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Shelley Parks Pick Ups

I'm purchasing a guitar from Shelley Park and I'm debating upon the idea of installing a pick up or not. I have come to the conclusion that the pick up would be necessary because the little gigs I have had, required added sound boost. But my question is if there is anybody who has a Park guitar with pickup that was either glad they installed it or regret installing it? I'm not sure the exact name of the pickups she uses but she mentioned other choices are to use a microphone or exterior pickups called Stimer. Any thoughts on what might be better or is it all preference? Anything would be appreciated.




  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    She makes good pickups. I have seen and heard a hand full and they were all nice. I'm Talking about the bridge pickup i.e. Bigtone

  • djadamdjadam Boulder, CONew
    Posts: 249
    The pickup question is a big can of worms! I've played 2 Park guitars and played next to another, all with Big Tone bridge pickups. No matter what pickup you use, it's always a compromise.

    The word I'd use to describe the bigtone is, er, BIG. It does color the sound a bit. To it's credit, it doesn't have an iota of "quack". It makes a nice fat, juicy lead tone and for my taste, it's just a little much for rhythm, which I like to be clean.

    I'm using a Schatten pickup in my Gitane DG250M (I'm on the Park waiting list!) and I'd say it's the opposite end of the spectrum. It doesn't seem to color the sound much, but sounds just a tad thin. Makes for absolutely clean lovely rhythm, but not as present in the lead stuff.

    I've used a Stimer and it's a really cool pickup, but it sounds pretty electric to my ears. I like the more natural tone, so this was my least favorite of the three.

    Like I said, any pickup is a compromise in tone, but that said, I'm going with the big tone in my Park guitar. It sounded the best overall of the three and I'm going to try mixing the tone with a mic.

    I do wonder about the Shertler pickups, which are supposed to be quite lovely and natural when coupled with a Shertler amp... perhaps someone would like to comment on that.
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    I use the Basik with the stat pre thru the Unico. It is by far the best sound I have found. Does not color the tone if at all and I can get very loud if need be. I have yet to find something I wish was different with this combo.

  • campfirecampfire New
    Posts: 70
    I have owned 2 Shelly Park guitars, both with bigtone pickups. For some reason, Shelly's pickups sound louder and more natural than those in other guitars that I've tried. Robin Nolan borrowed my guitar one night when he broke a string, and he couldn't believe how much louder the Park installed Bigtone was than the one in his Favino! I thought it might be a fluke, but the Bigtone in my new Park Montmartre sounds just as good, if not better.

    I would highly recommend the Bigtone in your Park. Shelly just makes great guitars!

    Larry (my personal jazz guitar website) (my gypsy-jazz website)
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    Her bridge pickups are great. I have had one myself. I like it much more then others I have used. I build mine in the same manner after looking closely at the way Shelly builds hers. I make a few modifications to enhance the acoustical tone however. The problem with most bigtone style pickups it they work well for plugged in but you pay for it in tone when you are playing acoustically. I build my pickups with the acoustic tone as the most important factor. This only helps the amplified tone.

  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    I opted to go just acoustic on my Park because she makes her own bridges and the style/weight/intonation of her guitars is great and I don't gig a lot. I have no real justification for making any changes to her basic design of the guitar to accomodate amplification. If I need amplification on my Park - I'll stick one of my trusty AKG condenser mics on a stand. But, to be clear, no rocket science was used in reaching my decision - simply & emotionally - I don't depend on gigging for income & drilling holes in my new >$4k guitar with no "real" reason to do so - just gave me the willies.

    However, if you get a pickup - as Josh said - (paraphrasing) - "... her pickups are great..." so get Shelly to put it on the guitar during construction because she knows your guitar better than anyone else."
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
    Posts: 13
    Thanks for the great tips. But how much tone is sacrificed if I am playing the guitar acoustically? Will I notice the difference if there was a pickup in it or not (when played acoustically). And could a mic get just as good a tone or better? And I'm sure that relies on how good the mic is. Any suggestion on what mic?


  • Charlie AyersCharlie Ayers Salt Lake CityProdigy
    Posts: 285
    I bought my Encore without a pickup, and later had Shelley send me a Bigtone, to be installed by my local guitar shop. I didn't notice any tonal change, personally. I agree with whoever said that the Bigtone on their Park is loud; I've had 5 or 6 guitars with Bigtones and the Park is by far the loudest, for any given volume setting.

  • FopaFopa San FranciscoNew
    Posts: 125
    A very useful thread for me. I am in the process of buying my second Parks. My Encore doesn't have a pick up, I bought it second hand. Shelly is making this one for me and I had been debating having her install a Big Tone. After reading this , I'm going ahead and having it installed.
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