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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #139286  by adkroot
 Mon May 26, 2014 2:02 pm
Aside from his acoustic guitar, is anyone familiar with Jerry's acoustic preferences regarding pickup, mic, and amplification?
 #139289  by tcsned
 Mon May 26, 2014 4:28 pm
From what I've heard he didn't like being mic'ed because I don't think he got the dynamic range he wanted. He used 70s-80s era piezo pickups that IMHO sounded rubbery. If I'm not mistaken in the Reckoning stuff the ran the piezo to the monitors and FOH and the mic was for recording. I remember Grisman busting his chops a bit for his acoustic set up, contending that it wasn't acoustic unless the sound moved through the air first.

Technology for acoustic guitar has really come a long way since 1995. I'm sure he would've moved on from those Takamine/Alvarez piezo systems. as better stuff came along. Not that I thought his tone was bad, it was about the best that was out there to get what he wanted across. There's just a lot more options now.
 #139324  by shadowboxer
 Tue May 27, 2014 3:46 pm
They play some of that acoustic stuff with John Kahn on the Grateful Dead channel (Goodnight Irene for example), and I've never taken to the sound of Jerry's guitar in that context I don't know if it's the recording or the gear, but it comes out sounding harsh without much sustain.
 #139330  by tcsned
 Tue May 27, 2014 4:54 pm
shadowboxer wrote:They play some of that acoustic stuff with John Kahn on the Grateful Dead channel (Goodnight Irene for example), and I've never taken to the sound of Jerry's guitar in that context I don't know if it's the recording or the gear, but it comes out sounding harsh without much sustain.
I saw one of those Garcia/Kahn shows in 1985 (Hunter opened the show). Don't get me wrong, I love his acoustic playing. I'm just not a huge fan of his choice of guitars or his live electronics. The Alvarez was a sweet guitar but there's a lot more choices now. He'd sound killer through a Huss and Dalton or a Bourgeois or any number of high end small shop guitars.
 #139340  by adkroot
 Wed May 28, 2014 7:10 am
For a great musician that was able to express, in my opinion, the richest and most consistent tone with his electric guitars it's perplexing that his acoustic tone could be without much depth or warmth. But there were recordings and performances where his guitar sounds much better, particularly his work with Grisman and Reckoning. I'd guess it was difference in electronics but then if you listen to the end of The Pizza Tapes where he gives Tony's guitar a try (I think Tony was playing the famous d28 that had belonged to Clarence White) his tone is greatly improved.
 #139344  by milobender
 Wed May 28, 2014 8:12 am
I've never seen it mentioned, but I think it's possible that hearing loss may have had something to do with it... he may have preferred the sound of his acoustic having a sharper, thinner tone at low volumes... it may have sounded right to him.
 #139350  by NWPines
 Wed May 28, 2014 9:28 am
I hope not to sidetrack this thread..... too much, but this seemed like an appropriate place to ask. Turning the question around a bit, given what's available today, particularly where pickups are concerned, what would you choose as an acoustic rig?

The reason I ask is I have a Larrivee L03R (that I LOVE) and I'm considering installing a pickup. Leaning towards a K&K Pure Mini. Thoughts?
 #139351  by adkroot
 Wed May 28, 2014 10:06 am
NWPines wrote:I hope not to sidetrack this thread..... too much, but this seemed like an appropriate place to ask. Turning the question around a bit, given what's available today, particularly where pickups are concerned, what would you choose as an acoustic rig?

The reason I ask is I have a Larrivee L03R (that I LOVE) and I'm considering installing a pickup. Leaning towards a K&K Pure Mini. Thoughts?
Since I started the thread I'll shamelessly join in in sidetracking it. It's my interest as well to learn more of the do's and don'ts of amplifying my acoustic guitar. Is the Purest's approach of a mic the way to go, or a combo of mic and pickup, or just pickup? Also, I don't know about NWpines but I'd prefer minimal invasion or alteration of my guitar.
 #139355  by shadowboxer
 Wed May 28, 2014 10:54 am
Over on the unofficial Martin guitar forum (primarily bluegrassers), the K&K mini pickup is highly thought of. Is minimally invasive, is attached inside the guitar under the bridge plate, with a jack pin. No volume or tone knobs or batteries (I think). They sell a separate pedal-like device that you can plug into to fine tune your sound. But some, like Tony Rice, bow to tradition and just use a microphone.
 #139358  by tcsned
 Wed May 28, 2014 11:28 am
I use a Shertler Blu-Stik in my Taylor 810 and a Schertler DYN-G in my Del'Arte Django style guitar. I love their pickups very natural sounding. The Blu-Stik is an under-the-saddle transducer and the DYN-G is a top-mounted with that green putty stuff. I also have a Schertler Unico acoustic amp and a Pre-A preamp (if I'm running direct). The Unico amp is badass - basically a bi-amped studio monitor with a 3 channel mixer. I've used it as a PA for my bluegrass band before. My friend who was a tech rep for Schertler is now with Headway, I may try one of their preamps out. Schertler stuff ain't cheap but it kicks ass.
 #139364  by tcsned
 Wed May 28, 2014 12:48 pm
There's a lot of good options out there that weren't when Jerry was alive.
 #139396  by NWPines
 Thu May 29, 2014 11:37 am
Thanks for the input everyone! Yep, on this guitar I'm just looking for something simple and transparent as I love the acoustic tone as-is and I won't be plugging in very often.
 #139403  by flyingheelhook
 Thu May 29, 2014 1:12 pm
I play a Breedlove Fusion Dreadnaught with onboard Fishman piezo and mic - can't remember the exact configuration but can dig it up when I get home if you are that interested. I think the combination offers a lot of flexibility in trying to get as close to a true acoustic tone as possible but have had issues in smaller rooms where I have to turn off the mic due to feedback.