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Pick Up Systems and Set Up

While it is true that no pick up system has yet been developed which is as natural as a good mic, systems are improving all the time and the best are now very good indeed and in addition provide much more flexibility for the player than having to be restricted to keeping close to a mic on stage.

There are broadly four types:

  • Under saddle transducers

  • Under saddle transducers blended with a tiny mic inside soundbox

  • Acoustic magnetic pick ups

  • Under bridge transducers ( sensors )


For loud volume and reasonably good acoustic tone acoustic magnetic is best

For tonal accuracy either the under-bridge or blend type systems are best.

For versatility and good general use the under-saddle types work very well if fitted correctly

NB: For almost all types of pick up and in particular the under saddle types, it is vital that the saddle is fitted very accurately in its slot ie; it must not be either a loose or tight fit ( a sliding accurate fit is best ) Once a good string balance and tone has been achieved through careful fitting of the saddle, it is important to maintain this through changing strings one at a time rather than all at once ( which would allow the saddle to move and likely create string balance problems ) If a saddle tilts forward under string tension, balance problems are likely. Sometimes, tapping the saddle back into a good vertical alignment is all that is required to restore good balance. Anything which restricts the natural vibration of the saddle is likely to affect string balance.