Guitar and Dobro pickups

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by BobRogers, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    A guitarist in one of my bands is looking to get pickups installed in his Martin D-28 and Wechter Rob Ickes dobro. Strictly for live use, of course. He's researching this, but I thought I throw it out here for opinions. We have a good acoustic guitar tech around here who could do anything that he and I could not do, so installation isn't a problem. He's basically a cheapskate, but willing to pay money when it counts. So price is an object, but quality is a bigger one.

    What do you recommend?

    P.S. The D-28 is a nice old '68. A good guitar, but not considered "collectible" by anyone who isn't trying to sell one.
  2. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2003
    Fishman Rare Earths are pretty nice soundhole pickups and they just screw on with a cork-protected mechanism, and come right back out again. However they need a soundhole so wouldn't work for your dobro.

    I really like the Schertler DYN pickups - the DYN-A is phenomenally expensive (they fit to the outside of guitars using putty) - but a DYN-C could be mounted semi-permanently to one or both, its really designed for internal, the DYN-G is the same as the C but has a facing on it so you could mount that externally and move it between the two. This is a transducer model and so its really handy to have around as it will do mandolin, double bass, nylon-string guitar, etc. A good choice for the dobro possibly.

    The LR Baggs iBeam is rated quite highly and requires a bit of tech know-how to fit - I have one in a Babicz guitar and find it really temperamental both for feedback and the piezo side of things seeming to cut out in the damp sometimes. However others rate it highly as I say. Again this would be for the Martin.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
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    The Martin is relatively easy, with a wide choice of passive and active pickups. I can second the Fishman Rare Earth. I have one of those in my Martin connected to a sound-hole fixing Shadow blender unit that incorporates an electret mic on a short gooseneck. By adjusting the position of the electret mic inside the guitar body and the blend of mic to pickup, I can set up a sound for the type of music I am playing this session, and to sit in the mix with the other musicians.

    Does his D-28 have the endpin drilled out to 15/32" to take a switching jack? If he wants to fit an active pickup, he will need the switching for the battery power. I reamed out my Martin to fit the jack, and it was a tricky business to get the hole right without cracking the veneer. However, your guitar tech should have both the experience and the correct endpin reamer.

    I've never fitted a pickup to a dobro, but I remember a dobro player I know saying he tried lots of pickups before he settled on one he liked the sound of. I'm sorry I don't know what type that was.

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