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Amplifying An Archtop Acoustic


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Hi al,


I have this Harmony Archtop Acoustic (a Patrician) that came with this pickup when I bought it. ---> http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/images/45U/45U-1311_body-front.jpg


(Not my guitar in the pic)


Anyway, this pickup is a pain. It's big, it rattles and moves around and it's ugly. But most of all it doesn't really sound like an acoustic guitar when I plug it in. I want to get something non-invasive to more accurately amplify the sound of my guitar.


There aren't really a lot of options that I've been able to find. The majority of pickup systems for archtops are your average electric guitar pickups designed for jazz. It seems to be between some sort of piezo pickup or a small mic mounted in one of the F holes. Another thing I found are these disc transducers for violins and cellos.


If anyone has any recommendations please let me know.




Hooray for the Moon
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Well it's not technically my main guitar but it is my only acoustic and I have no intention of buying another one any time soon. It's not an expensive guitar but it's sweet.


I'm in a folk duet that plays mostly coffee houses. It's just guitar and light drums/percussion and vox. Electric guitar sounds kind of empty to me so I usually take my acoustic. Every once in a while I use my Epi Casino and turn the spring reverb on my amp to 2 or 3, and that gives me an acceptable sound but it's not the same as a real acoustic sound.

Hooray for the Moon
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First, that pickup is not supposed to sound like an acoustic guitar. Think more the sound of a guitar in a dance band circa 1938, or a jazz combo.


Okay, if I wanted to amplify the guitar I'd probably use a Schertler pickup. Among their products is a small pickup that sticks on to the body with a green putty. I've seen this putty used by touring orchestras to adhere Schertlers to very old and expensive harps, it does no damage to delicate finishes. They make a number of pickups for specific instruments, including guitar.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."


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Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.



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Seems to me that I have seen replacement bridges for archtops with build-in piezo elements, which would pretty much do the job, and it wuld sound like any other acoustic guitar with a piezo p/up. I can't remember where, though. I'd look over the websites of various p/up makers and see what I could find.

Barring that sort of change, the Shertler p/up Bill suggests is a good option. And, there are a bunch of other contact mics that could be used to good effect. If you're a DIY guy, you can make contact mics that work well-enough like this guy. OR, you can buy something like this, and this guy makes a number of options to choose from. OR, there is this Replacement bridge that ought to work just dandy. You do want to get some sort of pre-amp or EQ that will give you more control over your tone, because piezos sound kinda acoustic but usually sound better if you shape the contour of the EQ.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.




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Dave Wendler? Wendler? dave251? David Wendler? Anyone? Anyone? :D:thu::cool:


One of our long-standing contributing members here, Dave Wendler (aka "dave251") of Wendler Instruments / Electrocoustic is a stand-up guy and an accomplished luthier who specializes in just this sort of pickup application.


His proprietary MagPi system would suit your guitar and your wants and needs very well; it allows you to blend between "acoustic" and "electric" sounds, from one to the other and any mix in-between; AND it's passive- no batteries or phantom-power required at all!


Here's a link to a recent related thread:


Godin archtop with MagPi system


And another, older related thread:


Ibanez George Benson GB10 piezo conversion


And since I'm essentially suggesting that you do business with someone here, for what it's worth, here's an example of what a stand-up guy he is:


Instead of spam...how about a GREAT Christmas story?


Best of luck, good hunting; keep us posted on whatever you try and how things work out for ya! :cool:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?


~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

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