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Thread: Humbucking versus single coil acoustic pickup

  1. #1

    Humbucking versus single coil acoustic pickup

    Can anybody give any direction/guidance in the choice of choosing a single coil or humbucking soundhole pickup for an acoustic guitar. It's going in a Guild D12-25 and I was looking at the Fishman Neo D line as I did not want to spend alot for home use only. Let me state that I am fully aware of the differences in an electric but have never put a pickup in an acoustic. What are the plus's and minus's of each? would a humbucker be to heavy sounding in an acoustic or would the single coil be too thin? Help!
    Last edited by Alecstar; 08-19-2017 at 12:09 AM.

  2. #2
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    Essentially, you can expect the same differences between single coil and humbucker in an acoustic as in an electric, except acoustic guitars are not really designed to work well with either.

    I own an '81 D-212 (the model was was later re-numbered as D-25-12). It has a K&K pure mini bridgeplate transducer, which I think provides a much more "acoustic" tone. $99 plus installation ($35 or so).
    Neal

    '53 "X-150" Redburst
    '54 X-50 SB
    '54 X-200-S SB
    '71 F-20 NT ("Tonya")
    '71 D-25 BR
    '73 D-35 NT
    '81 D-212 SB
    '12 F-50 STD SB

    Others: '59 Gretsch Clipper, '74 Dobro Round-Neck Resonator (wood), '77 Dobro Squareneck Resonator (bell brass), '87 Dobro Square-Neck Resonator (wood), '07 Rockbridge Adi/Mahogany dreadnought, '09 Huss & Dalton TD-M Custom dreadnought, '14 Huss & Dalton DS Crossroads, Tele Partscaster.

  3. #3
    I did some research on the K&K Pure mini and it looks like a possible option. It certainly got good reviews. I do have a question for you. I see that K&K makes (for the same price) a Pure 12-string model. Why did you not get that one?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Alecstar View Post
    Can anybody give any direction/guidance in the choice of choosing a single coil or humbucking soundhole pickup for an acoustic guitar...!
    The typical response regarding the difference between the two goes something like:

    Humbuckers are "warm", where single coils are "thin".

    Single coils are "chime-y", where humbuckers are "thick".

    The Neo-D is available as both a single coil (lower price) and a humbucker (costs more). Both Dean Markley and Seymour-Duncan offer similar choices with their ProMag and Woody pickups, respectively. The more expensive Fishman Rare Earth and Blackstack are humbuckers. As are the Sunrise and Baggs M1 and M80.

    Frankly, the humbucker better respects acoustic "properties", where the single coil is, well, downright "reedy" sounding. The Neo-D, by Fishman's own admission, is a low-cost solution. There is nothing wrong with either the pickup or with pursuing a low-cost solution. But back up just a few feet for an overview:

    If you want to get down and dirty with your acoustic, and already have an electric pedalboard, a magnetic soundhole-mounted pickup will get you there. The more expensive models can also get surprisingly close to a "natural" sounding acoustic guitar, especially when blended with another technology (piezo or mic). Single coil pickups are more susceptible to "hum" than are humbuckers (hence the name), but cost less. And they are super-simple to install.

    If you are trying to squeeze out a bit more "natural" sound out of your guitar, and if you are willing to invest just a bit more money, a SoundBoard Transducer may be more pleasing to your ears. I believe that, for $99 (and some installation effort), the K&K Pure 12 string SBT that you identified will, when installed correctly, be a very satisfying solution. If you want to improve even more upon the sound then, down the road, you can invest in an outboard acoustic guitar preamp.
    Last edited by Christopher Cozad; 08-27-2017 at 12:28 AM.
    - Christopher

    1975 F-212 NT (overhaul started in 2016)
    1975 F-212 NT
    1976 F-50R NT
    1976 F-512 NT (Overhauled in 2010)
    1980 F-412 NT (Overhauled in 2014)
    1988 (G)F-60R NT

    Diagnosed in childhood with a CLWEA genetic predisposition
    CLWEA is an acronym for Can't Leave Well Enough Alone

  5. #5
    By the way, the K&K type pickups are also available for about 1/2!the cost from JJB. They're my go to pups.
    http://www.jjb-electronics.com
    http://www.jjb-electronics.com/prestige-330.html
    Last edited by AcornHouse; 08-27-2017 at 12:29 AM.
    Chris
    ---
    '56 A-50, '57 CE-100, '60 X-150, '61 M-20, '62 F-20, '64 S-50 Jetstar, '64 Mark II, '65 SFIV, '71 S-90, '75 F-112, '75 Mark IVp, '81 M-80,
    '82 S-275, '86 T-250, '88 Detonator, '90 Pilot SB602M, '93 X-500, '97 Bluesbird, '99 F-30, '16 NS S-200 Thunderbird
    '54 Masteramp, '60 99j, '66 Thunderbass, '69 Thunderstar, '92 G-500
    Acorn House
    '08 Parlor, '10 Butternut Deuce, '13 Rounder, '14 Kulakeiki

    '94 G&L Legacy
    '03 Elder Lute
    ---
    http://acornhouseworkshop.com/

  6. #6
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    And, for the record, my D-212 has a K&K Pure 12-string. My bad.
    Neal

    '53 "X-150" Redburst
    '54 X-50 SB
    '54 X-200-S SB
    '71 F-20 NT ("Tonya")
    '71 D-25 BR
    '73 D-35 NT
    '81 D-212 SB
    '12 F-50 STD SB

    Others: '59 Gretsch Clipper, '74 Dobro Round-Neck Resonator (wood), '77 Dobro Squareneck Resonator (bell brass), '87 Dobro Square-Neck Resonator (wood), '07 Rockbridge Adi/Mahogany dreadnought, '09 Huss & Dalton TD-M Custom dreadnought, '14 Huss & Dalton DS Crossroads, Tele Partscaster.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by AcornHouse View Post
    By the way, the K&K type pickups are also available for about 1/2!the cost from JJB. They're my go to pups.
    http://www.jjb-electronics.com
    You are right, Chris. I have neglected to mention JJB, more than once. I need to invest in some samples and give them a thorough comparison testing. I have heard from more than one person that they are an excellent SoundBoard Transducer.
    - Christopher

    1975 F-212 NT (overhaul started in 2016)
    1975 F-212 NT
    1976 F-50R NT
    1976 F-512 NT (Overhauled in 2010)
    1980 F-412 NT (Overhauled in 2014)
    1988 (G)F-60R NT

    Diagnosed in childhood with a CLWEA genetic predisposition
    CLWEA is an acronym for Can't Leave Well Enough Alone

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by AcornHouse View Post
    By the way, the K&K type pickups are also available for about 1/2!the cost from JJB. They're my go to pups.
    http://www.jjb-electronics.com
    http://www.jjb-electronics.com/prestige-330.html
    I know that there are probably other pieces in that signal chain but the clip on their homepage of the the gentleman from Sweden playing his Blueridge with their Prestige 330 model pickup sounds really good in my opinion. Only thing I can hear that I don't like is that it is not crystal clear but that probably has to do more with Compression added to the sound clip than the pickup itself. Still, If I were in the market for a Transducer style pickup like the K&K I would definitely take a chance and see what the JJB 330 had to offer. I'm sure they sound different on different guitars like all pickups do but overall I like the clip enough to give them a shot for sure. Thanks for the links Acorn, This is the first I have heard of them.


    TX
    Guilds
    Hoboken-1960 X175, 1961 SF-II
    Westerly-1971 F612, 1976 G41, 2000 SF-V, 1984 S284, 1993 JF100-NT-CRV
    Nashville C.S. SFIV-3 P90 w/Trem
    Corona-2003 Fleming F47-Brz RW, 2003 D55 50th Ann. Brz RW#10 of 50, 2003 X160 R.B., 2003 SF-III-90
    Conn-2011 GSR D50 Coco, 2013 R30S, 2013 Orph 12 Fret Slope, 2013 Orph Jumbo, 2014 Orph Burst 000-12 Fret 12 String S.H. RW, 2012 F50-DTAR, 2012 F50R Burst, 2012 F50R DTAR, 2013 F512 Burst, 2014 F512-DTAR, 2014 D55-RS

    Amps
    70 T-bird 2x12
    93 Sequoia

  9. #9
    Senior Member The Retro Rocker's Avatar
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    Over the years I have tried to use different sound hole pickups...to no avail! I've never heard one that brings out the true sound of an acoustic guitar. And, they're just in the way! And look ugly!
    Plus, I've never had much luck with string-to-string volume balance using those (even those with adjustable pole pieces). I've purchased a couple of guitars with sound hole pickups and replaced them with K&K.
    Plus...sound hole pickups kinda chew up the sound hole after awhile.
    After a bunch of trial and error with transducers, piezos, etc, I have DTAR in my F50, and K&K in all my other acoustics. The K&K greatly benefit from the K&K Mini preamp.
    1975 G-41 w/K&K Mini (Westerly)
    1992 JF-30 Blonde, soon to get K&K Mini (Westerly)
    2002 X160 Rockabilly, w/DeArmond 2000s, (Corona)
    2003 JF-30 Black w/K&K Mini (Corona)
    2005 F50R Natural w/K&K Mini (Tacoma)
    2012 F-50 Maple w/DTAR (New Hartford)

    Quilter MP200 amp
    K&K Pure PreAmp
    Fishman Aura Spectrum PreAmp
    Earthquaker Ghost Echo reverb pedal
    Audio Technica System 10 wireless
    Original 80's Boss DM2 Analog Delay
    TC Electronic Sub 'N' Up Octaver Dual Octave Pedal

  10. #10
    Senior Member The Retro Rocker's Avatar
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    +1 to what TX said. Thanks Acorn...they look like the K&K Mini! Gonna check 'em out.
    1975 G-41 w/K&K Mini (Westerly)
    1992 JF-30 Blonde, soon to get K&K Mini (Westerly)
    2002 X160 Rockabilly, w/DeArmond 2000s, (Corona)
    2003 JF-30 Black w/K&K Mini (Corona)
    2005 F50R Natural w/K&K Mini (Tacoma)
    2012 F-50 Maple w/DTAR (New Hartford)

    Quilter MP200 amp
    K&K Pure PreAmp
    Fishman Aura Spectrum PreAmp
    Earthquaker Ghost Echo reverb pedal
    Audio Technica System 10 wireless
    Original 80's Boss DM2 Analog Delay
    TC Electronic Sub 'N' Up Octaver Dual Octave Pedal

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