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Noob need help on guitar pickup/pre-amp/di/etc


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  • Noob need help on guitar pickup/pre-amp/di/etc

    I recently purchased a classic guitar in hopes of being able to play it someday. I understand that I am very late in the game (since I am already 40yrs+ old) but heck, I have some spare time and I have the desire to push through so what the hell.

    Anyway, I need some help to understand some stuff.

    My Ibanez G200ece-nt guitar which I bought for around $260 here in the Philippines has a pickup/preamp installed in it but when I tried inserting it in my allen&heath zed10fx mixer going to a QSC K10 speaker, the sound wasn't as good as I expected. I understand that my guitar is not that good hence the cheap price but i'm just starting out and if i do well, then i'd invest in a much better guitar. Until then, I just wish to upgrade either the pre-amp/pickup or whatever to get a better sound.

    I have read around and I am willing to try out the Radial JDI Direct Box due to its good reviews. Aside from this, what would you upgrade? Should I upgrade my pre-amp? the pickup? etc?

    The Pick-up is a B-Band Uder Saddle Transducer UST as per the manual but I don't know what it looks like.

    This is a pic of my guitar:


    This is a pic of the pre-amp: (Ibanez SRTn)


    The thing where you connect the wire (not sure what this is called)


  • #2

    The "thing where you connect the wire" is called the input jack. Yours has 2 outputs to choose from, the one you're probably using is what's called the 1/4" jack. This is a normal guitar cable. The other is an XLR output, this is used for a microphone cable. Your Allen & Heath mixer has some of these inputs as well, so if you were to get an XLR cable you could use that jack instead. I'd try that first, see if that helps the sound.

    I don't believe putting a DI box somewhere in the chain will help, either adding it in or replacing the mixer with one. A DI box is essentially just used for guitars that only have the 1/4" guitar cable. You can plug that into one side of a DI box and plug an XLR cable into the other end and send it wherever. But your guitar has already done that part of the job for you since it has a XLR jack. Your input jack is really a DI box too, if you want to look at it that way.

    You won't be able to find the pickup without taking your guitar apart. It's sitting under the saddle, which is that long white piece of plastic on the bridge that the strings pass over:


    Now, upgrading the preamp and the pickup are kind of a challenge. It requires getting in there and taking all the electronics out, to say nothing of putting the new stuff back in. And you have to find another preamp that fits the big gaping hole you'll have in your guitar's body. Or make a bigger hole. Yikes.

    After trying the cable, I'd look at getting an inexpensive guitar amplifier. The preamp is doing what it's made to do, preparing the signal BEFORE it gets amplified. You're using your mixer to amplify the signal, and there's amplifiers that do that job a lot better. I'm not sure what's available in the Philippines, but look for something under $200 that has good reviews, I wouldn't spend anything more then that at your level just now. A friend of mine just got a Kustom Sienna 30 and it sounds great, for $150 I don't think you can beat it. You'll just need to go straight into it with a normal guitar cable, put away the  speaker and the mixer for now.

    Amplifying an acoustic guitar is always a challenge. Me personally, I hate the sound of those under the saddle pickups. But Dave Matthews loves it, watch any of his live shows. If I were you I'd wait, get better with the guitar you have, and invest in a better one down the road with some sort of microphone or microphone/pickup combination. A microphone stays truer to what the actual sound of the guitar is. You're probably looking for the sound you hear with your ears in your home to come out of that QSC K10 speaker. Congratulations, you've stumbled onto the problem every live acoustic player runs into. You find a solution, you let us know .

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    • lz4005
      lz4005 commented
      Editing a comment

      jdc5294 wrote:

      The "thing where you connect the wire" is called the input jack.

      Output jack.