How to pick it up?

For more than two years I am looking for the best solution of amplification of my Martin OM-42. This beautiful rich sounding guitar looks like this and it’s clear I do not want to do any harm to it:

Some people were amazed that I let myself build a custom guitar with my name inlayed on a headstock, but it’s a different story.

So, how to plug the guitar in in live situations where microphone is out of discussion and do not reach the sound of thin wires rounded around a plastic basket? I didn’t want to cut half of the guitar out to implement some Fishman preamp “base station” with EQ, tuner, 5 transducers and one condenser microphone despite that could be one of the best sounding solutions. But I hate how it looks and feels and it is also too much sophisticated which means too big chance to fail for me. Plus – it is the most invasive solution and if you go wrong, you went really, fatally wrong for your guitar. Seeing Black Rebel Motorcycle Club live this friday I noticed that their great-sounding acoustic guitars were picked-up by a classic looking true to the roots magnetic pick-ups. I also remember seeing this solution on one of Martin Ledvina’s Martin D’s used on tour with Aneta. But I was always a bit suspicious how acoustic this can sound (as I didn’t pay any attention to it during the Aneta tour) and if you have to combine this with another technology.

I did a little research yesterday on the net and found very useful review at Fingerpick Magazine. This comprehensive overview of all the important ways and gadgets for picking up the sound of an acoustic guitar gives you really good idea what’s available and thanks to videos and mp3s with sound clips you can listen and compare for yourself. I am completely new to this topic as my second acoustic guitar Taylor came already equipped with some kind of saddle pickup so I didn’t have to do anything and a page like this helped me a lot to get to know at least something and make my decision without personal experience. Especially the category of “non-invasive pickups” is something I sticked to and I was selecting the winner within this particular list to keep the guitar untouched and having a chance to rethink my decision later.

In the end my personal choice is one of the reviewers: LR Baggs M1 pickup. See the videos bellow. And as soon as I will put aside some cash for it I will post my own review.

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Martin Destroyer

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