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Pickups for Acoustic Guitar:
Acoustic Bass Guitar
K&K Sound Pure Pickup for Tenor Guitar and Acoustic Bass Guitar
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for Acoustic Bass and Tenor Guitars
This specialized, easy to install transducer system does not sound as harsh and is less percussive than saddle transducers! By positioning transducers directly beneath the bridge inside the guitar body, high signal-to-noise ratio and high gain-before-feedback can be achieved. In addition, the guitar top plays a more important role than with saddle transducers, yielding a warmer, more microphone-like tone. The Pure Western (shown), for steel string guitar, has three transducers. The Pure Classic, for classical guitar, has four transducers to allow for its different bracing pattern. The Pure Bass/Tenor Guitar has two transducers (the five-string version has three). It is the bracing and number of strings that should guide your selection; e.g., the three transducer Pure Western model should be used for a five string acoustic bass guitar.
The Bass/Tenor Guitar four string model is shown in this drawing, which demonstrates where the transducers are located. Installation is far easier and precise positioning is less critical than with the typical undersaddle transducer. Special tape is included to apply to your precious instrument's soundboard, so you don't need to superglue the transducers directly to the wood - removal is easier and the installation is non-destructive. The special tape and a tube of Super Glue are included, and the transducers are prewired to a high quality endpin jack.
K&K Sound, manufacturer of the Pure Guitar system names the following ADVANTAGES of the PURE GUITAR's transducers and mounting system:
Disadvantages of undersaddle transducers:
- The special PURE surface transducers DO transmit a significant portion of the soundboard because they are not as close to the strings as an undersaddle pickup. Each of the transducers is designed to pick up a specific string pair, but also “listens” to the adjacent area around the bridge.
- The PURE pickups are not under pressure and therefore do NOT sound percussive or harsh.
- The PURE system reproduces all strings nicely balanced, a known problem with undersaddle pickups.
- The PURE system sounds great just in passive mode! Unlike undersaddle pickups which passively sound thin and treble-only, the passive PURE system puts out a nicely balanced, warm, full range signal.
- How safe is the PURE GUITAR System with feedback? Due to PURE GUITAR’s location on the bridge plate under the bridge, feedback resistance is comparable to undersaddle transducers. Technically, a pickup installed in or on the bridge is a lot less likely to feedback than one which is attached to the open sound board. The 1/8” thin sound board can act like a diaphragm and vibrate along with loud sound-signals from speaker cabinets. This is the kind of feedback you experience on an acoustic guitar. The thicker bridge area is a lot harder to be set into vibration from an outside source simply because of its mass.
- In K&K Sound's tests with both steel string and classic guitars equipped with an undersaddle pickup plus the PURE system, they were able to achieve about the same gain-before-feedback with both systems.
- Hard, percussive tone, because the piezo transducers are under high pressure.
- They picks up mostly string and finger sounds, and capture very little from the guitar's soundboard, so crucial in reproducing your guitar's true voice.
- There is always the chance of unbalanced volumes, with individual strings louder or softer than others. Trying the equalize loudness can result in a very work intensive balancing procedure.
- Needs special preamp to compensate for the hard sound.
Of course, every manufacturer swears that his undersaddle transducer is far better than anything else. Let’s face it, as long as the pickup is in the undersaddle position, they have to deal with the above mentioned characteristics.
Here are some comments from two luthiers on TBL - The Bottom Line bass list:
The Bottom Line Thursday, March 22 2001 Volume 2001 : Number 133
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2001 20:29:24 -0500
From: "Karl Hoyt"
Subject: ABG String Balance
aside from my bad jokes and poking fun at Metal Players (is players and
accurate word here? :-) I actually do build a bass or two.
I just finished a fretless curly maple 5 string abg of my own design with a
relatively large body, X braced spruce top, ebony trim and done ala Chinery
collection in blue........I tried a 'Pure' under the bridgeplate pickup
system from my friends at K&K sound: straight shot from pickups to jack:
nothing fancy. Thomastic ABG strings
unlike many ABG pickups, this one doesn't go under the bridge saddle but
inside the instrument on the bridge plate: Mine was a three head pickup
spaced roughly in between the 5 strings: (strung BEADG)
I really like the sound of this pickup system: very woody and natural
sounding: essentially, the bass sounds the same unplugged as plugged in.
If you have an anemic sounding ABG you might want to consider this system. I
was very late in shipping this instrument because i had such a blast playing
it when it was done. I can 'almost' get an upright kind of sound out of it
but more importantly I can get a really nice expressive ABG kind of tone out
of it. When I get off my duff and get the pix developed you'll be able to
see this bass up close and personal
they also make an 'Ultrapure' system with a 3 band EQ: easy mounting etc:
ABG #4 (last one was 3) will have the ultrapure system in it
O.K... enough bragging about my incredible luthier skills and on to the
Yes I am a biased endorser of K&K stuff (It's really good sounding
reasonably priced stuff made by really nice folks), YES I have a vested
interest in the company( I want to get more stuff from them) , YES I am
bragging on their stuff because it's great, and YES I expect a cut from Bob
Gollihur if you buy a pickup system from him. (just kidding , bob)
seriously, if you're looking for a pickup system for your ABG, check these
out at www.gollihur.com
stepping off the soapbox.......................
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2001 08:14:12 -0500
From: "Jack Read"
Subject: K&K Sound pickups; New email address
Some guy named Karl Holt, or Hoit, or something like that wrote:
>I really like the sound of this pickup system: very woody and natural
>sounding: essentially, the bass sounds the same unplugged as plugged in.
I'll second Karl's opinion. The K&K Sound Pure pickups do an amazing job of
reproducing the natural woody tone of an acoustics or semi-acoustic
instrument. I've had excellent success getting a good uprightish tone from
my semi-hollow basses using these pickups. On top of that, you can even run
them passive. When it comes to these sort of basses (semi- or completely
hollow bodied) the setup makes a world of difference in the tone. If you
want an upright tone that will fool 99% of the people 99% of the time
(arbitrary numbers born of my own opinion!) then set the action a little on
the high side. If you want a deep, punchy growl with some nice upright-like
character then set the action low and mwah yourself silly. These pickups
sound nothing like magnetic pickups, and I mean that in a good way. They
also sound more natural (woody) than under-saddle pickups I have tried.
By the way, for those of you who used to mail me at my Mindspring address,
it is no longer. You can get me either at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Read Custom Instruments, Inc.
Fine Handcrafted Instruments
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Check Out the FAQ Resources That Apply to This Product:
PREAMPS: Do You NEED a Preamp with Your URB Pickup?
Some of our customers have told us what they think about this product.
Check out what they had to say!
Many thanks, gentlemen, for fast shipout on the K&K 4 string ABG pickup. Removed the existing Baggs-type undersaddle piezo in a Takamine all ply single-cut ABG, put in the K&K and ran it into the existing Tak onboard preamp, added a wooden saddle and nut and shop-made soundhole cover, strung up with T-I flats, and it sounds a million times better. Unplugged, the bass is not special and not loud, but plugged in, it's great. Which is what I was after. Many thanks.
Hi Bob G, i thought this bit of information would be of interest to you. I recently purchased a K&K Sound Pure Pickup for Acoustic Bass Guitar from your online store...well today i can report that this pickup was fitted to my all acoustic model Tacoma Thunderchief in about 3 minutes and the special tool required? My 7 year old daughter! I'm delighted with the sound quality and the simpleness of the fitting, i was looking at adding a bit of extra volume without colouring the sound quality of my Tacoma ABG and the K&K Sound Pure Pickup for ABG does exactly that. This information may be of value to others out their who also own Tacoma ABG's.
—Andrew Kerensky (10/2009)
Hi Mark, Bob, I purchased the K+K Sound pure bass pickup for my 4 string acoustic bass guitar, and wanted to let you know I am happy with the results. The bracing on my bass is unusual, so I contacted K+K Sound and got a quick reponse with advice from the owner about pickup placement. The installation went fine and would have been even more straightforward on a standard ABG. Glad no battery is needed. There is plenty of output, and I have used three different bass amps with no trouble, so I have no need for a pre-amp. Lots of comments from fellow musicians after a gig about how good it sounded. My bass has a great unamplified sound, and I put the pickup to the test by doing a few solo recordings direct from the pickup with no equalization. Playback produced a lifelike reproduction of the unamplified instrument with a bit more bottom end. I am very satisfied with the setup. Thanks, you made a good choice in carrying this product - glad I found you online.
—Nelson F (Jan 2010)
Thanks guys. The pickup is installed and has a lot more tone than the under saddle that came with the bass. I have an ABG that looks a lot like a Thunderchief, big body, offset sound hole. So far this pickup is the best I have tried out. The Euphonic Audio set I bought from you works excellent with this bass and new pickup.
—Gary L (April 2011)
I finally had that K & K Pure Bass pickup installed in my Dean acoustic. Man, what a world of difference. Instead of that pinched nasal tone, I’m hearing the full harmonic range of the instrument, much closer to a “pure” acoustic tone. Plus, as you said, they were able to hack into the existing preamp no problem. The work was done by a local luthier for me.
Thanks for steering me towards this equipment. The Dean is now a formidable bass in my arsenal!
—Mike G (November 2017)
Gentlemen: Thank you for the above order for my Blueridge Tenor Guitar. I followed your precise instructions for placing the (2) pickups under and between the C & G and the D & A strings using the tape you sent me and not using super gel glue at all as stated by your representative and it worked just beautifully. When finger picking this truly brings out the quality Bass and Treble notes of this instrument fully. I play Tenor Banjo mainly and truly appreciate the true quality tone that this guitar can produce with your K & K Sound Pure Pickup for 4 string ABG or Tenor Guitar. I would recommend this pickup to any serious Tenor Guitar player.
—W.S. (August 2018)