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Thread: Adding a Pickup

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Eden Prairie, Minnesota
    Posts
    17

    Default Adding a Pickup

    Hi everyone,

    I've been jamming on my Islander MST-4 for quite some time now. I enjoy playing it very much. Unfortunately, it's sound gets drowned out whenever I'm playing with others, since there is pickup. I asked GC if they could do an installation. They said they could, but the installation would be 70 to 100 dollars, and the pickup is 60 to 90 dollars on top of that. This seems like a ridiculously high price to just amp up a ukulele. Would you still pay this much? It seems like a frightening idea to attempt this installation myself. I don't like drilling into 300 dollar instruments. Any thoughts are appreciated! Merry Christmas!

    Ben Anderson

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Chicago SW Suburbs, IL, USA
    Posts
    160

    Default

    Maybe try a locally owner guitar shop instead of a chain store? My local shop does pickup installs for $40 for a Pono passive pickup, so GC is over twice the labor cost. If you are talking about an active pickup here, then I don't have a cost on that install but would think it shouldn't be much more.
    John Glover
    Naperville, IL

    Koalana Soprano KSA-00
    Islander MS-4
    Islander MSC-4
    Pono MC
    Lanikai LU-22CGC
    Pono PT-6E

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    East Bay, CA.
    Posts
    916

    Default

    Check your area for custom luthiers as well. Lot's of those guys are extremely nice and helpful and definitely more reasonable than GC who is just going to take it to someone to do and mark it up double to make their profit. 50% margin is the goal in retail ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by jglover View Post
    Maybe try a locally owner guitar shop instead of a chain store? My local shop does pickup installs for $40 for a Pono passive pickup, so GC is over twice the labor cost. If you are talking about an active pickup here, then I don't have a cost on that install but would think it shouldn't be much more.
    Keep on Uke'n!
    Jay
    http://www.youtube.com/user/JayUkulele/videos
    --------------------------------------------------
    "I only need just one more..." final last words to wife.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.
    Posts
    844

    Default

    Depends on just what the pickup is that they are installing. If its an active pickup that requires a hole in the side for the controls as well as an under saddle peizo then its a perfectly reasonable quote. Mind you. As reasonable as it is I wouldn't pay good money to someone to put that style of pickup in a ukulele.

    I was pondering how I was going to amplify my ukulele's for a while and given I have numerous instruments I went with a K&K sound Meridian Pro microphone and a Meridian Pro preamp. Not cheap at about $300 but if you consider this is my pickup for a dozen ukulele's and any I buy in the future its good value in my book. If I was only going to amplify 1 ukulele I was drawn to the K&K sound dual spot pickup bugs. Bear in mind that I haven't tried them and I found the sound of a single cheap bug rather percussive but I expect a dual bug setup to be better. Also bear in mind that these internal soundboard bugs work better with a decent preamp.

    Anthony

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Central IL & Fox Valley, IL
    Posts
    5,640

    Default



    I installed this pickup myself with a drill and some patience in a $300 uke. And I'm a complete do-it-yourself wonk (looks down at hands with ten thumbs). Did it work? Like a charm.
    Martin Sopranos: 0M: 30, 64 --- 1M: 22Dit, 23Dit, 49, 55
    2M: 22, 23Dit, 49, 55, 60, 12 --- 2K: 25, 12
    3M: 25, 48, 12(c)
    Martin Tenor & Concert 1M 40
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    Pono Maple Tenor & MS Sop

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Florida Space Coast
    Posts
    7,499

    Default

    Yeah, I'd avoid spending that much on pickup and installation too. I too found a local, independant luthier that also does some jobs for local music stores. Without the middle-man, he charges way less. some stores have a guitar tech that isn't really into ukes. I too am considering the microphone solution. I have also heard some good external "stick on" pickups. As has been suggested, a good pre-amp/eq allows you to "fine tune" each instrument so that amp featurs become less critical. If an amp doesn't have a built in eq, I have had a hard time getting my ukes with passive pickups to sound decent withought an eq.

    Maybe these guys can help you locate a local, independent luthier? ..... or do the work themselves for less.....you buy the pickup.

    http://www.finearchtops.com/
    Last edited by PhilUSAFRet; 12-22-2012 at 04:41 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Vista (North County San Diego), California
    Posts
    2,889

    Default

    It's easy and inexpensive to do it yourself. Under $10 bucks:

    http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...hread.php?8560

    Like Phil says a preamp helps make the tone more natural, but I get pretty good results using the tone controls on an amp without a preamp. Do you have an amp yet? Ric

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    In the hills of New Almaden, California
    Posts
    797

    Default

    I had a MiSi installed in my Kamaka longneck concert. Pickup and installation: $100.

    Sounds real natural coming through my Roland AC-33.
    Gillian
    **********
    KoAloha longneck soprano (KSM-02)~Kamaka Longneck Concert(HF2-LK)~Eleuke MP3 concert pineapple~Kohala concert (my first uke) ~Compass Rose custom tenor~ Compass Rose custom microjumbo tenor~Kala U-Bass

    My YouTube channel

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by anthonyg View Post
    Depends on just what the pickup is that they are installing. If its an active pickup that requires a hole in the side for the controls as well as an under saddle peizo then its a perfectly reasonable quote.
    It is a "reasonable" price in Australia.
    It is a rip off in USA.

    My observation is that Australian music stores in general charge waaaaay more for both products and services than USA stores. There are exceptions of course, but labour and goods cost more here in general..

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