Pickup for a Resonator Guitar?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Troubleman, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new friend:

    [​IMG]

    It's a Paul Beard/Goldtone.
    Drooling in anticipation, believe me.
    What I'm gonna need next - a pickup.
    Any suggestions?
    I found the Schatten RG-03 (http://schattendesign.com/resonator.htm), and that looks promising, but what have you guys used...?

    Thanks,


    jb
     
  2. jimfog

    jimfog Senior Member

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    I have that exact same axe, and love it! I've been gigging it a bunch recently, after I had a Highlander installed. Sounds great, very natural and realistic (unlike the magnetic pickups). Just make sure to get the external preamp options, as opening it up to change batteries can be a PITA.

    One nice thing with the Highlander..........the Beard/GT had shown up set up PERFECTLY, actually TOO perfect and low, as I prefer high, stiffer action with a reso.........the Highlander comes with a new bisquit, so it was easy to get it where I wanted it.

    Good luck!

    - jim
     
  3. Franklin

    Franklin Member

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  4. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    This doesn't look like a quick & easy, do-it-yourself install...
    Did you have a tech do it?

    Looking at the external power supply thing - they should make the pickup able to run on phantom power. I like using my Raven Labs PMB/DI in the my signal path for EQ, and a place to add 'verb (great fx loop), change phase if necessary, etc). It also offers phantom power. Do you run directly to the PA/amp without a direct box?



    jb
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2008
  5. urizen

    urizen Gold Supporting Member

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    Google "Hotplate". I think someone had a thread up about it a bit ago. Sounded interesting to me.
    Here's a link to the musician-designer, who is selling it direct @$316, a 20% reduction from Nat'l-Reso's price To me, if National-Resophonic is selling/installing them, THAT (and the fact that the integrated p'up is a Lollar) is like unto an inprimatur from God Himself in my eyes (though that may be because I own two of their tricones, and am sniffing after an El Trov that I'll probably have a Hotplate put on): http://www.mikedowling.com/natRes.html
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2008
  6. urizen

    urizen Gold Supporting Member

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    From the thread w/in a few threads of this entitled "Just Got a National Delphi", page 2 post by Crazyquilt: "The Hotplate, unfortunately, only comes in chrome & buffed-to-dullness chrome. It looked kind of ridiculous on my blue Delphi, but it looks great on the M2. However, the M2 comes with vintage steel tailpiece & coverplate, so I had to trade out its tailpiece with the Delphi's shiny chrome tailpiece. PITA, but now all is well.

    The M2 is a National model, a single-cone, biscuit bridge guitar with a mahogany, not steel, body. Not as loud, much warmer sound, and can be downright creepy.

    Incidentally, the Hotplate is an interesting creature. It's got a Lollar Special T neck Tele pickup with two small Alpha pots and a ceramic disc cap. a .022 iirc. I wanted to be able to roll off more treble (the pickup, right over the cone, is REALLY bright) and rolling back the tone helps with feedback, as well as making a neat timbre, so I put a .047 cap in there, and also changed the pickup to a Stephens Design single blade pickup, which is much warmer & thicker sounding than the Lollar.

    Now, it was totally usable, even great, before -- I just wanted something a little different. Stock, it sounded like a truly electric resonator, reproducing the tone of the instrument very well. Modded, it has more character, and gets sounds I like that I couldn't get before."





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  7. jimfog

    jimfog Senior Member

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    Well....the hardest part of the install is drilling a hole for the output jack.....but that's true of any pickup, unless you want it just dangling of the guitar........sloppy.

    Also, you would need to slot and make the biscuit the right height. I had a tech do it, but would have anyway, even for any easy install.......lol.

    It sounds great right into the board. I sometimes use a Baggs Para DI so I can have a handy volume control, but it's not necessary.

    Call Highlander, they're really helpful......I'll bet Phantom power could be an option.

    - Jim
     
  8. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm thinking the least invasive, best sounding pickup.
    Highlander is a bit more invasive (installing their acoustic guitar UST is a royal pain when compared to say B-Band); I'd probably have a tech to that. Schatten's RG-03 install looks like it might be something that I could pull off in my basement, but I've no idea about its resistance to feedback. It's my understanding that the Highlander setup is fairly resistant to feedback - true?

    Anybody out there with experience with Schatten RG-03 vs Highlander?



    jb
     
  9. jimfog

    jimfog Senior Member

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    I've used it live a bunch, but in solo/duo settings.........so not THAT loud, but it's not even thinking of feeding back, whereas my Taylor, I have to use a feedbackbuster and notch the EQ, on those same gigs.........if that helps.

    Really, the only "invasive" issue is the output jack, since you can always replace the original biscuit anytime............so that's a decision you have to make. Personally, I hate using acoustic pickups without internally mounted jacks.......endpin or whatever.........otherwise it seems too unstable, gigging.

    cheers!

    - jim
     
  10. stratocat63

    stratocat63 Member

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    The Highlander for a spider is only available with their pre, right?

    K&K makes a pup that is mounted in a similar fashion to the Highlander for much cheaper ($75), anyone tried it?

    http://www.kksound.com/pureresonatorsb.html
     
  11. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm curious about the K&K pickups, as well. I have a spider-cone square-neck in need of a pickup and the K&K looks like a good candidate.

    Bryan
     
  12. 62Tele

    62Tele Supporting Member

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    Here's a vote for the stick-on National/Lace. I listened to a lot of pickups before settling on this one and never looked back. Just not a piezo guy I guess.
     
  13. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    OK...
    Met a guy named Marty at my fav acoustic instrument music store/haunt last night. After fooling around on Collings dreads, I discovered that Marty owns two vintage National reso's (a style-o and a duolian) from the 30's that he takes out to gigs with decreasing frequency, and two "beater" reso's he's starting to use for gigs: a Republic 14-fret with a Highlander pickup, and a Gold Tone like mine with a Lace Ultra Thin Acoustic Sensor (i think i got the name right) that came with the guitar when he bought it (used). For the price of buying a six-pack of Blue Moon beer (ok, i had one), we went to his house, sat in his basement for hours, and played/listened to resophonic guitars. He said he used to have a Schatten in the Republic, but a friend hipped him to Highlander. He was so impressed that he had a Highlander installed in the Style-O National, which says a lot. I tried the both Nationals (the Duolian KILLS) - the Style-O plugged in to a Rivera acoustic amp and a JBL Eon 10 G2 powered speaker. That Highlander pup is the bee's knees. It's like sticking your ear up to the cone of the guitar. It is also very sensitive to nuances in playing (picked up from listening to his playing, not mine). Honestly, I didn't want to like it as much as I do - it's a bitch to install, it ain't cheap, and you're tied to the stupid external power supply box (it should have the option of phantom power!). So, going in with a big chip on my shoulder, it won me over, and convincingly. I tried the Republic with the Highlander... Great pickup, and a surprisingly good guitar in the Republic. I may look at Republic reso's if I get a tri-cone. As for Highlander dobro pickups - It's the way to go... Eventually.

    That said, the amazing discovery of the evening - the Gold Tone Paul Beard Sig Model with the Lace Ultra Thin. OK, get it out in the open - it's not a Highlander. The Highlander is just a phenomenal pickup for dobro/resonator. That said, it's also $100 less, and you can install it yourself (mo' money saved). It actually sounds pretty darned good for a humbucker attached to the top of the guitar. One issue - the wound strings were well balanced. The unwound - the "B" and "E" strings were hotter than the wound strings. It was "deal-withable", but noticable too. Other than that, it was at least 85% of the Highlander.

    I really dig the Highlander, and once I master this new addition to my guitar arsenal and start gigging with it, I'm definitely going that route. For now though - the Highlander needs a pro to install it. THE GUY I'd go to, and actually - the guy who installed Marty's Highlander pups, MOVED TO FRICKIN' AUSTIN TEXAS... In the Balto area there's a void in the "highly qualified luthier/tech" department. There's Phil Jacoby, but he has a month-long waiting list just to get your instrument "in" to his shop, so - who to install it?

    In the interim, I'm gonna go with the Lace Ultra Thin... When my chops are in gig-shape, I'll have the Highlander installed, then run both to my DI Raven Labs PMB-II - two channels with mix capability).

    Peace,

    jb
     
  14. Franklin

    Franklin Member

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    I wish I went with a Lace Ultra, I'm not a piezo type either.....
     
  15. jimfog

    jimfog Senior Member

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    I actually found that balance issue non-workable..........especially when playing with a band.........everything disappeared except the two high strings. Solo, the full range came out a wee bit better......but add bass and drums, it was horrible.

    Nickel strings would mitigate that, I'm sure.....but not a route I wanted to go.

    Something to keep in mind.

    Seriously....forget about "quack" and thin, tinny piezo sounds with the Highlander............it's just a whole different thing.


    - Jim
     
  16. Franklin

    Franklin Member

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    I imagine there is still serious feedback issues with magnetic p'ups. Is this true and how do you deal with it? I too wanted a dirty/gritty option using a pedal, but with the piezo it was instant feedback even if I was below "unity gain" on the pedal.
     
  17. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    Anybody actually tried one of these???

    jb
     
  18. stratocat63

    stratocat63 Member

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    I ordered a K&K from Blue Star music on eBay, shipped for $52.50. I'll let y'all know what it's like.

    I'm not a piezo lover, but I already have an excellent front end for it and it's not a lot of money if it sucks.
     
  19. stratocat63

    stratocat63 Member

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    Back to report on the K&K. I've used it on two gigs now and am getting it dialed in to "useful" range.

    It's on a cheap Regal wood body round neck model.

    It's far better than the internal mic I had in there as far as feedback goes, but it only picks up the cone sound. I think a combo of that and a transducer to get some wood character in there would sound about right.
     
  20. Crazyquilt

    Crazyquilt Guitar Dad Silver Supporting Member

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    Yup. See my avatar ... Hotplate w/a Stephens Design single-blade pickup. I love it...but it is what it is, and it isn't anything else.

    By that, I mean that it's a magnetic pickup, and it sounds as such. I don't like piezos, and I do like electric guitars, so....for me, a natural.

    I have not gigged with it yet, but I have used it a lot amplified, and in smaller rooms (eg, basement or dining room kind of size) the feedback is controllable. It is, however, always right there if you need it -- or your damping isn't as clean as it could be. (I know mine can always improve!) I've tried it with a Swart AST, Clark Beaufort, and '62 Princeton, as well as a Lovepedal 2w Plexi. It's just damned fun, and I can get some really wonderful sounds. That being said, it is a compromise. For 'pure' electric playing, I prefer my ES-125, while for acoustic...well, I just turn down the National's volume & hear its voice au naturale. Still, the more I play it, and know it better, the more I'm liking it.

    For one thing, I did try nickel strings at first, and they sounded great electric, but only good acoustically (and I used National/Newtone nickels, as well as Pearse.) However, I much prefer the sound of 80/20 brass on the guitar -- but I don't seem to have too much of a problem with the string balance. (FWIW, the phos bronze strings I tried had more problems with bass string muddiness.) I did adjust the pickup so the bass side was higher, which helped -- but I am almost positive that the pickup senses the vibrating cone, as well as the strings. I can certainly hear the sound of the cone far more with the Hotplate than I could with the Lace/Dobro (which is pretty similar to the National/Lace, AFAIK.)

    However, that means it's more sensitive to feedback than a body-mounted pickup. It's a definite trade-off. With a small amp, like the Lovepedal or Princeton, it's really almost a non-issue until you start to get near the louder end of the amp's volume range.

    Practically, I have no issue with this. I expect to be using the guitar in smaller venues, and with a small amp (the Princeton, a ~5w single ended Champ-type amp, or the Lovepedal) which I'll amp. Further, I'm doing a lot with looping, so I have the option of playing mic'd acoustic guitar with amplified, looped electric.

    Incidentally, I put the Stephens in because I wanted a warmer, thicker pickup to complement the M2's natural tonality. The stock Lollar sounded very good -- much more natural sounding, but also a good bit brighter/edgier, which is not what I want for this guitar. Of course, being a TGP'er, I had to put in a .022mfd Hovland Musicap to replace the ceramic disc cap that was in there. The pots are little Alphas; I suspect a full sized pot would hit the cone. Mine were very crackly, but were fine after I gave them a shot of De-Oxit.

    All in all, I'm very happy with the outcome, but I kept a pretty open mind about it, and I was already desirous of an electric, rather than amplified acoustic, sound.

    If anyone has any questions about the Hot Plate -- I know they aren't exactly in every GC -- I'll do what I can to share my experience.
     

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