your needs might change in the future.

As to selecting a higher level system based on selecting a higher level instrument I'd offer that the K&K Pure Mini has consistently provided me with what I need and it's the only pickup that I would personally use. You can spend a lot more and end up with a lot less IMHO.

The good news about the K&K Pure Mini is it can be added to most guitars easily at a later date if your needs change, so if you don't think you will need a pickup any time soon there's no need to have it installed at the time you purchase your new guitar.

Other than the end pin jack a K&K Pure Mini installation will have no visible signs of your instrument having a pickup, does not effect it's natural acoustic tone, has no parts to wear out or batteries to be changed or worry about changing, and is always ready should you decide to plug in at any time in the future.

Last edited by Rudy4; 06-17-2021 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 06-17-2021, 06:26 AM
Colinguitar Colinguitar is offline
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Thank you for the further thoughts. I will be following my initials thoughts of no pickup. I do have a microphone if I ever needed for recording and I could at a later date have some electronics installed if it ever came to that. So, the overwhelming thoughts are not to go with a pickup. Sounds good to me. All I have to do is choose the guitar, hampered at the moment with so little stock available at retailers to try.
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Old 06-17-2021, 06:57 AM
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KevWind KevWind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colinguitar View Post
What are your thoughts on the following.

Other than gigging where extra loudness might be required, is there any need for electronics in medium to higher end acoustic guitars? After all, the sound should be produced by the guitar and not the electronics which can be set to requirements to a large extent.

If electronics are to be added, do you go for higher specification to reflect the specification of the guitar.

I am thinking of treating myself to a more upmarket guitar and can’t decide on any electronics. Because it would be played at home, I think the answer is a straightforward no. However the above questions still intrigue me.

Thanks for any suggestions, ideas and thoughts.
If you gig or may attend Open mic's I say go for electronics ...
If only at home I would say all things being equal) skip electronics....
BUT all things are not equal !!!!
Personally I like being able to play lead as well a strum so I prefer a cutaway, and MOST cutaways come with electronics
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Old 06-17-2021, 08:51 AM
Colinguitar Colinguitar is offline
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Thanks, Kev. Useful information to know.
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