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View Full Version : Pickup for a tenor ukulele?



ChuckBarnett
06-23-2017, 08:01 AM
Thinking of putting a pickup in this, my first build. What do y'all do for electrifying your acoustic ukuleles? I don't need to spend top dollar but I don't want cheap either.

As always, thank you ever so much!

Flyfish57
06-23-2017, 08:09 AM
I'd go with either a Mi-Si or K&K pickup. The K&K's are easier to mount than the under saddle Mi-Si.

fungusgeek
06-23-2017, 12:01 PM
I'll go the other way. I think the under-saddle Mi-Si is easier to mount (and long term more secure) than the piezo K&K pickups which are stuck on to the underside of the soundboard with double-stick adhesive. I also am really impressed with the Mi-Si sound and technology.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-23-2017, 01:27 PM
It might stretch the budget a bit but I prefer the LR Baggs 5-0.

Kekani
06-23-2017, 01:42 PM
If a pickup goes in, LRBaggs Five.O is what goes in all if mine when they leave me.

strumsilly
06-23-2017, 02:03 PM
If a pickup goes in, LRBaggs Five.O is what goes in all if mine when they leave me.
The baggs is the pickup I like best.

photoshooter
06-23-2017, 04:25 PM
What do y'all do for electrifying your acoustic ukuleles? I don't need to spend top dollar but I don't want cheap either.

At this point I've installed a bunch of pickups for myself and for friends. Your price range will likely dictate your choices. I have 2 ukes with MiSi under saddle pickups, I think I paid $115 (each) for the parts. The MiSi has a built-in preamp and the sound quality is quite good. A step down from that would be an under saddle piezo with no preamp in which case you'd plug into an external preamp when needed. I've installed 3 or 4 of the Artec Undersaddle piezos available on eBay for $6 and have not had any problems with them. At some point I wanted to up my game just a little and I bought a handful of Tone Monster piezos from Guitar Fuel on eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/TONE-MONSTER-SAU-Ukulele-Uke-Under-Saddle-Piezo-Pickup-Flex-Design-High-Quality-/112449920555). These are very good quality piezos and still very inexpensive. I've installed 4 of these so far and they've been fine for my purposes. I'm not a luthier and I'm by no means a gigging musician. I have no doubt there are huge differences between the LR Baggs ($150) and MiSi ($115) vs the Tone Monster ($13). Mainly the inclusion of the preamp in the upper end units. However I don't think that my skill level exploits the superior sound quality offered at the higher end.

I have a couple of ukes I'm building that I hope to finish over the summer. They'll both get Tone Monster piezos. My logic is that I won't break the bank outfitting two ukes. If later I feel the need to upgrade to MiSi it's a fairly sample swapping out of one for the other.

I've never installed a K&K pickup but I recently installed a JJB Electronics pickup (http://www.jjb-electronics.com/prestige-220.html) ($40) on a friend's baritone uke. This is the type that has two piezo discs that are adhered under the soundboard. I think it sounds very nice.

I run all of these through a Behringer ADI21 to shape the sound.

sequoia
06-23-2017, 08:24 PM
If a pickup goes in, LRBaggs Five.O is what goes in all if mine when they leave me.

Ditto. The LR Baggs Five O (bags full o' money) is a great sounding way to go if you can afford it. A bit over priced if you ask me, but sounds great.

kohanmike
06-23-2017, 08:55 PM
I buy directly from China via Aliexpress.com, they come with under saddle pickups and preamps with built in tuners. They range from $15 to $40. I've added them to eight of my ukes, including two bass ukes. I use a Dremel to cut the sides. They've been working very well for 3-4 years.

Briangriffinukuleles
06-23-2017, 09:22 PM
Chuck, come by the workshop and I will show you how to install a MiSi. I have been very pleased with them.
Brian Griffin

Kekani
06-25-2017, 01:34 PM
Ditto. The LR Baggs Five O (bags full o' money) is a great sounding way to go if you can afford it. A bit over priced if you ask me, but sounds great.
Everything is relative.

From an installatiion perspective, the Fishman Matrix is easier to get "right" once you get the right size.
Prior to installing Five.O's, the LRBaggs Element UST was my go to, and Fishman Matrix prior to that.

If the Five.O is too expensive, the Element is slightly less. Both less than the Fishman..
http://www.stewmac.com/Pickups_and_Electronics/Pickups/

Chuck, pickups can become a very client based, personal thing. What should be determined is what "sound" they are looking for, and that it matches the builder as well. Fortunately, most (read: all) of my clients out the door aren't looking for the Fishman/MiSi sound, and trust when I suggest LRBaggs. If they wanted a Fishman, yes, I'd install it. I also recommend running it through a ParaAcoustic DI, or a Venue as well. That one, they don't always go for, as most of them don't go on stage, that I know of.

My friend just came over and wanted me to swap a passive pickup in his Kamaka 6 to a Five.O. Since he's ALWAYS on stage, I told him save his money and run it through his LRBaggs ParaAcoustic DI.

There are always ways to save $$$, and this thread represents that. Building for yourself, and installing a pickup for yourself is another thing entirely. You can pretty much do what you want at that point.

Farp
06-25-2017, 01:52 PM
I bought an iRig Acoustic Stage and am happy with it. No drilling. Use on different ukuleles. 99 bucks or less.

ChuckBarnett
06-27-2017, 07:49 AM
Thank you, all, for your help. I will post what I decide down the road.

ChuckBarnett
07-01-2017, 06:56 PM
Chuck, pickups can become a very client based, personal thing. What should be determined is what "sound" they are looking for, and that it matches the builder as well. Fortunately, most (read: all) of my clients out the door aren't looking for the Fishman/MiSi sound, and trust when I suggest LRBaggs.

Thank you, for a very full and informative reply! The problem with somebody who's never done this is they have never done it. :-) :-) Simply meaning I don't know what sound to look for. I have no idea what an MiSi sound is or Fishman sound is or an LR Baggs sound is for that matter. So maybe I will hold off for quite some time. Apparently there must be some clearly discernible differences in these pickups. And not just poor quality sound reproduction versus high quality sound reproduction, but I'm gathering that it's in the particular type of tone that is being produced.

Thanks once again. Hoping to become useful to somebody else down the road. :-) :-)

Kekani
07-02-2017, 09:14 AM
Thank you, for a very full and informative reply! The problem with somebody who's never done this is they have never done it. :-) :-) Simply meaning I don't know what sound to look for. I have no idea what an MiSi sound is or Fishman sound is or an LR Baggs sound is for that matter. So maybe I will hold off for quite some time. Apparently there must be some clearly discernible differences in these pickups. And not just poor quality sound reproduction versus high quality sound reproduction, but I'm gathering that it's in the particular type of tone that is being produced.

Thanks once again. Hoping to become useful to somebody else down the road. :-) :-)

Here's a vid from Aaron at HMS. Probably one of the better ones directly comparing 5 pickups - the MiSi and LRBaggs Five.O among them. IMHO, the Fishman (not reviewed in the vid) will sound closer to the MiSi.
https://vimeo.com/63940107


https://vimeo.com/63940107

Booli
07-02-2017, 11:50 AM
I'd go with either a Mi-Si or K&K pickup. The K&K's are easier to mount than the under saddle Mi-Si.

Also +1 to the tone considerations - IMHO the K&K (and Schatten, Shertler & similar), being a surface transducer will have a more 'open' and woody tone compared the the tone of an under-saddle transducer such as the Mi-Si or Five.0 which tend to be more compressed and have more 'attack'...

Also, a 'system' that has it's own (internal) preamp will eliminate the problem of impedance mismatch, which is omnipresent in the use of passive pickups, and passive pickups are both a concern and headache when they give brittle and harsh tone due to the impedance mismatch, which is easily remedied by using an external preamp, such as the Behringer ADI-21, LR Baggs Para DI or Venue DI, or the Radial PZDI or similar which will correct the impedance mismatch for use with nearly any amp, PA or recording system...

I've written many posts here on UU about 'impedance mismatch', additionally also many posts on this topic by ricdoug and others too...

Geeky666
07-02-2017, 05:19 PM
I just switched from the Misi trio to K&K Aloha Twin. The Misi to my ears was harsh and over driven sounding. The K&K should need a preamp in most cases. The K&K sounds more "woody" or natural in my opinion. I use a pick though and your mileage may differ.