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M80 and 12 string

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  • M80 and 12 string

    Apologies if this has been covered before, but I can't seem to be able to use the search function to search numbers like 12 or m80 etc.

    I've just put an M80 into my old 12 string and am after some advice to get it sounding as good as possible. Had an Anthem that boomed and playing around with the lyric position because it is very boxy, and got the M80 out of frustration and needing to be able to amplify my main guitar. Probably should have come here long ago.

    The M80 sounds much better than the other 2 through the PA I have used for testing so far.

    To get it sounding as good as possible I am looking for advice on:

    Strings. I'm told that 12 strings are difficult with Mag pickups as they tend to pick up the unwound string very strongly in the pairs, especially the D and G, but presumably always the lesser wound of the other pairs also. Baggs dealer suggested that the M80 is designed to be used with bronze/ phosphur/bronze strings, but I am wondering if I am still best to use white bronze or even nickel strings for the magnetic properties of the windings. At present I've recently moved to lighter strings for fingerpicking and am using Thomastic Plektrum 10-41s which include silk and mostly flatwound strings. They reduced the boom in the Anthem. Only white bronze strings I know of are GHS and are 11-48 which should not be an issue and may help with reducing my pushing of the strings into the pole pieces. Does anyone have any recommendations? Previously I used 12-54s at standard tuning, but am moving to exclusively using my fingers to play and the old guitar will last a lot longer with the lighter strings.

    Pole position height. At present I have wound the poles almost all of the way in, partly to stop me touching the strings to the pole when fingerpicking on the light strings, and partly to mellow out the sound which was quite sharp, probably owing to the increased pickup of the unwound strings. Does anyone have any recommendations for pole height with the paired strings of the 12?

    If I can get the lyric sounding good I will drill a second jack hole so I can use both together and also blend. I'll make that into another post.

  • #2
    I haven't tried a huge variety of strings myself. So I'm not a very good authority on the subject.

    You may be able to skew the pickup slightly toward the regular strings in order to get a better balance. However, since the M-series pickups are designed to work on 6-string guitars, most things things regarding the tone will be a compromise.

    As far as the pole height, you might just have to try a few ideas. Personally, I would try to start with the lower E,A,D, and G strings set flush with the pickup. Then you can adjust the high E and B to match your string balance. Unless the B string pair is quiet, you should still be able to leave that pole out completely.

    Let us know what you find. It's always nice for future readers to see what works and what doesn't.


    • #3
      M80 is the main source I use at present and I'm getting lots of compliments on the sound of the 12 string. Ended up stringing it with 10-47s and then 9-45s and will play with the 2 varieties (both phosphor bronze EJ38s and EJ41s). Can't get the best sound out of the Lyric and need to pick up a cable so I can run them in stereo and play with that option.

      Interestingly, I prefer the lyric through my mixer (A&H Zed10FX) at home using headphones, but prefer the M80 through the PAs and I can't work out why there is a difference - headphones seem to pick up a lot of extra detail in the M80 that makes it sound 'tinnier' or more electronic, whereas the extra with the Lyric seems to bring it to life, but I haven't worked out how to do the same with the Lyric through a PA.

      I'm getting a new 12 string made for me (Ellis Guitars - Perth) and will be keen to put the Lyric into a good quality 12 string and see how it sounds in comparison.

      Thankyou for all of your help and advice.


      • #4
        Tim, any progress on the Lyric in the new 12-string? I have a Martin D12-28 that I am considering inserting either a lyric or an Anthem into. Would love your feedback.


        • #5
          I'm on a waiting list for the handmade 12 string (next Feb-Apr and 12-14 months is killing me) but I think the lyric will shine. I don't want to go back to the Anthem type system as it just did not work for my old guitar - possibly not the fault of the equipment as installation technique and guitar quality were more than questionable, but I much prefer both the M80 and the Lyric and will run a lyric and M80 in my 12s from now on and avoid a UST if possible. What I'm really hoping is that I can find the best way to get the lyric sounding great through the PA. I noticed on my home mixer (but with headphones) I dial the Lyric in with extra mids and lows (which makes sense) and I need to ask the sound people to do this and try it. At the moment I just go to the M80 on autopilot as it sounds awesome set flat with no tweaking and I have had no feedback issues period. I'm worried that when the Lyric is at stage volume, and with the mids and lows dialled up, it will feedback but will let you know. Hasn't fed back when I've used it, but sounded light and tiny, and I think that is because they set the mixer for their 'regular' guitar settings, and not for a mic that is a bit light on in the lower frequencies (but can hopefully be boosted effectively. The Lyric sounds perfect through the headphones. Absolutely perfect. I want that sound live.

          Have a cold at the moment so I have strung the 12 with 12-54s and dropped the tuning a full step (DGCFAD) and will be interested to see what that sounds like with both the M80 and Lyric (used to play with 12-54s at standard tuning but was too much for my guitar after many years and I think the lighter strings sound better with the pickups at concert pitch and fingerpicking). The 12-54s don't sound as good acoustically, especially compared to my 6string takamine with 13s DGCFAD, and it feels like train tracks going back to them, but I'll give them a go, otherwise put some 10s on there and drop the tuning and save the 12s for open C on the old 12 string, when the new guitar arrives. Really interested to hear what the heavier strings sound like with the M80 (more metal). At concert pitch they sounds great acoustically, and would probably be best with the Lyric, but the guitar can't handle the tension, and I don't want to go back to that playing tension again or use fingerpicks again. Took too much muscles to make the strings move!