Factory installed vs aftermarket pickup

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by crumjack, Jan 13, 2018.


  1. crumjack

    crumjack Member

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    I’m thinking of spending some of my annual bonus on a Martin. D, 000, 18, 28, OM I’m not sure at this time but I’ll want a pickup for open mics and songwriter showcases.

    What are the pros and cons of getting something installed by Martin vs adding it after purchase?
     
  2. Billy Moss

    Billy Moss Member

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    I like the LR Baggs Anthem.

    Martin, Gibson, Breedlove and others like the Baggs so much they offer some of their guitars with it installed.

    What's good about the Baggs is the sound of course, but if they ever update and improve it you can remove the one in your guitar and install the new one with out any or much modification to your guitar.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  3. feet

    feet Supporting Member

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    pros- you get a pickup system
    cons- you don't. but you could pick whatever you want when you're ready. you just have to pay for it, and possibly for the installation, as well.

    i'm not sure what they use, but it isn't always "the best" system, or what you'd have chosen, what's best for your needs or even what suits the guitar best. you get what they give you. but at least it is included in the price, and probably installed correctly. buy maybe several years down the line, you don't like it, and maybe it influences the (perceived) resale value in someone's mind later if you want to sell it. some people want all the original stuff, some people are freaked out by barn doors or usts or feel pickups adulterate the guitar in a negative way. never know.

    the only factory system i've had installed is the lr baggs element, which took a very long time to come to terms with, but i think i finally did. would still change it if i thought i could improve upon it, but i'm at the point where i could let it ride, i guess. but that's another risk, too- you may just flat out hate the pickup they gave you, as i did. or things may change down the line and you may one day wish you had the cool new thing in there instead of now "dated" technology.

    if you are going to marry the pickup system as well, do your homework on it and see how it suits your intended use. try it out first, if you can. decide based on experience, and not speculation.
     
  4. 71strat

    71strat Member

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    Only pickup I would want is the Trance Audio Acoustic Lens:drool:drool:drool :bitch:bitch:bitch:fisticuffs:fisticuffs.:argue:love::love::love::love::bitch:bitch:bitch:fisticuffs

    Id get the guitar with no pickup, and have the Trance Audio put in.:waiting:waiting:waiting:love::love::love::love::hide2:hide2

    They also habe the Amulet.

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    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
    GGinMP likes this.
  5. royd

    royd Member

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    Every pickup system is a series of compromises. If you choose an aftermarket system, you get to decide which compromises you make and which fit your situation best. If you purchase a guitar with a pickup already installed, the manufacturer makes the decision. Their criteria for what is best may be very different than yours. Theirs will almost certainly include questions regarding their bottom line. So... if the system they install is the one you would choose... then it makes sense to have them install it. If it is not, then purchase an aftermarket rig and either install it yourself or pay someone to do so
     
  6. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    Depends on the Martin you're buying. The new "Retro" series have a VERY capable Fishman Aura F1+ system designed specifically for Martin, really good. If you're wanting a cutaway, you'll get a pickup and preamp nearly all the time. There are many fine systems, pickups, preamps on the market. A lot depends on what you NEED ... acoustic fidelity, gain before feedback, modeling, parametric EQ .. etc, etc. Most players don't know what they need/want/like until they experience something they didn't need/want/like. And I pretty much ignore anyone who claims their pickup/preamp is "the best".
     
  7. crumjack

    crumjack Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I know they have a 000-18 retro fitted with a Fishman Aura series pickup that is proprietary to Martin so I will plug that in. But I’ll checkout some of the Baggs offerings.

    I’m currently on Taylor with the ES2 system which works fine for the most part. I can get some feedback with a capo but I’ve learned where to stand on that stage to avoid it. If I can find something that behaves like it minus the feedback I’ll be happy.
     
  8. GGinMP

    GGinMP Supporting Member

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    I love the Amulet Mv. It sounds super close to "my acoustic, but amplified." That being said, it may not be the best in a loud band situation.
     
  9. 71strat

    71strat Member

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    It probably comes down to the PA. There are bands/players I would consider to be in loud bands that use/have used these, but you do need a good PA for the most benefit, but I think if 1 can do that, the Acoustic Lens is 1 nice sounding pickup.

    James Hetfield/Metallica

    Brad Whitford/Aerosmith

    Ronnie Montrose
     
  10. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    my only beef here is if the "house system" requires holes in the sides of the guitar. a good solid-wood martin can be a lifetime guitar while a particular acoustic pickup system might be an obsolete dinosaur in five years. if said pickup involved holes in the sides then good luck upgrading it, none of the new latest and greatest will even fit. even worse is if there's any kind of digital processing going on in there, that's got the shortest shelf life of anything, since it's literally like an old computer.

    my own prejudice is towards sticking with pickup systems that are made to go in nice guitars without significant alteration; whether the factory puts it in or you do is beside the point. otherwise just get a plywood "stage acoustic" with a big control panel on the side and don't worry about the unplugged tone or the long-term value.
     
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  11. crumjack

    crumjack Member

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    Thanks for this perspective. I'm definitely thinking of this purchase as a long term own. Not something to flip or upgrade in two years.
     
  12. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    @royd summed it up very well. The built in systems are very much about what the builder can get at a good bulk price and fit into a stock. There are great after market options that can compliment the player's expectation for the instrument.

    I really like the trend of soundhole mounted controls vs the "barn door" style of preamp install. It is much easier to replace and upgrade without having to consider how to match a hole cut in the side of the body. It is a shortcoming of the Taylor ES system IMHO.
     
  13. jwguitar

    jwguitar Member

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    I agree 100% with your comment.
     
  14. Tony Done

    Tony Done Member

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    I used to use a combined piezo and magnetic through an outboard preamp/mixer, but that was a long time ago. Now I tend to favour soundhole pickups, but if I was going for a piezo system, I would be looking at 1) those with soundhole-mounted controls or 2) the much-liked K&K plus Red Eye combination or similar, and reading a lot of reviews. FWIW, I wasn't really looking for accurate reproduction of the acoustic tone, just something that came across well to the audience, and I really, really don't like the piezo quack (Taki jangle) as heard in many UST-preamp systems.

    Cutting to the chase, in your example, I would find a specific guitar I really liked. If it had a pickup installed I would live with it*, or if it didn't, I would install one of my choice.

    * Not strictly true. My favourite guitar came with a pickup and barndoor preamp I didn't like, so I converted the barndoor to a sound port and installed a magnetic pickup whose controls are hidden in the sound port. The whole thing can be reversed if necessary.
     

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