External preamp for an under saddle piezo pick-up

Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member
A question to all you acoustic performers out there in forumland. Can any of you recommend a good external preamp for an under saddle piezo pick-up?  Also, if you have any recommendations can you mention whether the preamp is general purpose or whether it has to be matched to the same manufacturers piezo pick-up? The reason I'm asking is that my trusty old battered, but brilliant sounding, Guild has been out of action for a while with a split bridge.  In the next couple of months I'll be replacing the bridge and either installing a new, or reinstalling the existing, under saddle pick-up.  The existing pick-up is sort of OK, but could do with some EQ and general beefing up.  However I'm not married to it so would consider other under saddle recommendations as well (or possibly some other method other than under saddle).  I don't even know the brand of the existing piezo pick-up as I just asked for one to be installed not long after I bought the guitar over 30 years ago when I had a refret done. I really like the Shadow Hex set-up on my Faith that with it's stereo output allows creation of some neat sounds, but that has an onboard preamp and I really can't face cutting a hole in the Guild to accommodate it (not from a skill point of view just, well, I don't want to cut a hole in the old girl). So recommendations on amplification options will be gratefully received. Cheers, Reg.


  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,697Member

    I use an LR Baggs Gigpro when gigging with the Martin. It's got an LR Baggs passive something or other in there and the output is very quiet. The Gigpro does a good job of boosting it to workable levels and it has some basic tone controls too. There's also a button to press that inverts something or other to reduce feedback - but I only found that out after the last gig so haven't tried it yet :-)


    I've never tried anything else, so don't know how this compares, but it works for me.


    That said, I'm plumping towards the Tanglewood for acoustic gigs recently. It's harder to play, but has a bit bigger and tougher sound. At gigs I feel like I can work it more. The little Martin is king at home, though.

  • onemanbandonemanband Posts: 91Member

    THIS.........[only my opinion], is simply the best acoustic DI/Pre-amp.

    I used one for many years when playing acoustic; never had any issue with it, and it has the bonus of running on phantom power [if you're DI'ing straight into a PA mixing desk], doing away with the need for power adaptors or batteries!

    Should pick one up on ebay for +/- £70.



  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    Thanks for the suggestions.  Definitely food for thought - both seem to get good reviews.


    I also asked the question of a soundman that I know and it turns out he's got one of these in his kit:




    And I'm getting the loan of it for a couple of days next week.  Might be overkill, but my main aim is to understand if I need to change the pickup in my Guild before I make it's new bridge, or whether the existing pickup is just lacking a decent preamp.  I'd rather know exactly what holes I need to drill in the new bridge if I decide on a new pickup before I start making it rather than after I finish!


    I'll let you know how it goes.


    Cheers, Reg.

  • geoguitargeoguitar Posts: 252Member

    No (dedicated) transducer preamp here Reg, setup for two different P/U systems is the same.
    Main gigging guitar has a Fishman Rare Earth Blend (magnetic H/B + Mic.
    Occasional live guitar has a K&K Mini.

    Either of these guitars in a gig situation go into a TC Electronics Parametric EQ then an AER Compact 60 where I ‘dial in’ my sound, then out to the house desk.
    The TC is predominantly a feedback buster safety net really as the two guitars I use are on the ‘sensitive’ side.

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    Quick update on this. The BBE Acoustimax that I had the loan of brought my old Guild to life.  Despite the old piezo transducer in it I found that I could pretty much recreate the unamplified acoustic sound of the guitar, even through my electric guitar (i.e. not dedicated acoustic) amplifier.  Took a while to get the sound set-up but I liked it so much I bought one.


    I bought it from these guys who had a good deal on such that it cost under £140 delivered (cheaper than I could find a used one on the bay):




    Not sure if anyone else has used them previously, but their prices generally seem pretty keen if they have what you want.  Being a French company it came with a continental wall wart transformer, but same spec replacements with UK plugs are two a penny online, plus I'll be all set up for that European tour when I'm famous


    Thanks guys for taking the time to provide suggestions and I'm sure I would have been very happy with what you proposed as well.  But you know how it goes, if you get the chance to actually try something out for a few days and it works for you then I felt it was the safer bet to get the same.


    Cheers, Reg.

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