Help choosing a pickup

I would like a top mounted piezo for practicality and cannot spend too much on an amp. I think I will get a Roland Ac33.

Would it be worth getting a decent K&K pickup with the preamp?

Or a Nux NAI-5 Optima Air with a cheaper generic piezo? I liked the results from that video posted here on the topic.

Any experience with the different K&K pickups for Selmer-Maccafferi guitars? How do they differ from regular piezos?


  • TwangTwang New
    edited July 2022 Posts: 417

    I had the K&K with the thin flat strip that fitted under the bridge foot between the top and bridge. It was a nice pickup. I attached the jack socket to the flat piece on the tailpiece. I fitted it in 5 mins without having to make any alterations to the guitar. It’s passive so you are going to need a decent pre-amp. I think K&k give you the option to buy it with a dedicated pre-amp. No feedback issues so it’s very plug and play. It still sounds like a piezo and the treble strings sounded a little bit thin to me. Sounds better than my bigtone but these can vary depending on fitting, guitar and make of bigtone. It will not be as invisible as a bigtone even if you decide to permanently install it but you can remove the bridge if you want. Overall, I would recommend it.

  • Posts: 4,833

    There was a member that always highly recommended JJB Electronics. Said they sound as good or better than K&K for a much lower price. Probably good idea to have a pickup that you can rely on its own but Optima Air will only make it better.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • edited July 2022 Posts: 15

    Overkill option.

    Install a Dupont big tone pickup,

    then get a Tone Dexter.

    Train the tone dexter to a condenser microphone.

    Expensive but you get a studio microphone acoustic sound with no feedback.

  • krzyskrzys New
    Posts: 138

    Haha yeah that's a bit much. I have a budget to stick to!

  • dellartehommage2005dellartehommage2005 Northwest NJNew
    Posts: 28

    So you're saying you use an Optima Air when plugged into an amp to improve the sound? Interesting! I did not know about this.

  • dellartehommage2005dellartehommage2005 Northwest NJNew
    Posts: 28

    Can you elaborate on this? What does it mean to "train" the tone dexter to a condenser mic? Is this a good setup for live performances?

  • TwangTwang New
    Posts: 417

    If you get the lr baggs version of the tone dexter you dont need any fancy mics. Just a mobile phone to train it.!

  • ChristopheCaringtonChristopheCarington San Francisco, CA USANew Dupont MD50, Stringphonic Favino, Altamira Chorus
    Posts: 187

    My experience with piezo is that having it professionally installed by someone who works with gypsy style guitars is worth the extra price than doing it yourself. Even better if you can be in the shop with them to adjust the tone during installation.

    Also, the inclusion of a piezo built into a guitar doesn't raise it's value much, but it doesn't harm it either. So having it installed inside and through an end-pin is just a better look AND is more practical (less likely to pull the wire on a gig moving the pickup, which I've seen happen on the middle of a gig).

    If you can't spend much on an amp, the budget king IMHO is the Bugera AC60. It shamelessly rips off AER, but it's like 80% of the AER for only ~$200 USD.

  • Posts: 4,833
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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