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Looking for a good pickup option for a great sounding Martin D28

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  • Looking for a good pickup option for a great sounding Martin D28

    My friend has a D28 that plays and sounds fantastic (honestly, I was never really a Martin acoustic fan until I played this one). In any case, the guitar is stock and came without any factory installed pickup. This might not be the worst thing, because in my experience, most factory installed electronics I've heard fall into the range of terrible sounding to modestly tolerable.
    I'm convinced that there must be some good options out there with well designed buffers and preamps. I remember one example I heard years ago during a friends live performance. I made a point to ask him about what he was using, because it did a great job capturing the acoustic characteristics of the wooden instrument. I don't remember the make, but I think there was some kind of reference to "sun" in the name. If I'm remembering correctly, he said that there were round pickup elements that installed under the bridge, or block inside the body, and that's all I remember.
    But I'm definitely would appreciate hearing from our pickup guys on the forum about the subject. One important detail is that she does not want to have to alter the guitar in an invasive way to do the install. I know that makes it a challenge, but I still want to hear the best options so she can make the best value judgement.
    I'd also be open to suggestions for acoustics in the $1200-$2000 range that have really nice sounding electronics as well if you know of any. Thanks
    If I have a 50% chance of guessing the right answer, I guess wrong 80% of the time.

  • #2
    An Lr Baggs Anthem internal system will give you a good acoustic sound with low feedback and no holes in the sides. An Lr baggs vtc element system will give you a stronger output and more punch (they both have the same piezo element but the Anthem system has the output throttled back somewhat , probably to work better with the mike,) The K&K trinity system doesn't need a battery (Passive) to my ear the treble is a little low but they do a matching preamp. Fishman systems are good but I never had much joy with their microphones.

    Good luck (I've fitted a lot of Anthem systems and only had one complaint, and that was from a customer that complains about everything anyway !!!
    Cheers
    Andrew

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    • #3
      Sunrise is excellent as well as requires zero modifications to use. My .02.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by SoulFetish View Post
        My friend has a D28 that plays and sounds fantastic (honestly, I was never really a Martin acoustic fan until I played this one). In any case, the guitar is stock and came without any factory installed pickup. This might not be the worst thing, because in my experience, most factory installed electronics I've heard fall into the range of terrible sounding to modestly tolerable.
        I'm convinced that there must be some good options out there with well designed buffers and preamps. I remember one example I heard years ago during a friends live performance. I made a point to ask him about what he was using, because it did a great job capturing the acoustic characteristics of the wooden instrument. I don't remember the make, but I think there was some kind of reference to "sun" in the name. If I'm remembering correctly, he said that there were round pickup elements that installed under the bridge, or block inside the body, and that's all I remember.
        But I'm definitely would appreciate hearing from our pickup guys on the forum about the subject. One important detail is that she does not want to have to alter the guitar in an invasive way to do the install. I know that makes it a challenge, but I still want to hear the best options so she can make the best value judgement.
        I'd also be open to suggestions for acoustics in the $1200-$2000 range that have really nice sounding electronics as well if you know of any. Thanks
        Look at the new NC-1 pickup from Mojotone.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by the great waldo View Post
          An Lr Baggs Anthem internal system will give you a good acoustic sound with low feedback and no holes in the sides. An Lr baggs vtc element system will give you a stronger output and more punch (they both have the same piezo element but the Anthem system has the output throttled back somewhat , probably to work better with the mike,) The K&K trinity system doesn't need a battery (Passive) to my ear the treble is a little low but they do a matching preamp. Fishman systems are good but I never had much joy with their microphones.

          Good luck (I've fitted a lot of Anthem systems and only had one complaint, and that was from a customer that complains about everything anyway !!!
          Cheers
          Andrew
          Waldo, I'm about to pull the trigger on purchasing one of the Anthem systems. The only thing that concerns me is drilling the through-hole from the bridge slot into the interior of the guitar.
          Can you give me some advice on how you go about this? do you use a standard cordless drill, or angle the guitar and secure it on a drill press table?
          If I have a 50% chance of guessing the right answer, I guess wrong 80% of the time.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by SoulFetish View Post

            Waldo, I'm about to pull the trigger on purchasing one of the Anthem systems. The only thing that concerns me is drilling the through-hole from the bridge slot into the interior of the guitar.
            Can you give me some advice on how you go about this? do you use a standard cordless drill, or angle the guitar and secure it on a drill press table?
            Hi Soulfetish

            It's no problem drilling the hole for the pickup. You will need a 2 mm and 2.3 mm drill. You need to drill the 2mm hole at an angle a bit less than 45 deg. in the bridge slot (the end of the slot at the low E string) Hold the cordless drill at the angle so that the hole is inline with the bridge slot. (you can get away with drilling straight down through the bridge but it makes the bend in the pickup a bit sharp) hence drilling at a slight angle so the pickup comes through the body without having a sharp bend. Don't use a drill press you'll never be able to mount the guitar on it!! You will have to check where the main cross bars are in the guitar so just drill about 5 mm or so through the bridge slot (this measurement is from the top surface of the bridge slot. Go gently as you don't really want to drill through a cross bar) I normally drill a hole at the other end of the bridge slot at a very low angle to the top about 5mm deep to take the end of the pickup which has a kind of solder / crimp (this is to make sure that the flat part of the pickup strip sits evenly in the bridge slot. After youv'e drilled the holes you can open them up with the 2.3 mm or whatever width the bridge slot is. Try and keep tthe drill inline with the saddle slot as if you wobble side to side you might chip the wood at the top edge of the bridge saddle slot. Onece youv'e drilled the holes for the pickup check the fit of the pickup to make sure it clears the hole through the top. When fitting the mic inside I normally put 2 bridge pins d+g string inside the guitar into the bridge holes, this will help you orientate the correct position of the mic by feel you can get the round bit of the mic against the bridge pin heads which should give you enough clearance for the ball ends.. (you could make a little card or plastic template with 2 golf tees through to line up the mic (check the k&k trinity piockup install instructions https://kksound.com/support/jig-info.php to give an idea.) I just do it by feel. A good idea is to cut a small cross into the double sided sticky pads on the microphone wit a scalpel or craft knife and put a small drop of gel super glue where the cut is ( this will ensure te mic doesn't fall off in hot weather the glue on the pads seems to loosen when it's hot and the mic can fall off without the extra super glue - you don't need much just a small drop !! One of the most tricky parts of the installation is making the hole for the jack socket. Use a reamer or a stepped drill or a 12mm / 1/2" forstner bit . On no account use a metal drill or wood drill to try and drill the hole as it will grab and possibly split the end block or tear the wood out by the hole. If your'e fitting the Anthem internal make sure you plug in all the cables into the preamp bfore mounting in the top, if you forget to plug in the little black battery cable and fit the preamp in first it'll take half a day fiddling around trying to get it into the socket (don't ask me how I know) When filing/sanding the bottom of the saddle to compensate for the thickness of the pickup try and chamfer the sharp edges a bit it'll help the saddle seat better on the pickup strip. Mount the cable clips on the sides about halfway up the sides and please don't mount any clips on the top as they can rattle. Thats all the tips I can think of at the moment.
            Cheers
            Andrew

            Comment


            • #7
              Waldo,

              Thanks for the info. I ended up having a local guitar tech do the install after all. I actually called him to see if he could do the small portion of the job that was modifying the guitar body, but he quoted me such a reasonable price for the entire job that it was a no-brainer to have him do it. Plus, he's a certified Martin tech, so it won't affect the warranty. He talked about the K&K system as well, and sounded as he preferred the sound of that one. The great thing is that the system can be removed with little effort in the future if she wants to try a different system at some point.
              If I have a 50% chance of guessing the right answer, I guess wrong 80% of the time.

              Comment


              • #8
                Just for your information, It's not so easy to remove a k&k system without destroying it as it should be glued onto the top with gel super glue. IT's a bit of a lotteryy if you can get it off without damage.
                Cheers
                Andrew

                Comment

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