Is there nothing new in aftermarket acoustic pickups the last decade?

Chud

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Posts
9,564
Location
New York City
I recently had to travel for work and was going to do a quick performance while at my destination, and ended up renting an acoustic/electric guitar from GC because I don't have a gig ready acoustic for air travel at the moment. I have an 000 sized Yamaha that I've meant to get ready for a few years, but of course that which shall not be named made it unnecessary for a while. Now that's of course changed, and I'm back on the track of getting the Yammie ready to fly and play.

I've been looking around the usual sites for acoustic pickups, and it doesn't seem like there's anything new or more exciting than the LR Baggs Anthem I installed in a 12 string about a decade ago. I'm not looking to spend the cash for a Sunrise, or even another full Anthem for this guitar, but looking for something a little more than just an UST.

Anything anyone would recommend (that's not a sound hole pickup) under $200 like the Anthem SL or Lyric that might be interesting? Those are my top 2 right now, but they were around when I bought the Anthem so just seeing if maybe there's something I'm overlooking that's come out since.

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

Freeman Keller

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Posts
10,791
Age
78
Location
Washington
I have installed K&K's in several guitars for local players. No piezo is going to sound as good as a mic but people seem to be happy with these.

A couple of things about the K&K, they are completely passive so most people use an external DI or preamp. They stick directly to the bridge plate so there is no hassle with UST's. There is a PacRim copy that is less money, I haven't used it.
 
Last edited:

KokoTele

Doctor of Teleocity
Vendor Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Posts
15,088
Age
47
Location
albany, ny [not chicago]
I don't think you can beat the Lyric without using a studio mic. I haven't seen anything particularly new, just more rehashing of the old stuff.

There are cheap versions of the K&K on amazon for about 1/2 the price. They're going to sound the same. There's no special sauce in the K&K, they were just the first to package a piezo like that and sell it cheap because it's totally passive. Now they're less cheap.
 

Chud

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Posts
9,564
Location
New York City
My concern with the Lyric is I’ve read since it’s a full range mic, the bass response is attenuated a bit to manage feedback at stage volume. I have no experience with that, but read on several forums that’s an issue by design since the Anthem uses a crossover at 250hz to split the mic and UST. I wouldn’t be as worried if I were putting it in a dread or my jumbo Gibson, but the Yamaha is a small body and I’m afraid it might be pretty thin plugged in.

With the K&K or even one of the $50 knockoffs on Amazon, I think I’d probably fairly quickly be looking for a preamp, so that puts total cost even further beyond the cost of a full Anthem.

That might put me back to the Anthem SL as the top contender.
 
Last edited:

Chud

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Posts
9,564
Location
New York City
Alternatively, I could pony up for another full Anthem to swap with the stock UST in my Gibson, and put the UST in the Yamaha.

I had originally thought I’d just pull the Anthem from my 12 string to put in the Yamaha and sell the 12 string, but then I played the 12 string again and decided I’d just play it more. Lol

2BDF0459-949D-4BE8-8226-3EBF0FE4F660.jpeg
 

soul-o

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 29, 2007
Posts
2,418
Age
55
Location
Boston
I have a K&K in my Martin om28 (it was in there when I bought it) and I must admit I wish it had an LR Baggs Anthem. That’s what’s in my Taylor GS 8 and it sounds better to my ears. That’s in the context of playing with a band. For solo acoustic gigs, when possibly I like to blend the pickup with a 57 pointed at the 12th fret.
 

Chiogtr4x

Doctor of Teleocity
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2007
Posts
15,591
Location
Manassas Park, VA
I have installed K&K's in several guitars for local players. No piezo is going to sound as good as a mic but people seem to be happy with these.

A couple of things about the K&K, they are completely passive so most people use an external DI or preamp. They stick directly to the bridge plate so there is no hassle with UST's. There is a PacRim copy that is less money, I haven't used it.

The K&K folks have an optional active add-on package, to their Pure Mini pickup
I went for this with my Blueridge, as I did NOT want any pedals ( to keep things similar to the active Fishman in my Martin).

The add on consists of an endpin jack preamp ( inside) that provides plenty of output, pre-set EQ curve ( so everything sounds pretty 'natural/acoustic' coming out of the guitar ( so I plug right into PA channel with channel EQ knobs flat/NOON, then tweak a bit)
Also a 9V battery clip mounted and a Volume wheel, just inside the soundhole rim.

Despite the Fishman system ( active/saddle piezo, with Volume and Tone soundhole rim wheels) and the active K&K in the Blueridge,

both sound very warm, articulate and not overly bright ( no quack on the Fishman)
Both are no-brainers to use at gigs.
 

Chud

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Posts
9,564
Location
New York City
Yep, the Anthem sounds fantastic in my 12 string, and I know it would be a great choice for either the Yamaha or Gibson, but would probably make more sense in the Gibson. I’ll have to look at the SL a bit more to see how well I think I’d get along w the preset mix of the mic and UST and save $100.
 

Freeman Keller

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Posts
10,791
Age
78
Location
Washington
The K&K is cheap enough (a hair over 100 MSRP) that I have put them in guitars "just because". The guy I was building this f-hole acoustic swore he would never plug in but said sure, put the pickup in 'cause we wouldn't have another chance once the box was closed. Its a floating bridge so a UST doesn't work and he didn't want a mag hanging off the fretboard.

He does admit that its been plugged a few times....
 

Attachments

  • IMG_1617-1.jpg
    IMG_1617-1.jpg
    82.4 KB · Views: 40

tfarny

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Sep 4, 2008
Posts
6,351
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
just had a k&k installed in my new acoustic. only plugged it in briefly, sounds good but will need some equing.

op the new thing now seems to be custom irs that you make of your own guitar. like what fishman did with the aura pedals but specific to your actual guitar. lr baggs has one in a pedal, somebody on the agf had freeware to let you make one and load it into your helix. there is a pro level thing called tonedexter that seems to be unobtanium.
 

Chud

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Posts
9,564
Location
New York City
just had a k&k installed in my new acoustic. only plugged it in briefly, sounds good but will need some equing.

op the new thing now seems to be custom irs that you make of your own guitar. like what fishman did with the aura pedals but specific to your actual guitar. lr baggs has one in a pedal, somebody on the agf had freeware to let you make one and load it into your helix. there is a pro level thing called tonedexter that seems to be unobtanium.
Ah now THAT is interesting. Expensive, but interesting lol. Thanks for sharing!
 

jvin248

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Apr 18, 2014
Posts
11,732
Location
Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
.

When I was looking to mod my acoustic for an amplifier .. there were the lick 'n stick style pad piezo pickups that go under the sound board and the under saddle ribbon/wire style that required shaving down your bridge. I'd used one of those wire styles under a Tele bridge of a project guitar to get acoustic tones so I knew they worked. They could be had for five or ten dollars back then but needed some sort of pre-amp that was five dollars and a five dollar battery and then the acoustic guitar style amp.

I'm all electric guitar and just have the acoustic for banging around on so I ended up making a strip of wood that fit behind the sound hole to suspend a regular Strat single coil as close to the neck as possible then ran that direct to a strap-pin jack. I only need one guitar amp for both electric and 'acoustic' guitars. If I want to sound more like an acoustic guitar I twist knobs on pedals and amp, otherwise it sounds more like a Strat -- which was one of those items that taught me there is no such thing as 'tone wood'.

I'd say to just get a lick 'n stick pad pickup for the electric guitar, a five dollar pre-amp, and spend your money on your acoustic amp rather than trying to spread the budget equally around all the little bits.

.
 

Charlie Bernstein

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Posts
11,961
Location
Augusta, Maine
If you like K&Ks, be sure to check out JJBs, too. Very similar to K&Ks at a lower price. Players argue about whether JJBs are as good, but lots of folks say they can't hear a difference. I think most agree they're close.

I have both and like both, but they're on different instruments, so I don't know enough to take sides. But as far as I'm concerned, I'd either want a K&K, a JJB, or a mic.

Here's a thread that will show you the range of opinions:


Anyhow, you might want to read up on 'em. JJBs might be worth a try.
 
Last edited:

Chud

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Posts
9,564
Location
New York City
.

When I was looking to mod my acoustic for an amplifier .. there were the lick 'n stick style pad piezo pickups that go under the sound board and the under saddle ribbon/wire style that required shaving down your bridge. I'd used one of those wire styles under a Tele bridge of a project guitar to get acoustic tones so I knew they worked. They could be had for five or ten dollars back then but needed some sort of pre-amp that was five dollars and a five dollar battery and then the acoustic guitar style amp.

I'm all electric guitar and just have the acoustic for banging around on so I ended up making a strip of wood that fit behind the sound hole to suspend a regular Strat single coil as close to the neck as possible then ran that direct to a strap-pin jack. I only need one guitar amp for both electric and 'acoustic' guitars. If I want to sound more like an acoustic guitar I twist knobs on pedals and amp, otherwise it sounds more like a Strat -- which was one of those items that taught me there is no such thing as 'tone wood'.

I'd say to just get a lick 'n stick pad pickup for the electric guitar, a five dollar pre-amp, and spend your money on your acoustic amp rather than trying to spread the budget equally around all the little bits.

.
Interesting concept but...yeah, no. :lol::lol::lol: Thanks for that though!
 

netgear69

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Posts
2,175
Location
england
I put one of these fishman presys preamp I bought cheap on ebay in a fan braced small body guitar
changed the strings to silk and steel one day i will get around to putting the screws in
the preamp & piezo is pretty decent it does what it is meant to do the strings sound balanced in volume which surprised me the mic on it though is absolute trash

IMG_20221221_135436.jpg
IMG_20221221_135504.jpg
 

kuch

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 30, 2011
Posts
2,367
Location
Great Northwest
I picked up a Martin 000-1R for my grandson a couple of years ago and it had a K&K installed by the previous owner. It sounds really good plugged in directly to his acoustic amp without a pre-amp.

the fishman aura system was factory installed in my 000-18 E retro and it sounds great too. It has a lot of options to choose from "modeled" 40's martins and vintage mikes. when I plug it in, I usually just use the passive pickup setting.

good luck in your search
 
Last edited:

Dan German

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Feb 21, 2008
Posts
14,577
Age
62
Location
Left of the Left Coast
As for “new” the only thing that leaps to mind is the little iRig gizmo. Not as good as all the ones being discussed here, but they’re all refinements of the way it’s been done for more than a decade.
 
Top