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Thread: After Action Report - JJB Soundboard Pickup in Mainland Mango Soprano

  1. #1
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    Default After Action Report - JJB Soundboard Pickup in Mainland Mango Soprano

    A while back someone here strongly recommended the soundboard pickups from JJB Electronics. I don't recall who, but I owe them a beverage or six if we ever meet in person.

    I ordered two of the single-transducer systems for my Mainland soprano ukes. Installed the one in the mango today and I'm frankly amazed - this is the most natural-sounding acoustic pickup I've experienced and I've used a lot of pickups literally costing up to ten times what this one did! Later this week I will probably be ordering several more of these pickups as I see them going in all my ukes - maybe even the ones that presently have MiSi pickups.

    What really floored me is that the pickup even captured a little of the doppler effect this uke exhibits when strummed. I really wasn't expecting that at all because it's primarily caused by the strumming hand passing rapidly over the sound hole.

    This isn't a step-by-step video as I didn't have time for that, but it is a video of the result and an audio comparison where I recorded the left channel from a Sure 58 microphone and the right channel from the JJB pickup.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FB2oi...ature=youtu.be

    Playing is lousy because I was sitting at an awkward angle trying to get close to the microphone without bumping it.

    John

    PS: Discovered that YouTube introduced a lot of cross-talk between the audio channels - maybe even made the audio mono I can't tell for sure - anyway, to hear the actual soundclip without YouTube's murderfication of it go to soundcloud http://soundcloud.com/oldephart/jjb-...nics-pickup-in
    Last edited by OldePhart; 09-23-2012 at 03:46 PM.
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

    Check out my ukulele-themed "stuff" at http://www.cafepress.com/fivebyfiveukulele - proceeds go to a good cause...UAS treatment!

  2. #2
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    I've always recommend the JJB pickup PPS-100 because it's inexpensive and sounds awesome!...

    I think a lot of people shy way from JJB pickups because the PPS-100 only costs $15 and most people associate cost with quality. These Transducer pickups do not sound like the cheap $3 Radio Shack door buzzer Transducers some people use.

    I also, use an L.R. Baggs Para Acoustic DI for more sound options.

  3. #3
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    Hi John, Which model pick up did you install?

  4. #4
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    Thank you for sharing this info....so far, only positive comments about these pickups. Sound/my hearing not clear, did you say you used a different jack than the one that came with the pickup?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanflynn View Post
    Hi John, Which model pick up did you install?
    The PPS-100 - it's a single transducer model, which is all you need on a soprano and probably a concert. On a tenor I might go with the two transducer model, though I suspect a single transducer would be adequate there as well.

    BTW, they ship by default with 20mm transducers now but you can specify the 15mm, which I did because I wasn't sure how much room there would be. Turns out that the 20mm would have fit fine.

    John
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

    Check out my ukulele-themed "stuff" at http://www.cafepress.com/fivebyfiveukulele - proceeds go to a good cause...UAS treatment!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilUSAFRet View Post
    Thank you for sharing this info....so far, only positive comments about these pickups. Sound/my hearing not clear, did you say you used a different jack than the one that came with the pickup?
    No, I used the jack that came with it. It seems like a decent quality jack though only time will tell. I had considered using an endpin jack but I really don't like over-the-shoulder straps on sopranos so it seemed pointless to use an endpin jack.
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

    Check out my ukulele-themed "stuff" at http://www.cafepress.com/fivebyfiveukulele - proceeds go to a good cause...UAS treatment!

  7. #7
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    Hey John,

    I did this to my dolphin a couple of weeks ago... see the picture in the thread: http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...ghlight=pickup and what i've learned in the process. I am also thinking about installing another in one of my other ukes but now being really careful where I place it
    Mina's uTube

    Babies: Ohana SK-21, Kala Pocket Travel, Tiwi, Enya Coffee, Ohana Mini Pineapple
    Soprano: Mainland Red Cedar, Firefly Banjouke, Susings Mango Longneck, Martin SO 50's, Finder Vintage Plastic, Bruko Maple Thin-Body, Outdoor Green
    Concert: Mainland Slotted Head, Luna Blue Dolphin, Kamaka HP-1L, Ohana CK-275G, Flea Koa
    Tenor: Pono ATD, Pono Spruce Hardbody, Ferangeli Thinbody, Outdoor Amethyst, Kala Archtop Sunburst
    Baritone: Pono Mahogany, Mainland Mango
    U-Bass: Ohana Mahogany

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchs View Post
    Hey John,

    I did this to my dolphin a couple of weeks ago... see the picture in the thread: http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...ghlight=pickup and what i've learned in the process. I am also thinking about installing another in one of my other ukes but now being really careful where I place it
    Cool, this is probably the perfect pickup for a Dolphin if only because it's one of the few that doesn't cost more than the uke!

    Also, noticed gitarzan recommended the step bit in that thread - those are great if you can find one with the long space between steps like the one he posted a picture of. Unfortunately, the only ones Lowes had when I was there the other day were the kind with very short spaces between steps - those are okay for a side jack but useless for endpin jacks that have to go through a tail block - and I wasn't about to spend forty bucks for a bit that wouldn't also do endpin jacks!

    The amazing thing was that I couldn't get an ordinary hand reamer at Lowes - the guy in their tool department didn't even know what I was talking about. That makes me feel so old...

    Forstner bits are pretty good about not pulling up splinters at the sides of holes, though not perfect. Painter's tape also helps. I just put the other pickup in my mahogany soprano over my lunch break and managed to pull up a tiny splinter even with the right bit and painters tape, so it can happen, especially when drilling on a concave surface. The splinter is small enough that all but a tiny tip are hidden by the washer on the jack but I still know it's there LOL.
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

    Check out my ukulele-themed "stuff" at http://www.cafepress.com/fivebyfiveukulele - proceeds go to a good cause...UAS treatment!

  9. #9
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    I installed the other pickup in my mahogany soprano over my lunch break. THe strings should be stretched back in enough by this evening that I'll do an A/B test of the mahogany and mango Mainland sopranos. It will be interesting to see if the pickups grab enough of the fine nuances between the two to make an A/B test meaningful. I tried it with a Shure 58 microphone back when I first got the ukes and the difference between the two wasn't that meaningful in the recording even though you could clearly distinguish them in person.

    So, if the A/B test shows a clear difference with the pickups that means they're better than a Shure 58 microphone at picking up the fine details. Of course, a Shure 58 isn't exactly the first choice for recording an acoustic instrument unless, like me, your only other choice is a Shure 57!

    John
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

    Check out my ukulele-themed "stuff" at http://www.cafepress.com/fivebyfiveukulele - proceeds go to a good cause...UAS treatment!

  10. #10
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    Okay...sound samples of the mango and mahogany sopranos are here http://soundcloud.com/oldephart/sets...no-uke-1-with/

    The pickups are good enough that you can tell the difference between the two ukes though not as clearly as in person. It is an interesting comparison of mango vs mahogany, though, as the ukes are otherwise as near twins as can be imagined. Same design and construction, same strings, manufactured in the same lot, with approximately the same amount of play time (probably a bit more on the mahogany), and having identical strings with approximately the same amount of time on them. Oh...and the same model of pickup position as nearly in the same position under the soundboard as I could manage.

    These pickups showed the difference between the ukes better than a Shure 58 microphone did using the same USB interface...

    John
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

    Check out my ukulele-themed "stuff" at http://www.cafepress.com/fivebyfiveukulele - proceeds go to a good cause...UAS treatment!

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