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kebob

After years of fiddling, I've settled on the pickup that best works for me.

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I've got a mish mash of pickups in various guitars: Baggs M1A, Fishman Ellipse Blend, Fishman Rare Earth Humbucker, Fishman Ellipse Aura, K&K mini.

 

After years of fiddling with each one -- I liked some aspects and hated others on nearly all of them -- I've settled on the simple under-saddle Fishman Matrix (Martin Gold-Plus). Yes, it's a piezo UST -- some hate it for that reason. But after playing it for a month in my J-100 (came with) and then buying another one for my Larrivee D-3 dread, I'm convinced it's the best of all worlds.

 

It sounds great with a little EQ, it doesn't weigh down the guitar, it's simple, non-intrusive and battery life is a whopping 12,000 hours.

 

The fishman Aura is fantastic, but battery life is 30 hours -- that's a pain when gigging. The Fishman Ellipse blend sounds great too, but I don't blend the mic as feedback becomes a problem. The Baggs M1A sounds nasallly to me despite EQ efforts. The rare earth humbucker sounds ok, but don't like the thing sitting in the soundhole.

 

Everyone is different, but I've decided less is more when it comes to a pickup -- the simple Matrix does the job. I'll probably installl one in my J-45 at some point.

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Simple is great when it works. I had a perfectly wonderful UST Highlander in now departed Martin - was good. Congrats on finding one that fits the bill!

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Never understood why players dislike USTs. They are the best solution for both recording and sound reinforcement in my opinion.

 

12,000 hours of battery life is awesome. You will have to change the battery every few years rather due to self-discharge than playing.

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Im with you on that one. The matrix infinity is installed on all my gigging guitars, but i run them through an Aura Spectrum DI. Id recommend it, you can plug into power socket so no issues with battery life.

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Good to know kebob.

Rare earth more thumbs up then the baggs m1 then? Also good to know.

 

For years, I tried to bond with the M1A pickup from Baggs. I've never been able to get rid of the horrible "honk" from it -- I moved the pole pieces, I've EQ'd, I even called them and they sent me a new one thinking maybe I had a defective one. Same result -- a nasally honk, especially when using a capo. I finally gave up and opted for Fishman.

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Im with you on that one. The matrix infinity is installed on all my gigging guitars, but i run them through an Aura Spectrum DI. Id recommend it, you can plug into power socket so no issues with battery life.

 

EA -- do you have a Matrix Infinity installed on a J-45? Curious as to how that match sounds -- if you do, are you using the Natural I or II with it?

 

I may have to check out an aura DI -- I use a Radial DI currently and it's solid.

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For years, I tried to bond with the M1A pickup from Baggs. I've never been able to get rid of the horrible "honk" from it -- I moved the pole pieces, I've EQ'd, I even called them and they sent me a new one thinking maybe I had a defective one. Same result -- a nasally honk, especially when using a capo. I finally gave up and opted for Fishman.

 

I'm pretty sure EAussie says similar.

Strange how popular they are. And I'm not saying that as an argument to your opinion. Just odd eh?

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I'm pretty sure EAussie says similar.

Strange how popular they are. And I'm not saying that as an argument to your opinion. Just odd eh?

 

Yeah, they're very popular, which is why I thought it was me for the longest time. Several pros swear by them as well -- Tom Petty uses one and it sounds fantastic, though he's probably running it through a more elaborate setup than I am. I reached a point where enough was enough. I've never played a Fishman pickup that I didn't like -- but some have more bells and whistles on them than I need.

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EA -- do you have a Matrix Infinity installed on a J-45? Curious as to how that match sounds -- if you do, are you using the Natural I or II with it?

 

I may have to check out an aura DI -- I use a Radial DI currently and it's solid.

 

I do have it installed on my Southern Jumbo, here's a couple clips of gig footage where I used the matrix / autra spectrum DI combo.

 

Not sure what you mean by Natural I or II ... ?

 

 

 

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I do have it installed on my Southern Jumbo, here's a couple clips of gig footage where I used the matrix / autra spectrum DI combo.

 

Not sure what you mean by Natural I or II ... ?

 

 

My bad -- I thought you had a Matrix pickup -- you have the Matrix Infinity, which is the newer version that includes volume/tone controls and is $40 more. The simple Fishman Matrix comes in two versions: Natrual I and II -- the I has more bottom end and is for smaller bodied guitars and the II is for larger dread/jumbo guitars. I have the Natural I in both my dread/jumbo guitars and just dial down the bass as needed.

 

Yours Matrix Infinity sound nice -- I'm guessing it's the same pickup with volume/tone controls added.

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My j45 historic has a fishman under saddle jobby. Before they switched to baggs which is common now I believe.

Same thing you're talking about ?

 

This is the Fishman Matrix (they are discontinued, but I believe you can still buy them as Martin Gold+Plus -- same pickup).

 

100_medium.jpg

 

DV016_Jpg_Large_300255.jpg

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My bad -- I thought you had a Matrix pickup -- you have the Matrix Infinity, which is the newer version that includes volume/tone controls and is $40 more. The simple Fishman Matrix comes in two versions: Natrual I and II -- the I has more bottom end and is for smaller bodied guitars and the II is for larger dread/jumbo guitars. I have the Natural I in both my dread/jumbo guitars and just dial down the bass as needed.

 

Yours Matrix Infinity sound nice -- I'm guessing it's the same pickup with volume/tone controls added.

 

Right, I know what you mean. My 2001 J-150 has that pickup, but I swapped it for the infinity, so I can have the tone and volume controls close by. I found the tone to be a bit warmer also then the orginal matrix. The infinity also has a 'bass boost' which is a handy feature. Really great pickup.

 

btw: I really hate the tone of the M1a, sounds phasey and magnetic to me, not natural at all.

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I swapped my Fishman Aura pro in my Fullers vintage J45 and my Baggs M1 in my RW J45 Custom for the Trance Amulet MVT it is pricey but for me no comparison when it comes to sound

I did this after I got a Sheryl Crow SJ with the stereo Amulet and for me the Amulet produces as natural sound as one can get NOT using a Mic....In this instance the extra money is not only worth it but one can't compare an Amulet to a UST they ,the Amulets , are that good.

Jmho fwiw

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I swapped my Fishman Aura pro in my Fullers vintage J45 and my Baggs M1 in my RW J45 Custom for the Trance Amulet MVT it is pricey but for me no comparison when it comes to sound

I did this after I got a Sheryl Crow SJ with the stereo Amulet and for me the Amulet produces as natural sound as one can get NOT using a Mic....In this instance the extra money is not only worth it but one can't compare an Amulet to a UST they ,the Amulets , are that good.

Jmho fwiw

 

I don't doubt the Amulet is fantastic. DuluthDan speaks highly of it as well, if I recall. The thing for me with that pickup system is no one in my area is familiar with installing the thing and I'm not trusting someone's who has never installed one to pick my guitar as his guinea pig. Like I said, there is no silver bullet pickup -- cost, sound, intrusiveness, looks, battery life, etc. For me the Fishman UST's are the best in my case with everything considered.

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Right, I know what you mean. My 2001 J-150 has that pickup, but I swapped it for the infinity, so I can have the tone and volume controls close by. I found the tone to be a bit warmer also then the orginal matrix. The infinity also has a 'bass boost' which is a handy feature. Really great pickup.

 

btw: I really hate the tone of the M1a, sounds phasey and magnetic to me, not natural at all.

 

Yeah, that sounds familiar with the M1A -- glad it's not just me then. I almost pulled the trigger on the Infinity Matrix, and probably would have if not for the Matrix that came with the J-100 I picked up used a couple months back. I was impressed by that pickup -- both the sound and how simple/minimalist it was. Figured I'd save a few bucks and go with what I knew.

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I don't doubt the Amulet is fantastic. DuluthDan speaks highly of it as well, if I recall. The thing for me with that pickup system is no one in my area is familiar with installing the thing and I'm not trusting someone's who has never installed one to pick my guitar as his guinea pig. Like I said, there is no silver bullet pickup -- cost, sound, intrusiveness, looks, battery life, etc. For me the Fishman UST's are the best in my case with everything considered.

 

I am no Luthier ( but I did stay at a holiday Inn!) , I was in the same boat ,no one around here had any experience with the install process so that gave me pause.... BUT I talked with Gary Hull at Trance Audio and after several conversation concerning the instal process he convinced me I could indeed do it myself They have a instal page on the web site and the instructions are very good and following them I installed it and I took my time and a completed it with great results. I did NOT have to drill an end pin hole as that would be beyond my ability and comfort level. The installation on the other hand was very doable and even though I would not call it simple if one has any ability to work with their hands and follow instructions they can Certainly accomplish the entire process and enjoy the results.

Don't let a self install stop you it is not rocket science.

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Congrats. The most important thing is that you have found a system that satisfies your needs and ears. Everyone's tastes are different and many, I'm sure, may have preferences for something else, but if it works for you that's all that matters, really.

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The most simplistic solutions are usually the ones that work the best for me to

 

I have two acoustics with the Fishman Infinity Matrix, and for me, they really do a terrific job. as you say a bit of EQ and you're there.

 

a pal of mine has started hosting open mis at a pizza house and he was looking for some experienced performers to help keep the night moving along. I usually don't go to open mics but he's a great friend so I obliged, brought my '78 Alvarez Yari with me that I replaced a 20 year old Fishman Gold with a new Infinity last year. at the conclusion of my set he asked me what I was using for a pickup and was very surprised to find out it was an under saddle peizo with nothing more than a volume and cut control.

 

I just plugged straight to the sound board and didn't even touch the EQ on the board. (the ultimate Plug and play gig) I know there are better products out there, but they are way more dough, most require a lot of mods to the instrument. and at the end of the day,,, I just can't see justifying the extra money and installation risks when for me, this works hands down.

 

When I work with the Duo or the band I have a Yamaha AG Stomp that I put in front of my acoustics. that with the Fishman sounds really good too.

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I am no Luthier ( but I did stay at a holiday Inn!) , I was in the same boat ,no one around here had any experience with the install process so that gave me pause.... BUT I talked with Gary Hull at Trance Audio and after several conversation concerning the instal process he convinced me I could indeed do it myself They have a instal page on the web site and the instructions are very good and following them I installed it and I took my time and a completed it with great results. I did NOT have to drill an end pin hole as that would be beyond my ability and comfort level. The installation on the other hand was very doable and even though I would not call it simple if one has any ability to work with their hands and follow instructions they can Certainly accomplish the entire process and enjoy the results.

Don't let a self install stop you it is not rocket science.

 

That gives me some confidence that I could install it. I did install the Fishman Matrix myself -- was pretty easy, just a bit of soldering -- the end-pin hole was already drilled from a previous pickup. THAT gives me heartburn [cursing]. If I ever decide to put a pickup in my HD-28 I may go with the Trance Amulet. That guitar deserves something special like the Amulet.

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hay Kebob just for grins check out this link to the install page at Trance and read it, they have really figured out how to simplify the process and there templet method works really well at least that what I thought of course your mileage may vary IMO I an amulet will make any guitar sound like itself when plugged in and that has always been my problem with ust pickups they sounded like a compromise Trance has something that the others don't IMO Good luck

 

Amulet install guide

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Guest J-Doug

I like the sound of my aftermarket Infinity Martix in my J-100Xtra better than the L.R.Baggs that came standard in the J-45. Much less quack in the Fishman and a lot of tonal options with the bass switch and tone control. Thinking about switching over the J-45 to an Infinity Martix too.

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