Mic or pickup or Fishman aura

I always disliked the sound of a pickup on an acoustic guitar in live performance situations.  There is a kind of tinny ‘electric guitar’ sound that just doesn’t do the acoustic guitar justice…in my opinion.  But it seems that so many acoustic players just do it.  Even some of the greats, like Bruce Cockburn.

When I began to play publicly in earnest with docweissband a couple of years ago, I sought out the best solutions that I could find.  I did look into good pickups…got an L.R. Baggs Element.  Highly rated, not too expensive, not the sound I was looking for.  After seeing some great flamenco guitarists in Madrid, I picked up an Audio Technica lavalier mic made for guitar and violin…that was what the Spaniards were using.  I thought it sounded great. But major problems with feedback.

When I bought my most recent guitar, the sales guy asked me if I wanted  Fishman Aura system installed.  He said it like it was your run-of-the-mill name and system, but I’d never heard of it before.  I discovered that Fishman have taken various guitars (I think mostly Martins and a few Larrivees) into a studio with top of the line mics and modelled the sound of a dreadnought, an orchestra model, a 12-string and various other guitar types.  The pickup feeds into the modeling box and outputs a sound that’s as close to a mic as I’ve heard on stage…without the feedback.

Turned out that I couldn’t get a Fishman system into my guitar, but I could get one that is external into which I plug the output of my pickup…about $200 on eBay.  I’ll never bother with a mic on stage again.  I have read that Fishman will model any guitar you send them…for a fee…so that you could, in fact, get a much closer output matching your actual instrument.


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