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Thread: K&K Pickup

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Catskill Mountains, NY
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    Default K&K Pickup

    I'm getting a used Fluke in a couple of days, and it has a K&K pickup. I doubt I'll ever have need for it, but how does the K&K compare to other brands?
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  2. #2

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    K&K makes two different ukulele pickups as far as I can tell. (See products here: https://kksound.com/instruments/ukulele.php) I am by no means an expert in on the subject of pickups and amplification. In fact, for the most part I prefer a microphone to a pickup for ukuleles. I find most pickups to sound pretty same-y, if that makes sense? With that being said...

    There has been exactly one ukulele pickup that I really liked, sound-wise. I recently saw Danielle Ate the Sandwich (her site here: http://danielleatethesandwich.com/) at Mighty Uke Day 9, in Lansing, MI (more info here: http://mightyukeday.com/). She was playing a Mya Moe (specifically this one: https://www.myamoeukuleles.com/uketr...1&submit=Track) with a K&K Twinspot and it sounded incredible. It was like listening to an acoustic instrument in your own living room, rather than the sort of artificial sound that I hear from most pickups.

    Some caveats: It may have been the instrument. This was a Mya Moe... It may have been the specific combination of that pickup with that instrument. She was using a pre-amp, so it may have been exactly how she had those settings adjusted.

    I liked it so much, I had to talk to her after the show to find out more! I am in the queue for a Beansprout (https://www.thebeansprout.com/) later this year from Aaron Keim, who used to be at Mya Moe and did work on Danielle's instrument in fact. He uses K&K pickups, and I am considering getting him to install one if he uses the Twinspot. That's how much of an impression it left on me.
    Last edited by Cluze; 06-05-2019 at 02:59 AM.
    Ukes include (but are not limited to)
    • Blackbird Clara
    • Kamaka HF-2A (Koa Concert)
    • KoAloha Opio KCO-10 (Acacia Concert)
    • KoAloha Opio KCO-10S (Spruce Top Concert)

  3. #3
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    Sep 2013
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    Pensacola, Florida
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    935

    Default

    I have a K&K Aloha Twin in my Baritone. I like it a lot. In most cases you will need a pre-amp to get the benefit of its full potential.

  4. #4
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    Near Lake Okeechobee, Florida
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    When properly installed, the K&K Aloha Twin produces a close approximation of an 'ukulele's acoustic tonal character. Unfortunately, it is also feedback-sensitive (especially in more responsive instruments), difficult to install in some 'ukuleles (even with the right tools), and preamp-dependent in most rigs, making it a relatively fussy and expensive option.

    If I am being completely honest, it's a PITA at higher sound pressure levels, but it's my preferred pickup for nicer 'ukuleles. For flexibility, I pair mine with a Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre preamp; simpler preamp options include the Orchid Electronics Muting DI, JJB Electronics J2, Fire Eye Red-Eye, and various offerings from K&K.

    In comparison to other brands, it's microphonic and sensitive to extraneous sounds (arm rubbing on soundboard, fingers on fretboard, sympathetic rings induced by nearby sound sources, etc.). If you're going for that "acoustic tone, but louder" sound, it's a strong contender; otherwise, you may wish to consider other options.
    Last edited by bacchettadavid; 06-05-2019 at 04:50 AM.
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

  5. #5
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    Near Lake Okeechobee, Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluze View Post
    I liked it so much, I had to talk to her after the show to find out more! I am in the queue for a Beansprout (https://www.thebeansprout.com/) later this year from Aaron Keim, who used to be at Mya Moe and did work on Danielle's instrument in fact. He uses K&K pickups, and I am considering getting him to install one if he uses the Twinspot. That's how much of an impression it left on me.
    K&Ks can pick up a lot of background noise. You may want to speak with Aaron about your amplification needs and musical settings before asking him to install a K&K in a banjo uke that already functions like a condenser microphone.
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by bacchettadavid View Post
    K&Ks can pick up a lot of background noise. You may want to speak with Aaron about your amplification needs and musical settings before asking him to install a K&K in a banjo uke that already functions like a condenser microphone.
    Good advice, thanks.

    Also, not getting the banjo variety Beansprout, but the more traditional ukulele style.
    Ukes include (but are not limited to)
    • Blackbird Clara
    • Kamaka HF-2A (Koa Concert)
    • KoAloha Opio KCO-10 (Acacia Concert)
    • KoAloha Opio KCO-10S (Spruce Top Concert)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
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    3,609

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluze View Post
    There has been exactly one ukulele pickup that I really liked, sound-wise. I recently saw Danielle Ate the Sandwich (her site here: at Mighty Uke Day 9, in Lansing, MI (more info here: with a K&K Twinspot and it sounded incredible. It was like listening to an acoustic instrument in your own living room, rather than the sort of artificial sound that I hear from most pickups.
    Thanks. I saw Danielle playing that uke in PA.

    I believe the one I'm getting has the Aloha Twin.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by bacchettadavid View Post
    When properly installed, the K&K Aloha Twin produces a close approximation of an 'ukulele's acoustic tonal character. Unfortunately, it is also feedback-sensitive (especially in more responsive instruments), difficult to install in some 'ukuleles (even with the right tools), and preamp-dependent in most rigs, making it a relatively fussy and expensive option.

    If I am being completely honest, it's a PITA at higher sound pressure levels, but it's my preferred pickup for nicer 'ukuleles. For flexibility, I pair mine with a Radial Tonebone PZ-Pre preamp; simpler preamp options include the Orchid Electronics Muting DI, JJB Electronics J2, Fire Eye Red-Eye, and various offerings from K&K.

    In comparison to other brands, it's microphonic and sensitive to extraneous sounds (arm rubbing on soundboard, fingers on fretboard, sympathetic rings induced by nearby sound sources, etc.). If you're going for that "acoustic tone, but louder" sound, it's a strong contender; otherwise, you may wish to consider other options.
    I guess I won't start shopping for amps, then. : )
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Near Lake Okeechobee, Florida
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    Definitely wait until the uke arrives with pickup installed before you start investigating amplification options. There is a LOT to consider in the world of amplifiers, and you'll need a clearer idea of your intentions before you can go amp shopping effectively.

    As for the preamps...the same thing applies. If you go the acoustic amp route, you may be satisfied enough with your direct sound to forego a preamp. If you want to plug into the back of a PA or mixer, you'll almost certainly want a preamp.
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Woodstock NY USA
    Posts
    355

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    Quote Originally Posted by Osprey View Post
    I have a K&K Aloha Twin in my Baritone. I like it a lot. In most cases you will need a pre-amp to get the benefit of its full potential.
    I’m getting the same pickup installed on my Pono baritone next week. Can’t wait.

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