Bill Rogers (Moderator)
Recently a couple of younger players came into Gryphon with three Openback banjos--very decent ones, by Enoch and Rickard. . They wanted Schatten piezo under-bridge pickups installed, holes through the shell and all. … Is this a new thing? I have no idea why you’d need a pickup on an Openback.. Presumably for some sort of stage work. Anyone run into this?
Edited by - Bill Rogers on 09/21/2023 20:49:39
I used to play into a Shure microphone, which was good enough for noisy Irish bars.
Guys performing in concert venues probably need something a little more sensitive to the nuances of the music.
I think Chris Coole, Frank Lee, Richie Stearns and others use some sort of on-board pick-up/mic systems.
Maybe they're playing Malian jazz: Cheick Hamala Diabate: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
Electric amplification is nice to have to have even if you're not doing sick synth pedal riffs though
I've run into lot's of folks, putting some type pickup on acoustic instruments; nothing new; fairly common on banjos, guitars, fiddles, mandos, acoustic bass. Mostly would need it on open back, or any of those instruments... as a means for amplification like when playing on stage. Playing into a microphone can work well, my preferred way. But can run into issues if sound system/person; mics, monitors, placement, separation, room aren't set up well; esp as try to make it LOUD. Pickups can perhaps seem as easy solution some those issues (not necessarily best); and by default typically give more gain before feedback. It can also give player a little more personal control of volume/tone (vs hands of soundperson). As well PU, allows for a bit of freedom of mobility on stage; which some folks like.
Most folks above are are still wanting to sound natural; but that you can also use the pickup system to run thru various effects... some will take that to purposely make sound less natural acoustic, more like electric, overdriven... or other sonic textures.
Acoustic guitars are pretty good comparable example to banjo; for years folks have been putting in some pickup system; still wanting to sound acoustic, but deal with sound reinforcement issues; to point where a good part of the market are guitars come stock with a PU system.
Edited by - banjoak on 09/21/2023 22:39:43
I have an AT lavaliere mic that is pretty good. But I don't use it often.
I play in a trio at coffeehouses, farmers markets, etc…I switch between clawhammer banjo and mandolin, one guy plays acoustic- electric guitar, and the other guy switches between dobro and electric bass. I’ve often had trouble hearing myself and being heard in the mix. I’ve used a mic on a stand and also strapping one inside the pot. Both worked pretty well but have their drawbacks. Then I found a KNA BP-1 piezo banjo pickup that quickly and easily slips on the bridge. No holes or mods needed and I think it sounds fantastic and only $90!
Way back 10-12 yrs ago I was in a little acoustic duo with another guitarist. I wanted to play banjo on a couple of tunes so I put a pickup in my little Gold Tone CC-100. Both our guitars had PU systems going straight to a little mixer. I put in the pickup to avoid carrying around another mic stand and mic for one or two songs. The piezo is super glued to the head under he bridge. The small preamp/input jack is duct taped to the co-ordinator rods, so there was no hole drilling involved. Only used it a couple of times but it worked ok. Not the best sound but its convenient and there if I ever need it. The CC has nylons on it now, I should plug it in and see how that sounds.
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