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This is a plea for help. I am a Luthier and one of my customers plays slide blues on a replica L1 which I made for him. It has Indian Rosewood sides and an Adirondack Spruce top. He needs a pickup adding for live work. Can anyone who has relevant experience of several types suggest a brand and type. I am a Luthier and have little knowledge of such gear but I want to fit the best. He wants the most authentic "acoustic" sound he can get yet avoid feedback problems. I was thinking os fitting a Fishman undre saddle with a ceramic soundhole pickup combined and an onboard blender. I have heard that Fishman Auras are great too. Can anyone with experience advise? Many thanks.



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My experience has lead me to the Fishman Matrix Infinity. It has a volume control as well as a midrange "scoop" control to adjust to almost any amplifier. I've installed one in a 1974 Gibson Dove and the acoustic sound quality is replicated beautifully. That's my two cents. . .

Many thanks for responding. A client of mine has also suggested Fishman Infinity so I think I will go with that. Have you any experience of the Fishman Aura Technology? Apparently it uses Digital Imaging (whatever that is!) to create an accurate acoustic sound based on prerecorded sonic images of various guitars.

Hi John, have you looked at the Highlander IP-2 set-up. It is a combined under the saddle and condenser mike fixture with a stereo out socket that can go into a blender. Leo Kottke, Martin Simpson and Laurence Juber use these as far as I understand and I have certainly heard and spoken to Martin about these on his Sobell gutars. I always promised myself this set-up on my John Hullah when I could afford it.

Good luck, Ian

Thanks for taking the time to respond. My son (28 years old) has a Highlander IP-2 and rates it highly. I take it the condenser mic is in the soundhole? I wonder if that creates feedback problems? I would be grateful if anyone who has this setup could comment?

Craig (below) and I are in complete agreement! I have a matrix infinity in my 1994 Centennial Gibson J100extra and just love it, especially the unique tone control, which is located next to the volume control just inside the soundhole. It also has a "body switch" which allows you to compensate for jumbo and small body guitars AND a tiny light on the preamp to let you know that the battery is low! I also have two Guilds with older Fishman systems in them, but this new Infinity is just the best! So that, along with Craig's 2 cents, makes 4 cents...Edward

Many thanks for taking time to reply. What a coincidence! have a 1994 Centennial Gibson L2, which is a great guitar too. I like the fact it has a body size switch, neat feature. Also, the low battery light is useful. I think I will go for the Fishman Infinity system as a lot of guitarists are making positive noises about them. I realise that there is no perfect set-up which will suit everyone but it is reassuring that you and Craig have good things to say about them.

Hey John,
I would love to see some pictures of the 1994 Centennial L2 you have! That is so cool, I love that style/size too. If you do decide to go with the Fishman Matrix Infinity, let us know what you think of it! Also, have you read the book Gibson's Fabulous Flattops?" I own both the first and second edition and just love them...lots of great info and lots of pictures! Check it out! Edward

Well that is a coincidence! I have the book too, although the first edition. It is a great book. I think it was given to me by the shop in Denmark Street, London where I bought the L2 reissue back in 1994.

I have ordered a Fishman Inifinity and will be fitting it to the Replica 1929 Gibson L1 which I made for a friend & customer. Thanks again for th tip. He is a Belgian guy who plays killer Slide Guitar. Very simple technique but very effective because he sings too with a gravelly voice, superb. His name is Gunter Lans.

I will have to take some pictures of my Gibson L2. Meanwhile here is one of another L1 replica which I made. Back in the 1920s Gibson were a small outfit and most guitar were banch made by hand which I believe is why they were so much superior to newer versions.

I also have a 1929 L1 which has tone to die for! 82 years old and still sounding great. I love the sound of it so much it inspired me to start making replicas of it.

Check out my website
Beautiful instrument John! I just love that body shape...Ever heard of Leon Redbone? I saw him in Annapolis years ago and just loved him...he too does that low gravelly singing voice and does old 30's acoustic blues. He plays a Gibson round shoulder dreadnaught with a sharp cut a way...although I can't remember the model, I know it was the predecessor to my J160E. Edward
No but I will check him out on the internet, thanks. Those J160s sound great don´t they. My son used to play one. Big sound but still a well balanced guitar. Trouble is once you´ve got used to playing 12-fret L-1 sized guitars they seem massive!
Here's a picture of Leon Redbone playing the Gibson i mentioned...

I installed a Miniflex 2Mic in both my 1959 Country Western and my 1934 Kalamazoo. I made some quick sample recordings of both guitars with a Zoom H2 in mp3 mode. There are acoustic recordings of the guitars directly into the recorder. And recordings of the pickup run into my Schertler David amp 9and recorded on the Zoom H2 about 10 ft away from the amp.

The files have not been normalized, so the volume is up and down between the different tracks. I also included tracks that ran the 2Mic into a preamp (PUTW) and then through a Fishman Platinum Pro II EQ

I like the microphones a lot. I hope to get a recording of the the pickup pumped through a house system at a coffee house this weekend.

Here is the site with the recordings


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