Acoustic Bass Guitar Pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by bertbassplayer, May 12, 2001.

  1. What are some good acoustic bass guitar pickups?
  2. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    What sorta' application are you talkin' about?...
    Under-saddle, soundhole, or contact/button type?

    Fishman makes a Rare Earth model for ABG
    soundhole use. As well as a bunch for under-
    saddle apps.

    Seymour Duncan makes a piezo button type called
    Sound Spot. The "Classic" model is recommended
    for ABG's.

    Barcus-Berry has the piezo Disq-IS button type
    for internal mounting. The output's run through
    an endpin/jack. They also make a magnetic one
    called the Maple Bar. I dunno if it'd work in a
    ABG's soundhole though.
  3. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I'm gonna plug the K&K one (I sell 'em so feel free to be skeptical) - they came out with a different approach to ABG pickups. Rather than the typical difficult to install/balance, highly percussive and harsh undersaddle piezo strips (which they also make, custom as well as stock items), the designer came up with the concept of installing transducers on the inside of the instrument beneath the bridge plate. This gives you the benefit of the same high signal/noise ratio, but also insulates the strings and introduces some wood into the equation.

    This image shows a cutaway of the three transducer guitar model, but you get the idea:


    More details on the web site, along with comments from luthiers Jack Read and Karl Hoyt that were in TBL:

    These are a lot easier to install, and inexpensive, too.
  4. Well, if the K&Ks are as good as their DB transducers (and I have no reason to think otherwise), they should be great.
  5. BWB


    Aug 30, 2000
    Knoxville TN
    I just ordered one of the 5 string K&K systems from Gollihur.

    My Dean Performer 5 string acoustic/electric uses a stock undersaddle transducer, so it's likely that and not the Shadow P7 preamp/EQ that is the issue with this guitar reagrding uneven output and weird un-natural tone.

    Bob says this on his website.
    Disadvantages of undersaddle transducers:

    * Hard, percussive tone, because the piezo transducers are under high pressure.
    * They picks up mostly string and finger sounds, and capture very little from the guitar's soundboard, so crucial in reproducing your guitar's true voice.
    * There is always the chance of unbalanced volumes, with individual strings louder or softer than others. Trying the equalize loudness can result in a very work intensive balancing procedure.
    * Needs special preamp to compensate for the hard sound.

    My Performer 5 suffers from all of the above. I am going to try the new pickup both with and without the stock Shadow P7 to see which way I like it better. . . .
  6. BWB


    Aug 30, 2000
    Knoxville TN
    I received the 5 string K&K pickup system from Gollihur.

    I received it back in June...just this weekend (5 months later) I finally got around to installing it in the Dean Performer Plus 5.

    The difference in sound is quite amazing. The Shadow P7 stock electronics with the undersaddle transducer sounded TERRIBLE.
    Uneven string output, weird trebley tone - the Dean sounds pretty good unplugged but was a disaster when plugged into an amplifier.

    It now sounds VERY NICE with the K&K system. It sounds just like the tone of the acoustic bass when unplugged, which is precisely what I was after. BIG difference.

    Installation notes: Read the info on Bob's website. Installation from opening the box to the finished bass ready to plug into an amplifier took about 2 hours. I was careful to read the instructions all the way through a couple of times before starting. Once I got over the "oh s***" fear factor of super gluing something inside my bass, it was not very hard to do.

    I'd never installed a pickup system like this in an acoustic before, so I'd say that anyone could probably do it. I probably have average mechanical skills (I can do my own oil changes, too!).

    SO - Thanks Bob - Thanks Talkbass.

    Edit: I did not install the pickup through the Shadow P7 - it goes straight out to the amp. After hearing how well it did without the preamp I elected to just not hook it up.
  7. A couple of months ago i lost a jazz gig cause the band didn't want a guy with an electric bass.Due to the fact that only me and an other guy had auditioned for the gig checked each other's gear.The guy played an acoustic bass guitar(a washburn i think)which was custom fitted with an EMG 35DC pickup next to the end of the fretboard(if you've ever seen les paul guitar it was in the same position with the neck pickup)and a simple preamp(just bass boost\cut).When i saw that i wonder how the hell did his bass sound like.The result of this mod was sureal,it almost sounded like an upright(and i know how an upright sounds cuz i got one!),actually a little brighter but still way too cool,so i think you should consider this mod :smug: