Some Pro Setups =============== Abbreviations: AG = Acoustic Guitar Magazine FG = Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine Unattributed descriptions are from Chris Proctor's "The Amplification Maze" article, Part 2, in AG Jan/Feb 1993. Phil Keaggy +++++++++++ Keaggy's setup is ever-evolving; I've seen him at least a half-dozen times, and each time there is at least one item altered or added to his rack. Here are two fairly recent descriptions of his setup; he is now endorsing the L. R. Baggs Micro Duet, and recent pictures show he has removed the Sunrise from his Olsons. From "Out of the Mainstream" AG May/Jun 1992 (Dave Urbanski): Phil Keaggy plays two cutaway acoustic guitars handcrafted by James Olson... he also plays a Takamine classical guitar.... For guitar amplification, Keaggy blends the output from a Sunrise soundhole pickup, an L.R. Bags saddle transducer, and a Fender M-1 internal microphone. To get his signature sound, he has a fairly large rack that contains an O'Neal Custom Equalizer, an Alesis Quadraverb, a DBX compression unit, a Roland SDE-3000 Digital Delay, a Furman PL-8 Power Conditioner and Light Module, a TC 1210 Spatial Expander and Stereo Chorus/Flanger, and a Carver Professional PM-300 Magnetic Field Power Amplifier. From "Phil Keaggy Tried and True" FG #4, 1994 (John Schroeter): Keaggy's guitars are outfitted with a Sunrise soundhole pickup, an L.R. Baggs under the bridge, and a Fender M1 internal condenser microphone. Greg Gualteri, of Pendulum Audio, built for Keaggy a custom preamp for combining the three signals. From time to time, Keaggy uses effects, such as an SDE3000 Roland digital delay, for getting into the "playmate" mode, locking in a particular rhythmic pattern and playing around it. Martin Simpson ++++++++++++++ From "Martin Simpson: A Work in Progress" FG #3, 1994 (John Schroeter): In my main Stefan Sobell [Sicilian model] guitar, I have a Highlander. I've not had anything that I've liked as much. It's a soft transducer---it doesn't "quack" like many transducers do. It has its own preamp. When you plug it straight into the system, and watch the sound man's face, you know it's the right stuff. It has great response on the treble strings, and it's fantastic for playing slide. Like any transducer, though, you've got to be careful with the balance. It's got to be installed right. I have a wooden shim underneath the saddle, and that immediately sorted out the balance problems. For stage work, I frequently play an [Ithaca Guitar Works] Oneida guitar, equipped with a Highlander and an internal mic. It's a small-bodied guitar, which is great for playing while standing. Played through a PA head and a Daedalus speaker cabinet, it has great tone, an it's loud! John Knowles ++++++++++++ He confesses that some time ago he gave up on amplifying his nylon-string guitars with microphones. Instead he uses a Baggs piezoelectric saddle pickup, a Demeter tube direct box, and a reverb unit before sending his signal to the house sound system. Russ Barenberg ++++++++++++++ Barenberg mixes his own AKG stick-on piezoelectric pickup with whatever high-quality condenser microphone is available at the venue he's playing. He prefers AKG 451 or 460, Shure SM81, and Neumann KM84 microphones and uses a custom-built preamp/parametric equalizer to get the pickup sound right. He plans on experimenting with internal microphones to see if he might be able to replace the external one he now uses. Alex de Grassi ++++++++++++++ [de Grassi] uses a combination of a Baggs saddle pickup with an internal preamp, and an AKG 460 external condenser mike. His pickup runs into a volume pedal, a T.C. Electronics 2290 effects unit, and a Lexicon LXP-1 reverb unit, then to the house.... De Grassi also indicated a desire to experiment more with the newest internal microphones. David Wilcox ++++++++++++ From "Tuning In" AG Nov/Dec 1994 (James Jensen): David Wilcox plays a concert-size guitar with a cedar top and rosewood back and sides, made by Jim Olson (11840 Sunset Ave., Circle Pine, MN 55014).... On stage Wilcox utilizes a Pendulum stereo preamp to mix the sound coming out of the two pickups in his guitar: one is an L. R. Baggs saddle pickup chosen for its bass response, and the other is an Acoustech, which he feels really helps with the mid and high frequencies. Wilcox also travels with two microphones, an AKG 535 for his vocals and an AKG 460 for his guitar, which he mixes with the pickups at 50 to 60 percent, depending on the venue. Leo Kottke ++++++++++ From "Words and Music" AG Nov/Dec 1992 (Jim Ohlschmidt): Leo Kottke records and performs primarily with his Taylor signature 12-string and a concert-sized six-string built by Minnesota luthier Jim Olson.... As for amplification, Kottke says, "I used to be frustrated all the time. What's happened for me is I now have a system that works great with a piezo setup, a system that works great with a magnetic setup, and I've found three guitar mikes that I like a lot, and I just bounce from one to the other. Which one I'm using depends on what month you run into me." [He uses a Sunrise soundhole pickup (although he somewhat prefers the no-longer-available Bill Lawrence) with the Sunrise tube preamp; a Fishman piezo pickup through a Pendulum Audio Guitar Preamp; and a Shure SM-57, AKG 451, or Beyer M-201-N microphone.] "What I'll do sometimes is take everything on the road, with the Pendulum and the different modules, because some systems will not work with a piezo, while others won't work with a magnet. Most of my guitars have two jacks in them, so I can decide when I get there which one I'm going to use. It all depends on how 'live' the room is. If it's one of those washed-out, lively rooms, the magnet is great because it has such a strong fundamental. If the room is deader than a doornail and it's like playing inside a sock, the piezo is the thing." Richard Thompson ++++++++++++++++ From "Walking on a Wire" AG Nov/Dec 1993 (Henry Kaiser): Richard Thompson performs acoustic shows with his well-worn, cedar-topped Lowden L-32 C.... Thompson uses a SUnrise electromagnetic pickup (mounted in the soundhole) wired through a Sunrise tube interface box. He says, "It gives plenty of gain. It sounds pretty acoustic. For me, I'd rather have that faint metal edge that you get with a SUnrise, that faint electric guitar edge, than the kind of piezo edge you get with the other kinds of acoustic pickups." He runs the signal through a T. C. Electronics parametric equalizer, a Demeter Tremulator, and a Boss DD-3 digital delay. He depends upon his soundman to mix in other subtle digital effects from the mixing board. Tony Rice +++++++++ From " Picking Power" AG Nov/Dec 1993 (David McCarty): Instrument: 1935 Martin D-28 Live setup: External mic: AKG C452EB condenser with a built-in bass roll-off to reduce feedback. Bert Jansch +++++++++++ From "In The Moment" AG Sep/Oct 1993 (Colin Harper): Jansch uses an acoustic-electric Yamaha LT24 for most of his live performing. In a band setting, he uses only the built-in pickup and preamp. Solo, he adds an external mic. He uses a Peavey Pro-Fex for effects on stage. John Gorka ++++++++++ From "The Daily Planet" AG Sep/Oct 1993 (Steven J. Givens): John Gorka performs with six- and 12-string Larrivee guitars.... Both Larrivees have L. R. Bags pickups mounted under their saddles, although Gorka also mikes his guitars in performance, usually with a Shure SM 57. "I know there are better ones," he says, "but [SM 57s] are durable." In concert, he sings into an SM 58. He uses a rack-mounted Pendulum preamp and parametric equalizer. Ferron ++++++ From "Testimony" AG Jul/Aug 1993 (Simone Solondz): Ferron plays a Martin D-35 from the '70s... [and] a Schoeberg Soloist.... She uses a Fishman pickup onstage. Paul Simon ++++++++++ From "The Sounds of Simon" AG Jul/Aug 1993 (Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers): Paul Simon performs with custom-made Yamaha acoustic guitars.... These guitars come to him with pickups and volume and tone controls installed, but he's been adding internal mikes for amplification. Taj Mahal +++++++++ From "Blues Across Borders" AG Mar/Apr 1993 (Steve James): Taj Mahal has lots of guitars.... He is emphatic, however, about his present preference for guitars by Matt McPherson.... Onstage he eschews ambient miking in favor of the signal from an L. R. Baggs pickup system. That signal is preamped and altered by a number of outboard effects including chorus and digital delay before being fed to a conventional tube guitar amp, which is miked through both mains and monitors. James Taylor ++++++++++++ From "Shed A Little Light" AG Jul/Aug 1992 (Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers): James Taylor plays three guitars by James Olson. Two have an SJ body shape, one with a cutaway, one without.... The third is a dreadnought.... He also has a reliable, good-sounding Yamaha and three sizes of guitars by Martin Whitebook.... Taylor's Yamaha has Yamaha electronics for amplification; the Olsons have L. R. Baggs pickups. Taylor does not mike his guitar on stage. He runs the pickup output through a Pendulum preamp, and he says that the preamp's notch filter helps him get the best results from the piezo pickup; he can zero in on and cut the worst-sounding parts of the midrange, then add "crispies" and a little bit of bass. Mary-Chapin Carpenter +++++++++++++++++++++ From "State of the Heart" AG May/Jun 1992 (Holly Crenshaw): Mary-Chapin Carpenter raves about the two main acoustic guitars she plays, both of which were made by John Greven (1108 E. First, Bloomington, IN 47401).... Carpenter also praises the reissue Martin D-28 herringbone she bought in the early '80s. And she says of her most recent purchase, "I just picked up an interesting little number called a Guild Songbird.... It's like a little hybrid acoustic-electric, one of those thin-body electrics. It's real fun...." On stage, all her guitars are equipped with Andy Adams transducers [which she runs through a Brooks DI box].