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How do you amplify your maccaferri guitar?

Hi there fellow Djangologists

I have been playing gypsy jazz for 5-6 years now, and I still haven't found a satisfying way to amplify my Gitane DG-350 Modele Jan Akkerman. This is my first post on this forum, and I am very exited to hear about the different ways you guys are amplifying maccaferri guitars. Sorry it got quite long...

The ideal sound that I am looking for, and what I hear in my head, is the pure crisp acoustic sound of the instrument - just way way louder. But sound engineers keep telling me that it is physically impossible to generate this sound through an amplifier. I play both small bar/cafe gigs on backgear, and bigger stages with sound techs, monitor man etc, and I'm aiming for a setup that can work for it all. So I can't rely on on-stage condenser mics or anything like that.

I have tried out a lot of gear, and right now I think I need a mix of a mic (condenser preferably) and a more stabile sound source like some sort of pickup.

So far (in chronological order):

First I tried the Fishman Loudbox mini which worked out quiet fine - until I got the AER Compact 60/3 that I currently use.

Pick up systems
Shadow Electronics SH-NFX-MAC
The first I tried. Sounded a lot like plastic and was kind of prone to feedback.

Stimer reissue ST48 D Hole
I must admit that I like the sound of this magnetic pickup. If you're aiming for the later electric Django sound, this could be a way - but not the sound I am looking for.
Also, this single coil pickup did hum a lot.

I then got the DPA 4099 clip on condenser mic. This is actually the best sound quality I have reached so far. The main problem here is the feedback. By running it through an Headway EDB-2 eq/preamp I was able to get a bit more volume, but still not enough for small backgear shows.

To be able to get more sound, my local maccaferri pusher (Im from Copenhagen, Denmark) installed the Maurice Dupont Bigtone piezo saddle. This pickup is loud, but so damn quacky that it almost hurts me ears to play.

I tried to soften the Bigtone with a L.R. Baggs Session DI which could remove a bit of the qackiness. And the DI's 'SATURATE' function did warm up the sound a bit.

I then tried to install a L.R. Baggs m1 active magnetic pickup for normal round hole acoustic guitars. But ended up being way to complicated to mount it on my d-hole guitar. It also sound a bit metallic in the higher frequencies.

For the last year I've been using the Audio-Technica PRO 70 condenser, mounted inside the guitar, with the clip that comes with the mic. This actually sounds quiet good, when run through the Headways 'nutch filter' to filter out the feedback sensitive frequencies.

Sometimes, when I need more volume, I back up the PRO 70 with the Bigtone through the DI.

BUT.. I ain't feeling it yet.

Right now I think I will try out the K&K Trinity system, which seems to do the mix of pickup and mic that I am already experiencing with.

Any thoughts on the K&K Trinity?

What are you guys best experiences?

Pheeeew... This is an expensive hobby.

The best


  • I have a Dupnt MDC 20 short scale that is solid maple. It has a McIntyre feather contact pickup under the bass side of the bridge and some sort of Lavalier mic hanging inside between the bridge and the sound hole. Works well.

    I use a DPA 4099 on my sax in blues and RAnd B and never have feedback problems. A notch filter set really tight to the feedback frequency can remove the feedback problem. Also try shifting the DPA 's position and isolating the clip from the body with some thin high density acoustic foam.

    I have used my DPA on my Dunn a few times in moderately noisy largish pub gigs and never had feedback. I prefer my Neumann KMS 105 for my guitars and vocal but they are an expensive mic. It's a hypercardioid and again I have not had feedback problems with it at higher volume levels.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Like most I've tried many and in combo with the other guitarist in my band, even more. It's a never ending quest. It may be best to get something that is more satisfying than everything else you've tried, and resign yourself and accept it OR go to mic on a stand.
    Together we've used Bigtone, AT70, DPA, Ischell and K&K Definity. I've stuck with the Definity and he now uses Ischell, tho at last gig he felt Bigtone sounded better! So much depends on room and acoustics as well!
    We've played with Baggs preamps, both the Para and the higher end model, with
    Amps and just through PA- QSC speakers and Heath and Allen board.
    Have used all Fishmans, includimg the SA220 , except Performer.
    Have blended sound with clip on mics mentioned above with pickups.
    After all is said and done, I use the Artist and K&K with no preamp and a Boss boost pefal for soloing and am satisfied. He currently uses the Ischell and an Acoustic Image w/ Buscarino cab, and is satisfied at the moment, but he is still questing! I've relented for now.
    AndyNylonMehran s
  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 331
    I had a Dell'Arte D-hole with a Bigtone, which worked but still had a noticeable piezo quack. When I got the Dunn Daphne, my tech guy recommended a B-Band, which suits my situation (rhythm and fingerstyle) well. Even though the B-Band is pre-amped, run it through a Baggs Para DI, for some signal massaging and the sweepable notch filter, which seems to take care of the modest feedback issues. (I don't need a lot of volume.) The Dunn sounds about as much like itself as it's going to with any pickup system. Of course, I'm not playing in GJ mode, and in a situation where volume/feedback became an issue, I'd use an archtop with a mag pickup.
  • edited January 2016 Posts: 8
    i use a bigtone , only with an saddle made by cyril gaffiero samois.

    we did a bone like saddle and placed it right on the peizo, but inbetween the saddle and the pick up we made a 0.5mm paper sheet that works as demping and takes away the sharp piezo sound

    most say i like it and many with me see photo of it here

  • woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
    Posts: 227
    Well, that is depressing to say the least. Has anyone used one of the Shattens that have the inline preamp in the endpin?
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    I use K&K floating bridge straight to amp. Amplification = compromise. Never tried the infinity option.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
    edited January 2016 Posts: 795
    I notice acoustic players are mostly satisfied with their guitars and mostly dissatisfied with their amplification scheme. One would think that after 70-80 years, we'd have this amplification thing down, but clearly not.

    Part of gaining on it a little is realizing that one system does not (yet) fit all situations. I carry three pickups to a gig: a mic (AT clip-on usually), a contact mic (AKG-440*) and a magnetic (Peche was the best for me). With these, my AI amp and a bag of cables, I knew that even if the sound was not perfect, I could get the job done. It doesn't have to be these three at all, the point is having options is helpful in this inexact science of amplifying the acoustic guitar. I have often started a gig with one pickup and ended with another.

    I like systems that are easily installed and removed, moved between guitars, etc., so favor clip-on, stick-on types.

    * I've used the AKG-440 for 3-4 years and have talked about it here. I've been generally happy with it. It has a decent acoustic sound, a higher feedback threshold than a mic and very simple to use, but others have noted an echo in the resulting sound that seems to be directly related to the AKG. I recently have started experiencing this too and must say at this point, I'm looking for something to fill that slot in my pickup arsenal. Ischell?
  • Al WatskyAl Watsky New JerseyVirtuoso
    edited January 2016 Posts: 440
    I use a dual source set up.
    Its a lace audio ultra slim , elector mag and a Barbera Transduce Systems pickup which is mounted in the bridge.
    I send the signal to a Grace Audio Felix preamp , which is stereo and parametric with effects loop.
    That goes into an AER compact 60 which then goes to the board.
    It can sound any way I want it to sound.
    I'm still using the Argentine 1510 which means there is a bit of a spike in the volume of the B and E strings because of the copper over wrap on the wound strings, but because the BTS is so objective and balanced its not an issue.
    So I have the perfection and precision of the BTS with the warmth and midrange of the Lace.
    Combine that with the Felix and I'm done.
    Its all mounted in a Favino Macias .
    This rig is also a great recording setup.
    Different strokes.
  • rimmrimm Ireland✭✭✭✭ Paul doyle D hole, washburn washington
    Posts: 605
    k&K with my audio technica usually gets a cracking tone on my d hole, as long as you get levels cool through your amp first its usually perfect by the time it reaches the PA
    I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell
  • I have a Peche and an Ischell, both mounted to my guitar. I use the Peche in louder than normal situations and the Ischell in situations where I can get away with an acoustic sound, plugged into the Baggs Para. I'd will be experimenting with both of them together shortly. Once I plug in, I stay with whatever I've decided on for the evening.
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