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I wonder if anyone would suggest a good pick up system for an acoustic violin.It will be played in smaller venues with a guitar amp or p.a.The player woul like to retain the acousticness(!)of her violin.Thanks muchly...James

Contact Eric Aceto at Ithaca Stringed Instruments.

Joe

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I use a LR baggs pickup with a carpenter jack. It works really well both plugged in and acoustic, and is the standard set up for many musicians in your situation. The pickup is embedded in a very good quality Despiau bridge. I think the stock one is the 41.5mm. If you need a different bridge they will embed the pickup in a different size bridge when they do their standard production runs.

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I've had several musicians who have liked 'the band' After the gig you can easily remove it and you have a normal acoustic violin. I would not use this product if your violin has very tender varnish. But otherwise it seems to work pretty well.

You can get one from my favorite supplier Nova strings

(I have no financial or other interest in either of these companies)

Oded

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I've experimented over the years with many different pickups, and the most natural sounding and with sufficient feedback rejection for stage use I have found is the LR Baggs. You have to use a very high input impedance preamp stage with this pickup to prevent loading the pickup. I would recommend using either the LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI that has adjustable equalization, or a Countryman FET 85 DI Box. Both of these boxes have a 10 Meg Ohm input impedance.

Some tube type guitar amps will have sufficiently high input impedance; it should have minimum input Z of 1 Meg ohm.

Some of the other pickups that are in contact with the body of the instrument are very prone to feedback and seldom offer a reasonable balance across the strings.

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I would not use a guitar amp , the speakers are designed for guitar and not violin. I also found that using 4 input mixer with an external EQ, and amp.works very well and gives you lots of flexibility. Use something like a gator rack, build you own speakers box. That way you can make it the size that you want, you can always upgrade if you need more power. If you are doing gigs you need to move the stuff around, I find two or three smaller boxes easier to fit into standard cars then guitar amps and the like. I was not that happy with the wrap around but it could work better for some people than others. I have found that there are lots of different combinations that work for some that don't work for others. I guess the bet thing is to go to a music store and try the ones out that don't require a bridge change and see what you like there. There is a lot of info on this website. Good luck it seems it takes time to fine tune a system to your liking. My link

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This isn't really classed specifically as a guitar pedal. It's a high input impedance DI box with a FET preamp stage and equalization for Piezoelctric pickups. The audio spectrum from a violin falls within the EQ range for an acoustic guitar as well, so the EQ points are usable, except maybe for the low frequency band.

One of the physical properties of a piezoelectric transducer is the source impedance varies inversely with frequency. Because audio frequencies are at the bottom of the totem pole compared to radio frequencies, it exhibits very high impedance in the audio range. This is why it's important not to load the pickup signal with a lower impedance preamp; the resultant sound is very thin with attenuated fundamentals.

I have personally used this particular preamp, and I can definitely confirm it works very well.

The guitar amp speaker issue varies from one amp manufacturer to another. Some cabinet / speaker setups are geared more towards electric guitar, but I have seen more than a few that work very nicely for violin as well.

Keep in mind that a pickup will never produce sound like playing into a high quality microphone, but it can provide an acceptable violin sound for stage use that isn't very prone to feedback, at reasonable stage levels.

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We sell the Band. It produces surprisingly good sound, but its output is limited and some people have trouble getting enough volume with it.

I've been installing a few Bradivarius pickups. It's an element imbedded in a good bridge, and doesn't change the sound of the instrument appreciably. I've done some Baggs, too, and some people prefer them, but Bradivarius is hotter, and usually sounds warmer when you A/B them. They both work best with a preamp or a DI box.

I've installed other varieties, but those seem to be the most popular in my market.

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Check out K&K (www.kksound.com). One of my customers uses them with no feedback problems and very good acoustic sound, and she is really picky. They work with any bridge, so if anything happens to the original bridge you just get a new one of your choice fitted, unlike the embedded ones.

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Thanks for the "feedback" everyone,there are more choices than I thought available.This musician also plays a nice Martin with a bridge transducer through a smallish Fender tube amp.I'm leaning toward the Baggs as it has a nice enough bridge for the instrument she plays and from what I gather here may work well with this type of amp.Once again,thanks ,James.

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Another high end pickup system not mentioned yet: David Gages "The Realist" pickups co-developed with Ned Steinberger and used in his NS electric violin line. It goes under the bridge feet. I'm sure it's high quality and how it A/B's with these other systems is unknown to me at the moment. Just wanted to add it to the mix here. Link:

The Realist

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Why a pickup vs a mic? I've never found a pickup that sounds as good as a mic.

I use a "Countryman Isomax II" chicklet style mic. It comes with a foam ball about the size of a large marble.

It needs phantom power. I wrap the 1/8" cable around the tailpiece one time and snug the foam ball behind the bridge as close to the tailpiece as it will go.

You can order any length of cable you want. There's an xlr connector at the 'other' end, so take that into consideration. If you get a 3 foot cable, it will weigh down the violin, unless you put it in your pocket? I'd get at least 6 feet so it can lie on the floor if you stand.

It sounds live and like a violin. It's also very light weight. If you get the hypercardiod, it is very resistant to feedback.

It really makes a cello sound great too!

post-33758-0-42522100-1307848940_thumb.jpg

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A mic like that can work in some situations. It depends on the ambient noise on the stage. If you're competing with an electric guitar amp nest to you set for "13" and a drummer pounding the living tar out of the skins, a mic isn't going to do you much good, as it's also picking up and amplifying the ambient noise. Forget it; it's not going to help.

I have seen small electret mics used for sound reinforcement / broadcast in the local symphony orchestra that did work well, but it can be a juggling act to mix this many instruments and come up with a "together" sound.

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For those in Europe, the German made Shadow pickups are very good. I have fitted dozens of these over the years and customers have always been pleased with the results. The prices are also very reasonable.

They offer a range of different fittings, I have found the ones which fit into the bridge wings best. At least with this design the pickup can easily be reused when the bridge has warped and needs to be replaced.

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The Shadow pickup of old that I'm familiar with was about the size of a quarter and about 10mm thick. They expected you to stick the pickup on the side of the bridge with window putty. It produced sound of sorts, but very thin and shreiky, a big bump around 2 to 3 Khz, and worked very effectively as an acoustic mute.

The newer model you describe sounds similar to the Fishman pickup that has a beryllium spring to hold it within the slot on the side of the bridge. I have used these and they can work OK, but the slot width, spring pressure and placement are very critical to rendering a pleasant tone. However, the spring loses tension after time, the wood on the bridge slot spreads slightly changing the aforementioned parameters, and the tone changes, never for the better. I've heard some of these that were installed by people that thought it just needs to be simply wedged in the bridge slot, and the resulting sound would almost pop light bulbs in a venue, exfoliate chest hair and loosen dental fillings.

In my opinion, the transducers fastened in the bridge are generally the best, although it's better to leave the bridge slightly on the thick side to prevent warping and /or failure. Be very careful trimming the bridge, and don't go near the transducer area. Even the lead wire where it enters the bridge is very fragile; it's an expensive bridge to replace.

The transducers that are sandwiched between the bridge feet and the belly I'm sure could perform very well, but I have no experience with this type of product.

You may have heard of the Barcus Berry name, this company was an early pioneer in this sort of technology, but their transducers have / had a tendency to crack after a number of years rendering the pickup useless. I tried working with them to find out what was causing these failures, but they wouldn't discuss it and refused any sort of warranty. When they worked however, they didn't sound too bad, but the LR Baggs is far superior in this respect.

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My Two Cents on the AER...It is a remarkable amp, but not that good for violin IMHO. A small good keyboard amp is much more appropriate for the violin frequency range and an Acoustic Image amplifier head with a custom ported cabinet with a crossover and a tweeter would be even better. There are other choices in amps specifically for violin, but these are a couple of my suggestions

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My Two Cents on the AER...It is a remarkable amp, but not that good for violin IMHO. A small good keyboard amp is much more appropriate for the violin frequency range and an Acoustic Image amplifier head with a custom ported cabinet with a crossover and a tweeter would be even better. There are other choices in amps specifically for violin, but these are a couple of my suggestions

If you can choose the auditorium or hall you're playing in and specify any additional sound gear and sound technicians, the fine details of your personal sound reproduction system will make a difference. If your group is being amplified through a sound system, and you're having your amp miked or line out to a board, the nuance you've worked to achieve will probably be lost.

The AER 60 is powerful and easier to lug around than my California Blonde, which is a lovely amp, but a little larger.

I heard the Hot Club of Cowtown, and Elana was using an AER 60, no other PA for the instruments, sounded good to us.

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