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Hi,

I've got a 12-string, I'm thing about putting an under saddle piezo pickup in. Any recommendations? I don't recall seeing too many acoustic-electric 12-strings, so is it even a wise thing to do? if not, why?

I've got a l.r.baggs micro-eq on hand which I'm thinking of using.

Thanks for any help.

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Pretty much any pickup that works for six-string will also work on a 12-string. The only undersaddle pickups that would require special attention are the older designs (like the Fishman AG-125 and the Baggs LB6) that use individual piezo crystals, rather than a continuous element. With these pickups, you'll need a version that spaces the crystals slightly further apart in order to work properly with the wider string-spacing on a 12-string.
I know you didn't ask about magnetic pickups, but just in case, there's something to consider with those: Even though many players (including Leo Kottke) find that they work great on a 12, some players find that the unwound octave strings end up over-powering the wound strings, which results in an unbalanced sound.
I've been banging my head on this one for years, what is the best way I can balance the sound between the unwound and the wound strings on a 12 string with a magnetic pickup. Or is there such a type of magnetic pickup even made?

Example of my style on one of my videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewsUfo6mF7Y

Thanks
I use an L.R. Baggs M1A active sound hole pickup. It has adjustable pole pieces for each string (or 12 string pair). Until I can afford a second, I have it mounted temporarily and move it back and forth between my S&P 12 cedar and my Martin D-16R.
When needed, I pump it through a Baggs Para DI.
Hi WW,

I just wanted to say I really enjoyed your playing on "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly." I had to downoad that video and turn it into an MP3!

It was missing just one small thing however. The "oh hee ho" chanting that's in the original work.

Again, I really enjoyed it!
I have had good success replacing some of the stock octave strings that come in the package with substitutes. Currently on my Washburn D13S-12, I replace the .018 plain steel octave A with a .020 phosphor bronze wound string. This reduces the volume of this string through my Dean Markley ProMag pickup so that it matches the regular A string. I also replace the stock .009 octave G with a .010. This raises the volume noticeably so that it also matches the regular G. (Yes, that .001" does make a significant difference!) I also rotate the pickup slightly counter-clockwise (facing the guitar) in the soundhole. This gives me a well balanced sound. You will have to experiment to see what substitutes work best with your particular guitar/string set/pickup combination. Online retailers and even good music stores stock individual strings. I hope this helps!
appreciate it. thanks.
Teja Gerken, Senior Editor said:
Pretty much any pickup that works for six-string will also work on a 12-string. The only undersaddle pickups that would require special attention are the older designs (like the Fishman AG-125 and the Baggs LB6) that use individual piezo crystals, rather than a continuous element. With these pickups, you'll need a version that spaces the crystals slightly further apart in order to work properly with the wider string-spacing on a 12-string.
I know you didn't ask about magnetic pickups, but just in case, there's something to consider with those: Even though many players (including Leo Kottke) find that they work great on a 12, some players find that the unwound octave strings end up over-powering the wound strings, which results in an unbalanced sound.

I had a 1976 Takamine F-400S that I wanted to amplify, so I took a DiMarzio copy of a Les Paul Gold Top soapbar and carved a walnnut surround that provided a friction-fit for the plastic housing and mounted it in the soundhole with double-sided carpet tape (on the inside). Between the movable pickup sliding in the friction-fit and the adjustable pole pieces and a 500K tone pot it reproduced the natural tone quite satisfactorily for me. The width of the soap-bar itself was a very good match for the string spacing. When I was satisfied that it was going to do the job I wanted I made the installation permanent by mounting the surround with gold humbucker elevation screws through the rosette and AllParts Tiger-Eye volume and tone knobs to compiment the guitar's gold hardware. I made the decision to have the tone I wanted and left the notion of "collectability" on the table. It was a custom guitar, and when I sold it I I almost doubled the purchase price because the buyer wanted the tone I had created with the mods. It looked and sounded beautiful. That tone was based on light-gauge strings, a plastic thumbpick and National metal fingerpicks. Good luck with your amplification project BroX. Experimentation is the key, IMHO.
Howdy, I have a Taylor 855 that came with a Fishman premium system (undersaddle as well as a microphone). Not their new expression system. While I hate the fact that the controls are in this big block on the side of the guitar, it does sound rather decent. Due to the microphone, it doesn't have too much of that piezo "quackiness" that just an undersaddle pickup would have. I actually like this setup better than Taylor's expression systems. But that is pretty subjective judgment.

I think any of the good undersaddle pickups like Fishman and LR Baggs would be a good choice. However, these always have that quackiness issue to my ears. If you are looking for something that does not require surgery to install (like compensating the bridge for the undersaddle pickup), I would recommend the K&K Trinity systems. http://www.kksound.com/. This system is glued onto the bridge plate underneath the top of the guitar. I have this setup on one of my Martin dreadnoughts and it sounds very good. They have it with and without a preamp. Not knowing your guitar make/model it's hard to recommend whether to go with a preamp or not. But I've heard these systems without a preamp and they put out a pretty strong signal as is. If you wind up needing a preamp, you could always add an external one. The only downside to this pickup system is that it might pickup extraneous noise (finger taps) from your right hand hitting the top.

The other pickup alternative is the McIntyre acoustic feather. Lot's of folks I know like the sound of that pickup, but it will definitely need a preamp (external).

Pete
thanks for all the helpful info. The guitar I'm talking about is an Alvarez AD60S. I picked it up cheap so I'm not looking to make it something it's not. Teja's comments reminded me that I did have a Seymour Duncan Woody pickup in the bottom of my guitar stuff box (lol). Anyway it is easy to put in and take off. I'll put up some recordings to get you guys input. Thanks again. I'll put up a picture now too.
yeah a piezo don't care if there are 12 strings or 6. Go for it ..
Have a new bridge handy in case you break yours during the un-installation process.
Save the old bridge to get measurements from if it breaks ..
I got an Artec that has piezo / neodymium sound hole pickup and a mic inside. * triple pickup system *
it offers more sound choice but the neo has a tendency to pick up EM from computer monitors and is useless when recording close to a computer monitor.
which is all the time for me since i'm both artist and engineer .. hehe ..
i got it from ebay for about 75 bucks ..
a lot of guitars have the Artec pickup in them with a different name stamped on the battery case.
Thats an option you can request from Artec if you want your logo / brand on the pickup controller.
ok .. hope this helps .. good luck ..
Jeff Williams
www.jeffwilliams-usa.com
I have a passive Fishman under-saddle in my Martin D12X1. It's nice. I use a K&K Pure Preamp with it at times to tweak the tone. The K&K Pure Western passive pickups are also very nice. I have the K&K pickups in two other guitars.

The Fishman is less feedback prone than the K&K pickup.

John
I've got the K&K Mini Western (3-contact transducer) in my Breedlove and it's a GREAT pickup. Not terribly expensive and it provides exceptionally true tone. They are passive but deliver a strong signal without a pre-amp. I do use a LR Baggs Gig-Pro pre-amp at times, just to get it really dialed in.

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