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MICHAEL KELLY HYBRID GUITAR


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Originally posted by tats_dragon

Well Mr. ethic police I don't think you were fair in your quote of Jon Chappell.



One paragraph before your unfair quote from the original post is 'The concept is not new,'.

And you are not being fair to me by missing the point the author was trying to make. One paragraph before your quote: "The concept is not new" the author points out what, indeed, is not a new concept. "A hybrid system combines magnetic and piezo technology, providing controls to blend the two sounds."

 

He doesn't reference the Taylor specifically, rather the ability to blend both piezo and electric pickups--like the Godin and PRS guitars.

 

 

 

Now, if you'll look closely at the two, Talyor and MK, you'll see the simlilarities IMMEDIATELY!

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Hey, Jon:

I have considered a number of guitars that promise acoustic and electric tone on one instrument including the T5. While many are fun and cool— in a real gig situation they just do not seem to do what I want them to do.

I want to be able to go from an acoustic sound to an electric sound in the middle of a song without messing with a bunch of controls on my guitar or amp. You have the instrument for this review, do you feel that you could quickly switch from the acoustic tone that you prefer to a heavy electric tone in the middle of a song on a real gig? Would this one be seamless, or would it be like the rest that require a turn here and tweak there to get to that promise land of real, honest flexibility>

 

Thanks

GuitarSeeker

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I agree guitarseeker, when I was playing a Brian Moore it was not a quick change. But as Kevman pointed out if the two guitar sounds were on a blend knob, it could be pretty quick. The problem might be finding a dual pot to control a passive electric pickup and an active acoustic pickup.

 

Jun

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Well, of course the holy grail would be one that changes instantaneously. No knob fiddling at all.

That is what I want to know about this hybrid.

 

I know a couple of folks that play M.Kelly mandolins and they swear by them. The quality is there, no doubt.

 

Just wanting to know if this guitar is what I am looking for.

 

Thanks,

guitarseeker

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Back to the guitar...I'm intrigued by the "blending" concept. Maybe this was already mentioned, but couldn't you use a stereo jack and put each pickup on its own out? Then you could go into a pedal or other box to do crossfading and blending.

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Well, it all depends on whether the output levels and such...worst case is you'd need some kind of buffer between the passive out and the pedal.

 

I'm curious about two things.

 

1) Is this a GC-only exclusive thing forever, or for a limited period of time?

 

2) Jon, have you tried recording in stereo with the piezo panned toward one side and the electric toward the other?

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Craig,

 

According to the response to my post, Mr. Rockfield replied,

"In my opinion the best or the most dynamic sounding way to run this guitar is into 2 separate sound sources. Like in the video I used 1 electric amp and 1 true or designated acoustic amp.

This to me is the best tone! I have even used a PA for the acoustic side and it was killer...


However, you don’t need to have 2 amps....you can use 1 - 2 channel electric guitar amp preferably and both tones with still sound awesome!"

 

I had a friend call me last night who was on his way to GC in Totowa, NJ, and I asked him to try out this guitar. There is a stereo quarter-inch included in the package that essentially splits the pickups to different amps (or dual-channel single amp). I don't know if you can use a mono cable and get the 'blended' sound, though.

 

Yes, you can. --Jon Chappell

 

 

My buddy is a tone-hound and said it definitely was a sweet-sounding guitar, but be aware that the distorted guitar sound is not on-board, but rather is post-guitar. When I first heard the samples on the site, I assumed that, like the Line6, it had the effects on-board. I occasionally play a Variax acoustic 700 and thought this might be the same technology, but alas, no.

 

It's a beauty, though. I absolutely love the look of this thing.

 

peace,

Tim from Jersey

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[from guitarseeker

Hey, Jon:

I have considered a number of guitars that promise acoustic and electric tone on one instrument including the T5. While many are fun and cool— in a real gig situation they just do not seem to do what I want them to do.

 

If you can't find a solution in the Taylor T-5, which is a pretty versatile guitar, what specifically are you looking for? If it's a simpler approach, the MK Hybrid may help. But I'm not comparing the two. The T-5 is a $2,000 instrument; the Hybrid is $500.

 

I want to be able to go from an acoustic sound to an electric sound in the middle of a song without messing with a bunch of controls on my guitar or amp. You have the instrument for this review, do you feel that you could quickly switch from the acoustic tone that you prefer to a heavy electric tone in the middle of a song on a real gig? Would this one be seamless, or would it be like the rest that require a turn here and tweak there to get to that promise land of real, honest flexibility>

 

It would be seamless -- if you ran the split (as opposed to the blend) configuration. In the the electric path, I would put all my pedals inline. In the acoustic path I'd have just my digital reverb/delay (in my case, a BOSS RV-3). Then you're not really touching the guitar -- except to flip the switch.

 

This is where the simplicity of the two knobs and one switch comes into play (though I like Kevman's idea for a mod).

 

For simplicity of operation, the Hybrid, in split mode can do what you like. If it's the quality of the sound that you're finding lacking in the T-5, my guess is you won't find it in the Hybrid, because it's not designed to compete with the T-5 -- at least on the level of sonic versatility. Remember: t-5 = $2,000; MKH =$500.

 

Both of these guitars are new, and mentioning them in the same discussion is tempting, but it's not fair to either manufacturer to engage in comparisons between the two.

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Anderton wrote:

2) Jon, have you tried recording in stereo with the piezo panned toward one side and the electric toward the other?

 

Last night, I plugged the Hybrid into my mixer, in split mode, using the stereo cable. Channel 1 (panned hard left) was the humbucker and Channel 2 (hard right) was the piezo. Keep in mind, this was just to compare the two pickups into a board, which gave me level readings and allowed me to listen for crosstalk. As any self-respecting guitar player knows, you would never plug an electric straight into the board! :)

 

Both pickups produced a consistent output, and required a healthy amount of gain trim to bring them up to the 0 dB reading on the fader.

 

I recorded a passage with single notes as well as strumming with just the humbucker. Then I switched over (live) to the piezo and played the same passage, being careful to match my articulations and intensity to the previous passage. Then I swtiched back, and then I played both pickups together. The volume pots were full out.

 

When listening to the playback over closed-ear headphones, I heard no cross-talk when in single-pickup mode, and the waveform display was dead flat. In dual-pickup mode, the sound was fuller and seemed louder, but the waveform display confirmed the output was equal to either pickup in single mode.

 

What did show up -- audibly as well as on the waveform -- was the pickup switch noise. But this is not unusual, and the noise was barely noticeable. You wouldn't even hear it in a mix.

 

But it's clear some thought went into matching the levels of the pickups to each other, and when used together. Look again at the previous posts for the impedance disussion: the piezo has about a 1 kOhm output impedance (low impedance) by itself, and 3.3 kOhm (still consdered low impedance) when in dual mode, to better match the humbucker's output.

 

No guitar of mine ever goes to a mixer directly; it either passes through a preamp (if it's acoustic) or a raft of effects (if it's electric), but this acid test did show that the pickups are given equal time on the Hybrid.

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Hello everyone...

 

Good to see all the comments, suggestions and opinions! We love to hear from the players, consumers and Tone junkies out there! So thank you very much to everyone!

 

(For tats_dragon)

(This cat has had some great feedback and questions BTW... thanks man)

 

The humbucker is buffered. Its one of the many cool design features of the custom Fishman Pre-amp which makes this guitar so user friendly. Fishman did a great job in helping us accomplish our goal in making this technical but still user friendly and soulful guitar.

 

We did spend alot of time on this (Thanks Jon for noticing) It was a very important feature. The 2 units had to work well together and be well, simply put, "USEFULL."

 

For the switching question, we decided to use a 3 way switch because what could be easier? every player is used to a switch of somesort right? The Knob prototypes were actually harder to control on the fly for every one of our test players.

 

So.....for the user who stated:

I want to be able to go from an acoustic sound to an electric sound in the middle of a song without messing with a bunch of controls on my guitar or amp.

(Another killer statement, so well put)

 

Ding, Ding, Ding, We have a winner!

That is what the Hybrid is made to do. It was designed to be a player’s guitar.

It is versatile and useful in any setting and there is no need to have a PHD to learn how to use it! In all honesty, besides the tone, the simplicity of the overall design was one of the most important things for us to accomplish. The history of this style of guitar shows us, (I want to be clear here so “Not always, but for the most part”) that these style of instruments have always seemed “OVER DESIGNED”.

With that being said, we were asked by players to make it real user friendly and sound great! That’s it…a simple great sounding elegant design. Hopefully everyone who got one or is thinking about getting one agrees that we did just that.

 

Now on to another issue:

 

I'm curious about two things.

1. Is this a GC-only exclusive thing forever, or for a limited period of time?

(Thanks Jon for taking care of the second question!

 

This is "FOR NOW" a guitar center exclusive. However, we plan on a release of this model that will be available at all Michael Kelly dealers in early 2007. No exact date has been issued as of yet.

 

Again, thanks to everyone and have a great weekend to all!

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trock,

I'm hopefully going to try this guitar @ the San Jose GC Sunday.

 

The Knob prototypes were actually harder to control on the fly for every one of our test players.

 

Was this a dual potentiometer that could turn one way for humbucker and the other for piezo?

This 'blend knob' idea that Kevman had was the exact thought I had when playing a Brian Moore with dedicated volume knobs for the different pickups.

 

Jun

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Sorry Guys,

Separate login for another computer (home)....It is me though! :>)

For Tats Question:

 

Was this a dual potentiometer that could turn one way for humbucker and the other for piezo?

 

We did try this on a couple of early prototypes and for seamless switching the application did not work for a couple reasons:

 

1. There was frequency issue that occurred in specific positions of the pot. It also had more overall noise. Not allot, but it was there. We tried many different solutions, to try and fix both issues. Really though its was all for not, because the biggest problem with this set up leads me to the most glaring issue:

 

2. To go quick from Electric to Acoustic or vise versa it was not seamless or easy. It was a blend. So at specific points in the range of motion of the pot, you could hear both blended. (Along with some noise) That was not what we, or any of the test players wanted either. So it was back to the drawing board.

 

The bottom line, Is that a 3-way switch is the easiest, most seamless, useful and above all familiar way to control a guitar. That’s why it is the way it is my friend.

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Thanks for the post percyexpat, and a great question!

 

We are hoping that the Hybrid will be available to eurpean countries within the first quarter of next year.

 

We are currently working out those details.

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Originally posted by TR2

Thanks for the post percyexpat, and a great question!


We are hoping that the Hybrid will be available to eurpean countries within the first quarter of next year.


We are currently working out those details.

 

Okay, thanks for the info! Can't wait! :)

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Tried the Hybrid at the San Jose GC this afternoon. Went into the quiet room and listened to the electric sound, since I already liked the acoustic sound from the website.

I predict Michael Kelly will come out with either a multi-pickup version or alter the positioning of the existing single humbucker. Sounded excellent but since not many guitars even have a middle humbucker it was hard for me to get used to. I would probably need a special setting on the amp just for this guitar.

 

Jun

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ok already on the elecs...everybody can and should fuss about to get "the" sound you want to be your own(Brian May comes to mind)...I'd like to ask(keeping the $tag in mind)...so hows she built? Trusty roadie? You're pro's..you know what I mean....

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This guitar seems like a thin-bodied amplified acoustic (think Chet Atkins) with an added humbucker. In other words, primarily acoustic, with added-on electric features. I can't believe that the test players all agreed it was best to limit it to just one magnetic pickup. Although the amplified acoustic sound is just gorgeous, the magnetic palate is way too limited for electric players. I hope they remedy this with future models.

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tats_dragon wrote

I predict Michael Kelly will come out with either a multi-pickup version or alter the positioning of the existing single humbucker. Sounded excellent but since not many guitars even have a middle humbucker it was hard for me to get used to. I would probably need a special setting on the amp
[or your effects processor --Jon C.]
just for this guitar.

 

BuckyB wrote

I can't believe that the test players all agreed it was best to limit it to just one magnetic pickup. Although the amplified acoustic sound is just gorgeous, the magnetic palate is way too limited for electric players. I hope they remedy this with future models.

 

tats_dragon may be on to something. If the MKH now seems more like an acoustic-electric that can switch into distortion mode, perhaps a deluxe (multi-pickup) version would appeal more to an electric player looking to grab an acoustic sound. In a live situation, I see the single pickup version being appropriate for, say, a rhythm guitarist, or the singer-guitarist looking to add depth to a band's sound, but may not be repsonsible for principal guitar duties. In this way, not having that true "back-pickup bite" is not really a limitation. (And he'll stay out of the way of the lead guitarist! :))

 

And when BuckyB calls for a remedy in the form of a multi-pickup model, you could see that as a call to expand the product line. I'm guessing it would be hard to put two quality humbuckers in a guitar -- and outfit it with the attendant electronics -- and keep the price under $500. But BuckyB's point is taken: conceptually, it's an adjustment for guitarists to get their heads around a guitar with a middle-position humbucker.

 

These are all points that make good sense on paper, and when you first view the guitar. But try messing with one, and you'll see that the playability, pickup balance, and value (quality-to-price ration) make this a very appealing addition to your sonic palette. Think singer-songwriter whose songs go from introspective to aggressive; think rhythm guitarist looking to fatten that chorus with a flick of the switch. Think power trio trying to blur the line between unplugged and wall-of-sound.

 

You get the idea.

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Hey Everyone! Hope all is well with all and I have been really enjoying all the comments and posts! You guys are all really on top of this. All this feedback helps us do things better and get opinions that are invaluable to future development! So Thanks so much!

 

After reading through some posts I really wanted to make sure that everyone understood something very important about the overall Hybrid design.

 

There have been a couple people comment on the ‘Middle Humbucker” position. The Magnetic pickup is not a "Middle" humbucker. Looking at it at first will give anyone that perception, so I do see where that’s coming from. However, the humbucker model and placement was very crucial to the overall design of the Hybrid tonally. Not only when its in use by itself, but also blended with the acoustic pickup.

 

We tried many different humbucker positions with varying size and shaped tone chambers and cavity routes to find the appropriate placement.

 

With that being said, the actual position of the magnetic pickup is at the "rear" of an internal tone block. There is then a special designed tone chamber leading to the acoustic pickup cavity and string block. This placement actually has more tonal aspects of a bridge pickup than what you would think. Is it exact? Of course not. We did however try many combinations as stated above until the most important thing we felt was achieved.

 

That is that our test players did agree that this was the best design tonally for all settings on this guitar.

 

Personally, I have gotten as much bite out of the Hybrid magnetic pickup as any of my other guitars in their respective bridge positions.

 

To do this it did take some tweaking of my normal amp settings. However, I would have done the same tweaking with any new guitar to make it sound the way I want it to sound through my rig anyway.

 

So hopefully this helps explain in more detail how important the exact positioning of the Rockfield SWC magnetic pickup is to the overall Hybrid concept and design.

 

Thanks again!

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I appreciate the input from both Jon & Rockfield. My comment however was not about the position of the humbucker, but the lack of available electric sound choices. I now understand that this guitar was not really designed for the lead guitarist. For it's intended market (singer-songwriter, rhythm guitarist), I think it's probably perfect. Perhaps a better choice in this price range for the lead guitarist seeking to add acoustic sounds without switching guitars would be something like the Peavey Generation AMC series (at least for now). Pity, because I'm really quite impressed with the Kelly's amplified acoustic sound. I'll keep an anxious eye out for any future expansions to the MKH line, as well.

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This looks like a very cool guitar and from the postive reviews so far, sounds like a real winner especially for the price. I really wasn't a fan of the T5 as it seemed like a thin acoustic with a weak electric pickup tossed in at the last minute. there wasn't a good balance between the electric and acoustic to me. It wasn't something I could go from subtle acoustic to screaming overdrive with.

 

This MK reminds me of Carvins AE185

 

http://www.carvin.com/products/guitar.php?ItemNumber=AE185

 

Was more along the lines of a good balance between the two that could accomodate moderately heavy levels of gain without all the feedback that typically plagues semi hollow guitars and still have a good acoustic voice and the ablity to blend the two.

 

Unfortunately, the AE's start at $1000

 

 

So I'm eager to try this MK guitar out to see how balanced the two aspects really are. I can see how not having two dedicated pickups can appear to cripple the tonal versatility that a dual humbucker guitar has, I don't want to jump to any conclusions without testing it first because from what's been said thus far in the thread, it doesn't seem to be just a semi hollow guitar with a humbucker tossed in at the last minute. looks like it was engineered from the ground up to have both electric and acoustic jive together equally well.

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