There are few things more annoying than dealing with complicated mic placements and configurations during acoustic shows and performances. Acoustic guitars, banjo’s, violins, upright basses: they all have a common problem with live performance. It’s tough to mic them or amplify their sound through the PA. The solution to this problem is purchasing a pickup to install on your instrument. Fishman® specializes specifically in the pickup/transducer market.
As a company, Fishman® makes a large number of pick up systems and instrument preamps. For this post, we’ll focus on the benefits of their products for use with acoustic guitars and upright basses.
For acoustic guitars, it’s common to all but require a guitar with acoustic/electric capabilities. In fact, there are many guitars that advertise the type of pickup system in their guitars (which is, appropriately enough, often Fishman®). There are essentially two types of pickups you can purchase. The first is a standard type where there is a small bar inserted under the bridge of the guitar. While this can be bought separately, it is typically the style that comes in acoustic/electric guitars when purchased at stores. The other style is much easier to install after the fact. It is often referred to as a “Magnetic Soundhole Pickup”. This one tends to have a bit more of a “room sound” rather than the dry, twangy sound associated with under-bridge pickup models.
Next to a piano or a harp, an upright bass is one of the toughest instruments to effectively mic. Therefore, it’s really quite important to have a pickup installed. In fact, they actually sound pretty realistic compared to what a double bass sounds like up close. As with the acoustic pickups, there are two key styles. Both styles are fastened or worked into the bridge of the bass in some way. Perhaps the most common is a Full Circle pickup. This will be placed at the bottom of one side of the bridge, encased in an adjuster wheel (which ordinarily aren’t pickups but rather adjust the height of the bridge). These have a decidedly full sound with some great, realistic punch and a full arco tone. The other standard type that Fishman® sells is the BP-100. This is a little easier to install quickly (as it is jut clamped to the bridge with clips). These have a nice high-end, but sometimes feed back. It can be a little tricky to keep these attached and sounding clean, but they don’t require you to remove the bridge and screw anything on, and are therefore easier to install.
All of these pickups connect via ¼ inch cable and Fishman® has engineered them with acoustic instruments in mind. There are many styles within a lot of price points. They offer models for guitars, basses and a slew of other orchestra/acoustic instruments. So we urge you to check out their whole collection.