Re: upright amplification

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Posted by Bob Gollihur on January 11, 2000 at 16:04:05:

In Reply to: Re: upright amplification posted by Ed on January 11, 2000 at 11:29:52:

: : : : Has anyone used or seen magnetic pickups on an upright? I am going to be playing with a full drum kit and need to control feedback somehow. Any ideas?
: : : : Orest

: : : What kind of music are you gonna be playing? The only thing I would consider using a magnetic pickup for is a rockabilly or jump swing group. You will get NO sound from the body of the instrument, only from the (metal) strings.
: : : So it's almost just for looks, having an upright on stage.

: : I'm playing "alt/pop" with a band called Eels. Some songs have drums and guitar as well as two horns. Some have quiet sensetive passages (arco). So you can see my dilema. I'm playing electric on some, but they want upright on other tunes that are borderline, and that's when I hear "can you turn up?" followed by "GodDAMMIT!" as the feedback screams. Magnetic p/u's would solve feedback concerns, but oh the price I will pay in tone...n'est pas? Orest
: :
: The Josephs allegedly is bad for reproduction of arco. Maybe two pickups, one piezo and one magnetic, is the solution. Use a volume pedal on the piezo and pop the volume up for arco passages and back off for pizz.
: Or use an electric upright. You may also want to check out the Knilling Thinline quasi acoustic at

Unfortunately, magnetic pickups just don't do it for arco, at least in my experience.

I've got rockabilly guys using my K&K piezo-based system that are playing really loud and without feedback. I've corresponded with some and have gotten some comments...

There are the usual speaker placement tips-- natch, your bass is like a giant mic, and if the speakers excite the body, you'll get feedback. I would also suggest cutting some of the low-lows to eliminate those feedback-causing resonances, and I find that tens are better than twelves or fifteen inch speakers for cutting through the mix.

One well-traveled rockabilly guy recommended that you put a mini-Nerf football between the tailpiece and body, to dampen it. Another puts a couple wraps of gaffer tape around his bridge and pickup.

BTW, if you alternate quiet and loud passages (which is also a problem when switching from arco to pizz), you may want to check out a Morley volume pedal. I have the stereo model (discontinued, but around), and when I inquired with Morley, they said its input impedance is 1 megohm, which is high enough for direct input from piezo type pickups. It also uses light in the circuitry rather than a pot, so it is noiseless. I realy like mine.

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