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$7.50 undersaddle pickup, EQ, pre-amp from China. Any Good?

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  • $7.50 undersaddle pickup, EQ, pre-amp from China. Any Good?

    I have a Seagull Entourage dreadnaught I picked up for cheap. I really like it, but it has no electronics. I'm thinking about adding either an under saddle, or under bridge active pickup with 2-4 band EQ. I would also like to upgrade the 90's system in my old Yamaha.

    On ebay, there are chinese 4 band under saddle systems for $7.50 shipped, Fishmans from $40, B-mode at $200 and everything in between.

    Does anyone have any experience with these cheap Chinese systems? 

    Thanks,

    Barry

     

    1997 USA Fender Strat, California Series, 57/62's
    1990's USA G&L Legacy, OEM Seymore Duncans
    Laney L5T Lionheart
    Peavey Classic 30
    Mesa Boogie Nomad 45 4X10 Combo
    Yamaha LD10E signed by Willie Nelson

  • #2

    Yes, I have installed the lower priced one (with tuner) more like $15 and a Fishman presys+ also from China or HongKong.

    The cheap one I definitely had issues with: the battery box/output jack/xlr was faulty, one of the switches was shorting out and draining the battery very quickly and the build quality was not that wonderful. Once that was sorted(replaced) the piezo element stopped working, I had another one laying around so that wasn't an issue. Since then it has worked perfectly for about eight months, so far. I can't hear any difference between that and any high end system that has come through the bar.

    The Fishman is more elegant, battery under the unit, has a sonicore pickup and has worked perfectly from the get go. And it has phase reversal and feedback notch filter, both features that I find desirable for playing live in a fairly loud enviroment.

    The tuners on both are reasonably accurate but they do mean that you do tend to lose something by always having a tuner on your guitar.

    It is probably reasonable to expect issues with longevity but you won't be spending much anyhow.

     

     

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    • #3
      Enjoy your pickup, but please take your religious discussions to a more appropriate place.

      Comment


      • #4

        Barry Wuthrich wrote:

        I have a Seagull Entourage dreadnaught I picked up for cheap. I really like it, but it has no electronics. I'm thinking about adding either an under saddle, or under bridge active pickup with 2-4 band EQ. I would also like to upgrade the 90's system in my old Yamaha.

        On ebay, there are chinese 4 band under saddle systems for $7.50 shipped, Fishmans from $40, B-mode at $200 and everything in between.

        Does anyone have any experience with these cheap Chinese systems? 

        Thanks,

        Barry

         


        Here's my recipe:

         

        First of all, stay away from ANYTHING under saddle. I don't care who makes those...they all have that tinny nasty rubber-band sproingy sound that sucks.

        Go with SOUNDBOARD TRANSDUCERS, which are also piezo based... but larger and more diffuse in their pattern of sensitivity and just sound more natural. There are lots of these out there made by major manufacturers that cost a lot....but in my opinion these "name brand" soundboard transducers are no better in sound and quality to ones cheap and from China like THIS:

         

        $20 including shipping

         

        They are about the same amount of work to install. You can just run them directly to an endpin jack and use a separate active preamp (I use a Baggs Para EQ)

         

        ....or combine them with an onboard system. Speaking of cheap/Chinese/just as good...I LOVE this one:

         

        Onboard preamp

         

        These cost $20 and $7 for shipping. RIDICULOUS!

        Amazingly these HAVE: 4 band active EQ, a "blender" feature that allows you to combine the transducer with an onboard  microphone to varying degrees, a microphone jack so you can plug straight into a PA via a microphone cable, AND an onboard digital tuner.

        This onboard system involves cutting your guitar to install them in 2 places....but then you don't need a preamp, get a digital tuner, onboard EQ, and an added mic pickup. The whole shebang costs less than $50 and sounds better than many systems that cost hundres more.

         

        I've installed these on many guitars and they gig great.

         

        "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

        Comment


        • #5
          In my opinion the K&K pure Western and many other soundboard transducers aren't any different than the one I posted. Any piezo pickup really needs SOME preamp like a Baggs Para Eq or the onboard system I posted. You need to boost the signal and EQ it. .
          "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

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          • #6
            BTW the system I posted IS an active preamp. What I meant was that if you install it you don't need one outside the guitar. It uses a 9v battery
            "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

            Comment


            • #7
              G'day 'Guitar Capo Guru'! I've just joined this forum and the first posting that really interests me is your reply and advice to: '~~$7.50 undersaddle pickup, EQ, pre-amp from China. Any Good?'
              You state that undersaddle pickups '~~all have that tinny nasty rubber-band sproingy sound that sucks.', yet respected companies [like Artec] market all kinds of them.
              I have just ordered this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Acoustic-Gui...item3f2130e7ec
              but I would really prefer to use the JJB type piezo pickups that you recommend and wire them up to this Chinese preamp. Do you know if this is possible - where could I obtain a wiring diagram? If I could do this, I wouldn't need to mess around and fiddle about trying to install the undersaddle pickup. The installation will be into my 1979 Takamine 'Lawsuit' - I hope you can offer advice - thanks!

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              • #8
                I should elaborate that what I usually do is TAKE a pickup system made by a company like Artec and I REPLACE the UST with a soundboard transducer.

                A soundboard transducer can be wired to a mini jack and plugged right into one of those. It sounds better and you can use the onboard preamp for equalizing and boost. It sounds great and some of these systems even have a passive onboard mic you can blend in. Ridiculously inexpensive with a built in tuner and Hi Z jack so you can plug right into the PA.
                "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for your advice, 'guitarcapo Guru' - what you suggest,, borne out by your own experience, is exactly what I want to do. On a six-string guitar, how many SBT's [soundboard transducers] of the JJB type do you recommend that I use? I am still perplexed as to how to wire, say two or three, SBT's to the mini jack cable that will be part of the [cheapy!] Chinese preamp kit - from where can I source this essential information?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have never used them but I did have trouble installing a Fishman Matrix to a Guild GAD. Turns out the saddle slot was too shallow. Fishman sent me new pickups and once they realized I was local invited me down to their factory to have one of their people look at it. The guy got it working but the action was all hosed, no fault of fishman it was all guitar. Anyways my point being as far as customer service goes Fishman went well above the bar and are all I buy.
                    2008 Guild F-50
                    2007 Blueridge BR-140
                    2013 J45
                    2013 CA Cargo

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