Best pickup for a 20's Martin parlor acoustic

mingo

Member
Messages
430
What do you think my best option is for an acoustic pickup for a 20's Martin 0-17. I want something that is quite non-invasive due to age, etc.

Thanks!
 

zombywoof

Member
Messages
4,495
First, you did not say whether the guitar was strung with nylon or steel but Martins made before maybe 1926 or 1927 are not braced for steel.

In any case, there is no real difference in the pickups for both types of guitar. I like Highlander and Sunrise pickups. Not sure how they are attached but replacing the end pin in any guitar is not going to really hurt its value.
 

doc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,079
Most endpin jacks require enlarging the endpin hole, which WILL devalue the guitar some. I second the vote for the Tapastring jack already mentioned. I like K & K pickups as well - I'd use the Tapastring with a K & K (using tape instead of glue if you want to leave no marks and are more concerned about retaining value than the best amplified sound). Then again, if you plan to be playing in a noisy venue, use a Baggs M1 and just hang the cord out the soundhole.
 

s2khawk

Member
Messages
379
both my acoustics for recording are over 80yrs old, don't touch them!! Use super high quality mic's like I do. If you must plug in then use a new guitar. I have a couple live gigs coming up and will either mic to the PA or get some new guitar I can get by with, my 2 nickels but I wouldn't risk losing a chunk of the value or the structural integrity of such an old beast. The fact that both of mine have aged where the wood is like paper moving notes is why they sound so incredible and are worth so much, plus the glues have become one with the woods at this point, the whole guitar's parts have completely unified with each other which makes them usually so loud, defined, and killer sounding!
 

johneeeveee

Member
Messages
1,613
K&K TwinSpot or Mini , and if you want to leave the endpin hole alone , one of the$e - http://www.tapastring.com/vintagejack.htm
That's the best solution (IMO). The K&K pure western mini is a very natural sounding pup, and with the vitage jack, there is no mod to devalue your guitar. 3 little transducers glued to the sound board can be easily reversed without any problem.

A Sunrise pup souds prett good, although not a very natural acoustic sound, but good. The pup will weigh down the top of the guitar andna sacrifice tone, especially on a small bodied guitar. It will also leave marks and impressions around the soundhole if left on for any period of time.

A mic is the only other option, and in a perfect world, we could all gig with condensor mics on acoustic instruments. It's not always practical, depending on the room, ensemble, and soundman.

If you think you will kep this guiatr forever, then I say go ahead with the non intrusive K&K solution, and PLAY your guitar at every gig. If you think you may sell it at some point, then maybe another gigging guitar is a good idea.

I understand your dilemma. I have 20's 30's and 40's acoustics that I want to tour with, and am contemplating the K&K / vintage jack solution for my 46 Martin so I can take it all the time.

Hmmm... what to do? - jv
 

pipedwho

Member
Messages
1,687
+1 on the mic option. A pickup will never catch all the nuances that you're hearing in that guitar.
 

Shemp

Member
Messages
981
First, you did not say whether the guitar was strung with nylon or steel but Martins made before maybe 1926 or 1927 are not braced for steel.

In any case, there is no real difference in the pickups for both types of guitar. I like Highlander and Sunrise pickups. Not sure how they are attached but replacing the end pin in any guitar is not going to really hurt its value.


Your dates are off a bit. I just had a 1925 00-28 repaired by TJ Thompson and it proudly wears a set of Martin SP 12s. According to TJ most of the 1920s can use lighter steels or silk and steels at the least.

I would not put a pickup in a vintage acoustic, I would mic it.
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,109
If you want to try steel strings on an old acoustic, try the John Pearse Phosphor Bronze and Silk... .011-.049, very low tension, but they sound like a broken-in set of 80/20s, not dull thuddy old Martin "Silk and Steels". I use them on a 1952 Harmony... no problems.
 




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