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#1: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-06-30 17:51:48 by flat5

I know this has probably been addressed before, but I couldn't find it
after searching around.

I was thinking about putting a floating pickup on a cutaway acoustic
(something like a Martin OOO-15). Not in the sound hole, or cut into
the body somewhere, but up near the neck like on a jazz box. Theory
being that this would keep the good flattop acoustic sound, and would
give a woody, decent jazz sound when amplified. Also keeps from cutting
the top, although i guess the wire from the pup and the volume pot need
to go somewhere. I suppose a pick guard could hold the pot, but that
seems odd somehow on a flattop.

Piezo pups don't make it. Internal mics a little better, but still not
right.

Am interested in hearing from anybody who has done this. How did it
sound? Problems doing it?

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#2: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-06-30 18:43:29 by Mark.C.Guest

I had a Bartolini soundhole PU in a Takamine semi-Howard Roberts model.
Worked fine. The guitar also has a piezo, which allowed for true stereo
output. It sounded great with a dry channel through a tube amp (forget
which one) and the piezo through the chorus af a JC120. Amps were about
10 feet apart. I never gigged with that rig, as I don't like hauling
big rigs around. If you don't mind the weight, I'd recommend trying it.


The Bartolini came with an arylic device that attached the PU inside
the soundhole with no mods required on the guitar. I eventually had the
PU permanently installed in the Tak, along with a volume and tone pot.

Best,

Mark Guest
Jazz at MarkGuest dot net
www.soundclick.com/bands/3/markguestjazztriomusic.htm

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#3: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-06-30 18:57:21 by Keith Freeman

> I was thinking about putting a floating pickup on a cutaway acoustic
> (something like a Martin OOO-15). Not in the sound hole, or cut into
> the body somewhere, but up near the neck like on a jazz box.
Is there enough space under the strings?

-Keith

Music samples, tips, Portable Changes at
<a href="http://home.wanadoo.nl/keith.freeman/" target="_blank">http://home.wanadoo.nl/keith.freeman/</a>

E-mail: keith DOT freeman AT wanadoo DOT nl

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#4: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-06-30 19:52:03 by Steven Rosenberg

I've been thinking about this too. I don't think you could use a
floater -- given how close the strings are to the body on a flattop, it
wouldn't work. But with one of those soundhole magentic pickups, you
could probably dial in a pretty nice jazz tone. Certainly would be
cheap to try.

It wouldn't look legit -- other players, at least, expect the archtop.
But you'd get an acoustic-type attack, as opposed to an electric
solidbody sound.

The whole question has been nagging at me for awhile: Just how
different is the sound from an acoustic archtop as opposed to a
flattop? I can tell the difference -- yes, more midrange on an archtop
-- but for music being played right now, i.e. the 21st century, I think
you can play a jazz on a flattop guitar and sound good.

Has anybody read that new book, &quot;Guitar: An American Life&quot;? I think
that's the title. Written by a guy who does commentary for NPR (and who
is a flattop player), it follows both the history of the guitar in
general as well as the history of the specific guitar he's having built
for him by a luthier in Vermont. Very interesting. Archtops are covered
in the book, mostly with a few quotes from Linda Manzer, but they're
treated as more of an oddity than anything.

I guess it all comes down to what sounds you prefer, as well as how
comforable you are playing the various kinds of guitars. From a
physical standpoint, archtop and flattop are very different, especially
for the right hand and arm, due to the height of the strings from the
body.

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#5: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-06-30 20:14:42 by oasysco

It's difficult to get a nice jazz tone out of those soundhole pups...
the bright jangle of the phosphor-bronze strings comes through *and*
the pup is located too far away form the base of the neck to get bassy,
jazz tone.

I know Gibson on their J190 Fusion opted for a single coil pup right up
against the neck. Curious as to what pup they use since I've had major
problems with volume balance from string to string trying to use PB
strings... the unwrapped, plain steel strings come through loud 'n
clear, but the wrapped PB strings are about 1/2 the volume because they
aren't as magnetic.

I guess one could use electric guitar strings on their flattop for
volume balance.

Greg

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#6: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-06-30 20:15:56 by Pat Smith

I haven't heard it, but this looks really interesting

<a href="http://pick-uptheworld.com/polymag.htm" target="_blank">http://pick-uptheworld.com/polymag.htm</a>

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#7: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-06-30 20:41:20 by dmorton

In article &lt;<a href="mailto:1120146708.799394.280400&#64;z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com" target="_blank">1120146708.799394.280400&#64;z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com</a>&gt;,
<a href="mailto:ducks_mgr&#64;yahoo.com" target="_blank">ducks_mgr&#64;yahoo.com</a> (flat5) wrote:

&gt; I was thinking about putting a floating pickup on a cutaway acoustic
&gt; (something like a Martin OOO-15). Not in the sound hole, or cut into
&gt; the body somewhere, but up near the neck like on a jazz box. Theory
&gt; being that this would keep the good flattop acoustic sound, and would
&gt; give a woody, decent jazz sound when amplified. Also keeps from cutting
&gt; the top, although i guess the wire from the pup and the volume pot need
&gt; to go somewhere. I suppose a pick guard could hold the pot, but that
&gt; seems odd somehow on a flattop.

Isn't the move from standard sound hole pickup to this arrangement a lot
of hassle for relatively little difference? I use a Yamaha CSF100K (small
bodied flat-top, quite like the 000-15 but made from Koa rather than
mahogany) with a DeArmond RHC-B in the sound hole for just the kind of
'dual use' you're describing.

While it's not the same sound as my archtop with the DeArmond FHC-C, I
would have said *most* of the difference was the switch from nickel to
Phosphor Bronze strings (FHC-C is balanced for the former, RHC-B for the
latter).

Measured from the centre of the pickup to the bridge, the flat top pickup
is only half an inch closer (5.5 inches against 6 inches on the archtop).

Also unless you use a floating pickup balanced for PBs (like the Kent
Armstrong one archtop.com sell), you're going to have to use nickel wound
strings to keep the string to string balance correct on the 'electric'
sound, and the acoustic sound might really disappoint you.

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#8: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-07-01 15:01:37 by sn00ge

flat5 said:

&gt; I was thinking about putting a floating pickup on
&gt; a cutaway acoustic (something like a Martin
&gt; OOO-15). Not in the sound hole, or cut into the
&gt; body somewhere, but up near the neck like on a
&gt; jazz box. Theory being that this would keep the
&gt; good flattop acoustic sound, and would give a
&gt; woody, decent jazz sound when amplified.
[snip]


I'm not sure how you would go about putting a floating
pickup since there's not much space between the strings and
the top.

However, if you want to hear what a flattop with a magnetic
pickup sounds like in a jazz context, check out the late
Gabor Szabo, e.g., his albums Gypsy '66 and Spellbinder. He
used a flattop with a magnetic pickup in the soundhole. In
fact, here's a picture:

&lt;<a href="http://pop.freeblog.hu/Files/Gabor_szabo_2.jpg" target="_blank">http://pop.freeblog.hu/Files/Gabor_szabo_2.jpg</a>&gt;

It's definitely not your average jazz guitar sound, but I
think it sounds great. But then again, I've always loved the
sound of flattops in jazz.


--
-Bo Parker

The email address in the header is fake.

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#9: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-07-01 16:01:21 by dmorton

In article &lt;<a href="mailto:1120222897.713821.133970&#64;z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com" target="_blank">1120222897.713821.133970&#64;z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com</a>&gt;,
<a href="mailto:sn00ge&#64;hotmail.com" target="_blank">sn00ge&#64;hotmail.com</a> () wrote:

&gt; However, if you want to hear what a flattop with a magnetic
&gt; pickup sounds like in a jazz context, check out the late
&gt; Gabor Szabo, e.g., his albums Gypsy '66 and Spellbinder. He
&gt; used a flattop with a magnetic pickup in the soundhole. In
&gt; fact, here's a picture:
&gt;
&gt; &lt;<a href="http://pop.freeblog.hu/Files/Gabor_szabo_2.jpg" target="_blank">http://pop.freeblog.hu/Files/Gabor_szabo_2.jpg</a>&gt;

Yup, that's a DeArmond RHC-B (the missing 2nd pole piece is a dead
give-away). Marc Ribot uses the same pickup
<a href="http://brucecmoore.com/media/bumbershoot/marc_ribot_display.jpg" target="_blank"> http://brucecmoore.com/media/bumbershoot/marc_ribot_display. jpg</a>

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#10: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-07-01 19:25:39 by flat5

I was pretty interested to see this. Unfortunately, Musican's Friend
shows the J-190 to be discontinued.

It's a real problem trying out the 'niche' guitars here in NC. THe
GC-type stores certainly don't carry them. Even the locally owned store
does not--this is bluegrass country and they have plenty of Martins,
Taylors, etc. So, unless you are willing to swallow return postage for
a tryout from a mail order outfit, you either must travel to a bigger
city or give up.

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#11: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-07-01 20:01:08 by flat5

Good points. Certainly is easier to put the pup in the soundhole.
How/where did you put the pots?

The strings are an issue. There isn't any comparison between PB and
nickel. I have the pb's on my acoustic, flat wound nickel on electric.
Both are appropriate for their respective instrument. Have never tried
the nickels on the acoustic. Think I'll do that before I go any
further. Sounds like you have tried, with disappointing results.

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#12: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-07-02 05:37:43 by dmorton

In article &lt;<a href="mailto:1120238396.735800.187130&#64;g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com" target="_blank">1120238396.735800.187130&#64;g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com</a>&gt;,
<a href="mailto:ducks_mgr&#64;yahoo.com" target="_blank">ducks_mgr&#64;yahoo.com</a> (flat5) wrote:

&gt; Good points. Certainly is easier to put the pup in the soundhole.
&gt; How/where did you put the pots?

The DeArmond model I use on the Yamaha has an 'edge-wise' pot built in.
It's on the treble side, so you can tweak it with a spare finger as you
play. Hard to see in most photos, so I took one from an angle:

<a href="http://www.well.com/~dmorton/dearmyam.jpg" target="_blank">http://www.well.com/~dmorton/dearmyam.jpg</a>

&gt; The strings are an issue. There isn't any comparison between PB and
&gt; nickel. I have the pb's on my acoustic, flat wound nickel on electric.
&gt; Both are appropriate for their respective instrument. Have never tried
&gt; the nickels on the acoustic. Think I'll do that before I go any
&gt; further. Sounds like you have tried, with disappointing results.

You're right, I don't like nickel on an acoustic flat top. If you fit a
pickup balanced for nickels, then you won't get the 'dual use' you're
looking for. Fitted with nickels the electric sound will be good but the
acoustic won't be. Fitted with PBs the acoustic sound will be good but the
electric won't be.

I'm happy using a PB balanced pickup and PB strings, because I was looking
for a distinct and different colour of electric guitar sound: I wasn't
trying to emulate an archtop on the cheap, rather to make something that
sounded interesting and different, and which could do dual use as a travel
instrument, and it's worked for me.

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#13: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-07-02 19:45:33 by mr.lurkermeister

Check out this little video clip:


<a href="http://www.patkelley.com/videos/pat1.WMV" target="_blank">http://www.patkelley.com/videos/pat1.WMV</a>



Saw it on this page that someone posted in another thread:
<a href="http://www.patkelley.com/guitars.html" target="_blank">http://www.patkelley.com/guitars.html</a>

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#14: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-07-05 05:27:26 by flat5

thanks for the pic. Yes, the pot is really hard to see. I assume the
pot is in the slit on the side, guess it is a slider pot?

That pup doesn't have a second string pole. How does that work?

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#15: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-07-05 05:28:21 by flat5

thanks for the pic. Yes, the pot is really hard to see. I assume the
pot is in the slit on the side, guess it is a slider pot?

That pup doesn't have a second string pole. How does that work?

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#16: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-07-05 05:28:22 by flat5

thanks for the pic. Yes, the pot is really hard to see. I assume the
pot is in the slit on the side, guess it is a slider pot?

That pup doesn't have a second string pole. How does that work?

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#17: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-07-05 05:28:23 by flat5

thanks for the pic. Yes, the pot is really hard to see. I assume the
pot is in the slit on the side, guess it is a slider pot?

That pup doesn't have a second string pole. How does that work?

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#18: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-07-05 05:28:24 by flat5

thanks for the pic. Yes, the pot is really hard to see. I assume the
pot is in the slit on the side, guess it is a slider pot?

That pup doesn't have a second string pole. How does that work?

Report this message

#19: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-07-05 05:38:40 by flat5

holy smokes. Have been having lots of trouble with google groups.
Browser doesn't look like it's accepting my input, guess it is. Sorry
for the multitude of posts.

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#20: Re: Floating pickup on flattop = jazz sound?

Posted on 2005-07-05 14:12:16 by dmorton

In article &lt;<a href="mailto:1120534046.554465.310860&#64;g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com" target="_blank">1120534046.554465.310860&#64;g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com</a>&gt;,
<a href="mailto:ducks_mgr&#64;yahoo.com" target="_blank">ducks_mgr&#64;yahoo.com</a> (flat5) wrote:

&gt; thanks for the pic. Yes, the pot is really hard to see. I assume the
&gt; pot is in the slit on the side, guess it is a slider pot?

Not it's a rotary pot with a thin wheel rather than a knob, the edge of
the wheel pokes out through that slit.

&gt; That pup doesn't have a second string pole. How does that work?

I've never taken one to bits, but I understand that there is actually a
second pole piece, it's just recessed so far that it doesn't protrude
above the level of the plastic. The reason for this is to get the
string-to-string volume balance right, to stop the second string being
much louder than the others.

It's quite interesting to wave a small screwdriver over that sort of
pickup, because you can feel how they get the balance right for PB
strings. The four pole pieces on the bass side have noticeably stronger
magnets, which they need because so much of the string they're sensing is
made from weakly magnetic alloy (when a magnetic pickup is used with a PB
string, most of the signal comes from the steel core and relatively little
from the winding).

Having gone to all that effort to get the string to string balance right,
the designers of that pickup must have been mortified when one of its most
famous user - Elmore James - regularly used it upside down:

<a href="http://home.online.no/~smpeders/elmo-1.jpg" target="_blank">http://home.online.no/~smpeders/elmo-1.jpg</a>

although Lightin' Hopkins got it the right way round:

<a href="http://homepage3.nifty.com/cross-may/LIGHTNIN%20HOPKINS1.jpg" target="_blank"> http://homepage3.nifty.com/cross-may/LIGHTNIN%20HOPKINS1.jpg</a>

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