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View Full Version : All My Ukes are Pickuped, now...



OldePhart
10-06-2012, 02:09 PM
...or on their way to being so.

I liked the JJB soundboard pickups that I put in my Mainland sopranos so much that I ordered several more.

I put a model 200 (two sensors) in my Baritone - didn't notice at first but I initially had an issue with one lead touching a brace and causing a buzz at a particular note - fixed with a dab of hot-melt to hold the lead off the brace. I need to remember to record a replacement for the sound sample I posted earlier.

Tonight I put another JJB-100 in my coffee-can resonator uke...waiting for strings to settle in so I can set the bridge and do a sound sample.

I also didn't stop with the ukes - I ordered a 200 (2 pickups) for my Meinl wood bongo. I figured that if it didn't work I would pull the pickup out and use it on something else later. It actually worked pretty good. I put one transducer in approximately the center of each "head." I was a little concerned about whether the transducers would pick up the differences between a corner slap and a center hit, etc. It seems to have worked pretty well. Once I learn to actually play them instead of make random noises, I'll post a sound sample. I'm thinking I may actually get another jack and wire one transducer to each jack, so I can record the bongos in stereo...

I still have two pickups left that will go in my two longneck sopranos but I forgot to order an endpin jack for the KoAloha (even I can't bring myself to mount a panel jack in the side of the KoAloha... :) ).

John

Hippie Dribble
10-06-2012, 02:17 PM
wow brother, with that many pickups I can't believe you're not on America's Hottest Bachelor's shortlist :p

OldePhart
10-06-2012, 02:21 PM
wow brother, with that many pickups I can't believe you're not on America's Hottest Bachelor's shortlist :p

Well...I suspect my wife could 'splain that mystery to you... :biglaugh:

Yeah...I pretty much have to settle for electronic pickups now...it's been so long I've done forgot what other kinds there might be. ;)

John

mm stan
10-06-2012, 05:44 PM
You must got alot of Pick up lines by now.....LOL:o

Sonic
10-06-2012, 07:54 PM
Hi, OldePhart. I would like to ask some more about pickups question from your experiences.

Do you think installation of those inner pickup will affect the sound or change the sound tone which is noticeable to player?
And do you recommend those external transducer pickup as sound quality ?

:D

OldePhart
10-07-2012, 07:57 AM
Hi, OldePhart. I would like to ask some more about pickups question from your experiences.

Do you think installation of those inner pickup will affect the sound or change the sound tone which is noticeable to player?
And do you recommend those external transducer pickup as sound quality ?

:D

Well...literally anything you do to an instrument is going to change the sound at some level. Even a lightweight soundboard transducer can change the way a top vibrates - witness another thread where a couple of people had noticed that one note (Ab if I recall) was "dead" on a particular model of uke. Just attaching a couple of pennies to the soundboard greatly improved the situation by moving the dead spot out of the audio range or to some point between concert-pitch notes.

I really dislike under saddle pickups for three reasons (though they are convenient and I have MiSi pickups in both of my tenor ukes). Anyway, the three reasons are: Under saddle pickups tend to have quite a bit of compression. They tend to pick up "thudiness" more than soundboard pickups do - it can be EQ'd out but that's one more thing to deal with. And, three I don't care what anyone says, they do alter slightly the acoustic volume and tone response of the instrument. If installation is perfect and the pickup is one of the thin ones then that alteration might not be greatly noticeable but it's definitely there.

I find that soundboard pickups give a more natural, uncompressed sound - i.e. they sound more like the instrument played acoustically and mic'd. Now...some people don't like that because they actually want the increased sustain from the compression and that's fine. But, if you're trying to sound "acoustic, but louder" and play with a lot of dynamic range then I think soundboard is the way to go, especially for recording.

I've only tried one external soundboard pickup. It wasn't bad sounding, but was not very convenient. One recording I did with it I ended up having to scrap the pickup audio and use the camera audio because I apparently brushed the pickup at some point and pulled it away from the soundboard a little. The external pickups are also usually mounted in a big block of wood which means you're putting a larger weight on the board that might alter the response. Also, the external pickups seem to be even more prone to handling noise than the internal ones.

So far for me I like soundboard transducers installed inside the best. The recorded sound is closest to natural. There is a little more instrument handling noise then what you get with a microphone, but otherwise the pickups work well and the convenience is worth it.

lambchop
10-07-2012, 12:05 PM
I am going to look inot these. I do have to say that the L R Baggs 5.0 system I put in my Kamaka is really very, very ncie and very true to the sound. I can plug into basically any system and get a good sound out of it. It's undersaddle, but has seemingly few of the drawbacks you identify. By the way, I would think that soundboard pickups would pick up a lot of the handling noise of the uke, but sounds like you do not find that an issue. Hey, I'm always looking for the perfect pick-up (no jokes, please) so thanks for the tip!

OldePhart
10-07-2012, 01:57 PM
I am going to look inot these. I do have to say that the L R Baggs 5.0 system I put in my Kamaka is really very, very ncie and very true to the sound. I can plug into basically any system and get a good sound out of it. It's undersaddle, but has seemingly few of the drawbacks you identify. By the way, I would think that soundboard pickups would pick up a lot of the handling noise of the uke, but sounds like you do not find that an issue. Hey, I'm always looking for the perfect pick-up (no jokes, please) so thanks for the tip!

I've heard good things of the Baggs 5.0 but, like I said, every undersaddle transducer I've tried comes with quite a bit of compression. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be.

The soundboard transducers definitely suffer from handling noise. It's usually a problem before you start playing, though, more than while you are playing. Though, I suppose if you are the sort that drags an arm across the soundboard while playing it could be quite a problem!

Oh...what really sold me on these BTW was a test I ran after installing one in my mahogany soprano. I recorded the pickup in one channel and a microphone in the other (a Shure 58, as I don't have a good condensor mic yet). That test was when I realized just how much compression that the MiSi pickups in my tenors really have - there was very little difference in dynamic range between the microphone and the pickup on the soprano while when comparing a MiSi to the microphone it seemed like the MiSi sustains forever and doesn't have the dynamic range.

John

chrimess
10-07-2012, 02:12 PM
John.
I suppose you need a new signature line, now.

OldePhart
10-07-2012, 02:52 PM
John.
I suppose you need a new signature line, now.

Heh, heh. Took me a second to figure that one out. But, nope, I still don't choose ukes by how loud they are...I choose 'em by how they sound and then I amp 'em. :)

John

peaceweaver3
10-07-2012, 03:42 PM
I'm thinking I may actually get another jack and wire one transducer to each jack, so I can record the bongos in stereo...
Now that would be really cool! :D

Can these pickups be tested and removed from a uke if you decide you truly do like acoustic sound best? Or must there be holes/drillings involved? :o

Sonic
10-07-2012, 04:09 PM
Thanks OldePhart :D

I really like those acoustic sound which is pure and natural so I will not use those undersaddle or inner EQ controller in my 1st priority fav uke.

Additionally I agree that the loudness is not my first priority in uke choice, tone / sound colour is my 1st priority :rolleyes:

OldePhart
10-07-2012, 04:56 PM
Now that would be really cool! :D

Can these pickups be tested and removed from a uke if you decide you truly do like acoustic sound best? Or must there be holes/drillings involved? :o

I suppose you could carefully dangle the jack out the soundhole instead of installing it but you'd have to be careful not to scratch the uke and, of course, there is always a chance the chord dragging against the top or bracing would change the sound, introduce buzzing, etc.

Also, you might try sticking the pickup on the underside of the soundboard with the type of thin but very aggressive double-sided tape that they use for holding down the edges of plank flooring. Or, of course, a little blu-tac though that isn't very reliable as the pickup can tend to pull off and with the soft putty you may not be getting perfect frequency response, either.

I've used gel super glue to attach the transducers on my uke because I was looking for permanent installation. On the bongos where I wasn't sure the pickups were going to work I used a dab of hot-melt glue on each as it is fairly easy to remove that.

ukemunga
10-19-2012, 03:15 AM
I liked the JJB soundboard pickups that I put in my Mainland sopranos so much that I ordered several more.
John

Ok. So I've checked out the JJB site and would like to install the 200 model in my new Mainland long neck red cedar pineapple. How the he** is it possible to glue those little buggers under the bridge through that tiny little hole in the soundboard??? Is there some special tool that you use to reach the right spot?

OldePhart
10-19-2012, 06:22 AM
Ok. So I've checked out the JJB site and would like to install the 200 model in my new Mainland long neck red cedar pineapple. How the he** is it possible to glue those little buggers under the bridge through that tiny little hole in the soundboard??? Is there some special tool that you use to reach the right spot?

It ain't easy... Actually, I've placed mine just ahead of the bridge plate (between the bridge plate and sound hole) as close to the bridge plate as possible (about 1/16"). I did try making a tool to place the one in the KoAloha on the bridge plate and it almost worked. In fact, it would have worked except the gel superglue I used was old and it didn't set up so when I pulled the tool back out the pickup came with it (even after two minutes). I gave up and used my finger to put it on the soundboard about 1/16" ahead of the bridge plate, like on the others. Honestly, I think this is probably better anyway as it seems like it would pick up more of the character of the top being there, instead of on the bridge plate.

You want to feel around or check with an inspection mirror and plan the placement of the transducer before you put glue on it. On the KoAloha it was real easy because there is no fan bracing - with a uke that has fan bracing you need to decide which side of the bracing you're going to put the sensor on.

When I checked with an inspection mirror I could see the circle of glue on the bridge plate where my first attempt had almost worked.

BTW, on anything smaller than a tenor body I wouldn't use a 200, just a 100. I don't think the extra transducer is going to get you much on such a small body. Of course, I'm not sure the 100 is available with an endpin jack. So you might want to go with the 200 just for that.

John