about fiddle Pick ups...
Through trial and error most fiddle players find a pickup that they like well enough to stay with. We are always looking for something that sounds better. My search has been no exception. I started gigging in 1990 and have gone through many pickups, amps and bows. Ive talked with and heard many fiddle players throughout the Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas areas. Always taking note of what equipment was being used and the tone I liked or didnt like, as well as analyzing myself and asking other musicians and fiddle players what they liked or didnt like about my tone. Piezos pickups seem to be whats cost effective and available. These are my findings that Ive gathered first hand over the past twenty + years.
Fishman V100- Good tone can be achieved with the right amp. It is portable and dependable. It requires alot of EQ. I have gone back to performing with this one.
LR baggs(there is only one)- Good woody tone and balanced. Not a real clear tone but as good as most piezos and better than some. It is sufficient and most players agree. Better results than the wingslot fishman(v100 or v200).
Zeta Strados- I like this pickup on my acoustic fiddle because it is very clear. Two piezos under each string is the way to go. I dont like this pickup because it has a slight metallic undertone to it. Ive learned to ignore because I love the clarity so much.
Zeta Acoustic Pro- This is the ultimate pickup. Two piezos under each string, its a regular wooden pickup, no metallic tone. Its nice and clear. Unfortunately...
Ive only played one that belonged to a friend of mine. I dont own one. They are expensive to obtain and now hard to find. I wish I could just buy the pickup.
K&K- Good tone. It requires two sensors to be placed under the feet of the bridge. That could be a deal killer for alot of fiddle players. But if you are ok with that I think this is a good value. Very similar to the baggs. They have came out with one now that also has a sensor that goes in the middle slot of the bridge as well as the sensors for the feet. I havent heard this one. I believe the more sensors the clearer and more focused the tone will be.
Also Dale Morris has an interesting article on fiddle pickups on his website. Talking about the old barcus berry pickups. www.texasfiddlemusic.com
Peizo Film vs. Ceramics- Piezo film is a good technology but weak compared to ceramic piezo. Ive experimented with both of them and find the film works best when it is very close to the strings (dirctly under them) or under the feet of the bridge. I dont think that the piezo film is superior in any way, just that it could be
an alternative because of the way it can be installed or used. The piezo film is not something that Im going to pursue for superior tone. I may continue to experiment with them when time permits.