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M1a help please....

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  • M1a help please....

    Howdy and hello,

    I bought the M1a because i saw so many of the players and songwriters that i love using them... tweedy petty justine townes earle etc...

    i put the pickup into my 1930 Kalamazoo kg-11 a small bodied flat top (whos neck has been reset refretted and braces scalloped. its a magical guitar with a throaty present tone.
    i also own the para DI
    after testing and messing with the pickup system for awhile... i am really confused as to what everyone sees in the system.

    so help a brother out...

    how does jeff tweedy make this pickup (which on my guitar, through nice mid sized PAs, sounds spiky and NOTHING like an acoustic guitar)... how do tweedy and tom petty get such full acoustic tone?

    i am ready to take the M1a out and send it to the bottom of the drawer with other gear i hoped i would LOVE.

    here is the question...

    what outboard gear are the big boys using?
    is their tone a result of 1000.00 worth of outboard TUBE preamp?

    banging my head against the wall...

    please help.

    what i am looking for is an acoustic sound on stage that actually sounds like an acoustic guitar.


  • #2
    Hi Anthony,

    Thanks for posting on the forum. I have some questions for you:

    1) What kind of system are you playing through?

    2) Are you playing solo or with a full band? An acoustic guitar (or any instrument) can be EQ'd to sound great by itself. However, once you put it in a mix with other instruments, your guitar will sound different in the mix than it did by itself. The EQ will need to be adjusted in a band setting so that your guitar sounds great and cuts through the mix with the other instruments. Likewise, the guitar can be EQ'd to sound great in a mix with other instruments, but will not sound very good on its own.

    3) Can you give me some details on the current sound you are getting? The M1 Active and the Para DI make a great pair for dialing in the tone you are looking for. If you feel the pickup is too magnetic sounding by itself, I would recommend cutting some frequencies between 1.5kHz to 2kHz.
    Justin Rucker
    L.R. Baggs


    • #3
      David Gilmour uses just the M1Active, as far as I know. I imagine, though, that he has some amazing, rare and magical outboard gear collected in his long and toneful career.

      Tom Petty uses a passive M1 connected to our iMIX system in place of the Element undersaddle pickup. In that case, it's the M1 mixed with the iBeam bridge plate transducer. I understand that he uses stereo output when performing live, sending no iBeam to the stage monitors in order to optimize feedback resistance.

      I hear that Jeff Tweedy has the passive M1 connected as the auxiliary signal to a Fishman active undersaddle pickup system. He runs the two signals in stereo from the guitar and they are separately EQ'd, effected(perhaps) and mixed in the mains and monitors for the desired result.

      Many big name artists are using gear that you and I could only dream of owning, due to rarity and cost, that adds to their awesome tone. You or I can acquire the same pickup or system used by a favorite artist but we may not be able to achieve as rich a tone as easily as they can for lack of the great gear.

      Do you have access to another M1Active to compare yours to? That's usually the best way to tell if something may be not proper with a pickup or system. If not, and there is not cause to think the pickup or preamp may be faulty, it may just mean you need to experiment with tone shaping, gain structures and any other settings or adjustments that lead to better tone.

      I think it helps also to not aim to achieve any particular artist's recorded or live sound. Given all that might be involved in said artist achieving their great tone, I think folks like ourselves should be aiming for the best sound we can attain with the equipment available to us.

      If you have a chance to A/B your pickup with another of the same and find something improper, or you don't have the means to A/B and really think something's improper, please call 805-929-3545, ext. 111, to make arrangements for testing and possible repair or replacement.