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Violin Pickup

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  • Violin Pickup

    I bought the L.R.Baggs violin pickup a few years ago, along with the Feedback Master, and while it definitely amplifies the sound, I've been pretty dissatisfied with the overall quality of the sound I'm getting. I've just never been able to get the acoustic sound I want out of it, and am increasingly dissatisfied with the fuzzy, distorted sound.

    Before I throw it all out and look for something new, I thought I'd give it one more shot by checking with the experts.

    Have you seen this video?
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    My fiddle sounds exactly like the LR Baggs pickup demonstration in the second half of the video: fuzzy, distorted, and the recorded version sounds not unlike a horn. :-/

    My question is, how can I get a more distinct, close-to-real acoustic sound quality out of my pickup? Do I need a better preamp? Is this as good as it gets? Because, honestly, I'm ready to go back to just using a regular microphone.
    I've tried adjusting the preamp and the soundboard but with no real results.
    Thanks for your help!

  • #2
    Hi JloYo,

    Thank you for asking. These are good comparative observations. It should be noted, however, that this is a comparison between apples and oranges or, specifically, a body pickup being compared to an in-bridge string pickup that includes some body response.

    The video comparison places our bridge pickup at a slight disadvantage in that the body pickup will, by design, provide a more woody, airy and resonant response. This would be the case with the majority of body pickups in comparison to the majority of bridge pickups.

    What a lot of players generally like about our bridge pickup is the balanced frequency response, its high output and stability in performance situations. It's very useful for cutting through a band mix. While body pickups can produce a more natural and organic response, they aren't as effective at cutting through a mix or at combating feedback.

    To more specifically address you question about the differences between the two pickups...

    The tone of the LR Baggs Violin Pickup can be improved with optimal gain settings and by using EQ to diminish hot frequencies or accentuate some that may be lacking, often to address deficiencies in the PA system or amplifier.

    I can't specifically address what you refer to as fuzzy and distorted unless you're hearing some response from the rosined bow being drawn across the strings. That can be addressed to good effect with some careful EQ settings as well.

    The adjustable midrange bands on our Venue DI can highly effective at smoothing out the tone of our Violin Pickup. The EQ section of our Para Acoustic DI model is also effective but not quite as capable as that in the Venue DI.
    Last edited by Bryan McManus; 11-22-2013, 02:25 PM. Reason: Add'l content, paraphrasing.


    • #3
      Caleb_Elling Wondering if the violin pickup really only registers the side-to-side vibrations going through the bridge rather than picking up the overtones from the body of the violin. In other words: will a cheap violin that sounds only OK acoustically and a nice violin that sounds really great acoustically, sound the same if they have the same pickup.

      The reason is this: I already bought a pickup (thanks LR Baggs!), but I'm debating which violin to install it on. I want to know whether or not I should install it on my student-level violin for gigging. But, if my fancier "concert" violin will sound better, then I could be convinced to do that instead. I'd mind it way less if my el-cheapo student violin gets beat up/knocked around/sweated on.
      Last edited by squaretaper; 12-05-2018, 01:16 PM.


      • #4
        Hey squaretaper,
        Thanks for posting.

        Installing a pickup into the bridge of a Violin captures a limited picture of what the Violin is doing as a whole. This can make the pickup sound less natural compared to a mic, but it also has advantages in isolation from other sources, as well as in improved feedback protection. So this method is great for live performance.

        Because the pickup is only capturing a limited picture, the amplified sound doesn't necessarily reflect the unplugged quality of the instrument. I have definitely heard one or two situations where an inexpensive Violin has sounded better than a more expensive Violin, but it is very difficult to predict which instruments will amplify better than any other. If you would prefer to install the pickup in your student Violin, I would go for it. Most players don't want to be in constant fear that their expensive instrument is going to get damaged while playing on-stage. That is entirely your call though.

        This is just my opinion, but I hope it helps.