Players who anticipate playing live with their acoustic guitars and
want the freedom to move about while they play may want to consider an
acoustic-electric guitar. Acoustic-electrics use a pickup
system that allows you to simply plug into an amplifier or mixing
board rather than having to stand stationary behind a microphone.
Traditionally, acoustic guitars were amplified by placing a
microphone near the soundhole or by a standard magnetic pickup that
spanned the soundhole. While
the former method worked well enough, it limited the performer's
range of movement. The latter method created problems with feedback
and didn't always convey an accurate reproduction of an acoustic's
natural sound. In the 1960s Ovation Guitars, at the behest of Glen
Campbell, created an acoustic guitar pickup system that solved both
problems--the piezo pickup.
A piezo pickup is a crystalline structure that senses changes in
compression and emits an electrical signal accordingly. When placed
under the saddle, the piezo
detects the vibrations from the strings. Since the electrical signal
the piezo creates is not very strong, a preamp is necessary. Today,
most acoustic-electric guitars employ a setup just like that first Ovation.
The preamp is typically located on the side of the guitar that faces
up when playing, and often includes volume and tone controls. Some
preamps even offer built-in tuners.
Other amplification methods are used as well, such as magnetic
soundhole pickups, condenser microphones, and ribbon transducers.
While these are gaining in popularity, piezos are still the most
common amplification systems used in acoustic-electric
See - Types of
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