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  1. #1

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    My dilemma is this... I've got a wonderfully built Eastman AR810 (17" lower bout, violin varnish, huge sound) that I just really love to play. I'm using flatwounds at the moment but I dig the sound of rounds on it too. It sounds fantastic acoustically, which I don't want to alter at all. That's how I play it most of the time. My issue is that when I go to amplify it, it's just so difficult to play that I usually just end up taking my Strat or solid body PRS on gigs instead.

    I would really like to use this guitar more live, but I have issues with getting a good tone and fighting feedback. I have a set of Doug's Plugs and they help a bit, but not nearly enough for when I'm playing with a jazz combo or big band. Any other tricks I should know about to help dampen the instrument and fight feedback? I've seen some of these guitars have a soundpost installed before - should I look into that?

    Additionally, I feel like the amplified tone is just awful but maybe that's an entirely different problem. I'm using a Kent Armstrong 12-pole PAF floater which I feel like should be a pretty good pickup. Because of how the pickup is attached to the pickguard, I've had to raise each of the 12 poles considerably to get them close enough to the strings. The volume and tone potentiometer are particularly frustrating, as both of them feel like they don't do anything for the first 90%, and then it's hard to find the right setting in that last 10% of the turn. The are the same pots that came with the guitar and are accessed under the pickguard, which is why I haven't tried changing them yet. Anyone have experience getting one of these guitars to sound good?

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by McJazzer
    My dilemma is this... I've got a wonderfully built Eastman AR810 (17" lower bout, violin varnish, huge sound) that I just really love to play. I'm using flatwounds at the moment but I dig the sound of rounds on it too. It sounds fantastic acoustically, which I don't want to alter at all. That's how I play it most of the time. My issue is that when I go to amplify it, it's just so difficult to play that I usually just end up taking my Strat or solid body PRS on gigs instead.

    I would really like to use this guitar more live, but I have issues with getting a good tone and fighting feedback. I have a set of Doug's Plugs and they help a bit, but not nearly enough for when I'm playing with a jazz combo or big band. Any other tricks I should know about to help dampen the instrument and fight feedback? I've seen some of these guitars have a soundpost installed before - should I look into that?

    Additionally, I feel like the amplified tone is just awful but maybe that's an entirely different problem. I'm using a Kent Armstrong 12-pole PAF floater which I feel like should be a pretty good pickup. Because of how the pickup is attached to the pickguard, I've had to raise each of the 12 poles considerably to get them close enough to the strings. The volume and tone potentiometer are particularly frustrating, as both of them feel like they don't do anything for the first 90%, and then it's hard to find the right setting in that last 10% of the turn. The are the same pots that came with the guitar and are accessed under the pickguard, which is why I haven't tried changing them yet. Anyone have experience getting one of these guitars to sound good?
    Very informative. I hope you get some good answers.

    I have read about these types of issues with "floaters" before. As a guitar lover, I find them interesting. Good luck. Someone on the forum should be able to give you some good feedback (no pun intended). I will be watching.

  4. #3

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    My favorite pickup for this application, by far, is the DeArmond Rhythm Chief 1100. I have a carved top acoustic, sort of similar but smaller and I think thinner, and I have no problem with feedback. The Rhythm Chief is the best-sounding pickup I've ever tried. I have mine attached to the top with Blu-Tack, and it's easy enough to adjust the height by changing the amount of Blu-Tack. I like the sound of the pickup coupled to the top that way more than I like the isolated sound when it's floating, and I think the feedback is less of a problem. I don't have a pickguard mounted on my guitar, because I don't like them much. The pots are mounted inside the treble f hole. It's going to be difficult, if even possible, to find different thumbwheel pots. I would not consider a soundpost, because that will kill the acoustic volume and tone. To control feedback, you have to control the setup, and get the amp in the right place, preferably on your left side, so that it's not blasting into the guitar. The bass player's amp needs to be facing away from you, too, since that will excite the top as well as your own amp.

  5. #4

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    Well that sounds not correct to me a KA pickup 12 polepieces is generally a very good pickup. My first thought it is not the pickup, even the imported ones are fine. The next deal at least for me is I never use a tone control on a floater. I like to only us a volume control and deal with the tone by the amp, although I seldom ever have to do this. A tone control to me adds clutter to the whole set up and I guessing that I am in the minority. Johnny Smith only had a volume control and he still is the standard.

    The next thought is that you might have cheaper made pots they are always a issue. I would want a first rate CTS pot or similar. Then is your amp setting. I have played and gigged ( not gigging anymore) for years on nothing but floating acoustic archtops. Feedback gets to be an issue if you really need to be loud but frankly when it gets to that point the whole reason for an acoustic with a floater sort of goes out the window. Your placement of the amp in relation to your self is the most important part of reducing feedback in addition to the amplifier you use.

    My guitars sound pretty wonderful through a Twin Reverb but will feedback pretty easy if pressed. My Clarus R2 with Raezor's edge twin 8's will not at all in comparison to the Twin Reverb. In my mind you might have an amp problem. Also a my Clarus tends to individually map the sound of the particular guitar I am using. So my Super400ces sounds different on the Claris compared to a Twin R. Also my Clarus make my 49 D'angelico sound different that my Barker they both have the same floating Dearmond 1100. In comparison when I run these 2 guitars through a Twin R they tend to sound much the same. That has to do with the amp properties and how they are built.

    Strings are another puppy to consider and frankly these days if I were playing completely electric most of the time I would use flatwound's. For me this is a change over the past 30 plus years I never used flatwound's but with an amp they are pretty nice. Now to be sure I am primarily an acoustic player so I like round wound strings and for me the Pure Nickle, have become the gold standard. I hate bronze strings in all fashion too much ringing a extra noise, not even on any acoustic archtop. Frankly sometimes flatwounds can be nice thanks to SS, who clued me in he did this.

    That brings up the final point. I would not sit in a vacuum to figure this out. Get some insight from a local players who knows this stuff. I am not sure where you are but if gigging check with others doing what you are doing. Your in Pittsburg got to be some good knowledge close.

    Finally nothing at all to do with the post just my political opinion. I am not a fender person and if I had to play a gig with a Strat it would need to pay really really good. I cannot stand them on the bandstand.

  6. #5

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    I doubt it's the amp really. I play through plenty of different amps on backline - always the same problems. My Supro, Mesa Boogie, SS Quilter, Blues Deluxe, and the different Twin/Deluxe amps I've used all have this issue with this guitar. I've looked, but have not been able to find replacement pots for this guitar since as I mentioned, they're mounted under the pickguard (thumbwheels as sgosnell says).

    I ordinarily play with my tone on full with my PRS and Strat both so I'd like to think I have a pretty good right hand feel to be able to do that. I would prefer to do the same with the Eastman, but honest to god I just can't stand the sound of the pickup full on. If anyone reading this has a reference video for how a KA 12-pole floater SHOULD sound with the tone on full, that'd be immensely helpful. I've often wondered if I have some electronic issue I'm not aware of.

  7. #6

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    I have only a volume control on my Wu. I found that I never had the tone control anywhere except full open, so I dispensed with it. The most common thumbwheel controls seem to be the Schattens, which come as a pair but can be separated and used as a single control if desired. They're nice in that installation is dead easy, just one included cap to solder to the board and the connection points are ready to go with solder in place. I chose to keep mine as it came, and put it aside and bought larger single thumbwheel pots from Guitar Parts Factory. Having just a volume control works for me, but perhaps not for everyone.

  8. #7

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    Thank you for writing about the Schatten!! I had no idea that existed. It looks like it'll work. I'm going to give it a shot since it's a relatively cheap experiment.

  9. #8

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    Try a multi-band eq and/or a parametric eq. I use jhs haunting mids to cut/boost touchy frequencies. Also, never hesitate to play you prs.

  10. #9

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    OK there are just a whole lot of things to unpack here.

    So let's start with the first one: expectations. What kind of sound are you looking to get out of this instrument when amplified? If you want the sound of an ES175 or an L5, you've got the wrong guitar or the wrong expectations. Floaters have their own particular spectrum of sound. They are typically brighter and thinner sounding than archtop guitars with the pickups mounted into the top, all other things being equal. Search around on YouTube for guitars with the Kent Armstrong PAF-0 floating pick up; you'll hear a lot of examples of what that can sound like. Interestingly enough, I did not find that to be a successful pickup on my guitar but other people sound fantastic with it, so I think there is an issue in terms of the interaction between the guitar and the pickup.

    I have tried many different pickups in my guitar, settling on a Pete Biltoft floating Charlie Christian style pickup; instead of being mounted to the pickguard, I have gone to a neck mount a la Johnny Smith. This has balanced the electric sound much more effectively. But I also had to balance my expectations, because I am not going to get Jim Hall's sound out of the instrument that I have. But now I really like the sound I get; listening to, in particular, Peter Bernstein's gorgeous tones helped shift my expectations about what a good jazz guitar tone is. That was very helpful in reducing my frustration.

    Also, the behavior of your tone and volume potentiometers sounds like you have linear rather than audio taper pots. With an audio taper most of the change in tone or volume occurs in the first 10 to 20% of the rotation rather than the last 10%; that is more typical of linear taper. The Schatten pots mentioned by another poster should solve that. Just make sure that they are audio taper.

    Second, as you already know I am sure the amplified tone is a combination of technique, tonal qualities of the instrument, the capacitance of the cable and any devices between the guitar and the amp, and the amp itself. With my archtop with floating pickup, I have found that black- or silverface Fender style amps sound abysmal. They cut out too much of the mids, overemphasize the bass and treble; setting the bass and treble at zero or 0.5 and the mids at 10 helps. So in my experience the amp is actually crucial here. I have had best results with a flat response acoustic style amp such as an Acoustic Image Clarus and a jazz-oriented cab such as a Raezer's Edge. I have also had good results with a Fender tweed Deluxe clone, which has been modified to allow rolling off the bass. Reducing bass of the amplifier is critical for controlling feedback in an archtop guitar. The Quilter MicroPro also seems to be able to provide an excellent sound with these guitars but I have never tried one in person. Rich Severson has some very useful videos on YouTube about that topic. I have also had best results using a very low capacitance cable, in my case George L's.

  11. #10

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    Wow....
    Agree about linear versus audio taper pots.

    My own experience with floaters is the tone and volume change radically with elevation and if they can move up and down, which is easy if suspended by the pickguard alone, guess what happens? Foam support can fix this, George Benson models use an additional screw.

    I like K&K transducers under the top at each bridge foot for a natural sound, a notch filter,/parametric can help with feedback but using magnetics I can wind up my ES125 with a Twin as long as I mute at the bridge strings that may want to oscillate. This is a important volume skill to practice along with amp placement. Steve Howe with Yes managed 2 Twins with a archtop without howling for those seeking inspiration.

  12. #11

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    Had the exact same guitar as the OP.
    My AR810CE was set up perfectly (I paid for this, didn't come from Eastman's dealer that way).
    Thought the amplified tones was too bright and acoustic - almost like a flat top acoustic.
    I wanted an ES175 tone.
    I had a Deluxe Reverb, Mesa Boogie MkV25 and a Fishman Loudbox Artist. None helped.
    Swapped the stock asian pup for a Benedetto. An improvement but no cigar.
    Swapped out the stock pots for Schattens. Helped a bit more but no ES 175.
    Finally sold the guitar.
    Went back to my minibucker equiped Tele and also an Epi Johnny A. I found that darker jazz tone.
    I realized I was trying to get a tone that wasn't in the guitar. Like Cunamara says.
    Ironically, my tastes have changed in the last 5 years and I'm getting more into a clear, brighter sound so I spend my time on a Taylor 312CE 12 Fret.
    Go figure.
    Last edited by DRS; 02-13-2021 at 07:21 PM.

  13. #12

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    As Cuna said, lots to unpack. i got a couple thoughts to add.

    Feedback: Sounds like most of your amps (if not all) are open back. I've found that a closed back cab with any speaker size is much easier to control than open. Open back anywhere near a wall can be a hard pony to tame.

    Pickups: One man's 'articulate' is another mans 'nasal', and one man's 'mud' is another man's 'warmth'. So there's that.

    I have a Pisano 880. It came to me with the stock KA 12 pole. It was too articulate for me so I swapped in a Vermont-made PAF-0. It instantly gave me the kind of warmth I seek.

    It's a set pickup in my Eastman, but I've found that doesn't have as much to do things as the prevailing wisdom sometimes decrees. After a couple years with the 880 I complimented it with a hand carved Lehmann with the same dimensions, bracing and woods, but with floating PAF-0. Same kind of happiness for me. Not a ton of difference in tone.

    In fact, the Lehmann is more feed-back resistant and woodier sounding than the airier Eastman, despite it's floating pickup. It's a heavier carve. More Gibson and less Benny. As stated before, the heavier Lehmann (even with a floater) can be driven harder and has more fundamental tone sustain. The Easman has a chimeyier sound with more overtones, even though it's the set version KA.

    To sum up my experience with pickups: give me PAF-0 or give me death! Set or floating. But that's just one man with a sample of 2 archtops and 3 pickups.

    Might not be obvious to everyone, but it's easy to tell the diff between Asian KA and Vermont. Vermont has hex key pole pieces and Asian has slot. Another functional but harder to see diff is Vermont is a sold block of phenolic or some such, while the Asian is a more standard PAF build. It's got air inside. Somewhat more microphonic.

    Finally I'd just like to say I'm not slagging the stock Asian one. Different ponies for different riders. Also, mine was a 2007. I think there's been some subtle changes along the way, and the pickup in the Pisano 880 may very well be different than other Eastmen.

  14. #13

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    Upon more research, it seems like this guitar just consistently has a lot of the same issues I've mentioned. I've had the guitar nearly 5 years at this point and have just always dealt with it. Doesn't matter the venue, amp, or amp placement - I've always had enormous feedback issues and everything else I've mentioned. I've been long fed up with it, and now that for the first time I'm making enough to afford a working instrument, I thought I'd give it one last shot before I ditch it and buy something else. I really do adore the acoustic tone and I'd miss it if I sold it for something primarily suited for electric playing.

    I'll be trying the Schatten thumbwheel pots and the capacitor that comes with it. I was only able to find the 500k version though I would've prefered the 250k based on my reading. I'll report back once it's in. My hope is that it at least solves the taper issue I'm having. The Schatten pots claim to have an audio taper. I could stop it down to 250k by wiring a 500k resistor to ground but I've read that it'll mess with the taper then. We'll see what happens. Thanks everyone for your thoughts thus far.

  15. #14

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    Well, like DRS hints at, maybe it is time to go guitar shopping. Don't know what kind of electric sound you're after, but I think it's tough to find something that acts like an Eastman unplugged and (for EG) a 175 plugged in.

    Have you tried a good EQ like Empress Para? That's a strong problem solver for unruly frequencies.

    Anyways, best of luck in the hunt!

  16. #15

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    I had an Eastman 905 – older model with just a volume control under the pickguard and the black Armstrong floater. I was getting the tone I wanted – a very acoustic archtop tone but feedback was always an issue. I think that this guitars with the thin solid tops and backs are just not made to be played loud. They excel at soft volumes though. Eventually I sold it and got an Ibanez GB10 which works fine for whatever music and volume I play. I don't think the floating pickups (the GB10 has these too) cause the feedback problem, but the thin solid carved top.
    Last edited by guavajelly; 02-13-2021 at 07:27 AM.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by McJazzer
    My dilemma is this... I've got a wonderfully built Eastman AR810 (17" lower bout, violin varnish, huge sound) that I just really love to play. I'm using flatwounds at the moment but I dig the sound of rounds on it too. It sounds fantastic acoustically, which I don't want to alter at all. That's how I play it most of the time. My issue is that when I go to amplify it, it's just so difficult to play that I usually just end up taking my Strat or solid body PRS on gigs instead.

    I would really like to use this guitar more live, but I have issues with getting a good tone and fighting feedback. I have a set of Doug's Plugs and they help a bit, but not nearly enough for when I'm playing with a jazz combo or big band. Any other tricks I should know about to help dampen the instrument and fight feedback? I've seen some of these guitars have a soundpost installed before - should I look into that?

    Additionally, I feel like the amplified tone is just awful but maybe that's an entirely different problem. I'm using a Kent Armstrong 12-pole PAF floater which I feel like should be a pretty good pickup. Because of how the pickup is attached to the pickguard, I've had to raise each of the 12 poles considerably to get them close enough to the strings. The volume and tone potentiometer are particularly frustrating, as both of them feel like they don't do anything for the first 90%, and then it's hard to find the right setting in that last 10% of the turn. The are the same pots that came with the guitar and are accessed under the pickguard, which is why I haven't tried changing them yet. Anyone have experience getting one of these guitars to sound good?
    After thousands of gigs with various amplification issues, one thing I’ve learned to accept that a good acoustic instrument and a good stage instrument are usually not the same thing. Especially with archtops.

    Sometimes there can be a compromise. I think many modern guitar builders go for a synergy between pickup and acoustic tone that leads to quieter guitars that sound very balance plugged. For most players this is fine because they don’t need a viable acoustic guitar, just a nice tone for practice and above all a good plugged sound. Even for miked work, both live and studio, small voiced boxes are not a bad idea.

    But I’ve always found Eastmans to be proper acoustic boxes. Even their laminates.

    Another compromise is to go for a set pickup model like the John Pisano. Even then this is a bit of a compromise. The Pisano will obviously not be as feedback tolerant as a PRS, or even an ES175. A lot depends on what sort of music you are playing, what kind of line ups, venues and so on.

    Probably not the answer you were looking for. But physics is physics.

    That said I don’t care for the amplified sound on any floating pup Eastmans ive tried and I wonder how much of this is the pickups. Some of the set pickup ones sound great, so I suspect this might be the limitation of the pickup style.

    Peter Bernstein uses a floating Gibson humbucker (!) on his guitar though and gets a great tone. And plenty of feedback that he noticeably has to fight sometimes.

    I use a Krivo pickup which sounds wonderful but is not very feedback resistant, probably because the one I have sits on the soundboard.

    My advice? Buy a laminate for loud stage work and keep the carved box for quiet gigs, recording and home playing. i like the Eastman 175 copy. Not very NYC jazz cat, but there you go.
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-13-2021 at 07:56 AM.

  18. #17

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    Oh another slightly less expensive suggestion; buy a boss GE7.

    Roll off the bass a bit too. (Bonus is your bass player will like you better.)

  19. #18

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    Good advice from Christian. When I had the Eastman I didn't have a GE7 but turned the amp's bass control to zero. You may actually like the tone.

  20. #19

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    BTW the problem is not specific to a certain brand. A friend of mine owns a very pricy Benedetto Archtop – don't know the model but a big, solid carved guitar. top of the tops. He handed it to me when I didn't bring a guitar for a session. It was – well – unbalanced, each string had a tone and volume of it's own. I asked him about it when we were done making music and he said "Yes, unfortunately". I made an interview with very prolific german player Joachim Schönecker for Archtop-germany.de (Archtop Germany: Schonecker, Joachim sorry it's german but you can put it through your favorite translator service). He also has a Benedetto and he said it is difficult – very sensitive to the amp, the context. Consequently he used a GB10 when I saw him in concert and later traded that for an ES 175.

  21. #20

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    I have sympathy for the OP. I had struggled with several guitars years ago to avoid feedback and crappy tone when using floating pickups at a gig. What I learned is that I could get by with good tone and volume with a ES-175 when I was properly positioned with my amp. No one in my band said the tone sucked. It was fine.

    Things that have helped:

    Sound post
    Doug's Plugs
    Filling body with foam or rags
    Microphone in front of the guitar through PA plus pickup to amp
    Microphone in front of amp through PA
    Positioning the amp to direct the sound anywhere but the guitar (that may be in part why Johnny Smith used his Fountain of Sound amp)
    Thicker tops
    Great technique in string dampening

    What helped the most was not thinking of an archtop with a floater as an electric guitar but rather as an acoustic with a pickup (microphone) attached. These guitars can be used for gigs but are cruel mistresses.

    One of the best comparison videos of various jazz box configurations is by Makis Ablianitis. If you listen carefully with good headphones you will definitely hear differences. But I can't easily separate the sounds into floater vs. mounted pickup. Interestingly, I find the Sweet 16, a smaller archtop, sound quite full and deserves a place with the larger guitars. BTW, the Golden Eagle with the floating pickup looks like it's the one I sold Makis a long time ago. After I shipped it there was a government service strike that ended up adding a couple of weeks to delivery and a lot of anxiety for me!



    I hope this helps.

  22. #21

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    I found some 20+ years ago that playing through the Bose L1 series instead of guitar amps pretty much eliminated feedback on all my guitars. One does need a preamp for EQ and effects, a small multi-processor will do fine (Digitech RP55 is my go-to). Generally, for most gigs, the Bose Compact will take care of business, and has a line out for going to a PA system for large gigs. Another positive aspect is that the line array design tends to throw the sound about 170 degrees, giving pretty good coverage of the stage and allowing the other players to hear the full range of the guitar. Also, quite lightweight and can be had on sale for $900. Mine has lasted about 15 years with only one trip back for repair. I haven't owned a guitar amp since the line was introduced. The larger models serve as a very hi-fi PA system which can handle horns and vocals as well in a medium-size situation indoors or out.

  23. #22

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    Putting a sound post in an acoustic archtop is not the thing to do you need to not be using an acoustic archtop. Why ruin the way the guitar was made.

  24. #23

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    One of the things that we are skirting around here is an issue mentioned by Tal Farlow in an interview. He pointed out that what's good for acoustic sound is bad for amplified sound and vice versa. I have found this to often be true. On the other hand, Johnny Smith did not seem to agree with that; the sound he was looking for through the amp was basically the "sound of the guitar but louder."

    Tal played typically through a Fender Twin and also toured around the world, so using whatever amp was available to him; Johnny had a custom built amp with a flat response curve and did not tour much for the last 30 years of his career, so used his own equipment consistently. Johnny believed that excessive bass frequencies coming from the amp is the primary cause of feedback problems in arch top guitars; in my experience I think that's true; the notes that feedback are always on the bass strings, usually the A or D string on my guitar.

    In terms of tone I think now I tend to fall into the Johnny Smith school of thought rather than the Tal Farlow school of thought. I used to want something along the lines of the Jim Hall type sound but with my instruments that has always seemed to be an uphill battle. That was one reason to adjust my expectations; another was hearing other guitarists with beautiful sounds that were much brighter, singing, etc. As I mentioned earlier, Peter Bernstein was key in shifting my perspective on jazz guitar tone.



    When everything works well, I prefer the sound of the floating pick up. The problem is that everything going well is something of a crapshoot. Also, at least with my full-size arch top guitar, I found fewer problems with single coil rather than humbucker floating pick ups in terms of feedback (Kent Armstrong PAF-0 and a modified neck mount Classic 57). I think because of the frequency cancellation between the two coils of a humbucker, there tends to be more emphasis on bass frequencies making it to the amp. Mini humbuckers probably have less of that. I have a lot less trouble with it using the Pete Biltoft floating Charlie Christian style pickup on my guitar, the same with a vintage Kent monkey-on-a-stick pickup I tried. Also because single coil pickups seem to be more responsive at the high end of the spectrum, the tone can be rolled back without becoming muddy and that seems to balance a little better when seeking warmth.

    I ended up shifting away from my archtop to a solidbody (Tele or Frankenstrat) for gigs and, interestingly enough, listening to performance recordings of my band I found that I liked that tone better in that context. On the other hand, if I was playing solo I would prefer the sound of the archtop. Getting hooked on Ed Bickert was probably responsible for that change.

    My Ibanez GB10 splits the difference right down the middle. It has a broad spectrum of tone, is fairly feedback resistant (certainly better than my 17 inch carved top guitar which is a wonderful acoustic instrument, not as good as the solidbodies), and is incredibly stable and reliable. I have had that guitar for 35 years and I don't think I've ever had to adjust the truss rod. The compact size also makes it easy to haul in and out of gigs; it's surprising what a difference that makes.
    Last edited by Cunamara; 02-13-2021 at 11:59 AM. Reason: Fixing voice to text errors

  25. #24

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    Speaking of GB models those hot floaters produce a fuller sound. I found you can order the pickups from Ibanez and picked up a couple, a neck from a GB 15 with the split wiring for a project and a GB10 bridge for the ES125 which finally has enough output to complement the p90 stack.

  26. #25

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    Trying to solve my frustrations with amplifying a floating pickup guitar-dsc_0018-b-2018_08_24-00_11_34-utc-jpg
    This is my setup with a LoudBox mini.

    Not loud but loud enough for a 16 piece big band.


    That is a AR610 in the video. The AR605 in the picture was stolen.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by McJazzer
    My dilemma is this... I've got a wonderfully built Eastman AR810 (17" lower bout, violin varnish, huge sound) that I just really love to play. I'm using flatwounds at the moment but I dig the sound of rounds on it too. It sounds fantastic acoustically, which I don't want to alter at all. That's how I play it most of the time. My issue is that when I go to amplify it, it's just so difficult to play that I usually just end up taking my Strat or solid body PRS on gigs instead.

    I would really like to use this guitar more live, but I have issues with getting a good tone and fighting feedback. I have a set of Doug's Plugs and they help a bit, but not nearly enough for when I'm playing with a jazz combo or big band. Any other tricks I should know about to help dampen the instrument and fight feedback? I've seen some of these guitars have a soundpost installed before - should I look into that?

    Additionally, I feel like the amplified tone is just awful but maybe that's an entirely different problem. I'm using a Kent Armstrong 12-pole PAF floater which I feel like should be a pretty good pickup. Because of how the pickup is attached to the pickguard, I've had to raise each of the 12 poles considerably to get them close enough to the strings. The volume and tone potentiometer are particularly frustrating, as both of them feel like they don't do anything for the first 90%, and then it's hard to find the right setting in that last 10% of the turn. The are the same pots that came with the guitar and are accessed under the pickguard, which is why I haven't tried changing them yet. Anyone have experience getting one of these guitars to sound good?
    Unless you intend to play at very high volume (in Jazz terms) this can be most probably solved with the right amplifier, and maybe an additional EQ which allows zooming into the frequencies which are bothering. Personally i never felt comfortable with amplification until i found the Acoustic Image Clarus and combined it with a Stealth 10 RE speaker enclosure. The Clarus has an adjustable filter which can cut unwanted lows effectively. In the meantime i also acquired a Mambo 8" wedge which does a great job. I owned a bunch of tube amps over the years, but felt only comfortable playing them at low volume, while i can turn the Clarus and Mambo up and still feel comfortable. I also owned two different Polytones but they lacked the power and dynamics i was looking for. Aer amps (eg Compact 60) might be suitable, but in my opinion they lack midrange and therefore don't really enhance a traditional archtop sound, they have more of a neutral PA character. The KA 12 Pole allows you to set the output for each string precisely and is a great sounding warm PU. So keep trying - good luck!

  28. #27

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    Coming back here to follow up on what I found with the Schatten thumbwheel:
    So, I couldn't find a 250k version which I would've preferred so I just went with the 500k option. It was relatively easily to install myself given that I have the supplies and know how to solder. The pots are advertised as audio taper and I found that to be true. They work very well. They give a bit more physical resistance than the stock pots and also feel a bit more stable. The audio taper is smooth and MUCH more usable than what I had been dealing with for the last five years so thank you for recommending this! The Schatten pots come with a .22 capacitor, which I used. The range of the tone roll-off is the same as before, but the fact that I can actually find the sweet spot now has made all of the difference. The volume and tone control both work as they should.

    What was interesting is that the stock pots were labeled 500k and the stock capacitor was the same value of .22 so the only real difference here is moving from logarithmic taper to audio taper. A friend of mine has the AR805 and has been experiencing the same problems so he'll probably change the pots out too now since talking with him.

    My AR810 and KA 12-pole is still very bright with the tone control at max. Finding a 250k version from Schatten might've helped here but for now it'll be fine how it is. There is a way to stop down the 500k rating to be lower to 300k or 250k but this would involve soldering a resistor to ground and I've read that this'll affect the taper so I won't bother with that mod. Over time I'm sure I'll come to a more definitive conclusion on if I'm entirely happy with the sound. Right now I think I'm still in shock that the main issue has finally been corrected.

    I think my expectations for what a floater should sound like are very reasonable. I've played a lot of guitars and am aware of the differences in tone between an acoustic archtop with a floating pickup and an electric hollowbody with mounted pickups. I'm sure if I had posted a sound clip in the original post you all would have agreed with me that I'm not crazy.

    As for feedback issues - I've got a set of custom cut Doug's Plugs, which are helpful but not the entire solution. I have a couple pieces of tape and paper that are wedged in between the pickup and the pickguard and the top of the instrument that 1) - sturdy the pickup assembly so it doesn't move so much and 2) - deadens the top just a bit more. Even still, it's not a usable instrument with big band or any loud ensemble. I could buy a nice vintage Gibson if I wanted too, but I should probably be saving money for a new car in the next few years instead. For now I'll just stick with the Strat and PRS for loud gigs.

  29. #28

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    Maybe a little basic but as I seem to miss the forest for the trees myself fairly often I'll mention...

    For the most part, an electric guitar, like your Eastman is set up to be, does not sound like an acoustic guitar when plugged in. You can set it up to be acoustic but that isn't what the Armstrong 12 pole does.

    Also, electric guitar amps are not made to amplify acoustic instruments. They have a relatively narrow frequency range designed for electric guitar. They also lack features like a notch filter to control feedback.
    Last edited by Spook410; 02-25-2021 at 06:32 PM.

  30. #29

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    A 500k pot will have 250k resistance at some point in the turn of the knob. It's not illegal to roll the tone control, nor the volume control, back from full on. I'm not a fan of 250k pots on anything, because that's the max you can get, even if you need more. With a 500k pot, or even a 1meg pot, you can always roll it back as needed. AFAIK Schatten has never offered a 250k version.

  31. #30

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    I am glad to hear that you found what sounds like a pretty significant improvement by changing the controls.

    I have generally found that large archtop guitars are just feedback machines at anything above small combo volume. Other people seem to get away with it, but they're usually using something like a Gibson ES-175 or an L5 CES which are more heavily built and more feedback resistant. A responsive, resonant acoustic guitar is just going to be more likely to feed back. For loud gigs I use a Telecaster or Stratocaster, typically. I have an Ibanez GB10 which can feed back but is more resistant because of the smaller body and thicker top. It also has a more electric sound than my 17 inch carved archtop, which is to be expected. As the folks across the Pond say, "it's horses for courses."