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Thread: Pickup question

  1. #1
    Registered User Don Grieser's Avatar
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    Default Pickup question

    The band I play in only plays a few times a year, and they are way too loud for the Schertler I have to work. It starts feeding back just from the stage volume. I wear ear plugs. The good news is rehearsals are acoustic and fun.

    I tried a scratch and dent Mando Lace pickup, but I couldn't get any volume out of it. Maybe it was defective, but the output was extremely low and the hum/noise was about as loud as the output of the pickup. I tried running it through my Zoom A3 (switched for magnetic pickup and other settings) and straight into an amp. Same result.

    What I'm looking for is a magnetic pickup that I can stick on my acoustic mandolin with blu tack for the 4 times a year or so I need to get loud. It would take years to pay off a solid body electric at the rate we play, and I don't want to encourage the band to be even louder.

    What would you recommend?
    the billyhawks http://www.thebillyhawks.com

    Original Melodies for Mandolin, Mandola & Mandocello
    http://www.HillbillyChamberMusic.com

  2. #2

    Default Re: Pickup question

    Hi Don, A magnetic pickup on an acoustic mandolin stuck on with Blu Tak already sounds like a non-starter to me. To get loud enough to play in that situation pretty much requires a solid body electric mandolin. Either that, or convince all the other guys to get passive piezo pickups on their acoustic rehearsal instruments. Who is going to give in first? Should be fun

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  3. #3
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup question

    I recently sat in with a loud country band whose lead guitar switched off to a mandolin with Fishman bridge saddle piezo. He plugged straight into his Deluxe Reverb and was really loud---sounded good in that loud context.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Pickup question

    The MandoLace should do well even with bronze and phosphor bronze strings, as they're designed for that context. If nothing else, you should be hearing the E and A strings loud and clear, as they are plain steel, and the Lace Sensor pickups (including the MandoLace) are really sensitive, and usually much quieter than other pickups.

    If you are getting mostly hum and barely any strings, is the hum due to you cranking the volume? I'm wondering how far the pickup is from the strings. If the pickup is positioned a distance below, due to the the geometry/dimensions of the bridge, then you'd have low volume. If it's correctly installed, with the tab going in the gap between the bridge base and the compensated part on top, and you're still barely getting any signal, there might ba a pickup problem. The simplest test after making sure the tab is in the right bridge gap is to tap on the pickup with a metal screwdriver when the instrument is plugged in and the amp is on. The click should be loud and clear through the amp.
    Playing a hexed Eastman 614 oval-hole with scroll (hoodooed with MandoVoodoo!), a Flatiron 1SH mandola (original owner), a McNally Ukulele Strumstick in CGDA mandola tuning, a McNally 4-string Chromatic Strumstick in GDAE octave mandolin tuning, and rocking my six-course, unison-tuned 12-string Ovation mandophone/extended cittern in CGDAEB Full Fifths Tuning...

  5. #5
    Registered User Don Grieser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup question

    The MandoLace was an open box/scratch & dent from a big box music store so it could have been defective. Maybe I should try a new one. This one was seriously quiet and buzzy. Sent it back.

    Maybe I'll try this Schatten that sticks to the existing bridge with putty. It might be less prone to feedback like the Fishman bridge pickup. I want something I can put on and remove for the 4-6 times a year we play. http://www.bluestarmusic.com/Schatte...ck_p_1060.html

    I was just thinking a magnetic pickup would eliminate feedback entirely.
    the billyhawks http://www.thebillyhawks.com

    Original Melodies for Mandolin, Mandola & Mandocello
    http://www.HillbillyChamberMusic.com

  6. #6
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup question

    Maybe you can find a DeArmond 'Monkey on a Stick ' magnetic pickup ?
    the stick clamps on the strings past the bridge ..

    there is also a volume knob fitted to the clamp screw.. early 60's stuff..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
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  7. #7
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup question

    Mechanical feedback, the sound level of monitors ringing the top of an acoustic, can still generate a sympathetic vibration of the top.
    and a pickup closes the electric feed back loop...

    May be time to consider a solid body electric with a magnetic pickup..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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  9. #8

    Default Re: Pickup question

    Electrifying an acoustic mando is challenging. I went with a Lace Dobro suspended from the finger-rest and a couple piezos mounted K&K style inside.



    Lace (which is peel and stick if you want that option) works fine but it is close to the strings and reasonably resistant to feedback. The best tone I get is with the Lace and piezos blended but that introduces squealing when the volume gets up there.
    VerneAndru.com | oKee.ComX

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  11. #9
    Registered User Jailboogie300's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup question

    I use this one here.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Homeland pickup

  12. #10
    Registered User Freddyfingers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickup question

    I know it's a different sound, but I went with the Eastwood mandocaster about 6 years ago. After setting it up, it plays well. I can plug it into any amp, as it's got regular magnetic pickups. It won't sound like a acoustic mandolin in the least, but I use it plugged into a 64 bassman cranked up, and it's blues central.
    Its not a backwards guitar.

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