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View Full Version : Do Certain Strings Lend Themselves Better to Pickup?



the.ronin
08-29-2015, 09:47 AM
Do different strings lend themselves better to pickups? I've got Fremonts on one Tenor and Oasis brights on another tenor. The ideal gains are so different on these strings. Where its at with the Fremonts, just sounds way too much for the Oasis (needs to be adjusted down by maybe more than a half turn!). I think I might prefer the Fremonts.

Although I always thought both Fremonts and Oasis are fourocarbon strings like Worths or is that not right? Otherwise I wouldn't think they should sound so different plugged in (ones a Kamaka tenor and the others a KoAloha tenor).

I'm also trying to make sure it's not an issue with my pickups. The ones with the Fremont have a MiSi pickup with a MiSi element and the tenor with the Oasis has a MiSi pickup with a Fishman Matrix element.

And as an aside, I'm plugging them into a THR5A, an acoustic practice amp that mimics different mic models rather than amp models. It also allows me to blend the mic and the direct pickup and I have that at 25/75 favoring the mic.

the.ronin
08-29-2015, 10:52 AM
Ohhh ... I have a bone saddle in my HF3 and the stock Tusq saddle in the KoAloha. Could that be it? I will try and swap them to see I think I still have the old saddle.

Kekani
08-29-2015, 11:21 AM
Although I always thought both Fremonts and Oasis are fourocarbon strings like Worths or is that not right? Otherwise I wouldn't think they should sound so different plugged in (ones a Kamaka tenor and the others a KoAloha tenor).

I'm also trying to make sure it's not an issue with my pickups. The ones with the Fremont have a MiSi pickup with a MiSi element and the tenor with the Oasis has a MiSi pickup with a Fishman Matrix element.

Although I can't comment on Fremont and Oasis, I can comment on composite strings. Suffice to say there is a VERY distinct difference between Savarez Alliance and Worth. If feel is what your after, I have to admit, the Worth's are very soft on the fingers, and soft on everything else. Savarez, a LOT tighter, but I think in a very good way. If you're thinking they should be alike, I would suggest they probably aren't, but others may have better comments specific to those strings.

I'm sort of confused in your pickups, and yes, semantics are at play. LRBaggs Element UST, Fishman Matrix, and Misi Acoustic Trio are three different pickups. I'm not sure how you have a "Misi pickup with a Misi element" and a "Misi pickup with a Fishman Matrix element". But, I guess it could be done. Totally custom to what you want.

The first one I don't get, because Misi already uses a LRBaggs UST pickup.
The second one, if I were to guess, has a Misi pickup, with a Fishman Matrix pre? This I don't get either, because the Misi pre has Fishman DNA (which is why I think they sound alike), but I'm not getting if you installed a Matrix UST to the Misi pre. And I'm lost on the element.

Not that this matters to your initial post, but I'm definitely interested in how you customized the pickups, if that's what happened. Sorry for the derail, but your pickup setups are interesting.


Ohhh ... I have a bone saddle in my HF3 and the stock Tusq saddle in the KoAloha. Could that be it? I will try and swap them to see I think I still have the old saddle.
Graph Tech will certainly promote Tusq, which I use. Baggs also recommends composite materials for their UST's, ie: Tusq. I think once you run through a PA, most will not be able to provide enough clarity to discern the difference. If I recall, Kamaka installs Tusq.

What kind of issues are your having? You seems to have pretty standard setups - is there a weak link past what you have?

the.ronin
08-29-2015, 11:42 AM
Thank you for the response.

That's the thing - I'm not sure I have any issues. I am entirely new to plugged in ukes and just recently had systems installed on both of my tenors.

Since writing, I've swapped the saddle as well as the entire set of strings from both ukes. They sound VERY different through my amp ...

- KoAloha w/ MiSi system sounds great to me on clean settings with my gain at 75%. But I cant get much more out of than that.

- Kamaka w/ MiSi + Fishman Matrix element sounds WAY overdriven at the same settings. To get to the same sound, I need to bring my tone to 25% and really crank the gain down to just when it becomes audible and compensate with the volume. To be clear, I can get to a similar sound that I like though and I have a lot of headroom on the gain and volume.

So the only difference is the elements. But should these sound SO different? I thought I'd ruled out all the other variables (except for exact same ukes).

As an aside, the tech that's been doing my pickup installations warned that the MiSi (LR Baggs?) element was too wide for the narrow Kamaka HF3 slot so we went with the Fishman Matrix instead.

Kekani
08-29-2015, 09:27 PM
I'm confused with you're use of the term "element" as to me, that refers to an LRBaggs product.

My confusion aside, I agree with what Hippieguy said in your tech talk post (no wonder I was getting deja vu). I do feel that the instrument WILL sound different, as the job of a good pickup is to make the instrument louder.

That said, the preamp will make a difference. Ime, Fishman is more gainy than Baggs, which leads me to believe Misi will be the same (Misi has ex-Fishman designers). They also share the infamous Fishman "quack" which some players go for.

All things being equal (in your case they're not), you'll need to up the gain on the Baggs vs Fishman, which is what I think you're experiencing. Run a Para-acoustic DI in front of the Baggs, and you won't put that instrument down.

I hope this helps.

the.ronin
08-30-2015, 04:06 AM
Oh I must be using the wrong term - I aplogize for that you clearly know pickups very well. Yes, I mean the little strip thingy that goes in the saddle. What is the proper term for that as I assume little strip thingy is not it?

Actually, and this is really more relevant to my other thread that you pointed out, there is nothing normal about the difference produced according to my tech - there is indeed something wrong with how the "little strip thingy" got seated. That may be the wrong term to - "seated". What I mean is how the little strip thingy is placed into the slot on the wooden thingy on the body of the uke. Again apologies for my lack of familiarity with ukulele pickup vernacular.

Kekani
08-30-2015, 08:12 AM
Oh I must be using the wrong term - I aplogize for that you clearly know pickups very well. Yes, I mean the little strip thingy that goes in the saddle. What is the proper term for that as I assume little strip thingy is not it?

Actually, and this is really more relevant to my other thread that you pointed out, there is nothing normal about the difference produced according to my tech - there is indeed something wrong with how the "little strip thingy" got seated. That may be the wrong term to - "seated". What I mean is how the little strip thingy is placed into the slot on the wooden thingy on the body of the uke. Again apologies for my lack of familiarity with ukulele pickup vernacular.

I normally use piezo or UST (more often).
Actually, I just read on Frank Ford's site - he referred to it as a piezo element.

Again, my confusion because I deal with Baggs more than anything, so I'm thinking "element" in more like a Kleenex or Xerox realm. I just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing. I'm going to take this to tech, just to keep one thread if you don't mind.