Pick-ups for Nylon-string Guitars

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Mike Stranks
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Pick-ups for Nylon-string Guitars

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:08 pm

Yesterday, during the workshop in Trowbridge led by Gordon a question was asked about pick-ups for nylon-strung guitars. The question came as a result of feedback with an existing pick-up.

Gordon mentioned K&K sound pick-ups. Their website is here: http://www.kksound.com/index.html

I mentioned using an attached external microphone as my preferred solution for guitars of this type. K&K have their own version of this. See: http://www.kksound.com/meridian.html and http://www.kksound.com/meridianpro.html. There are suppliers all over the UK; see: http://www.kksound.com/cgi-bin/csvsearch.cgi?Store=&Type=&City=&State=&Country=United+Kingdom

DPA microphones produce a very high-quality product - see: http://www.dpamicrophones.com/en/products.aspx?c=Item&category=118&item=24343 but you'll need a very good instrument to justify the cost: £357! :o

I use a Thomann Ovid System mic: http://www.thomann.de/gb/the_tbone_ovid_system_guitar_bundle.htm but this is currently shown as 'on request'.

Another option is an exploraudio clamp: http://www.exploraudio.com/story/2012/05/10/gordon-giltrap-collaboration/11/ which as you'll note has connections with a well-known guitarist! With this you can use a lightweight mic of your choice. For a review see: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/nov06/articles/guitartech_1106.htm#1by Paul White - who also got a mention yesterday! (Prices have come down since Paul wrote his review!)

Hope this helps someone who's having problems getting decent volume from a classical/nylon-string guitar when performing on-stage.

Please come back with any questions or observations.

The older I get, the better I used to be

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Re: Pick-ups for Nylon-string Guitars

Postby GORDON » Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:02 pm

Wonderful advice as ever Mike and thanks for helping out at the workshop and also at the gig....greatly appreciated my friend.

Be Well.


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Re: Pick-ups for Nylon-string Guitars

Postby aviator » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:27 pm

I've just purchased a Bartlett 'The Guitar Mic' (http://www.bartlettmics.com/guitarmic.html) after trying-out quite a few pickups of various types, and deciding I definately wanted a real mic in the mix for live playing, rather than a transducer or piezo. Gordon's signature Vintage electro models have a Fishman blended system with a mic and under-saddle pickup.

The Bartlett is married-up with a Headway SK60 amp, and with a tiny, tiny bit of chrous and a touch of reverb, the sound produced is identical to that unplugged - just louder...way louder.

The mic is transportable from one guitar to another (no drilling involved). It's presently on a cheap Chinese-built 99 euro jumbo, but its eventual home will be either a Fylde Orsino or Taylor GA7. Quite likely it will be blended with a Headway FEQ pickup, fitted permanently, though to be quite honest the reproduction from just this one mic inside the soundhole is way better than that I hear from most players, and from a cheapo guitar!

Feedback with a mic is supposed to be a problem but the mic has been tuned for this and quite well it seems. Playing with the amp facing me is a dead cert for feedback, but playing with the amp in front or far behind and to the side is fine.

The Headway has two inputs and The Guitar Mic is a phantom-powered XLR (there is a 1/4" jack version available) which goes into channel 2 of the amp, leaving channel 1 for a normal 1/4" lead to be blended. The Headway is also great for recording to computer, with a stereo line-out which includes any effects processing.

The Bartlett seems to be highly regarded by nylon players - see http://www.classicalguitardelcamp.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=67912. I got mine from Paul Need at 10 out of 10 productions, a theatre sound & light supplier (http://www.10outof10.co.uk/acatalog/Bartlett_Mics.html. It came to about £185 with the courier delivery, which unfortunately is rather more that the $179-odd you will pay for it in the US (more than 1:1 doller:pound exchange).

It comes in a great 'spectacles case' box, individually serial-numbered and with a lengthy warranty. Pick-up-wise I can't think of another that comes close. The Headway FEQ seems to be the best for the 'piezo' sound, the Fishman Rare Earth for soundhole magnetic pickups, an LR Baggs for transducers and the Fishman Ellipse Matrix Blend for blended - but they all seem to compromise the sound of the guitar as it sounds unplugged. The Bartlett is the only one I've used that retains the acoustic tone exactly as-is, just louder.

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