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K&K Pure Mini Acoustic Guitar Pickup
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- Three Transducer Pickup System for Steel String Guitars
- Includes 1/4" Endpin Jack
- Pre-wired, No Soldering Required
- High Output - No Battery Required!
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The Pure Mini is a transducer-only system. No battery, no onboard electronics, just the pure pickups. Don't be fooled by the sound of some competitors' "thin sounding" passive systems. The Pure Systems are definitely different. They sound full and rich and have sufficient output to drive most amps and PA systems directly, without a preamp! Advantages of the Pure Guitar System The special Pure surface transducers transmit a significant portion of the soundboard because they are not as close to the strings as an under-saddle pickup. Each of the 3 transducers is designed to pick up a specific string pair, but also "listens" to the adjacent area around the bridge. The Pure pickups are not under pressure and therefore do NOT sound percussive or harsh. The Pure System reproduces all strings nicely balanced, a known problem with under-saddle pickups. The Pure System sounds great just in passive mode! Unlike under-saddle pickups which passively can sound thin and trebley, the passive PURE system puts out a nicely balanced, warm, full range signal. Feedback Resistance How safe is the Pure System with feedback? Due to the Pure System's location on the bridge plate under the bridge, feedback resistance is comparable to under-saddle transducers. Technically, a pickup installed in or on the bridge is a lot less likely to feedback than one which is attached to the open sound board. The 1/8" thin sound board can act like a diaphragm and vibrate along with loud sound-signals from speaker cabinets. This is the kind of feedback you experience on an acoustic guitar. The thicker bridge area is a lot harder to be set into vibration from an outside source simply because of its mass. In our tests with both, steel string and classic guitars equipped with an under-saddle pickup plus the Pure System, we were able to achieve about the same gain-before-feedback with both systems.
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I did watch half a dozen different youtube videos to figure out the best way to do it. This video was in my opinion the best:
Note: Paste the following after the youtube url, since amazon won't let me put it in this review: /watch?v=bfsY1nHokVw
You need some gel superglue FYI since it doesn't come with that. Yipee!
I had recently purchased a Taylor GSmini (which has an amazingly full and warm sound in its own right) and was looking for the best way to get it wired for sound. After looking at all the different options (Taylor's own GSmini pickup - which is horrible, a couple of Fishman alternatives and the LR Baggs Anthem) I ran across the K&K Pure Western. I was a little hesitant be cause the the pick up is passive, so I wouldn't have any volume control on the guitar itself, I've been running through a Baggs Para Acoustic DI for years, so I could control my volume through that if I needed to. The reviews I read about the K&K almost seemed to good to be true, but since the installation seemed easy enough to do and 99% of the reviews on the K&K were 5 stars, I took a chance. I am so glad I did!
The sound, straight out of the guitar - without going through the Baggs DI - was amazing! It was just like the natural sound produced by my guitar except louder. I was blown away! No "quackiness" or "tinny" sounds like you sometimes get with a ribbon or piezio pickup. No feedback like you have to battle with some internal mics in guitars. Just pure, warm and full guitar sound. Running it through the Baggs DI only enhances the sound and gives me more options to widen up and add layers and textures with the tones. But even without running the guitar through a pre-amp, I can't say enough about the fullness and warmth of the guitar tone! It's truly the first guitar (and I've played dozens and dozens) that sounds identical when plugged in, to the way it sounds unplugged. You really have to hear it to fully appreciate how awesomely powerful this K&K Western pickup is and how amazed you'll be at the results.
Since the pickup is passive, there is no on board electronics to fool with or batteries to mess with or replace when they lose their charge. If you really want on board volume control with this pickup, use a Taylor V- Cable guitar chord that has a volume knob built into the cable so you can have complete control to mute or raise or lower your guitars volume. Or run through a pre amp of some kind.
Installation was not too difficult, but did take about 45 minutes to do properly. The instructions provided with the pickup are some of the best and most detailed instructions for the installation of anything that I've ever used. I was never in a position where I didn't understand what the instructions were telling me to do or I was confused as to what I needed to do next. I will say that if you have large hands and/or forearms, the installation may be a little difficult. I have large forearms and installing the endjack through the rear of the guitar was the hardest part for me, simply because of the size of my forearms in relation to the size of the sound hole of my Taylor GSmini. Installing the transducers under the bridge plate was pretty easy, as long as you are following the directions provided and have taken the time to make and use the "jig" that the directions suggest using. You can use a piece of the cardboard box that the K&K Western ships in to make the "jig". All the other materials needed to make the jig and position the transducers under the bridge plate are included.
If the guitar you are installing this pickup in doesn't have a pre-drilled hole in the rear of the guitar for the end-jack, you'll have to drill a hole, using a succession of larger and larger drill bits, until you get the hole up to the right size for the end jack to poke through. The installation instructions provided give great, step by step details for doing this, and even provide you with the drill bit sizes. If you have to do this (my Taylor GS mini came with a whole already drilled so I didn't have to do this part), I would recommend picking up a hole reamer to use to get the hole to its final dimension. I'd use the hole reamer in place of the final bit size the recommend. You'll just have more control over the final dimension of the hole using a reamer instead of a drill bit.
All in all, I may never buy another guitar again with built in electronics as long as K&K is still making the Western Pure. It was easy to install and the sound it produces is the most genuine sound I've heard a plugged in acoustic make. K&K has a new fan in me and if you one in your guitar, I'm guessing they'll have another new fan as well.