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Product Reviews: Acoustech Dynamic Field Pickup

Product Reviews: Acoustech Dynamic Field Pickup

by Harry Fleishman

Originally published in American Lutherie #29, 1992 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Three, 2004

Acoustech Dynamic Field Pickup
Orangeburg, NY

My first attempt at guitar amplification was an early ’60s DeArmond pickup on my f-hole Gibson acoustic. It attached with little difficulty or damage and sounded great to me at the time. That was 1962 and my expectations were not terribly high. I plugged straight into a portable Wollensak tape recorder and used it as an amp until I got a used Gibson Falcon as a Christmas gift. A few years later, I installed a roundhole DeArmond in my Gibson J-45. Again, it sounded pretty good, all things considered. But all the things I considered didn’t amount to much. What choices did I really have, after all?

Those little contact mikes, which stuck on the face of a guitar, weren’t very good; I learned that soon enough. And the good-sounding microphones were expensive, unwieldy, and restricting. Like many guitarists, I wanted the freedom of movement that a pickup could give. When the first piezo transducer came out, I stuck one on and boogied. By that time, however, I was more sophisticated, more discerning, more caught up in the folk boom, and wanting a pickup that sounded like an acoustic guitar, only louder. The first I tried was the Barcus-Berry. Not too bad if you didn’t mind sounding like you were inside a bucket. The similar piezos weren’t much better. The Hot Dot sounded great to me when it came out. Like many technological improvements, its refinements masked its shortcomings for a while. I probably installed a hundred of them while continuing my search for a better sounding, easier installing pickup for myself and the customers I was attracting to my repair and building business.

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