vlog#4 How to choose the best acoustic guitar pickup

Good day and there welcome to my video blog or vlog
 this is blog number four and it's been a bit of a wait because there's been
 Christmas and there's been all kinds of things going on so but I'm back in
 action now so brace yourself today I'm going to talk about acoustic guitar
 pickups this is a bit like an acoustic guitar pickup 101 let's talk about the
 basic different types that are available and what's their good attributes and
 their bad attributes all all the different types I suppose have good
 properties and suits certain playing styles but the but they're not all
 perfect for everything unfortunately you can't get like one microphone which is
 the best for everything so that's what I'm talking about today what is the
 difference between them so let's get started the first the first microphone
 I'm going to talk about or the first pickup I'm going to talk about is the
 under saddle pickup and this is probably the most popular pickup on the market
 when you go and buy a new guitar and I from a music shop there's a very good
 chance that it will come shipped with i understad will pick up now these pickups
 they are built into the instrument and they require a battery so they're enough
 power which means that there will be a section taken out I'll show you here
 this is a is no classic Takamine that I've had since since the eighties but
 nothing has really changed as far as the under-saddle pickups are concerned I
 mean just a good the bad knee okay but let's assume that they're talking about
 a good one here and this is a good one that's in the tech mine so first of all
 they end up having a big hole in them like this which where you have the
 equalizer and you got volume and things like that wood which is which is handy
 and it's got a battery compartment where you put the battery in and the pickup
 itself actually sits inside the saddle bone or under the saddle bone so it's
 convenient it's very good in certain circumstances
 it's fantastic for playing with a with a band if you've got drums and keyboards
 and vocals and all that kind of stuff and you there with your acoustic guitar
 and you just want to hammer out those chords is it a great pickup for that
 purpose and drawbacks with the under saddle well unfortunately there's a
 couple one is if you if you have an older guitar okay more of a classic
 vintage guitar you probably don't want to put a big hole in it for the
 electronics and for the battery and to replace all the underside of the saddle
 so that's that's one negative there's a few buying a new guitar suppose it's
 okay it's installed by the manufacturer it's and if you if you did want to do
 that it's not really a DIY thing if you if you want to pick up like this
 installed into an existing guitar you would you would want to take it to a
 lute here and have it done properly not something you want to think it with
 yourself it could do some serious damage if you're not careful so that's the
 install and the mechanics of it from a sound point of view it's got a very
 crisp clean sound very sharp cuts through the mix so as I said it's great
 if you're playing with a band on the downside it's a crisp clean sound so it
 doesn't have a lot of warms it's that the pickup is actually in contact with
 the strings so you're not getting a lot of body sound from the guitar you're
 basically getting the strings so I suppose the argument that people use
 against them is that why buy a $5,000 guitar when all you hearing is you
 fogged all the strings and that's an element of truth in that because you're
 not hearing much of the guitar through these pickups you basically hearing the
 strings now let me plug it in and I'll give you a little little demo so I got
 this currently going through a little PA mixer I have a DI signal going back to
 the camera to give you that the pure clean sound
 so I'm just gonna strum some heavy strumming so you can hear
 what it sounds like
 so certainly in the room here through the PA that that's a big sound nothing
 I think directly wrong with it and for some gentle finger picking it can be a
 bit thin
 so that's the the under-saddle pickup said advantages very little feedback
 usually comes comes installed when you buy the instrument the negatives bit
 cold sounding no real body sound gonna make a big hole in it so all up not the
 perfect pickup for all circumstances but definitely a great great pickup for the
 people who want to use that kind of people do that kind of playing whether
 they live on stage and I kind of stuff for recording I've found them almost
 almost useless I just don't have any nice tones in there so that's the on the
 saddle now the next thing I'm gonna look at and I'm gonna put this instrument
 back is sound hole pickups I'm gonna use my Martin here to demonstrate that so
 first I'm gonna talk a bit about the sound hole pickup and what's good and
 bad about them so this is just a cheap one that uh that I bought online it's I
 was quite a quite excited and I got it because I thought it is this looks looks
 quite good I reckon this is going to be a dynamite pickup unfortunately there
 wasn't quite the case what happens when you buy cheap on eBay
 so pros and cons pros easy to install
 low feedback and it doesn't usually require any batteries or anything like
 that the the negatives is well generally there are our magnetic pickups like an
 electric guitar so you will get more of an electric sound or the instrument then
 then an acoustic sound and being an electric style pickup would make more
 sense to use electric guitar strings because the magnetic rather than than
 bronze strings or something like that so again you changing the sound again and
 and if you're a nylon string player then for
 get about this because nylon is magnetic so this will do absolutely nothing at
 all so I'm gonna unfortunately this particular one that's actually sound
 quite awful I'll give you a little demo just for the purpose of it and the other
 interesting thing with this pickup is it's quite microphonic and I'm not sure
 if that's part of the design or what that is yeah I really don't know it just
 sounds horrible let me put it in and I'll show you as I said advantage is
 this it's a fairly quick and easy install
 it's a pretty uninteresting really
 so you'll note I'm not making any changes to the accuse anything like that
 and I'm not even to the gain this is exactly as they plug in and work so
 that's the sound hold pick up a good one is probably worth checking out
 but I'd stay clear of the cheaper ones not worth the effort really so then
 there's another style of pickup kicking around one that I've actually just
 started making and that's like a small electorate pop type job so what I've
 done there is that this is a micro micro condenser microphone and you clip it
 onto the side of the body or whatever this one goes into the sound hole with a
 little spring bar like that the pros with this top because it gives you a
 very natural sound they're almost like a studio miniature studio mic so so
 they're great for recording and stuff like that the negatives is that they're
 quite prone to feedback and they need a battery or they need phantom power so
 this particular one uses phantom power so I'm gonna give you a little demo of
 what this sounds like again easy to install this goes in like that let me
 find my so this is an XLR cable because it's phantom powered so I'm gonna play
 I'm gonna finger-picking
 so again really natural sound it's um it's a good good microphone system
 however if you're playing reasonably loud they will feedback so again it's
 not the perfect instrument for all circumstances but if you're doing a home
 recording and stuff like that you're wearing headphones just to get some nice
 tracks down it's great works great for a nylon string guitar steel string guitars
 ukuleles whatever now we're coming to the point where we're going to start
 talking about contact pickups and of course she made no contact pickups other
 ones that I make and this pros and cons there as well
 and I don't it's not the not the one-size-fits-all as I said you know
 they're not perfect for everything but the pros are they're easy to use they
 have a natural sound or can have a natural sound if they're made correctly
 they don't require a battery and they are easy to install the cons are they
 can feed back a little bit if you play really loud and that's mainly if they if
 you if you're doing an internal installation that's convenient does any
 other pickup if you're using an external pickup it can be a little bit fiddly
 with the cables but that I mean this is a choice thing whether you want to
 install it internally or you want to leave it external so I'm gonna
 demonstrate it next one on one today I'm going to show you a few different ones
 on line there's a few people selling and telling just straight-up piezo like this
 and that's that's kind of like the the the basics of our eye contact pickup
 works but there's really there's no technology in this this is just purely a
 piezo so if you compare if you compare a pickup to building a guitar for instance
 this is just like the strings there's no wood there's no body there's no nothing
 so it's just nailing a set of strings to a piece of wood and saying there you go
 there's a great sounding guitar which it's not so I can give you a little demo
 of what this sounds like when applied to to get hard just as it
 is without any any further technology may just get a bit of blue tack to put
 it on with so generally to that you know the best thing to do is just glue them
 straight on onto the timber which I also disagree with because I think that's
 that's just killing the sound the pickup is supposed to be alive it's like a
 microphone you wouldn't ask a singer to swallow his microphone put that on the
 body there so it works it does pick up the sound but it's pretty ordinary to be
 perfectly honest so that's that one there's another brand of pickups kicking
 around in the market which basically do the same idea except that I just glued
 their plastic over the top now that of course the plastic alters the sound but
 again there's very little technology gone in here and it's just basically
 melting a bit of plastic over the top of it so let's see how that sounds
 so it sounds a little bit better the plastic has so is they dampened down
 some of those annoying frequencies but it's still not for my money it's not
 there anyway so this is this is where my pickup comes in I mean I've spent an
 enormous amount of time in developing this pickup this is the external one
 that comes with a little leather strap that hooks onto your end pin and it has
 two two independent heads one is the base head and that is made from a
 diecast metal so it's a heavy pickup intended to pick up the lower
 frequencies it also has a built-in low-pass filter so that the high
 frequencies are cut out of this pickup this is entirely for for pushing those
 bass frequencies the treble pickup or the second head is made from timber it
 has also been modified we shave the element down to focus the frequencies a
 bit more and it also has an adjustment screw which pushes down on a little
 rubber pad that applies pressure to the back of the crystal and again that that
 helps shape the sound so you can you can shape the sound that you want by by
 doing that I also recommend that the attack or the attachments are applied to
 each side of the pickup on the treble pickup like that so two two blobs one on
 each side and the bass pickup I apply one well depends on how bassy your
 instrument is this this is actually quite a bass guitar so I'm actually
 gonna roll a little sausage that little long sausage and I'm gonna lay that
 across the pickup element like that and then I'm going to apply the the base
 pickup to the base side of the guitar and the treble pickup to the treble side
 of the guitar there strap on here
 and I am going to plug it in so again this is there's no batteries or anything
 required yeah this this is a very high highly effective pickup you can see
 straight away that that sounds so much more natural than than the other peers
 us which are jests peers also a bit of plastic on them so it does make a
 difference how you designed to pick up
 so that's no no EQ or anything on that that's just see how that's attached to
 the guitar there and you can do the same thing with the internal pickup it just
 monitor on the inside and you have the cable coming through to like an NPM Jack
 or something like I have this guitar here so that's kind of the basics of of
 the pickups I the good thing with the PSS they work on nylon strings they work
 on ukuleles they work on any any acoustic violins cellos they're all if
 they have a soundboard they will sound good not so great on on solid body
 electric like the you know Gibson sounds or and stratocasters and things like
 that because I don't really have a soundboard there's no there's no sound
 being emitted from the guitar it's all coming through the peak up so so putting
 in appears on there isn't really gonna do anything so I hope that was a little
 bit helpful if you have any more questions or anything like that then you
 know drop me an email or make a comment in the in the youtube video on my blog
 and I'll see you next time with my next blog quite sure what that's about yet so
 we'll learn just stay tuned and we'll find out I suppose now for more
 information or for overall during the the pickups like the ones I make just go
 to my website Peterman dot-com delay you and I'll catch you there and thanks for
 your time and have a good one Cheers 

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