Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pickup Innovation for Your Acoustic Guitar

I began the guitar as a midlife hobby driven by guitar heroes such as Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page so an electric guitar was the thing. Recently, I took the plunge and bought my first acoustic and glad I did. During the process I discovered some very clever engineering going on when it comes to acoustic pickups.

Since I did not see the familiar sound hold fitted magnetic pickup on the Epiphone AJ-500RENS I purchased I assumed it did not have a pickup. Later I ran across a review of the guitar and it was talking about L.R. Baggs pickups. Well, I didn't see anything so went to their website and realized the guitar came pre-fitted with an under saddle piezo strip type pickup. This is cool technology!

The unit is L.R. Baggs' "Element Active" system and has a transducer strip that goes under the saddle on the acoustic guitar. I've included a graphic from the manual to the left showing how the transducer sits under the saddle. It has what is called an endpin pre-amp; basically a tube (pictured above left) that threads through the tail block of your guitar. The endpin serves as your strap button and input jack.

The final component of the Element pickup system is the volume knob pictured at right. This is sound hole mounted as pictured. It is convenient to use but unobtrusive.

The great thing about this pickup system is you retain the clean looks of your acoustic guitar but have a great sounding amplification option when you need it.


Anonymous said...

Wow this is just what I've been looking for. Do you know if you can install it as an after market thing?
Cheers, Gary (guitarGomer)

VintageP said...

Yes, you can install after market and they include directions on how to do it. They recommend you have a luthier do the work if you aren't comfortable drilling holes in your guitar.

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