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  1. #1

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    So here's my dilemma: I have an early 90s Takamini solid cedar top cutaway classical with an under the saddle pickup that has always had a weak bass E string. For all these years I've just used it acoustically because of that, and a Godin grand concert became my gigging guitar (perfectly balanced, good strong bass E). But I've started to miss that little extra complexity of tone from a true acoustic guitar, plus I've become obsessed with Earl Klugh's gorgeous tone. I had the Takamini worked on and the tech said the culprit was that the factory installers had drilled a large hole right under that E string to route the wires for the pickup. He filled the hole, dilled a new one off to the side, but he says the pickup is damaged and needs to be replaced. In the mean time, I have gone to several music stores and tested every nylon electric I can find. What I've experienced so far is that every one, regarless of brand (except my Godin, but that's not a true acoustic) has this same problem, and I don't want to spring for a new pickup only to be disappointed again. So, those of you who also play classical electrics, what's your experience? Have you been able to find one that's well balanced with a good strong bass E? If so, please tell me what brand and model. I'm actually losing sleep over this issue. Thanks.

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  3. #2

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    Have you tried the GIBSON CHET ATKINS SST.

    I bought a Godin when they first came out in the 90's instead of the Gibson. I like the Godin's unique sound and feel but I should have also picked up the Gibson. It has a much warmer and complex sound. Closer to the classical sound. Good balance too.

    I think you need to find a used one these days, but it might be worth a shot if you can find one to try out. I saw a few on eBay.

  4. #3

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    Thanks, but I'm really wanting to play a real classical acoustic with a pickup if it's at all possible. My Godin really does sound very good, and I've gotten a lot of compliments over the years. I actually AB'd mine against a newer model and felt mine sounded much better. But I'm craving the look, feel, and sound of a real classical.

  5. #4

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    Don, the Godin has the RMC pickup system, those little gold individual saddles. That same system can be purchased and installed in any classical or flamenco guitar, including 7-strings, as I have recently done. Alternatively, the Shadow nanoflex pickups work very well, but the slot must be perfectly flat and even, as well as the bottom edge of the bridge insert. I've been dealing with this problem for over 40 years; many years ago, Earl Klugh spent a day at my house messing around with pickups, but the technology was primitive. He now uses the RMC as well as B-band systems, and no less than John Williams is using the B-band system with an under-saddle element and a microphone inside the guitar, but that demands a really good instrument, and the Takamine may not respond well to the mic. I have found that the Shadow nanoflex model that isn't permanent (no drilling) is quite good on my handmade, high-end flamencos, so I recommend that brand in terms of expense; the RMC is the very best, but will cost you around $1000 to purchase and have installed by a good luthier. Perhaps you can purchase a Shadow and utilize the existing preamp in the Tak.

  6. #5

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    Actually, my Godin is an older Grand Concert Duet with LR Baggs under saddle and small condenser mic inside. I'm aware that Earl is playing pretty much exclusively with the RMC, and have had discussions with Paul McGill, the luthier who has made--I think--all of Earl's stage guitars, about this. Rich DiCarlo, the east coast jazz classical maker also uses RMCs only in his guitars. But as you point out, the cost is pretty steep--more than I can afford now since I'm going through some, shall we say, "challenging" times on the fiscal front.

    I went ahead and told the repair tech to order a new stock Takamini pickup as that's all I can afford at this point. He's confident that he can balance it out with that. He better. If I sink another $150 into this thing with no improvement, I might just have to "punish" him.

  7. #6

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    Best of luck with that. I'm not familiar with the latest Takamine electronics, but if he can get you a balanced sound, then for about $50 you could get a Zoom A2 acoustic processor to really fine-tune your tone and effects.

  8. #7

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    I'm actually pretty encouraged right now. Went to the music store and played 2 different reasonably priced Cordobas with Fishman electronics that had very good balance, very robust bass. So at least that tells me that it can be done on a mass produced, mid-price point guitar. What really got me excited, though, was the Fishman Aura. At a $300 price, they're doing some sort of sound processing modeling thing that washes almost every trace of piezo quack out of that transducer signal and makes it sound like a natural mic'd guitar. Amazing! It's what I've been dreaming of for years.

  9. #8

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    Well, that's what the Zoom A2 does as well, for about $60, and an hour or so of tweaking through your amp. I play my 7-string nylon with RMC pickups through the Bose L1 system, using the Zoom A2, and it sounds like a recording of a great flamenco guitar, it's quite stunning. In any event, best of luck with all of it. Make sure you try whatever you choose out with your own rig.

  10. #9

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    I have a Highlander iP-1 ust in my Kenny Hill Torres 1856 and it is wonderful. Not only is it balanced, but it's the most natural sounding pickup I've encountered.

  11. #10

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    Don,

    I am Paul McGill

    I have made many guitars for Klugh begining in the late 80's.

    I used RMC for many years and in recent years developed a system to replace it.

    Please have a look at Goacousticaudio.com
    Or look us up on Facebook or I Instagram.

    Thank you




    QUOTE=Nylonstring;201569]So here's my dilemma: I have an early 90s Takamini solid cedar top cutaway classical with an under the saddle pickup that has always had a weak bass E string. For all these years I've just used it acoustically because of that, and a Godin grand concert became my gigging guitar (perfectly balanced, good strong bass E). But I've started to miss that little extra complexity of tone from a true acoustic guitar, plus I've become obsessed with Earl Klugh's gorgeous tone. I had the Takamini worked on and the tech said the culprit was that the factory installers had drilled a large hole right under that E string to route the wires for the pickup. He filled the hole, dilled a new one off to the side, but he says the pickup is damaged and needs to be replaced. In the mean time, I have gone to several music stores and tested every nylon electric I can find. What I've experienced so far is that every one, regarless of brand (except my Godin, but that's not a true acoustic) has this same problem, and I don't want to spring for a new pickup only to be disappointed again. So, those of you who also play classical electrics, what's your experience? Have you been able to find one that's well balanced with a good strong bass E? If so, please tell me what brand and model. I'm actually losing sleep over this issue. Thanks.[/QUOTE]