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View Full Version : Martin D28 (with or without Fishman rare earth pickup)


Astmagrooved
09-27-2009, 04:38 PM
Decisions, decisions ... I own a Martin D28, great acoustic guitar but I want to use it in live situations and need to amplify it. Someone suggested a Fishman rare earth pickup, which seems a good idea but ... the installer needs to widen the straphole a little (to put the Fishman jack in). Now, should I do this? Is a strap on microphone a better idea? I am really not a fan of 'widenin' the hole a little...' Is this a good idea on such a great instrument? Please give me your advice (the gigs diverse from bars, churches up to big open air stages for several thousand ppl) ... Thanx for your great advice!

RustyAxe
09-27-2009, 04:51 PM
I had no qualms about doing it to my D-35, my Breedlove, and several other guitars I no longer own. These aren't museum pieces, and if you're gigging, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. You can get a special strap button, in the event you later sell it without a pickup, from Larrivee and Taylor that fits the new 1/2" hole perfectly. Another option is called a "vintage jack", that fits the existing tapered hole ... here's a link (http://www.tapastring.com/vintagejack.htm).

I'd be more concerned about your choice of pickup though. If you MUST go with a magnetic soundhole p/u, I think the LR Baggs M1A is a more natual sounding p/u, and the Sunrise even better. And some EQ (I like the Baggs Para-DI, others are just as good) is usually needed to make them sound more "acoustic".

Astmagrooved
09-27-2009, 05:01 PM
Hey Denny, thank you for your swift reply! No, I MUST not go for a magnetic soundhole p/u (maybe even preferably not). What are better alternatives? Strap on mic (which I would preferably more gravitate to & also usable on a classical Cuenca 90 guitar)? Thanx (excuse me for my corny English, I am from Belgium and can not really help that :-)

Bob V
09-27-2009, 07:08 PM
Magnetic sound hole pickups are for people who are afraid to let a luthier recut the saddle slot to accommodate an undersaddle pickup. Okay, I realize there are some people who have tried both and who prefer the magnetic pickups for practical reasons onstage, but the real selling point is for people like you who are horrified about a single shaving of wood being removed even if it's by a competent luthier for a legitimate reason.

Don't get me wrong, I'd never cut out a panel or drill holes for a volume and tone knob on my acoustics, but a little work on the saddle slot and the endpin hole would not devalue an instrument.

And if you're really worried about the endpin, Stewart MacDonald now sells an insert so you can put a traditional end-pin on a guitar that's been reamed for an endpin jack, in case you ever want to restore it to original condition.

Alaskaguitar
09-27-2009, 07:40 PM
I use the Seymour Duncan MagMic in two acoustics (Larrivee 12 string and a Santa Cruz). I really like them. You can blend a magnetic pickup and a microphone. It mounts in the sound hole and can hook up to an end pin jack or run the wire out of the sound hole. I've had several under the saddle pickups and never liked the sound. The MagMic sounds more like the natural acoustic to me. No experience with the Fishman.

RustyAxe
09-27-2009, 09:06 PM
Hey Denny, thank you for your swift reply! No, I MUST not go for a magnetic soundhole p/u (maybe even preferably not). What are better alternatives? Strap on mic (which I would preferably more gravitate to & also usable on a classical Cuenca 90 guitar)? Thanx (excuse me for my corny English, I am from Belgium and can not really help that :-)No reason to excuse you ... your English is much better than my French or Flemish! Magnetic p/u's work really well for loud stage conditions, such as playing with a band ... they are the most feedback resistant p/u for acoustic guitars. A good choice for those conditions.

Next in feedback resistance are undersaddle piezo types. (LR Baggs Element and Fishman Matrix are a couple of examples. These are a thin band of pressure sensitive material, installed under the saddle. They are more invasive because a tiny hole must be drilled in the saddle slot (can't be seen). Usually require an experience technician to install (but I've done them myself). They sound pretty good, and also work well in a band. One commonly heard complaint is "piezo quack" ... a rather brittle tone that can be difficult to EQ. Really, in a band it's not a problem, and for recording, well, a condensor mic is always best.

Then there are "under bridge transducers" that are glued under the saddle inside the guitar, on the bridge plate. They can usually be easily removed. Examples include K&K Pure Western Mini, LR Baggs I-Beam (I wouldn't recommend it in your guitar ... too boomy!). There are many others.

Any of these can be augmented with a small internal condensor mic, provided there is an appropriate pre-amp.

There's no "best" ... it's all about the type of guitar (dread, OM, OOO, etc), the playing style of the guitarist, and the environment in which it will played (quiet stage versus a loud band).

All that said, my D-35 has a Fishman Matrix Infinity and my Breedlove has an LR Baggs Element VTC, both are used on stage, and often in a band. I use an LR Baggs Para-DI (preamp, EQ, DI in one). I usually record with high quality condensor mics.

kludge
09-27-2009, 10:22 PM
If you're serious about playing this guitar live, just drill the hole. It won't affect the sound, and guitars are meant to be PLAYED, not babied! If you're worried about preserving the financial value of the guitar, it's probably not a good idea to play it onstage at all - stages are good places for guitars to get damaged.

Microphones are a bad idea if you're planning huge gigs in front of thousands. You'll want a real pickup. You probably also want an external preamp like the Baggs Para DI so you can have some control over your eq and such before it gets to the soundboard.

musicofanatic5
09-28-2009, 03:10 AM
"A Martin D-28"...?

A 1937 D-28 herringbone?? Don't do it (endpin jack).

Any brazilian rosewood D-28? You will experience some devaluation with an endpin jack.

Any Indian R.W. D-28? No sweat. These will not generally ever be "collectable" and endpin jack installation will not have much serious effect
on value.

Personally I like the Fishman Elipse (Eclipse?) under-saddle p.u./mic combination on a flat top gtr.

pitner
09-29-2009, 06:23 AM
I would not cut my 68 D-18. I use an external condenser mic and a LR Baggs M1 if feedback is an issue, with the wire taped to the pick guard. A newer guitar I would cut if it wasn't real high end and expensive like an $5,000. But the choice is up to you and what you end up with will always fall short of a mic IMHO.

shakeyjakey
09-29-2009, 07:01 AM
I fitted a Trance Amulet Stereo Pickup in my 1973 D45 . Much the same as the old Frap as used by Neil Young.

I can tell you that Trance is out of this world.

My 1948 D28 get's miced in my home studio and or Sunrise Sound hole.
They too are awesome but will colour the sound some what as will all pickups.

Trance is the most natural though.

Ocelot
09-29-2009, 10:38 AM
Fishman Elipse Matrix Blend. Great pickup, mic and preamp combo.

Tallhorses
09-29-2009, 10:48 AM
I had peizo pickups installed in my Froggy Bottom (Headway...great pickup) and Gibson True Vintage Jumbo (Baggs Element). I'm not fan of the Fishman gear but I have not looked at it in a while. Depends what you're going for and what the instrumentation is like for the band. Live I plug in direct but also mix in a condenser (either a Rode NT or AKG C451). The peizo cuts and the mic adds warmth. It works and sounds great. I can't imagine a fishman or any other "installed" mic sounding better than a high quality condenser stuck in front. I never use the pickup for recording.

Astmagrooved
09-29-2009, 03:26 PM
Thank you all very much for your reactions! Just a note to tell you that I went for it and the pick up will be installed by a luthier. I was a bit in doubt 'bout the Fishman (after some reactions here) but I heard

Astmagrooved
09-29-2009, 03:29 PM
... a Taylor with these ones and it sounded fine by me. My Martin is a new one, Indian rosewood I believe & meant to be played (not collected) live and in the studio (where mic's will be used, pick up is just for live situations). Thank you all very much for some really well documented thoughts, ideas and inspiration!

musicofanatic5
09-30-2009, 03:18 AM
I had peizo pickups installed in my Froggy Bottom (Headway...great pickup) and Gibson True Vintage Jumbo (Baggs Element). I'm not fan of the Fishman gear but I have not looked at it in a while. Depends what you're going for and what the instrumentation is like for the band. Live I plug in direct but also mix in a condenser (either a Rode NT or AKG C451). The peizo cuts and the mic adds warmth. It works and sounds great. I can't imagine a fishman or any other "installed" mic sounding better than a high quality condenser stuck in front. I never use the pickup for recording.

Not being an idiot, neither can I!! Trouble is, I rarely bring $600 mics to gigs, and there almost never seems to be one laying around at the club.
That's like saying "I can't imagine a Roland digital piano sounding better than a nine-foot Steinway". It can't, but who's bringing a Steinway down to the nightclub?


In a recording studio, presuming mics available, anyone who uses a p.u. to record gtr should be shot.

kludge
09-30-2009, 10:10 AM
Not being an idiot, neither can I!! Trouble is, I rarely bring $600 mics to gigs, and there almost never seems to be one laying around at the club.
That's like saying "I can't imagine a Roland digital piano sounding better than a nine-foot Steinway". It can't, but who's bringing a Steinway down to the nightclub?


In a recording studio, presuming mics available, anyone who uses a p.u. to record gtr should be shot.

Based on my recent testing, I think that even a SM57 is going to sound better than a pickup onstage, if you can keep your technique and feedback under control. I'm probably going to start bringing along an old stage-quality EV handheld condenser I have just to use on acoustic instruments.

I can still see using a pickup in the studio, though, but I can see using ANYTHING in the studio if it works. I've been playing a little lately with miking an acoustic guitar and also tracking its magnetic pickup, and running the pickup through amp sims for a little more texture around the sound. Not for solo acoustic stuff so much as sitting better in a band context.

TravisE
09-30-2009, 10:36 AM
Based on my recent testing, I think that even a SM57 is going to sound better than a pickup onstage, if you can keep your technique and feedback under control. I'm probably going to start bringing along an old stage-quality EV handheld condenser I have just to use on acoustic instruments.

The problem with this approach is the assumption that every sound man and every venue can handle the use of a condenser on stage. I find that is rarely the case. I'd rather have really good, consistent sounds from an M1A than wondering if I'm going to be dealing with a screaming mic all night. In studio: Mics. That's it.

Tallhorses
09-30-2009, 08:13 PM
Not being an idiot, neither can I!! Trouble is, I rarely bring $600 mics to gigs, and there almost never seems to be one laying around at the club.
That's like saying "I can't imagine a Roland digital piano sounding better than a nine-foot Steinway". It can't, but who's bringing a Steinway down to the nightclub?


Nah...you just come off like one... we have control over our sound so we bring what we bring to sound the best we can. The internal pickups (Headway/Baggs) I have are for plug and play. Nuff said...

EDIT: BTW comparing a piano to a mic that fits in my back pocket ain't quite the same... As I said in my post it's all about application. Get the best sound you can with what you have available.