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  #1  
Old 09-17-2020, 05:53 AM
mikehartigan mikehartigan is offline
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Default Looking for pickup recommendations for an archtop acoustic with floating bridge

If you wanted to change/upgrade the pickup in your acoustic, and you had an unlimited budget, what would you get?

For context, I'm looking to replace the Shadow NanoFlex HD under saddle pickup in my Epi Century Zenith. I'm looking for something that will best capture a true acoustic sound through a PA system with minimal signal processing, though I'm not averse to adding something like a Para Acoustic DI box, if necessary. (Note that my budget is not actually unlimited, it's merely healthy)

I'm thinking maybe an undersaddle pickup combined with a microphone along the lines of an LR Baggs Anthem. The problem with the Anthem, if it is, indeed, a problem, is that my Zenith is an archtop with a floating bridge. Thus, no bridge plate to mount the mic component. Also, the F-holes may pose a challenge for installation, not to mention that the preamp and controls are designed to mount inside a round sound hole.

Recommendations? Suggestions?
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Old 09-17-2020, 07:05 AM
guitarman68 guitarman68 is offline
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I have a PickUpTheWorld-PU in my Gibson L48. Its sits under the saddle, between saddle and bridge. Sounds good, but I do not use that guitar very often. Would it be my main axe, I would install a Dazzo pickup, maybe combined with a DPA 4061 microphone, blended with a Grace Audio Felix or a Sunnaudio MS-2 .preamp. Thats what I use on my flattops, and after trying the Dazzo on mandolin, mandola, bouzouki, mandocello, cello, fiddle (all arch topped), Weissenborn and banjo, I am absolutely sure this pickup will sound great on anything with strings.
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:19 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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On my Eastman archtop with f-holes and an elevated fretboard, I mounted a passive twin head JJB piezo under the soundboard opposite where the bridge feet make contact. This goes to the ring of a TRS jack. I've used JJB in dozens of instruments from fiddles to mandolins, banjos, a resonator, flat top and archtops, multiple guitars, etc.

I also mounted a Kent Armstrong magnetic neck pickup at the end of the fretboard wired through volume and tone pots on the pickguard to the tip of the TRS output jack. A TRS cable connects to an LR Baggs Mixpro preamp, which lets me mix these two signals (all piezo, all mag or any combo in between).

The single mono cable out goes to my amp or the house system. I'm very happy with this setup, and none of it affected the unplugged acoustic sound. It was not very expensive either; $30 for the JJB, $70 for the mag pickup (Stew-Mac), $160 for the MixPro, maybe $100 for the pots, jack and cables.
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:49 AM
neilca neilca is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
On my Eastman archtop with f-holes and an elevated fretboard, I mounted a passive twin head JJB piezo under the soundboard opposite where the bridge feet make contact. This goes to the ring of a TRS jack. I've used JJB in dozens of instruments from fiddles to mandolins, banjos, a resonator, flat top and archtops, multiple guitars, etc.

I also mounted a Kent Armstrong magnetic neck pickup at the end of the fretboard wired through volume and tone pots on the pickguard to the tip of the TRS output jack. A TRS cable connects to an LR Baggs Mixpro preamp, which lets me mix these two signals (all piezo, all mag or any combo in between).

The single mono cable out goes to my amp or the house system. I'm very happy with this setup, and none of it affected the unplugged acoustic sound. It was not very expensive either; $30 for the JJB, $70 for the mag pickup (Stew-Mac), $160 for the MixPro, maybe $100 for the pots, jack and cables.
I put the JJB pickups in my Loar LH300, plugged in the guitar is awesome. No preamp, so I had to adjust things at the amp. Highly recommend this setup and Jessie will help you along the way.

My Loar LH350 came with the Kent Armstrong neck pickup, I have struggled a bit on getting the pickup close enough to the strings to be effective. I have it fixed now. Different sound than the body pickups. I prefer the sound of the LH300 but, that's just me.
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Old 09-17-2020, 11:35 AM
shufflebeat shufflebeat is offline
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I had a UST of uncertain provenance in my Framus F hole archtop but replaced it with a K&K twin Spot when the UST developed a hum. I tried several temporary fittings before finding an article suggesting sensors should go just outside the feet of the bridge. I tried the temporary fitting there and it sounded promising so I made the fitting permanent.

In the meantime I fitted a Fishman Matrix infinity in another guitar so took the old Fishman out of that and stuck it in the Framus.

All this coincided with me starting experimenting with impulse responses and the Tonedexter and I found the Framus/UST combination is perfect for this approach. As it stands my best setup is Framus/UST - Mooer Radar pedal with an IR created using the Cuki79/JonFields45 IR generator - DI.
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Old 09-17-2020, 04:35 PM
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James May James May is offline
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Well, it seems archtops have become my latest priority, so your question is timely. I've got three projects in the works for my Ultra Tonic pickup: a brand new Eastman AR610CE, a '37 L5, and my pal John Buscarino is building one of his incredible archtops now that will get the Ultra Tonic.

I've worked out a blend pot scheme to combine the Ultra Tonic acoustic sound with the electric mag pickup sound in any proportion desired. It's all passive to boot!

And, I've built a tool that should allow sufficient access through the f-holes for proper mounting. Initial lab experiments all looks very positive, but until I install the first one in the Eastman, I hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

So this is just a heads up that it may turn out to be an option that would suit your needs. I'll report back next week, hopefully with pics. Or feel free to PM me if interested.
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:55 PM
mikehartigan mikehartigan is offline
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I'm sufficiently intrigued! It sounds promising, though I'm really not interested in a magnetic pup at this point. Then again, if I'm making changes, then why not?

Fortunately, my need is not urgent. I'll keep an eye out for your results ...next week-ish.
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Old 09-18-2020, 12:29 AM
shufflebeat shufflebeat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James May View Post
Well, it seems archtops have become my latest priority, so your question is timely. I've got three projects in the works for my Ultra Tonic pickup: a brand new Eastman AR610CE, a '37 L5, and my pal John Buscarino is building one of his incredible archtops now that will get the Ultra Tonic.
Following with interest. If you can keep the discussion public it'd be appreciated.
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Old 09-18-2020, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
Following with interest. If you can keep the discussion public it'd be appreciated.
Thanks for the interest, I'll keep it public. Stay tuned for more soon.
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Old 09-21-2020, 06:01 AM
varmonter varmonter is offline
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Living in vt I had the distinct pleasure
Of driving down and meeting kent armstrong
When I wanted recommendations for a pup
For my 56 Gibson tg-50 tenor archtop.
Unfortunatly the neck extension on this archtop
Didnt have the room to flush mount one
Of his pups. But he built me one to mount on my pickguard. Kent's an interesting guy with a unique
Family history . His dad was Dan Armstrong of Dan armstrong guitars.( clear lucite electrics Keith Richard's played in 69) Kent's pickups are as good as they get for archtops.

Last edited by varmonter; 09-21-2020 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 09-21-2020, 03:06 PM
Br1ck Br1ck is offline
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I had the back off an el cheapo archtop I bought as a project, so I glued some JJBs in it and they sound great, so Dazzos would do the trick if someone would install them.

This might be an instance where I'd go ToneDexter if I wanted a mic'd acoustic tone.
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Old 09-22-2020, 12:45 AM
stevo58 stevo58 is offline
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I have a Loar LH-700 I bought used with a Definity, which I didn’t particularly like. I replaced it with a JJB (2 transducer, whichever model that is) and was much happier. I run it through a ToneDexter, using a map made in slot 22, XLR out to the PA, 1/4” to an Acus amp which I use as a stage monitor. I’m pretty happy with this set up.

I’d try a Dazzo if they were available over here, but as it is K&K (other than the Definity) and JJB have served me well.

Steven
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Old 09-22-2020, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikehartigan View Post
…Recommendations? Suggestions?
Hi Mike H

I suggest running it through the Archtop Sub-forum in this forum.




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  #14  
Old 09-30-2020, 05:56 PM
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See this thread post #7 for my report.
https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=593356
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