1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Magnetic pickup on acoustic 12-string for an electric sound?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Bluestobbe, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. Bluestobbe

    Bluestobbe NEW MEMBER!

    Posts:
    2
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Location:
    southern Sweden
    Apologies if this has already been discussed to death. I DID do a search but didn't find much.

    Here's an idea I've been toying with:

    My thinking is this: Electric 12-strings are cool, but I can't really justify getting one at the moment. I don't think it would get enough use and also I will need to buy a new fridge soon.

    Acoustic 12-strings are also cool, but... (see above).

    But what if I could get a "two-for-one" guitar? Is it possible to get decent electric tones from an acoustic 12-string with an electric (magnetic) pickup in the soundhole? Has this been done? A reversible solution would be preferable, but it's not a deal-breaker. And I wouldn't do this to something like an old Martin, we're talking cheap guitars here.

    I know that I would have to either string with electric strings or get a pickup with individually adjustable magnets/pole pieces and turn them up really high on the bass side. And I wouldn't hope for an amazing Rick or Fender XII soundalike, but something that I could record convincing 12-string neck pickup sounds with, as well as acoustic ones.

    Is this a stupid idea?
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  2. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

    Posts:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    mojave desert
    Not a bad idea at all. The clip-on mag pickups for acoustics are not going to duplicate a Rick or Fender, but won't give you a pure acoustic sound either. No need to change strings, just install and try it out. They can be had for cheap up to very expensive. Very reversible. I don't recall any designed for 12-strings, but any one that will fit your sound hole should work. You could always try steel strings on your acoustic to see which you like better.
     
    nojazzhere and Bluestobbe like this.
  3. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,902
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Location:
    E. Tennessee, USA
    I went thru the same drill a month or two ago, and finally decided an acoustic with a neck pickup (EJ160Eish) or soundhole arrangement might get pricey and be plagued by feedback. I picked up an inexpensive new thinline 12 on EBay...think I gave a buck and a quarter.

    IMG_6605.JPG

    I still need to put better strings on it and do a setup (and may do some other tinkering)...but it meets my 12 electric needs.
     
    Bluestobbe and nojazzhere like this.
  4. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    69
    Posts:
    13,771
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2017
    Location:
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    Not only can it be done....it HAS been done by many players. I did it on a Conn twelve string acoustic with a neat Shadow soundhole pickup. The only problem is, they can be prone to feedback in a loud-ish situation.
    And, don't expect a real Rickenbacker sound, because, as most of you know, Rick's are strung with their "lower pitch" strings "above" their higher pitch ones.....meaning, from TOP to BOTTOM.....they're tuned "low E, high E, low A, high A, low D, high D", etc. Conventional twelves are opposite this. It makes a surprising difference in sound.
    But I say....go for it!
     
    Bluestobbe likes this.
  5. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,412
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Left of the Left Coast
    A thought occurs... I had a rubber soundhole cover for my Takamine Acoustic/Electric. Probably still have it around. It wasn't a perfect solution, but there were times that it was needed to stop feedback. If one of them doesn't fit with a soundhole pickup in place, why is no one combining the two? Or are they, and I just never saw one? I'm OK with it sounding more electric than acoustic; if I want acoustic, I unplug.
     
    Bluestobbe and GuitarPix like this.
  6. GuitarPix

    GuitarPix Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    280
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Guitar player in one of that bands I’m in has an acoustic Gretsch with an OEM gold foil pickup mounted just above the sound hole - works pretty good.
     
    nojazzhere, stormsedge and Bluestobbe like this.
  7. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

    Posts:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    mojave desert
    I forget who makes them, but that set-up is available on Amazon at least.
     
    stormsedge, Bluestobbe and Dan German like this.
  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,023
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    I've put a Strat pickup in a 6-string acoustic and plugged in it sounds like a Strat (but feeds back uncontrollably with too much distortion).
    I've put an acoustic under-saddle pickup under a Tele bridge and that sounds like an acoustic guitar (but you need a pre-amp and an acoustic amp).


    .
     
    Bluestobbe likes this.
  9. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,622
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Yes it will work as long as you're not too picky about how it sounds. I suspect you'll get a lot more mileage out of an acoustic 12 that you can electrify than trying to make a solidbody sound like a big Jumbo acoustic 12.
     
    stormsedge and Bluestobbe like this.
  10. Bluestobbe

    Bluestobbe NEW MEMBER!

    Posts:
    2
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Location:
    southern Sweden
    Thanks for your replies, it has given me quite some food for thought!

    Putting a pickup in a soundhole cover sounds like an interesting idea, I'll look into it.

    Hadn't thought about feedback issues since i prefer clean(ish) tones on a 12 anyway, but that is something to consider as well. When I played an acoustic (piezo pickup under bridge) in a band I used to stuff a small rag into the body, it was just enough to kill feedback and didn't seem to affect the sound much.

    Yes, the Rickenbacker string order thing. Forgot about that. Didn't think it made much difference, I'll look into that as well.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.