Acoustic Amplification in Stockport, Manchester

Acoustic Instrument Pickups and Amplification in Stockport, Manchester.



One of my specialties is the installation of pickups in acoustic string instruments to allow for amplification. For me acoustic amplification is the ultimate challenge, with so many variables it can be hard to decide what are the best options. There are two main types of pickups, non-invasive and invasive, the description is quite easy, the first one you can take away and no-one will ever know, the second, well you can’t. Picking the correct pickup and ensuring it is installed in the best possible way again comes down to how you play. The range of pickups available on the market all produce a different sound, some more electric, some more acoustic, some you can play on top of the pickup others you simply can’t.

When I am asked to install a pickup the first thing I do is ask what the player wants to achieve, being musicians the answer is normally “LOUDER”, after another few attempts I can normally get enough sense out of them to understand what they want. It’s not just about volume it is about the sound, once their preference has been gathered I will watch and listen to them play and then find out if I can drill big holes (not really that big and I am careful!) in their instrument or not! Only after this process can you really suggest the best pickup and method of installation.

As with all of my services I offer a free consultation before any work is carried out so why not pop in to see me and pickup a pickup (couldn’t resist).

Pick-ups for acoustic guitars fall into a few categories..

Bugs. Usually  stick to the top of the guitar top, either inside or outside. You can move the position to change the sound coming from the amplifier….The problem with these pick-ups is they tend to feed back quite easily so are of no use to someone who plays acoustic guitar in a band.

Soundhole pick-ups. These pick-ups have a very high resistance to  feedback so are ideal for a band situation. They are easily removable leaving no damage to the guitar. They are usually magnetic (like electric guitar pick-ups)  The main problem is unless you spend a lot of money they don’t sound very acoustic.

Undersaddle pick-ups. The main type of pick-up. They usually consist on a Peizo strip that fits directly under the saddle in the slot on the bridge.  They are very high impedance so they need some for of pre amp to make them sound good. This means cutting holes in the side of your beloved guitar to fit the pre amp in. I prefer to mount the pre amp in a box on the floor. This saves cutting wood out of  your instrument which would be hard to repair should you want to remove said pick-up. Also I feel adding a box to the inside of the guitar will alter the acoustic sound.

All these pick-ups are from the excellent range from FISHMAN. Although there are many other excellent pick-ups from other manufactures ie. B BAND, BARCUS BERRY, SHADOW, GUITAR TECH, BELLCATect.

Finally a quick word about amplification. DO NOT put you expensive (or budget) acoustic instrument through an electric guitar amplifier, it will not damage the amp but the sound will not be very good, in fact it will be terrible. Put your instrument into the P.A. or an Acoustic Amplifier that has a High Frequency Driver. The sound from a P.A. will far surpass any other amp especially if you us a Active Direct Injection Box (D.I. box for short).
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