Baggs M-80 Soundhole Pickup

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Paul in Colorado, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm looking for a soundhole pickup for my acoustic lap steel. I came upon the Baggs M-80 in my search. Does anyone have experiance with these, especially with the string to string volume balance?
     
  2. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

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    I have the M1 Active in a budget 000 guitar. It's sounds pretty darn good plugged into just about anything. Balance string to string is very good once you dial in the pole pieces, very simple.
    The M80 supposedly pickups 2x the body resonance of the M1. And is switchable active or passive. I'll bet you would be pleased with it.
     
  3. Jethro

    Jethro Tele-Afflicted

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    I tried both the M1A and the M80....much preferred the M1A
     
  4. Murky

    Murky Tele-Meister

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    Paul, have you considered that most sound hole pickups are set for a string height of a typical six, not the elevated strings of a lap steel? I don't know what your box is, but that could make a difference, significant or not.

    Here's a discussion from a steel guitar forum about a Baggs M-1 in an acoustic steel. It may or may not be relevant.

    http://steelguitarforum.com/Forum2/HTML/009217.html
     
  5. Tarnisher

    Tarnisher Friend of Leo's

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    Takamine Tri-Ax is identical to the M1A except:

    1. It's black.
    2. It has a switch to turn off the preamp.
    3. It's branded Takamine instead of Baggs.
     
  6. Jethro

    Jethro Tele-Afflicted

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    That's a good point, although I will say that the M1A has adjustable pole pieces and is actually a pretty hot pickup. I have both the Baggs Lyric in in one guitar and the M1A in another, and the M1A is always considerably louder in the mix. You could try one first (without doing the permanent wiring installation), and if it doesn't cut it you could just return it....just a thought???
     
  7. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm currently using a Lace soundhole pickup that sounds good but there's no way to balance the wound strings to the unwound strings which are much hotter. I've heard good things about the Baggs and just wanted to get some real world experience. For the acoustic lap steel, I like a magnetic pickup, I just need to find one that I can balance the string to string volume.
     
  8. syrynx

    syrynx Tele-Afflicted

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    Paul, what strings are you using? If you're using bronze or phosphor bronze wounds, before you replace the Lace you might consider trying a set designed to work with magnetic pickups. Any electric guitar strings, be they stainless, nickel plated, or "pure nickel" are obvious candidates. Some others that spring to mind are GHS White Bronze (Leo Kottke endorsed and used these for a while), DR Zebra (two windings, nickel plated steel and phosphor bronze), and the new Martin Tony Rice and Retro Monel strings. (I'm hugely amused that Martin is marketing these as acoustic strings, because back in the middle of the last century Gibson was selling Monels as electric guitar strings.)

    BTW, which Lace sound hole pickup? The only one I've personally tried is the Lace California Acoustic. I tried it at a Guitar Center in a Little Martin strung with phosphor bronze, and the balance seemed much better to me than most sound hole pickups I've tried with bronze.

    String choice is highly personal, and my own preferences may not be relevant to you, but I'm gonna inflict 'em on you anyway. :D My first sound hole pickup is a Lawrence Sound Research FT-145 I bought in 1979. My Martin 0-18 (the only guitar I owned at the time) with bronze wound strings sounded terrible through it. Luckily, I heard another player with an FT-145 in a Harptone guitar, which sounded wonderful. He kindly told me that he was using Bill Lawrence acoustic-electric strings, which I later discovered were stainless steel wound. I tried a set on the 0-18, loved the results, and stuck with Lawrence SS strings for years. Later, I discovered I was quite happy with nickel plated steel wound strings. They don't last as long as stainless for me, but they last considerably longer than any bronze wound strings for me.

    Currently, arthritis and other considerations have me playing amplified acoustic lap steels exclusively. I'm switching between three: Martin 0-15 with Lawrence A-345 in D, Dm, or Dm7; Harmony H165 with FT-145 in reentrant F C Eb F A C (fifth string tuned down below the sixth); and Ovation Balladeer tuned Bb F Bb F Bb D. All are strung with nickel plated steel wounds, and I'm happy with 'em.

    But I'm sure tempted to try those Martin Monels...
     
  9. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I stuck a set of GHS electric lap steel strings on it and it sounded horrible and wouldn't stay in tune. (The same strings that sound great on my National Lap Steel) I just got a set of the Martin Tony Rice strings and I'm happy with the sound acoustically, but the unwound strings are still a little hot when plugged in. I have pieces of cork where the pickup attaches to the guitar to raise it closer to the strings. Maybe I'll try lowering the treble side a bit.

    I'm having a Weissenborn style guitar built and I'll probably go with the Baggs on it from the feedback I'm getting. I'm afraid the Sunrise is out of my budget.
     
  10. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    In the meantime, I took the Lace pickup out and removed most of the cork that I have on the mount on the treble side to lower it. It's not perfect but the balance is much better then it was.
     
  11. stephent2

    stephent2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    The pickup is no place to scrimp, accept no substitutes, buy the Sunrise and be happy. It's that much better. Find a used one if you can, there's one on the 'bay at $150 right now and a new one for $309 from Shoreline Music, nice people. $60 bucks more than the Baggs.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sunrise-S-2...566?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item19f60704fe
     
  12. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    I play acoustic slide, and in general I like soundhole pickups because they pick up up the harmonics nicely. I mostly make my own but I also have a Baggs M1A in one guitar. It (and the M80) picks up body sounds in addition to the strings, so it sounds like a combined piezo and magnetic. I like it a lot, the only criticism I have is that is is very bright, so the lack of a tone control is a pain if you are swapping guitars through the same amp without benefit of a mixer. I added a passive treble bleed tone control (two caps on a very small on-of-on DPDT switch) across the output of mine.

    It balances well with phos bronze strings, but to get it where I liked it I had to remove the 2nd string pole completely, and set the 1st string pole very low. I use strat type pickups on my resos with 13-56 nickel-plated steel electric strings, but I don't think they would sound good on a weissenborn or flattop.
     
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