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Thread: Pickup for a laminate Concert

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    17

    Default Pickup for a laminate Concert

    Hi

    I've been playing my Kala KA-C for a few years, and am thinking of fitting a pickup, probably end pin under saddle active.

    The obvious choices for good pickups seem to be the likes of LR Baggs or MiSi, however my question is whether these would be wasted on what is essentially a budget laminate. The pickup would cost more than the instrument.

    Given the lack of solid wood etc, would I notice a difference with a budget Chinese type pickup, or given plugged in is 'less resonant', will that narrow the gap in sound quality between laminate and a higher quality solid?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    1,269

    Default

    I wanted to fit one of my ukes with a pickup to get more volume when our group played monthly in a noisy tavern with no PA. I found the best bet was to find a cheap but decent uke on eBay with a pickup installed. Got a Makala concert for $70. I replaced the tuners ($15) but haven’t touched it otherwise. You might consider that since it requires no fiddling by you and you have another uke!
    KoAlana KCA- 0010 mahogany concert <VBG> Ohana CK-50WG concert (solid cedar top, willow back/sides) Ohana SK-35G solid mahogany gloss finish soprano Fluke natural concert <BG> Firefly maple concert banjolele <yee-haw!> Koa soprano Flea Islander MAT-4 spalted maple tenor Makala MK-CE concert Lanakai LU-21 baritone

    Raleigh Uke Jam:

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
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    4,416

    Default

    I would ask what you need more volume for, it wouldn't be cost effective putting an expensive pick up into your KA-C.

    Another option to obtain more volume is a microphone & amplifier - or even just using a plectrum.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.
    Formerly known as uke1950.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    2,075

    Default

    Your Kala with a quality pickup will probably sound just as good as anything else when amplified. The sound is going to be transferred directly to the pickup from the strings, through the saddle to the pickup. A bone saddle might be a good investment too. If you like your Kala, just do it!
    Just Play

    Sopranos: 1st uke, Lanikai soprano LU-11 - Aquilas | 30's Martin style 0 - Martins | Fender Piha'eu - Worth Browns | Lanikai banjolele - Fremont Blacklines
    Concerts: Kanile'a K-2 CP - Living Water | Islander AC-4 - Living Water | Ohana CK-28 Nunes - Martins
    UBass: Kala Exotic Mahogany - Road Toad Pahoehoe

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Oop North in England
    Posts
    5,179

    Default

    I've noticed from listening to instruments (mostly guitars) with under saddle pickups that the pick up tends to create something of a samey sound for all instruments. I've also seen it suggested not to bother fitting an under saddle pickup to your best instrument but to buy a decent midrange instrument for playing plugged in.

    On that basis why not fit a decent quality pickup to your Kala and use it as your Ukulele for plugging in. That way you get a decent plugged in sound without excessive outlay.
    Geoff Walker

    I have several ukuleles in various sizes and am not planning on getting any more...

    at least, not yet.

    I also play some blowy things and a squeezy thing

    Internet:
    You Tube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TootlinGeoff
    Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/tootlingeoff

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Thanks all. So a bit more digging and I came across a Headway Snake 3 pickup, which seems to retail for near the price of the expensive pickups, but this listing was about half the price, so hopefully a decent pickup (looks more like the thin LR Baggs type transducer rather than the fat cheap ones), but at a good price. I like the idea of not butchering an expensive UKE, and if this sounds decent plugged in then it leaves the way for a more expensive solid all acoustic down the line

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Arizona
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    Default

    Good luck! I don't know much about pickups, but the big difference I see is the Baggs and Misi use a coin size battery, the Headway uses a 9 volt? You don't have to "butcher" your uke, a good install won't even be noticeable.
    Just Play

    Sopranos: 1st uke, Lanikai soprano LU-11 - Aquilas | 30's Martin style 0 - Martins | Fender Piha'eu - Worth Browns | Lanikai banjolele - Fremont Blacklines
    Concerts: Kanile'a K-2 CP - Living Water | Islander AC-4 - Living Water | Ohana CK-28 Nunes - Martins
    UBass: Kala Exotic Mahogany - Road Toad Pahoehoe

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Yep the battery is the downside, but on paper the pickup style seems on a par with Misi/Baggs and list price is similar, but as I paid 50% (assuming it turns up!) I'm OK with the compromise.

    I'm assuming the volume let's you turn it off so you don't have to disconnect the battery every time which would be annoying, but I will be sure to do a review as I've not seen much on this (though the make gets a lot of good pressure in guitar circles).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Oop North in England
    Posts
    5,179

    Default

    Most pickup systems seem to have an on/off switch built in to the socket where you plug it in so plugging in the jack turns it on and removing it turns it off.
    Geoff Walker

    I have several ukuleles in various sizes and am not planning on getting any more...

    at least, not yet.

    I also play some blowy things and a squeezy thing

    Internet:
    You Tube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TootlinGeoff
    Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/tootlingeoff

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