I have two acoustic guitars that I mainly use for live worship; A Martin D-17 and a Martin DX1.
Both of these guitars are very different. One is made out of all mahogany while the other has a wood top with HPL back and sides. One is very warm while the other is bright. One is heavy and built like a tank while the other is fragile and light. The D-17 is very dark brown and the DX1 is a light tan (like most acoustics). Despite all their differences, they both have the same Martin Thinline Gold Pickup.
Why the same pickup? One reason; consistency.
Before I outfitted these guitars with the same model pickup they both had very different systems in them. My D-17 had a very airy sounding LR Baggs Lyric mic system while my DX1 had a Fishman Rare Earth Humbucker. Both of these pickups were high end and sounded great. It was nice to be able to go back and forth between such different tones. I would often find myself using one guitar for the fast upbeat songs and the other one for when I needed a more subtle “less in your face” strum. But eventually, It created more hassles for me.
Hassle #1: Because both guitars sounded so completely different, it required me to sound check both of them in rehearsal. Sure it’s only an extra two minutes to do this…but time is time.
Hassle #2: My sound guy back then was a bit of an amateur. There was no way he could dial in my tone quickly enough if I stayed on the same channel but swapped guitars.
Hassle #3: I would have to run both guitars on their own channels to avoid hassle #2. This required me hooking up an extra DI Box, XLR cable, and instrument cable as well.
Hassle #4: If I broke a string on one guitar and was forced to swap, the tone would be out of whack for the other songs. I can’t tell you how many times this happened to me, thus forcing me to play the wrong guitar for the songs meant for the other.
After going through these hassles long enough, I decided to shop around and find the perfect pickup for my needs. Once I found the one I liked I installed it in both guitars and never looked back. Now when I play in live situations I’m never afraid to dig in and break a string. If I do I can just swap to a backup that sounds 95% like the one I was just playing. No more extra cables or DI boxes. No more having to run 2 channels. No more hoping my sound guy gets the EQ right if I swap.
Have your cake and eat it too!
By having two completely different guitars with the same pickup I get tone consistency in live situations while having the tone versatility for recording. It really is a WIN-WIN situation! I love being able to have the security playing live while also being able to pull out a different tone for when I want to lay down a few tracks in the studio. This setup also allows me to save on the funds too because I don’t have to buy two of the same guitar to have the same peace I have by having identical backup equipment such as mics, capos, cables and so on.
Obviously, not everyone would benefit/need this sort of solution. You may already have identical equipment as a backup or may have a great audio engineer running with presets. If that’s the case…keep on rocking!
But if you find yourself consistently dealing with the hassles I encountered, it may be time to make that change to having the same pickups on your acoustics.
Prepare For Worship. A resource provided to you by WorshipTrac.
Photo credit to musicoomph