pro level electro

Ok daughter is looking to upgrade her acoustic. It will be used mainly on stage , usually connected via the house desk. Smaller gigs suspect we will use her fishman . Main requirement is reliability in tuning and quality electrics with feedback under control. She often uses a capo for different songs. Noted ICBM comment about sound hole pup better than piezo.
Whichever works best, it will mainly be used to accompany her vocals. She does also us it a fair amount as percussion( you know hitting and tapping on the body).
This will be an upgrade for her Faith Saturn. We will be able to get the vat back if bought new. Can't think of anything else .
This for suggestions

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 36877
    Taylors seem to be the current first choice for professionals.

    I must admit I don't like the Expression System electrics and I don't quite understand why they are so highly rated. I've seen more than a few faults with them - usually hard to repair or needing special parts - and I don't particularly like several of the concepts in it, or the way it sounds at some places on the fingerboard.

    Putting controls on the guitar is a two-edged sword. Yes, it gives you hands-on control, but most sound engineers will not thank you for using this to say the very least…

    Putting electrics *at all* in the guitar is. Even a simple preamp with no onboard control, or maybe just a volume control hidden under the edge of the soundhole, leaves you at the mercy of a battery failure or something going wrong with the electronics (surprisingly not that uncommon).

    The only advantage is that you can go direct to a desk or use a long cable to an amp without the need for an external preamp or DI box - but why do you need to do that? To me it's best to keep the onboard system as simple and reliable as possible - just a pickup and a jack - and do everything else with an external box which can be replaced, repaired or upgraded as necessary.

    In fact that is precisely what I've done. I actually removed the factory-fitted preamp system from my Gibson and replaced it with a simple undersaddle transducer and a jack, and I've now just replaced my old Fishman Pro EQ unit with an Aura preamp/mic modeller/DI box. I can use the same unit with my Martin 12-string which has had a plain undersaddle pickup in it since shortly after I bought it in 1989, and I haven't had to alter the guitar in any way to make it work with the vastly improved preamp than anything that was available 25 years ago. I suspect the same will be true in another 25 years.

    The worst case scenario is that it goes down completely and I'd just have to use a standard DI box or the old Pro EQ - it wouldn't sound as good, but it would work. A dead electro-acoustic at a gig is dead, and nothing you can do will get sound out of it.

    As usual I expect this is not a popular viewpoint - if it was, electro-acoustics wouldn't be so common! But I am only half joking when I say that electro-acoustics are the work of Satan.

    Sorry for the usual lecture/stuck record ;).

    For what it's worth the Aura is an incredibly good unit - I have the bigger of the two models with the tuner, feedback control, EQ and multiple guitar models - but make sure you understand what it's for and how to use it! I didn't the first time I tried one, and as a result I didn't think it sounded good. User error, in a big way :).
    "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
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  • Takamine pro series.
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  • Thks , will look at the Takamine.
     ICBM , actually not a lecture but common sense. When gigging she does not touch anything on th controls and leaves it all to the sound men. (Helps being a pretty 21 year old girl ).
    Reliability is the no one requirement, and feedback control
    We helped cut some of the feedback with a rubber "plug" , but still can be an issue.

    Sound of course (she will use her ears for that one). Tuning stability is important. It has to be a work tool that she does not have to think about , so it does not interrupt her flow with her audience (she is a sole performer).
     An on board tuner might be useful considering she changes around with a capo between songs. 

    The simple transducer /jack plug idea sounds interesting...
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  • Im just about to put a LR Baggs  M80 pickup in my Tanglewood, will let you know how it works at gigs.

    Personally I've been happier using good soundhole pickups than any other type of pickup.  mainly as in a band situation you don't get feedback, and they have been very reliable indeed.  
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  • bluechargeboybluechargeboy Frets: 1398
    edited November 2014
    Japanese Takamine. Decent preamp, good onboard tuner, no feedback issues (even without notch filter control). Great workmanship. Nice necks. Gotoh tuners. Bone nuts. Compensated bone saddle.

    I have a Larrivee and I don't find the onboard tuner to be accurate enough so I need a pedal tuner. The Takamine one rocks.

    Edit: Tuning stability: hell yes.
    My band: Hedge Gods
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  • ICBM;398944" said:
    Taylors seem to be the current first choice for professionals.

    I must admit I don't like the Expression System electrics and I don't quite understand why they are so highly rated. I've seen more than a few faults with them - usually hard to repair or needing special parts - and I don't particularly like several of the concepts in it, or the way it sounds at some places on the fingerboard
    Taylor have just launched their third generation Expression System, which if I have understood what I have read correctly is significantly more straight-forward that previous versions.

    They seem a little short on info as to why a new version has been launched - but let's hope it's good.

    I like Taylor - they generally seem like a company with integrity.
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  • musicegbdfmusicegbdf Frets: 306
    edited November 2014
    Thks guys,building the "to try " list "-)
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 36877
    Taylor have just launched their third generation Expression System, which if I have understood what I have read correctly is significantly more straight-forward that previous versions. 
    They seem a little short on info as to why a new version has been launched - but let's hope it's good.
    Perhaps they don't want to admit that it's because the old one is well known for dying :).

    This is partly because the body transducers are slightly unreliable and the system is arranged with them all in series, so a single failure in any of them stops the whole system working... bad design.

    There are also problems with the battery holder and with noise when running the system unbalanced, as most users do.

    Aside from that I don't like the way the neck transducer produces a very 'electric guitar' tone when playing on the plain strings in the 7th-12th fret area. For some reason it's more obvious than even on normal magnetic soundhole pickups - perhaps because when playing elsewhere the sound is more natural, so the 'electric' tone jumps out more there.
    "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
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  • ^ I think the new one is piezo only. I suspect you are right - an unreliable system with the volume of guitars they make must have been a nightmare.
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  • IanSavageIanSavage Frets: 1319
    I was very impressed by the mid-range 'offshore-built' Breedlove that I had a few years ago, I can imagine their 'pro' line being something very special indeed. 
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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 1054
    edited November 2014
    Think one of the clues here is she's gonna be using it as percussion as well, in this case fitting a sound hole pick up may cause problems if she gets over enthusastic and it slips. 
     
    As to pro level guitars which are stable  would have a look at Lowden Lakewood Gibson Takemine Martin Furch, If shes doing a lot of gigs hiscox case essential and  I would be looking for a heaviour built guitar to stand the rigours rather than a light sweet sounding guitar which is more likely to get damaged quicker. its no secret why bands use Takemines on stage and their vintage martins in the studio! 
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • Mmm trend here...
    Takamine seem to come up a lot.
    Yes a hard working instrument so needs to be strong. She plays fairly hard. She does not often use a pick, but seems to have developed her own style with the right hand and is fairly percussive.
    Will have a browse of their models
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  • Budget?
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  • ICBM said:
    Taylor have just launched their third generation Expression System, which if I have understood what I have read correctly is significantly more straight-forward that previous versions. 
    They seem a little short on info as to why a new version has been launched - but let's hope it's good.
    Perhaps they don't want to admit that it's because the old one is well known for dying :).

    This is partly because the body transducers are slightly unreliable and the system is arranged with them all in series, so a single failure in any of them stops the whole system working... bad design.

    There are also problems with the battery holder and with noise when running the system unbalanced, as most users do.

    Aside from that I don't like the way the neck transducer produces a very 'electric guitar' tone when playing on the plain strings in the 7th-12th fret area. For some reason it's more obvious than even on normal magnetic soundhole pickups - perhaps because when playing elsewhere the sound is more natural, so the 'electric' tone jumps out more there.
    When I had a Taylor (before I sold it because I didn't like the acoustic sound), I was telling my luthier how much better the pickups sounded than a piezo

    He showed me the box full of the Expression systems he'd had to remove

    I got LR Baggs Elements fitted after that

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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 15195
    Budget?
    Exactly.


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  • Budget not critical for the right instrument. I guess between £750 and £1500.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 36877
    I have to say I'm not much of a fan of the Takamine sound, but I can't fault their reliability really. Considering the number there are out there they must be some of the very best for that.

    If you make sure you get the proper, pro-series ones, with the nearly square preamp mounted on the upper shoulder of the guitar next to the neck, these are all interchangeable or upgradable with newer models - Takamine have made a point of sticking to the same mount design for all of them.

    There is a trick to getting them out though! Easy when you know how, almost impossible when you don't. As I found out the very first time :).
    "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
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  • Don't discount the Yamahas fitted with their new pickup system, beats the cack out of the Expression system in my opinion.
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  • Takamine, make sure its got a CoolTube Preamp, preferably  CTP2 but the newer ctp4 is fine and dandy also.  You will get a top jobbie for £1500.  Probably less.
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  • OK been looking and seen this

    http://www.thomann.de/gb/takamine_p7dc.htm

    Now I would not want to buy a guitar of this level without trying the actual instrument , but strange how it is £600 cheaper than any UK store !


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  • Don't discount the Yamahas fitted with their new pickup system, beats the cack out of the Expression system in my opinion.
    The pickups system is brilliant but I cant recommend anything in the range that is steel strung and under £1000. They just dont play that great and the sound isnt all that either. I say this as a huge Yamaha fan. If it was nylon strung I would say you cant go wrong with anything you buy. 

    I think if I was looking for something up to £1500 I would go for a Martin. 
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
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  • xmrchixmrchi Frets: 2806
    Another one here for takamine, I gigged a ean for 12 years, and now have a fp450, both guitars take on anything, plus the acoustic sound is fantastic.
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  • mellowsunmellowsun Frets: 2412
    I'd echo what ICBM said and avoid an electro-acoustic as such, and get the best acoustic you can, then get an under saddle transducer fitted. K&K Westerns are well regarded passive types, requiring no batteries.

    For your daughter's playing style that you describe, I'd seriously consider a Martin all-mahogany dreadnought or OM. I don't normally like dreads but these sound great both for flat picking and fingerstyle. 

    Personally, I can't get on with Taks for finger style work as I play quite lightly, but I guess if you play hard and for bashing out big chords they are a great choice.

    Many of the well-known percussive acoustic players use a Lowden. More singer-songwriters are also using them - Ed Sheeran played one at a recent gig, although I think he usually plays Martin.

    Lowdens can be a good choice for solo or small ensemble work, but perhaps less well in a band situation. The big, complex Lowden sound and great sustain can make a solo performer sound huge. You can probably get a second-hand O or F model within your budget.
    Tuning stability is the one of the best out there, thanks in part to the five piece neck.
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  • Great tks another to add to the list to try. Would not have thought of Lowden.
    I will look up the K and K westerns as well
    Tks again
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2711
    Pop into Peach and try the acoustics. Find the one that light her fire and add an undersaddle PU.

    It will still be a sweet guitar ten years down the line. I'm not a fan of that modern 'glistening' electro acoustic sound and rarely find a ready made electro I like plugged in and acoustic/mic'd.


    As for the Thomman option, they offer a returns policy if it doesn't suit her.
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  • I have wondered about their money back guarantee but their website says free returns within Germany only
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  • Going into a shop is a real eye-opener. I walked away with a brand I had hardly heard of (Larrivee), which I preferred to Taylor, Martin, Guild, etc etc. No substitute for getting hands on with acoustics.

    I always say this but DO NOT try guitars outside your budget, as you will want them and probably buy them. :D
    My band: Hedge Gods
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 36877
    Larrivées are wonderful and very undervalued guitars. Not my personal preference tone-wise usually, but you can't fault the build quality so if you find one that sounds right to you, buy it.
    "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
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