So, Me and the singer/bass player/2nd guitarist are going to try some open mic nights and..

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cj73cj73 Frets: 423
I have no idea about how to make a good, amplified accoustic sound.  It'll be me and the ever talented singer on accoustics, I've got a Takemine EG260G that I bought on a whim cos it was cheap and my 18th b'day present Kaman Montana EM25-4 which the dude in Sound Control Glasgow said was better than those silly coloured ones I was looking at (It was 1991, I feel excused).

The Takemine's piezo output sounds shit and the rudimentary electrics on the Kaman have long since gone south.

The question is, I have circa £500 to throw at this so am I better fitting a decent after market pickup / pre-amp to the Kaman (which I love the acoustic sound of) or splurging on a new guitar with better onboard electronics?


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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 13308
    edited January 7
    Pretty much all piezos sound like piezos, rather than acoustic guitars - even when they don't exhibit the middly characteristic, there's something about their dynamics which just sounds 'wrong'.

    Some of the best live acoustic sounds I've heard have come from magnetic sound-hole pick-ups (Fishman and the like). While they don't sound as detailed as a good mic, they don't sound as artificial as most piezos.
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  • GrunfeldGrunfeld Frets: 1850
    I saw this the other day, Frank Turner talking about live acoustic guitars and how to get them to sound good live.
    Sounded interesting.



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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 22779
    The Takamine shouldn't sound that shit, even though it's not one of their most expensive ones. What are you running it through? Even though it has its own preamp it may benefit from an extra outboard one. If it's one of the ones with the standard shoulder-mounted rectangular preamp, you may be able to replace it with any other newer Takamine preamp, they have made a point of keeping them the same size for about the last twenty years.

    You should be able to replace and upgrade the electrics on the Kaman for much less than £500 too - what type of system does it have in now, a passive piezo and volume/tone controls? I seem to remember they did. If so, removing the controls and connecting the pickup directly to the output jack and also using an external preamp will work wonders, the pots always really kill the tone of a piezo pickup. (Assuming you think it has 'tone' anyway ;).)

    Alternatively, a magnetic soundhole pickup with a built-in preamp may sound much better, and with a little ingenuity you can run it through the existing controls if you want.

    Remember that at the end of the day, at an open mic no-one really cares whether you have a great acoustic tone or not. The PA will usually be average at best, and as long as the result sounds roughly like a guitar, no-one will really notice the difference.
    "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."
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 4591
     Just use it and keep the money. Open mic nights are great ways to try out songs but IME sound quality is generally measured in appropriate sound levels and lack of feedback. Just focus on playing well.
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  • cj73cj73 Frets: 423
    Hang on minute! This bit of the form is a lot more sensible than the rest....I wanted to spend money and the advice is don't bother  ;)

    @icbm I'm a complete novice when it comes to amplifying acoustic guitar.  Will an out board pre-amp improve the current one even if i leave it place?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 22779
    cj73 said:

    @icbm I'm a complete novice when it comes to amplifying acoustic guitar.  Will an out board pre-amp improve the current one even if i leave it place?
    Yes, although you're usually best not to try to 'double EQ' it - leave the onboard one set flat, or at least not with very extreme settings is you still can't get it to sound right like that.

    cj73 said:
    Hang on minute! This bit of the form is a lot more sensible than the rest....I wanted to spend money and the advice is don't bother  ;)
    Have you seen how much a decent outboard preamp costs yet? :)

    Something like an LR Baggs Para DI or a Fishman Aura (although the Aura probably isn't the best choice with a guitar that already has electrics, it works best with a passive piezo).

    To be honest I probably still wouldn't bother if the aim is just to do open mics though - I've never found it an issue unless the guitar is *really* awful, and even then it doesn't matter that much, the soundman can always EQ it at the desk and get a tolerable sound.
    "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."
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  • davewwdaveww Frets: 141
    If I'm there early I setup and use my little THR10 on the acoustic setting and use the headphone out to the PA.  It improves the tone a bit and seems to help with feedback.  I'd recommend always using a feedback buster though.  If time is limited and it's a busy open mic' it's best just to go straight into the PA and hope for the best.
    Life aint so easy when you're a ghetto child
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