best nonintrusive pickup for classical guitar

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.
2handband
Posts: 948
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:31 pm

Re: best nonintrusive pickup for classical guitar

Post by 2handband » Thu Nov 24, 2016 4:13 pm

I'm a live sound engineer. First off, kudos on not going piezo as they sound totally godawful. I hate those things with an unbridled passion.

I've also rarely found a clip on I really liked. I would go with a condenser mic on a stand. The one I choose for pro sound applications is the Shure Sm81, but the AKG P170 is a real bargain for around $80 if money is tight. Any of these will require phantom power.

As for feedback, are you getting it from the house or the monitors? Either way the answer to feedback is EQ. Get a couple of 31 band graphics. Learn to identify the frequencies by ear, and then you notch them out with the graphic EQ. DO NOT use the graphic to shape your sound; it's entire function is to eliminate feedback. Pro tip: run a high-pass filter on acoustic guitars. An analog board probably has the high-pass preset at 80hz or so, but if I'm using a digital that allows me to select the frequency I'll probably run it a little over 100. Also you often get a little boominess from an acoustic instrument, which can be handled by taking out little out of the low mids (use the parametric EQ on your console for this). It's usually right around 250 hz.

ronjazz
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:10 pm

Re: best nonintrusive pickup for classical guitar

Post by ronjazz » Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:59 pm

piezos are not all the same. the RMC system of 6 individual saddles, for instance, is far superior to most of the one-piece strips that piezos use. Also, the Kremona avoids the "quack" of conventional piezos by installing on top of the bridge, using the strings to keep it in place. A processor such as the Zoom A3 can be very useful for dialing in a "natural" sound, or adding effects such as reverb or delay.

In my opinion, the amplifier is usually the weakest link, and guitar amps are entirely wrong for classical guitar amplification. An "acoustic" amp is better, but a full-range sound system, especially a line array, such as the Bose L1 or Fishman column, is really the best at distributing your sound evenly and clearly.
Lester Devoe Flamenco Negra
Lester Devoe Flamenco Blanca
Aparicio Flamenco Blanca with RMC pickup
Bartolex 7-string with RMC pickup
Giannini 7-string with Shadow pickup
Sal Pace 7-string archtop

2handband
Posts: 948
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:31 pm

Re: best nonintrusive pickup for classical guitar

Post by 2handband » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:55 pm

ronjazz wrote:piezos are not all the same. the RMC system of 6 individual saddles, for instance, is far superior to most of the one-piece strips that piezos use. Also, the Kremona avoids the "quack" of conventional piezos by installing on top of the bridge, using the strings to keep it in place. A processor such as the Zoom A3 can be very useful for dialing in a "natural" sound, or adding effects such as reverb or delay.

In my opinion, the amplifier is usually the weakest link, and guitar amps are entirely wrong for classical guitar amplification. An "acoustic" amp is better, but a full-range sound system, especially a line array, such as the Bose L1 or Fishman column, is really the best at distributing your sound evenly and clearly.
Some piezos are better than others to be sure, but I have yet to find one that REALLY sounds like an acoustic guitar. It sounds more acoustic-ish I guess you could say. When I amplify a fine acoustic instrument I want to get what the instrument actually sounds like through the house. A mic outside of the instrument is the only way to achieve it. Piezos hurt my soul... :cry:

I agree... regular guitar amps are in no way suitable for amplifying acoustic instruments, and those horrible acoustic amps aren't much better. You want to go direct to PA. No need to bring processing unless you are going for very specific effects; unless you have a pro-level electric guitar rig the soundman has better delays and verbs than you do.

Now I agree with you regarding line arrays but I can't say I'm a big fan of the column style... you won't see those used for serious sound reinforcement for a reason. A flown multi-cabinet array is the way to go. I have a very small three cab per side array I use when I mix acoustic shows. The cabs are small enough to fly on a heavy stand, big enough to do a medium-sized hall if level isn't a big issue, and I have a set of subs I can bring if need be. I keep meaning to get a more compact console to go with the rig but I good ones are expensive so I'm still lugging a 32 channel LS9 for what is usually three or four channel gigs at most...

Regarding your specified brands... Bose is yet another brand that's proscribed in most contract riders. It's a joke in the pro sound world that Bose stands for Bring Other Sound Equipment. Bose is OK for home entertainment systems but I cannot recommend it for pro sound reinforcement. Also... avoid powered stuff like the plague. The amps are NEVER as good as a dedicated unit from a good manufacturer.

Return to “Classical guitar recording and amplification”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot], Lawler, Per Lindhof and 2 guests