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Good acoustic guitar soundhole pickups with volume controls

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Good acoustic guitar soundhole pickups with volume controls

Postby Wonks » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:16 am

I need to fit a soundhole pickup into a 1965 Gibson Country Western acoustic before I sell it on to a friend of mine. It's got an adjustable height bridge, so it's not suitable for an under-saddle piezo (and there's no way I'd cut a hole in the side for a pre-amp to give him a volume control).

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I did have a Fishman humbucking rare earth pickup kicking around for ages, but I simply couldn't find it after looking. I was always a bit wary of that particular Fishman, as the batteries were only ever just about staying in place and I was sure they'd fall out if the guitar was shaken or knocked. The volume control was also a bit dodgy. This pickup came from a used Martin DR, and I think it had had a reasonably hard time, so maybe it's better that I'm looking for something new.

The guitar has already had its end-pin block enlarged for an end-pin jack, as it came fitted with a very old small piezo block when I bought it - which got removed and replaced with a standard end pin. So it's all ready for a simple pickup install.

Apart from a brief try-out with the Fishman and a very cheap Artec magnetic soundhole unit many years ago, it's not an area I've had experience in.

Budget is up to £200, so I'm looking for recommendations for a really nice sounding magnetic soundhole pickup with a volume control (he definitely wants one). Whilst I know almost almost of them just clamp-on, I'll confirm that I don't want to drill any mounting holes.

So, Fishman again, or something different?
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Re: Good acoustic guitar soundhole pickups with volume controls

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:53 am

I used to swear by Fishman Rare Earth pickups and only moved to different systems when my main guitars changed to the Selmer style (see avatar) and the Emerald X7, neither of which can accommodate a sound hole pickup. So, yes I'd stick with Fisherman, the RE single coil and humbucker have a volume control (the R. E. Blend with the built in mic does not as it has a blend control). The single coil is the nicest sounding sound hole pickup I've heard to date.
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Re: Good acoustic guitar soundhole pickups with volume controls

Postby Wonks » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:57 am

So you think the single is better sounding than the humbucker (which I believe has a dummy coil to make it hum cancelling, rather than a twin coil affair like a PAF)?
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Re: Good acoustic guitar soundhole pickups with volume controls

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:12 am

It's a while but I have a Blend a single coil and a humbucker and the s/c sounded the most natural. Can't say if there were other factors coming into play (including possibly confirmation bias :blush: ) but that was my impression. It wasn't a huge difference though, the Humbucker is good too.
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Re: Good acoustic guitar soundhole pickups with volume controls

Postby Wonks » Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:16 am

The Fishman site says the humbucker has a fatter sound, so maybe it is a twin coil after all (or else the extra inductance of a dummy coil is what's doing the 'thickening').

The guitar isn't overly bassy, but I know my mate likes a clear, ringy tone.
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Re: Good acoustic guitar soundhole pickups with volume controls

Postby Wonks » Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:17 am

Is the single coil prone to being noisy?
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Re: Good acoustic guitar soundhole pickups with volume controls

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:28 am

It was never on a 'daily driver' guitar but I don't recall it being too bad. I do mostly play Strats these days though so am used to just living with noisy pickups :smirk:
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