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Does anybody do this anymore? I have a little benefit gig coming up, and my old Guild doesn't have a pickup in it. Is it feasible?
 

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Definitely feasible. And still done by some, particularly in the bluegrass circuit. You want a fairly tight cardioid condenser mic. My preference for live music is to point it at the bridge, though it seems that most point it at the soundhole. If you are standing, it can be a bit of a trick to maintain a safe, but still audible distance from the mic.

For me, a better option is to borrow a soundhole pickup if you can.
 

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I just went to the Martin road show, and half of the guitars they demo'd were via microphone. Still a very valid way to amp up an acoustic. The big trade-off, IMO, is that you are forced to stay in one spot.

And the common mic'ing location I see is over the 16th to 18th fret, up a bit from the soundhole.
 

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I like a large diaphragm dynamic mic for that to be honest, they're easier to handle live, less prone to feedback, and less likely to pick up a mouse fart...
I've had great experience with the Heil PR30 on Martin D18 or 12 string Guild guitars. The good old AKG C535 is great for that too, it's a smaller diaphragm condenser, again, less finicky.
It all depends on the kind of venue. If it's a classical guitar recital, you won't have the same issues as a bar with people talking very loudly around you.
 

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When I went to see the Bluegrass group "Dailey and Vincent" in Ohio a couple of years ago I was disappointed to see that they had their nice Martins and Bourgeoisie guitars all plugged in with pickups. I understand why they did because they incorporate drums in to the act which is not traditionally a bluegrass instrument. The guitars did not sound good. When I saw Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder a while back the guitarist Cody Kilby was playing his Collings D2HA with a mic and it sounded great. I do not have pickups in my Martin authentics and always mic them for events. However I don't play in full bands with drums and electric guitar and bass. It would be tough to mic an acoustic effectively in that type of setting. Not impossible but not easy which is why most in that scenario simply use a pickup.
 

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Martin and Fishman have been working together to improve the acoustic pickup. I like that the controls are in the sound hole - vol and tone on the top edge (Low E) while the mix between contact pickup and internal mic is on the lower edge.

I heard a few installed at the recent Martin Experience thingy. They compared the new pickup to the sound of a good mic. It's getting there but the mic was still better. To me, a pickup is a compromise to ease of use in live environments. When you want the most accurate sound, a mic is still the way to go. Look at how they still record an acoustic - mics. If you can use a mic live, all the better, but in some environments (like electric band use) it just doesn't work that well.
 

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My friends just played a wedding (entrance music, not the party after) and only mic'd. Neither had guitars that had an on-board p/u. They used my gear so I know what they did... I have two pencil mics I aimed in various places till I found the right sound, good volume and no feedback. For the guys guitar, I aimed it between the 12th fret, and the sound hole. For her Uke, we aimed it closer to the bridge, a little closer to the body, to be able to keep the volume down. They did the gig the following week, and said they had zero issues with feedback, or volume. Everyone who was supposed to hear, heard fine.
 

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My friends just played a wedding (entrance music, not the party after) and only mic'd. Neither had guitars that had an on-board p/u. They used my gear so I know what they did... I have two pencil mics I aimed in various places till I found the right sound, good volume and no feedback. For the guys guitar, I aimed it between the 12th fret, and the sound hole. For her Uke, we aimed it closer to the bridge, a little closer to the body, to be able to keep the volume down. They did the gig the following week, and said they had zero issues with feedback, or volume. Everyone who was supposed to hear, heard fine.
With all that aiming the mic to get just the right placement it must have been lots of fun for the players not moving.
 

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With all that aiming the mic to get just the right placement it must have been lots of fun for the players not moving.
I was "donating" the use of my gear so they wouldn't have to charge the bride and groom. They were patient as they needed to be. They'd rather me figure it out on a non-live setting than winging it the day of. Plus, they're both pretty mellow.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think I'm just going to play my Strat and Joyo American sound pedal into the P.A. I've used in for recording and been very impressed, especially the overdrive sound.
 

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Oh yes, mic are still used. Taylor Roadshow came by last Spring and the team made demo with mics for their acoustics. I tried many devices including K&K and LR Baggs (even both with under bridge and under saddle combos) and came to agree with John Hammond : "Sorry ! If it's plugged, it' no longer acoustic !" John Hammond plays acoustic blues on guitar and resonator, singing and playing the harmo.
A unidirectional mic (like Shure PG-58... I may be wrong with the number since I always invert 57 and 58... the one with the round ball is multidirectional for the voice while the unidirectional is straight to avoid surrounding noise) may be enough.
 

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Yes, by all means mic the guitar if you are seated.
In my opinion no built-in pickup quite comes close to the warmth and true acoustic feeling that a good mic (esp. condensor-style mic) will impart.

A good rule of thumb is to start by placing it about a foot or two away from and pointing it more-or-less where the neck meets the body... you will have to experiment with what gives you the best sound.
 
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Good thread. I have always admired the bluegrass style of three or four guys all playing a into one microphone. Just love it. Kudos to the sound guys too!
 

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Good thread. I have always admired the bluegrass style of three or four guys all playing a into one microphone. Just love it. Kudos to the sound guys too!
I've tried to do the 'two guys singing into a mic' thing, a la The Beatles. I realized pretty quickly that:
a) it's harder than it looks to get an even, consistent balance
b) I don't like my bandmates enough to get that close to them for any length of time
 

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There are some acoustic pickup system that incorporate a real mic inside the guitar body to try to solve this problem.

There might even be some of those that are sound hole style (i.e. temporary mount, no drilling). I haven't tried one, but I bet they are out there.
 
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