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Advice sought for M1A or M80 - using without ever permanently fixing

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  • Advice sought for M1A or M80 - using without ever permanently fixing

    I am looking to buy a better acoustic soundhole pickup for my Gibson Dove to upgrade from bottom of the range Seymour Duncan Woody. I don't want to make any modifications to the guitar - the Woody fits into the soundhole without any fixings - so I am looking for something similar. I am currently torn between a Fishman Rare Earth Blend, an M1 active and an M80, but the M1 is probably the realistic choice in my price range (I would like to get a DI box as well, probably not immediately).

    If I were to go for the M1A or the M80, would it be possible to keep the pick-up clamped in and have the wire running out of the soundhole? I am very used to this arrangement with the SD Woody.

    Would I need to buy any more cables, or do the M1A and the M80 come with everything required for this kind of set up?

    If it helps, I play in an acoustic folk/rock/americana band, mostly strumming (with two other guitarists, electric bass, violin playing most of the lead lines), some finger picking.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  • #2
    The M1A and M80 only come with a 2' cable that is designed for permanent installation. The M1 Passive comes with a 10' cable that is designed to run out of the soundhole.

    The M1A and M80 are active, so the 10' cable will drain the batteries even when the guitar is stored. You can use the 10' cable with the M80 in Passive mode though.

    So with the M1A or M80, you can use the 2' cable that is provided and run it out of the soundhole, even though it is a little short- or get the M1 Passive, or M80 set it to Passive mode, which will require an external preamp.

    I think for your applications, the M1 or M1A would be the best choice. The M80 is an excellent pickup, but unless you really need the extra body-sensitivity, the M1 pickups have a great track record for rock type music.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply, much appreciated.

      With more searching, I think I found someone who had managed to turn the M1 active system (in terms of plugging/unplugging) into something more like the M1 passive system. Does this sound workable? It took me a little while to get my head around it. Here it is:

      "I loaned my M1a to a friend to use in his Martin without any strapjack. I bought the necessary adapter plugs at Radioshack for $10.00. 1. an 8', 1/8" stereo male to 1/8" stereo female headphone extension cord. 2. a 1/8" mono male to 1/4" mono female adapter plug. Plug the 1/8" stereo male into the pickup and mount into the guitar with the cord hanging out of the soundhole. Plug the 1/8" mono male to 1/4" mono female adapter into the other end. Plug any regular 1/4" guitar cord into the 1/4" female and into your amp and you're done. Works perfectly. The headphone extension cord is small diameter and hangs down pretty unobtrusively from the soundhole.

      I also confirmed with Tech support at LR Baggs that this is a perfectly fine setup. Furthermore, they confirmed that you can turn off the pickup by unplugging the 1/8" mono male to 1/4" mono female adapter from the headphone extension cord. You don't have to get inside the guitar to unplug it from the pickup."

      I think my main concern is having to unplug and replug the cable: I have the guitar at home unamplified and only plug in for band rehearsals and gigs. I guess if you have a short cable from the pick up with an adapter you can plug the long lead into, the short cable can be tucked inside the body when not in use....?

      I can see that one alternative would be a "vintage jack" that I have seen mentioned elsewhere... I could then have a permanently wired solution, I think, without having to do any drilling to the Dove, which I would like to keep intact (I haven't even installed a strap button on it!).

      Thanks again for your help.
      Last edited by windfall; 04-03-2013, 11:44 PM.


      • #4
        This setup works really well for the M1A actually. The configuration is a bit more complex, but from talking to a few people who've tried it, it seems to be a great alternative.


        • #5
          Thanks for the confirmation, Caleb... looks like the way for me to go.


          • #6
            Sounds good!