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Schatten pickup - my review

First things first, I'm a skeptic when it comes to acoustic pickups and I despise quack with every fiber of my being! I play a Gitane DG-250M and had the Schatten HFN passive pickup installed two days ago. I've used it a whole bunch since then, so here's the story...

Wednesday I picked up my guitar from the shop which installed the Schatten pickup. They had a Shertler David amplifier in the shop... what better way to test the thing out? I plugged into a Baggs preamp and gave it a whirl - it sounded great, especially after fiddling with the EQ a little bit. I immediately knew this was a great choice, but I held back a bit - I never feel right stretching out in a guitar shop, even with my own instrument.

Wednesday night was my band's rehearsal. To my surprise, the other guitarist in my band had picked up an AER Compact 60, the lucky bastard! He plays a Gitane DG-255, also with a Schatten pickup.

(Side note: While I didn't have the two amps side-by-side, I'd give the edge to the AER, at least for this pickup)

With his Schattenized guitar plugged into the C60, it sounded EXACTLY like his guitar, only louder (with the same Baggs pre). When I plugged in my guitar, I got the same result. I cannot imagine getting a more faithful representation of my guitar without using a propper microphone. Zero quack, skepticism gone.

Thursday night was the real test... our band's first gig in a fairly large room. I don't yet have an amp, so I went from the guitar into a preamp, then into the PA. The major test here was volume and the place was loud... actually, way too loud for acoustic music, in my opinion. So let's talk about feedback. Loud-ass club, loud-ass people, loud-ass monitors pointed straight at each of us, no feedback control = zero feedback from my guitar. That's the beauty of a pickup.

So needless to say, I am quite happy with my purchase. Even with professional installation, it cost half as much as some of the competitors' pickups. I've emailed and spoken with Les Schatten and Rod Rose and they have been more than helpful along the way - super-friendly and quick to answer all of my questions. It's clear that these guys care about getting it right.

In summary: excellent sound, no quack, zero feedback in loud club, super price, great service... I'm a happy picker!


  • Is it the hfn-S2 model? Did the installation alter your acoustic tone in any way? To need a pickup for a high end, hand made Matteo Gypsy Jazz Guitar, and was thinking of getting one that doesn’t require installation, cause I don’t want my acoustic tone altered. Thabks for advice!
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    I've got a ten year old Schatten pickup, but it's nothing like the one you describe, djadam... It's about as quacky as Huey, Dewey and Louie combined... so I'm happy to hear they are making progress.

    Have you got any recordings to offer us of your marvellous new sound?

    And I'm just wondering how your Schatten might sound with that other intriguing new contraption called the Fishman Aura Spectrum which is supposed to improve the piezzo sound immensely...


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