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Thread: Do You Have Pickups in Your Ukes?

  1. #21
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    Raftergirl,
    We play in the Shriner's Children's hospital twice a month. We always play/sing acoustically. No lugging amps and mics and power chords around, and we're loud enough.
    We've decided we will never plug in to play there or for our hospice patients, even when only 2 of us go.

    I have one uke with active pickup, one with a K&K passive pickup (which I won't buy again) and my banjouke has a passive pickup.
    We do plug in for open mics and shows for ALF crowds. We spent a LOT of money for the equipment, and it works very well, but it's a lot to lug around and hook up. We have just as much money in sound equipment as we do in ukuleles!
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  2. #22
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    Jun 2018
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    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA
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    About half of my ukuleles have pickups. It about evenly distributed between passive and active.

    I quite like the Pono passive pickup. My new MP custom will have a K&K Aloha Twin passive pickup installed. The Baggs 5.0 active is okay, it doesn't rock me. I'll be getting my first MiSi soon. So they run the gamut. Someday, I'll invest in an aNueNue Air. I've been told they are great.

    I play acoustic 95% of the time. Mostly I plug in at open mike night for my ukulele club. We had to play amplified so people can hear us in a room with about 100 people. It always surprises the sound guy if I am playing a uke with a passive pickup. Actives do make it easier to adjust the volume if someone else is running the mixer/PA. I have played a couple of gigs using a uke with a Baggs 5.0 active.

    Also have two electric ukes. A RISA stick tenor, and a Godin tenor Multiuke.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

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  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    Utah
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickie View Post
    Raftergirl,
    We play in the Shriner's Children's hospital twice a month. We always play/sing acoustically. No lugging amps and mics and power chords around, and we're loud enough.
    We've decided we will never plug in to play there or for our hospice patients, even when only 2 of us go.

    I have one uke with active pickup, one with a K&K passive pickup (which I won't buy again) and my banjouke has a passive pickup.
    We do plug in for open mics and shows for ALF crowds. We spent a LOT of money for the equipment, and it works very well, but it's a lot to lug around and hook up. We have just as much money in sound equipment as we do in ukuleles!
    Our music therapy folks have a full sound set-up, with amps & mics. We have professional acts that come in from time to time to entertain (Imagine Dragons came last year), so they have the capability of turning the music room into a small stage. Since this will be filmed & broadcast to patient rooms, I think we will be using mics, but I like having the option to plug in if needed.

    The only pick-ups I've used are MiSi active pick-ups. No battery involved to add weight & the hassle of changing batteries. I've been playing at church for almost 2 years now, plugging into the PA system, and I think it sounds great. I haven't noticed any finger noise when playing. I use a Boss TU-3 tuner pedal that acts as both a tuner & a mute switch so that I don't get handling noise between songs. I recently added a Boss AD-2 acoustic pre-amp pedal to play around with sound & reverb a little.

    I did try out the iRig mic (still have it & should sell it). Too fiddly for me, and I did have handling & finger noise with that mic.

    We have a mic and an amp at my monthly ukulele groups. Either works, but plugging in seems simpler to me than readjusting the mic (some folks stand, some sit for open mic). I think it sounds better plugged in. I took my Clara to one of my groups last month. I wasn't planning on playing a solo, but ended up doing one. The group leader asked if I could plug in, but I couldn't with the Clara. So he messed around with the mic to adjust it for me, and it worked ok. I wished I could have plugged in though.
    Last edited by RafterGirl; 08-16-2019 at 03:13 AM.
    My ukulele family.....
    KoAloha Koa concert - circa 2006
    aNueNue Moon Bird concert - Spruce & Rosewood - 2018
    Blackbird Clara - 2019
    Kanilea KCS-SSP super soprano - circa 2016

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    I bought a couple of cheap passive undersaddle pickups a while ago and had my local luthier fit them to my two main sopranos. I use them a lot as I play in a band, but at home I almost never plug in. Talking to the luthier recently about fitting another passive pickup to a sopranino, he said that all the piezo undersaddle pickups work the same way so it's not worth paying for an expensive one. I decided in the end not to bother electrifying the sopranino, as I don't suppose I'll ever use it for public performance. I've found that using an iRig acoustic stage with the pickup plugged in to the Aux input and no mic works great. We just play pop/disco/funk etc, so a super authentic acoustic sound isn't too important.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    San Jose, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkimura View Post
    I've never had pickups in my ukes but I have had, on occasion, ukes in my pickup.

    (Sorry, I really tried hard but couldn't resist posting that.)



    tenletters
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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksiegel View Post
    My Fluke Tenor came with a B-Band pickup installed, my Les Paul has whatever piezo pickup Epiphone put in those ukes, my Donaldson Concert has a K&K Twinspot transducer (passive), the Ohana Low-G has a MiSi active, and the eucalyptus Ohana has an L.R. Baggs active pickup.

    I can play mic'ed or plugged in. If I'm doing my own setup, I use both mic, and plugged-in. I like being able to balance the sound between the pickup and the mic on my mixer.


    -Kurt
    Hey Kurt,

    How are you?! Doing a little lurking and saw your name.
    9:23448

    Passionately Untalented

    Compass Rose (Custom Tenor) Kamaka HF-3 Kamoa SM-P Kala KA-STg Tenor Pineapple (Rick Turner Build Class)

    Gary Yoshida (added for Mim)

  7. #27
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    Dec 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by gyosh View Post
    Hey Kurt,

    How are you?! Doing a little lurking and saw your name.
    Doing well, Gary. Starting a new job on Monday as a secretary at the School District Central office, teaching spinning classes at a yarn shop, playing a few gigs (Farmers Markets Pay me! Plus tips!) and dealing with elderly parents. My in-laws have both passed on, so the California trips a few and far between. Life is good for you and yours, I hope?

    -Kurt
    Donaldson Kumalae-style soprano * Magic Fluke Timber Bass * Ohana CK450QEL * Ohana CK-65D * Ken Timms Soprano
    Moku MS-90S * Waterman * National Triolian Reso * Bugsgear Aqualele * Donaldson Concert
    Rosewood Vita Uke * Waverly Street #38 * Ko'Aloha Sceptre Tenor * Ohana Vita Uke
    Fluke FireFly * Epiphone Les Paul Ukulele * Republic Concert * Fluke Tenor M22
    Kala KA-KTG-CT * Cordoba 20TM * 1950s Harmony soprano *1920s Stella banjo uke

    Am I done?

    ...naw...

    My YouTube Channel

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    SE Connecticut, USA
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    I have one with a pickup... my Kiwaya KTS-4 has a Baggs 5.0 installed by ( or for ) the previous owner.
    I’m seriously considering taking it out. I never use it, the spare wire slops around inside the uke, and I’m bothered by the notion that the bone saddle is not in contact with the bridge because of the pickup. Not that I’m sure it will sound better with full saddle/bridge contact, but I hate seeing that gap between the bone and the rosewood and the saddle tilts a little because it does not go to the bottom of the slot.
    Sopranos: aNueNue Khaya Mahogany 1, Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
    Concerts:Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Martin C-1 (ca. 1947-1955); Musicguymic's Kolohe
    Tenors: Cordoba 24T; Kiwaya KTT-2K
    Baritones: Cordoba 24B

  9. #29

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    For anyone who performs a lot, are passive pickups good? I have one but I have to carry a DI box/preamp too

  10. #30
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    May 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davoravo View Post
    For anyone who performs a lot, are passive pickups good? I have one but I have to carry a DI box/preamp too
    Passive pickups are no better or worse than active, but yes you do need to run them through a preamp to tame the sound. An active pickup is simply the same sort of pickup, but with the preamp installed in the instrument.

    Preamps (both onboard and external) vary in quality a lot. Behringer's ADI21 works, but I find it clips the sound from my pickup. I find the iRig Acoustic Stage using only the Aux input works very well.

    The "DI" part of the preamp converts the extremely high impedance from the pickup to the low impedance needed to run the signal to the PA, sometimes along quite a long cable. Without it the distinctive piezo "quack" will most likely be worse.

    An alternative to a preamp is to use an "acoustic" amplifier which is designed to take the high impedance input and to emulate the acoustic sound. If that also has a DI output, then you can connect that to the PA while using the amp effectively as an on stage monitor.

    So many choices..!

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