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Thread: Shadow bridge pickup?

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    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Shadow bridge pickup?

    I just picked up a cheap Rover RM-50 mandolin with the idea of using it for louder situations, or other times when I don't want to bring my 100 year old Gibson. Since it's such a cheap instrument(paid $50 in unplayed condition), I'm thinking that a bridge with an embedded pickup is the way to go. The original bridge on the Rover is pretty crappy, so this would solve two problems. The Fishman is more than I want to spend, so I was interested in the sub-$100 Shadow bridge. Has anybody tried one of these?
    https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Electr.../dp/B001L8MAMG
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    Default Re: Shadow bridge pickup?

    I did once have a mandolin with one on - http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/23871 - but I donít ever remember trying it. I canít imagine it sounding that good, however. I took the thing off soon after buying the mandolin but I still have the pickup somewhere.

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    Default Re: Shadow bridge pickup?

    I tend to agree with Ray(T). I once had a Fishman M-100 bridge pickup on a mandolin and the saddle snapped during a gig and never did sound that good. I would be more inclined to get a really good quality bridge like the Cumberland Acoustics and go much cheaper on the pickup, like the JJB Electronics installed under the mandolin top. Your investment would be about the same but your sound would be much better imho.

    Len B.
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    Default Re: Shadow bridge pickup?

    With bridge mounted pickups they sound the same no matter what instrument they are on. Mandolin or Guitar you can hear it. A pickup mounted under the top can sound more like the mandolin or guitar it is in, as it senses the top movement, not the movement of the strings in the bridge. A bridge mounted pickup only senses the vibration of the strings not the top, hence the similarity of sound between instruments.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shadow bridge pickup?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    With bridge mounted pickups they sound the same no matter what instrument they are on. Mandolin or Guitar you can hear it. A pickup mounted under the top can sound more like the mandolin or guitar it is in, as it senses the top movement, not the movement of the strings in the bridge. A bridge mounted pickup only senses the vibration of the strings not the top, hence the similarity of sound between instruments.
    This is why the bridge pickup seems like a good idea for this particular mandolin. My $50 Rover will sound just as good as a Collings.
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shadow bridge pickup?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Rosett View Post
    This is why the bridge pickup seems like a good idea for this particular mandolin. My $50 Rover will sound just as good as a Collings.
    Or, put it another way, with a bridge pickup a $5K+ Collings would sound just as bad as a $50 Rover

    Seriously, given the price if you really want a bridge transducer I'd just make one. You just need a serviceable bridge and then all you have to do is embed a piezo transducer in there. Drill, put it in, and back-fill with resin. It will perform just as well (or just as poorly) as any other bridge-based system. Cost is minimal. I've taken a few of these bridge-based transducers apart, and there is really nothing special in there.
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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shadow bridge pickup?

    I had an Eastman with the Shadow bridge-pickup on it, and provided you pre-amped it, it actually worked reasonably well. Nothing like a K&K would mind, but that would be overkill on the Rover anyway.

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    Default Re: Shadow bridge pickup?

    To add to what almeriastrings has said; I remember screwing a Barcus Berry pickup to the saddle of my old Ibanez mandolin (35+ yeras ago) and it worked fine by the standards of the day.

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    Default Re: Shadow bridge pickup?

    If you are going to make one, and it is not that hard as almeriastrings mentions, put it in the foot of the bridge. It will sound slightly better than in the saddle.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  13. #10
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shadow bridge pickup?

    A friend is going to give me an old Fishman bridge that he hasn't used in a long time, so I guess that I'll be spending my money on a preamp. The Schatten mini is in my price range. Any other suggestions for an inexpensive preamp? My amp has phantom power, so that's an option.
    I also have access to a Kent Armstrong floating guitar pickup that might be fun. It seems like it would be pretty easy to adapt the mounting hardware(The brackets that mount to the end of the fingerboard) with some wooden spacers.
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

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    Default Re: Shadow bridge pickup?

    I think the simpler the preamp the better. It is nice to have a battery for times when phantom isn't available. The Kent Armstrong, if it is the thin jazz, pickup sounds reasonably acoustic. It also works well with bronze strings, where a magnetic pickup on a guitar will have a thin bass with bronze strings, the mandolin seems to not care with this pickup.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  15. #12

    Default Re: Shadow bridge pickup?

    The Fishman M300 Nashville picks up both body and string vibrations, but is pretty feedback resistant. It may be more than you want to spend. I also have Baggs bridges on my stage fiddles, and they sound like an amplified version of the instrument they are on. They do pick up the uniqueness of each instrument.

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shadow bridge pickup?

    Cheap piezo preamp: Hard to beat THESE.

    I have seen them for $20 sometimes on Ebay and Amazon!

    They are one of those 'far better than you have any right to expect for the price' items that people like the dreaded Behringer do manage to put out from time to time. The input impedance is right... they handle peak input voltages well, and they have a balanced (mic level) output. The 'Tone' controls will not scare a Headway or a Radial, but they work and are often (just) enough. If you want 'cheap and cheerful' you can't really beat these. They get the job done for peanuts.
    Last edited by almeriastrings; Apr-29-2019 at 12:56am.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

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