Author Topic: do accoustic electrics sound worse 'unplugged'?  (Read 2475 times)

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Offline jcb

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do accoustic electrics sound worse 'unplugged'?
« on: April 22, 2016, 11:26:07 am »
hi,
i'm in the lucky position of considering a martin 000-15 (or similar).
i'm wondering about buying the accoustic electric model (or possibly asking a good shop to retrofit the electrics).
would this interfere with the natural accoustic quality of the guitar? (ie 'unplugged').
would it introduce any other complications / make the guitar less robust / affect longevity in any way?
i don't need the electrics for volume, it's just to experiment & play around with really.
thanks as ever!  :)
jcb

Offline shadowscott007

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Re: do accoustic electrics sound worse 'unplugged'?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2016, 12:58:24 pm »
Depends on the guitar I suppose.

It probably affects the tone somewhat but to a noticeable degree...?

The controls are usually mounted in the sides of the guitar, so they won't interfere with the top much which is responsible for a lot of an acoustic's tone. 

The "pick-up" is often a piezo under the bridge saddle.  So there is an additional layer involved.  Enough to make a difference.  I suppose a purist would say yes.

I am of the opinion that it's not enough to make a difference to significantly affect tone.

Shadow
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Offline Drubbing

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Re: do accoustic electrics sound worse 'unplugged'?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2016, 03:16:14 pm »
Some videos on here of Jake Bugg playing a mahogany Martin. He retrofits pickups to his. Can't say I disapprove of the sound.

Offline close2u

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Re: do accoustic electrics sound worse 'unplugged'?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2016, 03:21:26 pm »
Some advice I once received on slightly more modest-budget electro-acoustics

"... get a decent soundhole pickup - it's worth having it fitted properly, with an endpin jack in the guitar unless you're planning to take it out and trade up the guitar - or an undersaddle or internal body transducer and a good outboard preamp. A soundhole pickup could be a simple passive one like the Duncan Woody - which will also need an external preamp (or at least an EQ pedal) for the best results - or an active one like the LR Baggs M1 or the Fishman Rare Earth which has its preamp built in.

I would advise against putting electrics in the guitar - I really don't understand why it's become the 'accepted' way of doing it, there are many disadvantages compared to a good external preamp, and the only real advantage is that the controls are at your fingertips - but you won't easily be able to adjust them on the fly if you're playing continuously"

Offline Drubbing

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Re: do accoustic electrics sound worse 'unplugged'?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2016, 03:29:26 pm »
And with most soundhole pick ups, you can just take them out when you don't want to use them. Having the cord on show when you do use them isn't very elegant, but that's the compromise.

Offline jcb

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Re: do accoustic electrics sound worse 'unplugged'?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2016, 03:40:26 pm »
super helpful replies thank you!
close2u, just need to figure out what some of that means, but i'll get there, thank you!  ;D
anybody know where there's an explanation of the different types of accoustic pickups?
thx much!

Offline shadowscott007

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Re: do accoustic electrics sound worse 'unplugged'?
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2016, 03:50:48 pm »
I was speaking specifically the models that come from the guitar manufacturer with the electronics already installed.  Usually they offer the same model with and without electronics.

Those tend to have the pickup sitting under the bridge saddle.  It it a piezo crystal device that changes the vibration of the strings to electrical signals.  These go to a preamp, usually mounted in the side panel of a guitar to process the signal a bit before it goes out the jack to an amp.  A very invasive procedure to do as an after market mod.

The sound hole pick up I am less familiar with, but it it similar to an electric guitar in that the vibration of the string is turned into via electomagnetic induction.  Much less invasive.

Then I also believe you can get what are in effect on board microphones installed.  Also much less invasive.

Shadow
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Offline stitch101

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Re: do accoustic electrics sound worse 'unplugged'?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2016, 06:37:32 pm »
All depends on on what you are using the guitar for. If you're going to be playing live get
a K&K pick up installed. http://www.kksound.com/  All electronics are hidden inside the guitar.
This is all that can be seen. the volume control in the sound hole.


Or buy a guitar with the pick-up already installed. If your looking at a Martin you can get one
with a pick-up already installed.

If you just want it to plug in to some effects get a removable sound hole pick up.
You get what  you pay for so if you buy a cheap one don't expect much.


Quote
would this interfere with the natural accoustic quality of the guitar? (ie 'unplugged').

This all depends on how picky you are. Everything you do to an acoustic will change it's sound.
Some for the better some not so good. Something as simple as the relative humidity in your house
can change how an acoustic sounds.
So if your biggest concern is how a pick up will change a guitar I suggest you find one you love
that already has a pick-up. This way you won't know if it made a difference.

My Gibson J 35 came from the factory with a pick-up installed and I love the way it sounds(that's why
I bought) and so does everyone who has played it.

Offline 12-string_Doug

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Re: do accoustic electrics sound worse 'unplugged'?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2016, 10:53:17 pm »
  Not to confuse the issue, but some people would say an acoustic-electric might sound better unplugged. Look up "piezo quack" on the Internet and see all the results.
  But that's what DI boxes and effects like the TC Electronic BodyRez are for.  ;)

  My first "electric" guitar was a Yamaha acoustic 12-string with a DeArmond magnetic pickup in the soundhole. Rather than a jack/strap pin combo, it has a separate ΒΌ" jack. Other than having more volume when plugged in and turned up ("these go to 11"), I've never noticed any difference in the sound between playing it unplugged versus through an amp. The DeArmond pickup only has a volume control, which is a little scratchy, but that's only noticeable if I adjust it while it's plugged in. That guitar is mostly retired now anyway.
  Two of my other acoustics have under-saddle piezo pickups, and I haven't amped them much. To me, they sound good either way. I'd call the Ibanez TCY10E a "concert" body, while the Yamaha and my Fender Villager 12-string are dreadnought size. I think any of those three sound fine unplugged, but maybe others would disagree. (And maybe I'd call those people "tone snobs."   :P)

Offline jcb

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Re: do accoustic electrics sound worse 'unplugged'?
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2016, 08:28:20 am »
once again, thanks for all the super helpful comments!  :D

Offline leonelB

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Re: do accoustic electrics sound worse 'unplugged'?
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2016, 12:23:14 pm »
All depends on on what you are using the guitar for. If you're going to be playing live get
a K&K pick up installed. http://www.kksound.com/  All electronics are hidden inside the guitar.
This is all that can be seen. the volume control in the sound hole.


I agree with stitch, I actually installed this system to my Martin HD-28 and is the perfect compromise (at least for me) the system is super simple, you don't have to make any holes or changes in your guitar and if what you want is to plug your guitar to an amp this is perfect for that purpose.

Cheers,

Leo

Ps: I love the 15 mahogany series from Martin by the way ;)

 

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