First, let me make clear that I am not really a gear guy and I never have been. When my fellow guitarists start going off about the wattage of their amps, the kind of tubes, what brand pickup they use, etc. I am usually baffled about how people can tell the difference.
I do however, know when something "feels" right. When I played my old guitar teacher's Dell Arte D-Hole for the first time, I knew that guitar was exceptional, especially when compared to the 1980's saga I was beating on.
That being said, I haven't had such a flattering experience with my new $350 schertler. It doesn't "feel right" to me. Is it just me, or are all the glowing reviews not all theyre cracked up to be?
I attached the pickup to one of the commonly suggested locations: at the base of the bridge and plugged it into the first amp I had access to. My fender hot rod deluxe (tube amp+acoustic=faux pas?). Immediate feedback. The volume was barely on 2. After regaining my hearing, I tried again at a lower volume, about 1.5. The sound of the guitar was very muffled and muddy. I could still hear a constant hollow ringing as if the amp wanted to start feeding back but found some sort of compromise to keep me from smashing it.
It was more acoustic sounding than say, a telecaster, but it didn't sound anything close to what my guitar sounds like without amplification.
I removed the pickup and tried to move it elsewhere. To my suprise, a putty "donut" marking was left behind. This was removed by dabbing at it with the more putty. I stuck the pickup in another location: some arbitrary spot on the lower body of the guitar. With two quick pompes the pickup popped off and fell to the floor (hardwood). I soon found out that in order move this thing around I needed to roll another putty "donut" from scratch each time, otherwise there wouldn't be enough "stick" to it. Now these quibbles don't have anything to do with the functionality of the device, but they sure are inconvenient.
I experimented with different locations on the guitar (on the treble side, bass side, lower on the body, behind the bridge, etc), but nothing really impressed me or made a huge difference in tone or feedback. I decided to try this on a PA instead of an amp. I plugged it into a peavy PA that I had in my basement and was hit with a 10X more deafening blast of feedback. That PA was still plugged into microphones in the room that were set at twice the volume and none of those were feeding back, but my pickup was. I finally found a volume that worked, but it was so miniscule that I might as well not play plugged in at all. Even then the tone was, in a word, horrible. Very muddy, and mid-rangy. Still with that brooding hollow "almost-feedback" noise.
That was yesterday in my first hour of experimentation, but I was not impressed to say the least. I haven't given up yet. I will try it with my ParaAcoustic DI EQ tonight. I bought the pickup for two reasons (in order of importance): to be able to crank my guitar without feedback, and to get passable amplified acoustic tone. So far, it has failed at both.
Like I said, I don't know a whole lot about gear. Is it that this device is "good" or is it simply "good enough" when compared to current acoustic solutions? Because if this is the best in acoustic amplification, then I'd hate to hear the rest! Are most people in denial because they just dropped $350 on something that doesn't sound much better than a $50 equivalent?
Any comments and suggestions are welcome.