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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: EMG Banjo pickup


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/357562

JGraffrath - Posted - 10/08/2019:  10:16:27


I see alot of people recommend the EMG.
I don't understand. Mine sounds like a twangy electric guitar and nothing like my banjo.
Am I doing something wrong?

Installed without the buffers at the exact spot recommended.
Run direct into the board.

This is what it sounds like soundcloud.com/gatorbluegrass/...ome-place

rudy - Posted - 10/08/2019:  12:35:36


quote:

Originally posted by JGraffrath

I see alot of people recommend the EMG.

I don't understand. Mine sounds like a twangy electric guitar and nothing like my banjo.

Am I doing something wrong?



Installed without the buffers at the exact spot recommended.

Run direct into the board.



This is what it sounds like soundcloud.com/gatorbluegrass/...ome-place






The EMG is a magnetic pickup that senses string motion and converts it to electrical signal.



The electric guitar pickup senses string motion and converts it to electrical signal.



I'm not sure why anyone would expect them to sound significantly different.



 


Edited by - rudy on 10/08/2019 12:36:25

Mike Rowe - Posted - 10/08/2019:  17:44:16


I've had one for a couple months now. It sounds like an amplified banjo, not an electric guitar. I couldn't be happier with it. I don't know why yours sounds that way. Have you contacted them? Might be a place to start.

Richard Hauser - Posted - 10/09/2019:  10:04:45


I thought is sounded all right.

budbennett - Posted - 10/09/2019:  12:34:09


I think it sounds great. I don't hear twangy electric guitar in any way- sorry you are not happy with it but it sounds normal to me.

petereckel - Posted - 10/10/2019:  04:31:44


If you don’t mind spending a little. I use a Pickup the world piezo pickup through a Tonedexter pre amp and I’m stoked with my sound.

stevedenver - Posted - 10/10/2019:  07:05:02


I didnt hear any electric guitar twang.

If you do, check that it isnt touching the head.

I love my emg, and use it , so far, without dampeners or metal strips for the head.

Best part, my acoustic tone is completely unaffected.

stevedenver - Posted - 10/10/2019:  14:20:48


quote:

Originally posted by rudy

quote:

Originally posted by JGraffrath

I see alot of people recommend the EMG.

I don't understand. Mine sounds like a twangy electric guitar and nothing like my banjo.

Am I doing something wrong?



Installed without the buffers at the exact spot recommended.

Run direct into the board.



This is what it sounds like soundcloud.com/gatorbluegrass/...ome-place






The EMG is a magnetic pickup that senses string motion and converts it to electrical signal.



The electric guitar pickup senses string motion and converts it to electrical signal.



I'm not sure why anyone would expect them to sound significantly different.



 






An active pick up like an emg for banjo does sound very different, at least to my ears.



Gibson humbuckers have a sound, tele, strat, etc. They do have individual voices. EMGs are known for crystaline clarity. Some call it a sterile sound. I would callit hi-fi.



Because the pick up is a goodly distance from the string, the signal is relatively weak, not unlike a low out put pick up. This tends to give clarity and definition, due to a low signal output.



Otoh, is you have tried a kavanjo, they tend to be a bit stronger in signal. A bit more overdriven banjo sound.



They really are great for playing with a fully amplified band, and, have little feedback issues. acoustically,.........well, imho, there is a much bigger impact/compromise.



 



Tonedexters are amazing, but.....you need to have a superb source, ie great piezo, or better still, mic, in order to tonedexter to learn and digitize that mic sound. Once done, you get amazing sounds.  But, given both the tonedexter and the price of a top studio mic, it can get expensive. OTOH, you get the sound of a mic, and are free to move about the stage.



 


Edited by - stevedenver on 10/10/2019 14:23:52

petereckel - Posted - 10/10/2019:  15:23:47


quote:

Originally posted by stevedenver

quote:

Originally posted by rudy

quote:

Originally posted by JGraffrath

I see alot of people recommend the EMG.

I don't understand. Mine sounds like a twangy electric guitar and nothing like my banjo.

Am I doing something wrong?



Installed without the buffers at the exact spot recommended.

Run direct into the board.



This is what it sounds like soundcloud.com/gatorbluegrass/...ome-place






The EMG is a magnetic pickup that senses string motion and converts it to electrical signal.



The electric guitar pickup senses string motion and converts it to electrical signal.



I'm not sure why anyone would expect them to sound significantly different.



 






An active pick up like an emg for banjo does sound very different, at least to my ears.



Gibson humbuckers have a sound, tele, strat, etc. They do have individual voices. EMGs are known for crystaline clarity. Some call it a sterile sound. I would callit hi-fi.



Because the pick up is a goodly distance from the string, the signal is relatively weak, not unlike a low out put pick up. This tends to give clarity and definition, due to a low signal output.



Otoh, is you have tried a kavanjo, they tend to be a bit stronger in signal. A bit more overdriven banjo sound.



They really are great for playing with a fully amplified band, and, have little feedback issues. acoustically,.........well, imho, there is a much bigger impact/compromise.



 



Tonedexters are amazing, but.....you need to have a superb source, ie great piezo, or better still, mic, in order to tonedexter to learn and digitize that mic sound. Once done, you get amazing sounds.  But, given both the tonedexter and the price of a top studio mic, it can get expensive. OTOH, you get the sound of a mic, and are free to move about the stage.



 






That's true you do need a decent mic, but I just rented one for the day to train mine. Which is a cheaper option.  Molly Tuttle talked about just using an sm57 to train her guitar so you could probably get away with that if you didn't have a nice mic. 

 



I had the EMG and didn't like the sound at all. But I'm stoked with my sound now. 

JGraffrath - Posted - 10/10/2019:  23:45:03


I really am not happy with the sound in the clip. It sounds so compressed and fake. Un-natural and absolutely nothing like the demo's of the pickup i've seen. Which is why i've been curious if i'm doing something wrong or if I need to change to a bridge peizo or a feather condenser.
I've been very curious about clip on condensers.

stevedenver - Posted - 10/11/2019:  07:06:30


I listened again.  Instrumentally, imho, its ok. Yes it seems (thru my little tablet speakers) everything is about the same level. The banjo doesnt stand out in any way, imho, with “bad tone”.



 



Perhaps the slightest touch of verb? Not enough to be able to identify it, just enough to add a tiny bit of note bloom...no echo or bounce.



Frankly, to my ear, in the mix, your banjo sounds fine.



But, I understand if you’re not happy. Experimenting with new gear, which i have done for decades, does add up.



better fidelity is likely going to come via a good quality mic.



fwiw, 



i have been very happy with my schertler transducer, fwiw, for mando.transparent. Attachs with an inert reusable putty. Downside is that they require phantom power. Fine if you always have a pa, less so if you occasionally cobble together amps for unpowered venues, like street fairs and markets.



downside 2 is that while the putty is  very effective, one unintended yank on the patch cord, and off it comes (unless you otherwise secure the cord against this).



downside 3, mounted to the head, anywhere, feedback is a greater issue.



a good shotgun mic, about $250 +, will give great sound. But, you can’t move from the sweet spot, not even a few inches.



Last couple of years, i played in an acoustic bg band with a guy from the violent femmes. He used a rover banjo with a cheap piezo, secured with duct tape. Still sounded just like a banjo...lol. In concert with the femmes, he used a resonator good times with a kavanjo. About the same sound.



 


Edited by - stevedenver on 10/11/2019 07:25:08

stevedenver - Posted - 10/11/2019:  07:28:20


quote:

Originally posted by stevedenver

I listened again.  Instrumentally, imho, its ok. Yes it seems (thru my little tablet speakers) everything is about the same level. The banjo doesnt stand out in any way, imho, with “bad tone”.



 



Perhaps the slightest touch of verb? Not enough to be able to identify it, just enough to add a tiny bit of note bloom...no echo or bounce.



Frankly, to my ear, in the mix, your banjo sounds fine.



But, I understand if you’re not happy. Experimenting with new gear, which i have done for decades, does add up.



better fidelity is likely going to come via a good quality mic. Perhaps a clip on condenser indeed.



fwiw, 



i have been very happy with my schertler transducer, fwiw, for mando.transparent. Attachs with an inert reusable putty. Downside is that they require phantom power. Fine if you always have a pa, less so if you occasionally cobble together amps for unpowered venues, like street fairs and markets. They make a banjo version. Im not sure how they differ, other than sensitivity to certain ranges. (I use the “mando” version on my martins, and they sound like a guitar.



downside 2 is that while the putty is  very effective, one unintended yank on the patch cord, and off it comes (unless you otherwise secure the cord against this).



downside 3, mounted to the head, anywhere, feedback is a greater issue.



a good shotgun mic, about $250 +, will give great sound. But, you can’t move from the sweet spot, not even a few inches.



Last couple of years, i played in an acoustic bg band with a guy from the violent femmes. He used a rover banjo with a cheap piezo, secured with duct tape. Still sounded just like a banjo...lol. In concert with the femmes, he used a resonator good times with a kavanjo. About the same sound.



 






 


Edited by - stevedenver on 10/11/2019 07:31:16

stevedenver - Posted - 10/11/2019:  07:41:45


Whoops

steen - Posted - 10/14/2019:  05:50:15


Ah. On a recording, you expect an acoustic sound, which this is not quite in my ears. It sounds as if all instruments are recorded right through the cables of their pickups. Even the double bass sounds "fretted" or something. It is all very balanced and fine equalized, but not the real (acoustic) deal.
However: These things are meant for stage use, and I am sure, they will make a GREAT job there, because that is an entirely different situation with other demands (even if a true acoustic sound may be preferable there too). Steen

steen - Posted - 10/15/2019:  03:18:35


I have always experimented - still do. If I had one of those magnetic EMG pickups, I would from an old G-string cut two pices that had the length of the two magnets. On top of the banjo head and just over the two magnets (across the banjo strings) I would glue these two pieces of G- string. If this works (which it should do, it should produce a whole lot more power (maybe too much), because the two string pieces will be much closer to the magnets than the banjo strings, - and MORE IMPORTANT: It might produce a a more NATURAL sound, since the magnets will sense the vibrations of the banjo head and not (only) the strings. It may also produce some more feed back, since a banjohead is more sensible to sounds from at loudspeaker than a string is . But give it a try.

I should love to hear some feed back from an other "experiment lover" :) Steen


Edited by - steen on 10/15/2019 03:20:27

JGraffrath - Posted - 10/16/2019:  07:03:00


It comes with magnetic strips you attach to the banjo head but it didn't seem to make much of any difference when I put them on.

banjohood - Posted - 10/25/2019:  10:19:13


JGraffrath , in my experience, that's just the way a magnetic bar pickup sounds in a banjo. EMG, Gold Tone SMP, Kavanjo, they all have a similar sound. Of the types of banjo pickups, they sound the least realistic. But they resist feedback and take guitar effects better than other types.



I've tried a lot of different pickup types, trying to find the most realistic sound, and I got frustrated like you. I agree with previous comments about the Tonedexter. A quality piezo (I use a Schatten) with a Tonedexter preamp is the best thing going for a realistic tone. I've used it in lots of different venues and stages with consistently great results. Second best to that (that I've tried) is the Schatten pickup and mic blender system. Good luck!


Edited by - banjohood on 10/25/2019 10:21:28

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