Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: K&K Pickup Question

  1. #1
    Registered User cbroadbridge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    24

    Default K&K Pickup Question

    Hi all!

    I've got a slightly strange question for you, I know a lot of you use the K&K Internal Twin and rave about it! I've got a Fender Robert Schmidt mandolin which I really like, and I'm curious to know if the K&K could be installed so the input jack would simply replace the one which is already installed?

    The current pickup is a piezo which does the job, but it obviously suffers in terms of quality.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

  2. #2
    Dave Sheets
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Buffalo NY Area
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: K&K Pickup Question

    I have the Robert Schmidt mandolin, I used it when playing with a loud alt-country band, will probably use it again in loud situations like that, or gigs when I don't want to take a really good mandolin. It does have the advantage that it is not prone to feedback and seems pretty tough, it's not as resonant as most mandolins meant to be played acoustically. I kind of think of the Fender as a hollow body electric, rather than an acoustic with a pickup, if that makes sense.

    I have a K&K twin in one of acoustic mandolins (an MTO), it sounds great, way better than the Robert Schmidt, but then that mandolin cost way more than the Fender did. The K&Ks are also piezos, but they mount to the soundboard, not to the bridge the way the Fender does. Hard to say how much of the sound difference is the mandolin, and how much the pickup. Acoustically, the other mando pretty much buries the Fender. Don't mean to slag the fender here, I do like the it as a stage instrument, it was reliable and worked fine in loud bands. Played well with a careful setup.

    I'm not sure how you would get at the jack in the Robert Schmidt to disconnect the bridge piezo and solder the K&K to the jack. I don't know if you could disconnect the jack and fish it out of the f-holes so you could desolder the connections and then solder the K&K leads to the jack, or not. I think the crux of the matter is whether or not the jack will fit through the f-holes. If the jack will slide out through the f holes, it would be a straightforward job.

    Using a good preamp and/or eq pedal with the Fender also helps a lot, improves the sound quite a bit with a bit of fiddling with eq.

    Good luck with it!
    -Dave
    Flatiron A
    Way too many other instruments

  3. The following members say thank you to Dave Sheets for this post:


  4. #3
    Registered User cbroadbridge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: K&K Pickup Question

    If I was gonna do it, I'd take it to a luthier and get them to do the work, I wouldn't trust myself with that sort of thing!

    What kind of preamp were you using with it? The project I'm playing in is about to start gigging, and I'm going to be switching between a tenor banjo. I've got a Radial PZ-Pre, and a TC Electronics BodyRez, the BodyRez was for a previous project where I was just playing mandolin and wanted a smaller 'boost' pedal of sorts. It brings a bit more body back into the signal, which is good, but I don't know if I should use it in-line before the PZ-Pre or not?

  5. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,073

    Default Re: K&K Pickup Question

    Well the jack in the Fender can certainly be taken out, unsoldered and the pickup replaced with a K&K. Most mandolins without pickups had them put in, including the jack, after the fact. I have done many thru the ff holes. It's not that hard. If what you have is a bridge pickup and you put a soundboard pickup in, it will sound different and be more prone to feedback. I use a K&K and have no feedback problems, but the sound of a bridge pickup will sound the same no matter what instrument you put it in, the sound of a soundboard pickup will to some extent sound more like the instrument you put it in.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  6. The following members say thank you to pops1 for this post:


  7. #5
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    2,926

    Default Re: K&K Pickup Question

    Quote Originally Posted by cbroadbridge View Post
    Hi all!

    I've got a slightly strange question for you, I know a lot of you use the K&K Internal Twin and rave about it! I've got a Fender Robert Schmidt mandolin which I really like, and I'm curious to know if the K&K could be installed so the input jack would simply replace the one which is already installed?

    The current pickup is a piezo which does the job, but it obviously suffers in terms of quality.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
    What is the issue with your "current piezo pickup which does the job, but it obviously suffers in terms of quality"? The K&K is also a piezo. Do you need a new output jack? Is there something wrong with your current one? Certainly you can replace your entire pickup and jack with something else like K&K, JJB, internal mic, etc., but the real questions are:
    1. What sound are you after that you're not currently getting?
    2. How much $ do you want to spend on your current mando? Installing a new pickup by a luthier should cost up to $200. Removing the existing system will add some cost.
    3. To get good sound from a passive piezo you need a preamp or DI. Are you currently using anything? Could this be causing the unsatisfactory sound you're currently dealing with? How much do you want to spend on that gear?

  8. The following members say thank you to Mandobart for this post:


  9. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,073

    Default Re: K&K Pickup Question

    Quote Originally Posted by cbroadbridge View Post
    If I was gonna do it, I'd take it to a luthier and get them to do the work, I wouldn't trust myself with that sort of thing!

    What kind of preamp were you using with it? The project I'm playing in is about to start gigging, and I'm going to be switching between a tenor banjo. I've got a Radial PZ-Pre, and a TC Electronics BodyRez, the BodyRez was for a previous project where I was just playing mandolin and wanted a smaller 'boost' pedal of sorts. It brings a bit more body back into the signal, which is good, but I don't know if I should use it in-line before the PZ-Pre or not?
    You don't need the BodyRez, if you use the #2 input for the Radial it will work fine. You will need to turn on the PZB switch, it is recessed, to get the correct input impedance or it won't sound good.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  10. The following members say thank you to pops1 for this post:


  11. #7
    Registered User cbroadbridge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: K&K Pickup Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    What is the issue with your "current piezo pickup which does the job, but it obviously suffers in terms of quality"? The K&K is also a piezo. Do you need a new output jack? Is there something wrong with your current one? Certainly you can replace your entire pickup and jack with something else like K&K, JJB, internal mic, etc., but the real questions are:
    1. What sound are you after that you're not currently getting?
    2. How much $ do you want to spend on your current mando? Installing a new pickup by a luthier should cost up to $200. Removing the existing system will add some cost.
    3. To get good sound from a passive piezo you need a preamp or DI. Are you currently using anything? Could this be causing the unsatisfactory sound you're currently dealing with? How much do you want to spend on that gear?
    Well, I'll confess I originally thought the K&K was a transducer, but that being said, it's got to have a better sound quality than the stock bridge piezo. I mean, if a piezo is a piezo is a piezo, then why would people buy more expensive pickup systems?

    It's more a thought experiment at this point, as I've not taken it to a luthier to see what they can do and how much it would cost. The thought process was to see if the K&K jack could sit in the cavity in the same way as the current jack (that is, on the top, facing forward), without having to actually make a new hole in the side to accommodate it. I've been meaning to get out to a guy here in Brisbane to get precise measurements so I can see if I can get Grover machine heads fitted.

    As I mentioned in another post, I have a Radial PZ-Pre and a TC Electronics BodyRez. I like the BodyRez because it's compact, but in this project I'm in, I'm switching between the mandolin and the banjo, I'm going to just be using the PZ-Pre.

    I know that the simpler answer would be to get a better quality mandolin and have the better pickup installed in it, and I'd love to do that, but I don't have the money for that right now, and I actually really dig the look of the RS, it's a bit different to everything else!

  12. #8
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    2,926

    Default Re: K&K Pickup Question

    Piezo's are transducers. IMO a soundboard transducer (SBT) yields better sound than a bridge or undersaddle transducer. And yes, an easy search here will reveal that there really isn't a lot of difference between JJB, K&K, eBay cheapo, etc. when it comes to piezo's.

    The jack you are describing - "in the body cavity" what do you mean? Can you post a picture? Is it a carpenter jack or some type of vertical mount in one of the f-holes? IMPORTANT WARNING - don't let anyone put a jack in the unsupported side wood of your mando. It will not withstand even a slight bending moment applied while plugging/unplugging, and a serious load like you or your bandmates stepping on your cord while you're moving will tear out your jack and a large chunk of wood.

  13. #9
    Registered User cbroadbridge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: K&K Pickup Question

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	86ceb3c861ac3d7b0737b2ccde488ca3.png 
Views:	17 
Size:	303.6 KB 
ID:	179338 That's the one there.

  14. #10
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    2,926

    Default Re: K&K Pickup Question

    My guess is getting that jack out to wire a new pickup to it is going to be tough. You have to remove the outside jam nut and withdraw the jack out an f hole, and it might not fit. I've worked on a few mandos and fiddles where the jack is too big to go through an f hole once the instrument is fully assembled. Working that jack back through the hole in the soundboard and tightening it back in place after soldering up the new pickup without damaging the top is a tedious and demanding task.

    I would get an external piezo first, like a twin K&K or JJB with a carpenter jack and see how it sounds before committing to the cost and work of mounting an SBT internally. It may not sound any better to you. You may like it and decide to keep it external, or mount the heads inside with the wires running out an f hole to an external carpenter jack, or to go for it all internal running to a new jack in your tail block, or ultimately wiring up to your existing top jack. I've done each option (except for the top jack, never had an acoustic instrument with a jack like that).

  15. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,073

    Default Re: K&K Pickup Question

    As Bart says, it can be done, but it ain't easy. I have rewired many archtop guitars and it looks like the jack would come out the lower circle of your ff hole. The SBT will sound better in my opinion, but will feed back easier if you are playing at loud volumes.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  16. #12

    Default Re: K&K Pickup Question

    Undersaddle piezo pickups do only one thing well. That is resist feedback. In a loud band, that harsh bright tone can be just the ticket, leaving lower frequencies to other instruments while cutting through a mix. On it's own, it won't sound very good. I have heard a lot of inexpensive instruments, guitars mostly, that benefited greatly from a really good preamp, but I'm talking going from horrible to tolerable here.

    I'd float a magnetic pickup from the fingerboard or a pickguard and be done with it. Put a good soundboard pickup in and I doubt you'd be much happier. Save for something like a Kentucky KM 150 and put JJBs in it.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  17. #13

    Default Re: K&K Pickup Question

    Well, I'll confess I originally thought the K&K was a transducer, but that being said, it's got to have a better sound quality than the stock bridge piezo. I mean, if a piezo is a piezo is a piezo, then why would people buy more expensive pickup systems?
    Nothing is that simple. I built a sound system and paid $30 a pop for Motorola spec piezos and it made a BIG difference over using the $5 ones.
    1989/2019 Ike Bacon/Barry Kratzer F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    2005 Tacoma CB-10 acoustic bass guitar
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •