Mar
31

I’m an unabashed snob when it comes to guitar pickups for nylon. I like the sound of a guitar, and I don’t like the sound of pickups. I’ve spent years putting together a rig so I can be as loud as I need to be without feeding back, and as a flamenco guy I’m competing with dancers, percussionists and sometimes electric bass and other instruments. I know it can be done, but I also know that it’s not easy or cheap, so while I don’t like the sound of pickups I get why a lot of players need to use them. And I also know that some people actually like that sound, which is another story, and a matter of taste, just not my thing.

So I’m clearly not a connoisseur of pickups. But here’s why I think this Kremona NG-1 pickup is pretty cool: You don’t have to make a single hole in your guitar. That’s pretty huge. There are reviews around the web that will attest to the sound of the thing (some love it, some don’t – that can be said about almost any pickup), but in my limited testing I didn’t think it sounded any worse than any of the other pickups I’ve tried, or any worse than the B-band I had installed for years in one of my guitars (well, the film transducer part of the B-band may have sounded better, but not the piezo part). I thought the Kremona sounded, with a little tweaking, about as good as an undersaddle thingy can sound. And it’s $69. And you don’t have to make a single hole in your guitar (did I mention that?).

I’ll probably buy one. Almost any other pickup costs a lot more and requires some sort of installation (i.e. holes in your guitar). This thing you install when you’re changing strings, and that’s that. Snob though I am, I used to use that guitar with a pickup from time to time, and I know it can be handy for rehearsals, etc… I also know that a lot of the new combo pickups (pickup and mic, pickup and ribbon thingy, two kinds of pickup) will probably do a better job than this at actually sounding like a guitar. But not for $69 and not without putting holes in your guitar.

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18 Responses to “Kremona NG-1 Acoustic Guitar Pickup”

 
  1. Kristo says:

    I have been using custom built pickup systems for years and my technician has developed a thing that he calls ‘electret’. It is not piezo but there are similarities. With the newest guitar that my luthier is building right now, they are going to built the electret element right to the bridge. We usually combine the electret signal with internal mic (75% electret and 25% mic) and there is no feedback. I use a Roland CM 30 monitor behind the curtains of the stage (to hide it and also the curtain makes the sound a bit more natural) and a Shure radio system so nobody gets to know how I can beat the dancers :)

    • Kai says:

      Cool – I’d love to hear it. I know electret has something to do with charging the capsules of certain microphones, but I’m not super tech-y, so I don’t know how that would apply to what your guy is doing. Still, I’m always interested in finding a good pickup solution, so I’d love to hear more. Can I ask how much it costs to make and install? And if you have any audio please link to it.
      Cheers,
      Kai

  2. I’ve been using this AXL pickup which suction-cups to the top of the guitar. It hasn’t harmed my french polish, and it sticks pretty well, although I make sure to press it on a bit in between each piece just in case. For such a cheap pickup, it’s given me a very natural tone and I haven’t had any trouble with feedback.

    http://www.amazon.com/AXL-Acoustic-Guitar-Transducer-Pickup/dp/B002C741B8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1301677007&sr=8-2

  3. Victor says:

    Hi,

    I have used this pickup on my flamenco guitars and they were ok, I’m probably a purist who like just using a mic but for 70.00 this is the best wayni know of with out having to cut your guitar. I tried using it far a few months with a Fishman Aura, my preference is a good mic Pre and a good mic like the DPA 4099G or Shure KSM 141. I would love to hear abbot gear that fo,ks are using to play live.

  4. Chris Wolf says:

    I can see one drawback that the Kremona is not easy to take on and off (I suppose that’s true of most any pickup). You have to loosen the strings and retune. Seems like it would take a half hour for the guitar to settle into a tuning after that. Changing strings would take longer. I wonder if it affects the acoustic sound of the guitar very much. Attaching something that large to the bridge is sure to have some affect on the sound. Still, for the price, I’ll probably get one and try it. I have not yet graduated from a mic. I wouldn’t mind putting a few holes in my guitar if I can get a great sounding pickup.

  5. Ian says:

    I have two solutions: my Alhambra cS1 CW which is a cutaway semi acoustic nylon guitar with fabulous flamenco-style action and narrow neck . The guitar uses a fishman blend pickup and mike and is plugged into a fishman SA 220. The pickup loves the amp. It’s great for jamming with other musos or playing in noisy bars.
    For a more warm woody trad sound, I use a 1976 Contreras flamenco. I mike it with a Rhode studio cardoid mike. To bust feedback during live performance I put it through a xenyx 1222 behringer mixing desk which has a feedback buster built into the graphic equaliser. It works surprisingly well and is excellent value for money. The desk runs into the SA220. you can daisy chain two SA 220s together although I’ve never tried it. But they sound very natural.

  6. Ron says:

    I would not advise the purchase of this item. I just installed one on my son’s guitar and after closing the case, the pickup split in two! Warning: this is a very flimsy and fragile piece of wood that can break very easily! If you are an active (gigging) musician, this will not hold up under the rigors of performing. My 2 cents…

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  9. Darren O'Neill says:

    Here is the best (most natural sounding) way I’ve found to mic my classical guitar:

    1) Sony ECM44b lavalier mic (AA battery in an XLR canon connector) clipped to the inside edge of the soundhole and pointed down toward the bridge. ($225 for mic)

    2) Connect the Sony mic to a Fishman Pro-EQ Platinum Preamp using a 10′ XLR-TS cable. ($175 for preamp and cable)

    3) Connect the Fishman preamp to a Fishman Loubox Mini (Channel 1, 1/4″ input) using a 10′ TS-TS cable. Be sure to use an amp stand. The reverb on this unit is very good. ($400 for amp, amp stand, and cable)

    For $800, you will be totally blown away. The Fishman Loudbox Mini has an XLR direct out; in case you need to plug into a mixing board or larger, PA. I have a Fender Passport 150 Pro that I use for parties of 100 people or more; running the direct out of the Fishman into the Fender.

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  14. RW says:

    I bought this pickup and liked it but it broke within a week with just a tug on the cable. I may try another one but have to figure out a way to attach it so the plug in end cant be bent and broken off. that end hangs out past the bridge so is very fragile.

  15. ronjazz says:

    I have the Kremona installed in my Lester Devoe flamenca negra, and it sounds fantastic. Two things: make sure you have an arched case, or you will break the pickup, and don’t tug on the cord! I use a Zoom A2 acoustic processor into a Bose Compact system for larger gigs, and it sounds beautiful, but in smaller situation, the Roland AC-60 also gives a very natural sound with this pickup.

 

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