Amplifying a Mandolin and Resonator? Pickups?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by radiomanno, May 1, 2008.

  1. radiomanno

    radiomanno Member

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    Not sure if this is the proper forum to post this question. Please direct me if I'm not in the right spot.

    I have a mandolin and a resonator guitar that I play in one of my bands. It's becoming a major pain in the ass to mic these instruments in a live setting. No soundguy can get it right, and I'm not heard as well as my other guys in the band.

    Do you have any suggestions or know of a small mic or some sort of pickup that I can use on either or both of these?

    Anyone familiar with the DiMarzio Acoustic Model pickup? It's the one that looks like a pad and attaches to anywhere on an acoustic instrument. Would this work?

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/DiMarzio-Acoustic-Model-For-Acoustic-Guitar-Bass?sku=302720

    Thanks!
     
  2. bbocaner

    bbocaner Member

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    Check out the K&K options for mandolin and resonator guitar at http://www.kksound.com/ . I don't have any experience with them, but I've seen some good bluegrass mandolin players using their pickup and it looks easy to install.
     
  3. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Different instruments, different ideal pickups. You won't find one that will work best for both, and a resonator is not something you'd be able to regularly install and remove pickups easily on. Is this a biscuit, spider, or tri-cone resonator? Again, totally different instruments with different needs.
     
  4. urlkonig

    urlkonig Supporting Member

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    I've used the Fishman mandolin bridge pickup, which I found dreadful in nearly every respect...overly bright, very percussive. For a while I used a Schertler DYN-M, but it can take a lot of EQing, and is deadly expensive. I just bought the new Baggs Radius system for mandolin, and its a breeze to set up AND sounds great. Shorline has them at a decent price, too.

    http://www.lrbaggs.com/html/products/pickups_radius.shtml
     
  5. 62Tele

    62Tele Supporting Member

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    The best choices will depend on your stage volumes. If you are playing at band volumes, I'd stay with something magnetic for the reso. I've been using the National/Lace pickup on my steel bodied National and it sounds great. Through my Genz Benz acoustic amp it sounds like a reso, and through my Penn tube amp it it can be run through effects (including distortion) and it starts to sound almost like an old metal bodies Ric lap steel. Excellent real world pickup and retains the reso tone to a surprising extent. I'm a real fan of K&K acoustic guitar pickups, but that kind of sensor, even with a parametric EQ, gets pretty impressive feedback at band volumes and I imagine the reso version will be no different.

    Mandos are tough. The Baggs pickup seems to be getting a lot of attention. John at Shoreline has a good ear and you might ask him what would work well in your setting. I had a Fishman mando pickup years ago and to echo above, mine was pretty awful too. If they made a National mando pickup I'd buy it in a second - I have one of the National mandos and I'm not really sure how to amplify it. Doesn't necessarily need it though given how loud the thing is.
     
  6. radiomanno

    radiomanno Member

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    Thanks for the responses. I'll have to look into all of the suggestions. The resonator I have is a spider. The band I use these instruments in doesn't have drums, so I'm only up against 2 other acoustic guitars. I'll check these out and see what works best for me.

    Thanks!
     
  7. bazooka47

    bazooka47 Member

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    Check out the National Hot Plate:

    http://folkwaymusic.com/instruments/national.html


    Haven't tried one, but I was debating installing one into my Style O.

    For mandos, I have tried the McIntyre Feather, and currently use the K&K System. Both are great sounding but work best for lower volume applications, and can feed back if turned up. Don't know anything about the DiMarzio system.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Schwalbe

    Schwalbe Member

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    I put the K & K SB in my Beard Gold Tone. It works pretty good. There's a mod floating around the net, I can't remember where I read it, called the 1 Meg mod.
    If your Piezo pickup is woofy and prone to feedback it may be an impedance mis-match. Try a 1 Meg resistor from hot to ground.
    I play mine through a Princeton Reverb clone and this mod made a world of difference.
    I tried the Lace Ultra Slim but it wasn't slim enough to fit under the strings. Seemed like a great idea though.
    The K & K wouldn't install per the instructions so I made do with one nut and some LocTite. It'll work.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    I feel your pain on amplifying the mando - I still haven't found anything I really like in that regard. I have a Schertler Dyn-M which works for low-volume gigs fairly well, but when playing on a loud stage with the full band, it can't handle the db levels...turns the mando into a giant microphone. I picked up an LR Baggs bridge saddle pickup which handles the high db's better but it needs a lot of EQ'ing to sound decent...sort of thin sounding.
    I am curious to hear the radius...
    Urlkonig - have you tried the radius in a loud stage situation yet? And if so can it hang?
     
  10. urlkonig

    urlkonig Supporting Member

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    I haven't tried it in an electric mix -- so far, I've only been doing acoustic trio gigs with it. I'm running it into a Baggs para-DI / Shenandoah 150LT, and also using direct out to the PA. I suspect that I'll run it directly into the PA when I use it for larger stages/venues...
     
  11. Pa'ani

    Pa'ani Supporting Member

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    +1 K&K Pickups.
     
  12. royd

    royd Member

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    check out http://www.mcintyrepickups.com/pickups.html
    I've used them for a long time - though not on either instrument you are talking about - and like them a lot. At least for a while they were really popular among bluegrass players on all of their instruments.
     
  13. jayn

    jayn Member

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    My mandolin has two pickups. The best is a K&K Hot Spot. It's around $30, IIRC. I stick it right behind the bridge with double sided tape, tape the cord connected to the output jack to the top with scotch tape and I've got a clip that secures the output jack. Works as well as anything I've heard for low-med gigs. The key is to make sure everything is securely attached to the instrument. Looks like hell, but it works. Otherwise, you can hear every little movement, bump, tap etc. through the pickup. In fact, most mando pickups I've used or heard turn the whole top into a mic.

    I'm sure there are better options, but this one is cheap and easy and we don't get overly concerned with pristine tone.
     
  14. Bobbofallenstar

    Bobbofallenstar Member

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    I hear you on the Fishman not being right on it's own. I took the Fishman Mando bridge and the preamp to a Fishman Natural 1 and put them together. It took a while to get that preamp inside the Mando and I had to "modify" it a bit but now it's awesome. I also have volume and tone knobs with it - trimming off the top end with the tone knob makes a huge difference and my mando can get loud now.

    As far as Dobro - If you can find a Barcus Berry pickup that mounts to the top - that was the best I ever heard. I have a cheap version in the Lace pickups I have on my dobros.
     
  15. mj07

    mj07 Supporting Member

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    I use a Carl McIntyre Mando bridge p/u that works great with my Baggs DI- Not too punchy or overly bright. Sounds natural.

    http://www.acousticon.com/mcintyre.htm

    They have p/u's for resonators I've heard good things about-
     
  16. mannish

    mannish Member

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    I do not know about spiders but THE best for a biscuit bridge resonator is the Highlander IPX system. PERIOD
     
  17. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    Another plus for the K&K is that you can just try a Twin Spot or something on the surface to see if you like the tone. If you do, you can get an internal mount one, and even have a good idea of the best spots for the pickup heads. Definitely experiment with placement!

    I'm a huge K&K fan. They're cheap and sound great.
     

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