Better pickup for my Takamine?

Hi guys,

I've got a Takamine EG540SC guitar, and I've had it for years. I've gigged with it every other week/month and I love it, and although I do like the sound from the stock pickup, I'm now needing a wee bit more.

I play in a duo, just me on the guitar and female vocalist. We've scored a pretty big gig over the Xmas period so we're looking to step up our game a wee bit, and one thing I'm hoping to do is a bit of looping to add more depth to the songs.

I just don't think the stock pickup is doing a good job of it - when i'm hitting the various parts of the guitar for different sounds, it just sounds really shite to be honest!

I'm guessing I need a better under-saddle pickup? Can I buy any, and have it fitted, or will it have to be a specific pup that'll fit my guitar?

Also, which kinds/models would you recommend to get me some good "percussion" tones from my guitar body.

Cheers in advance

Keir
0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Comments

  • ICBMICBM Frets: 36877
    In all honesty, retire your old friend to home use and get something better for gigs.

    Those G-series Takamine models don't have the upgradable preamp like the more expensive ones, and replacing the pickup by itself will make little to no difference. You could replace the whole lot with something like a Fishman system where the new preamp box is larger than the old one and so will completely cover/enlarge the existing hole, but even that most likely won't get you exactly what you want - although you can get models that blend internal mics with the pickup, which might help.

    You may be better thinking about something like a Taylor with the Expression System electronics, which include body sensors. Not cheap though.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • BranshenBranshen Frets: 996
    My LR Baggs M1A amplifies the body sounds pretty well. The knocks and all come through decent even thought it's supposed to be a magnetic pickup (not unlike electric pickups). I don't know how it works to be honest, but I think the marketing speak is "tri-axial technology" or something. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Something like that Baggs pickup is definitely an option - my dad has a great Gretsch dreadnought acoustic and also a fairly decent Washburn, so I could definitely look to using one of them instead.

    I don't really have the money I go and buy a new guitar just now, so this might be a good way forward to cover my bases until I can afford a better one.

    I had a look and notice there are active and passive ones - can either of them be fitted to a normal acoustic, or is the active one specifically for an already "electric-acoustic"?

    Or have I completely misunderstood the differences between the two?
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ICBMICBM Frets: 36877
    The active one has a built-in preamp so can go direct to a desk or PA. The passive one doesn't and needs to be connected to an external preamp, DI box or an acoustic instrument amp with a high input impedance.

    Neither of them is likely to be easily compatible with the internal preamp in the Takamine - I did think abut mentioning the M1A, but this is a big problem! Your options are limited to -

    Using the trailing cable on the Baggs, totally separately from the guitar's electronics (but which would allow you to use both, and might work very well);

    Finding some way of connecting the active version to the output jack (a different one with four contacts is necessary) and powering them both from the same battery (may be tricky);

    Or finding some way of connecting the passive version to the existing preamp either as well as or instead of the undersaddle pickup… which may not sound very good, since the preamp is likely to be designed specifically for the piezo pickup.

    It's not as easy as it looks unfortunately!
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • It def sounds like its gonna be a lot of work.

    So, let's forget the Takamine option.

    How about using the active Baggs into one of my dad's guitars?
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • +1 on the Baggs, they're excellent. If you look up a 'Takamine Tri-ax' that's actually the exact same pickup rebranded for Takamine. They are a tad cheaper and would match your guitar! I think the Tri-ax also has an added switch to alternate between active and passive which is handy
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Also, I found that the Baggs/Tri-Ax is fairly mid-heavy. Take a bit of the mid down on your EQ and they sound perfect.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • That does look interesting. Shame it won't work wih my currently installed pre-amp.

    I'm guessing I could get the Takamine/Baggs pup and install it in my Tak, if I like it I could then fit the jack plug into the existing one (I know I lose the stock pup this way).

    If it still didn't sound good, I could try it with my dad's guitars and see if they sounded any better.

    Would save me the headache of trying to find money to buy a new guitar for the time being.

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Highly recommend the Seymour Duncan Mag-Mic, SA-6. Blending the warm magnetic pickup with the bright, open onboard mic gives great results, plus it can be installed permanently or temporarily so you can try it on different guitars without drilling any holes. Lots of people seem to like piezos but the magnetic pickup to me has a more forgiving and natural sound, especially when blended with the mic. 

    I've been through the Taylor Expression System and would avoid the new models (even on the high end Taylors) which consistently display a large amount of pick scraping/string sliding noise. Really bizarre.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • I'm not sure I can stretch that far at the moment - this really wasn't something that was planned into my budget for the next few months.

    i guess the internal mic would be one of the best ways of capturing what I'm looking for

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • xSkarloeyxSkarloey Frets: 2938
    jimmyguitar;389503" said:
    +1 on the Baggs, they're excellent. If you look up a 'Takamine Tri-ax' that's actually the exact same pickup rebranded for Takamine. They are a tad cheaper and would match your guitar! I think the Tri-ax also has an added switch to alternate between active and passive which is handy
    This.

    I used to have one and they're great.

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Sign In or Register to comment.