Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Electronics for Guitar

@Jake or @BanjoBen,
Do y’all know what the additional cost would be to add a pickup in an Eastman E8D? There is a new guitar in my future, but I probably need to get the pickup so I don’t have to mic it when playing at church. What are your thoughts on a pickup vs mic on a guitar?

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Hi Brandon, I’m no pro but I’ve heard the common opinions in bluegrass are that a mic will give you a more traditional acoustic sound and a pickup sounds slightly less acoustic and more electronic, but has the advantage in that it’s more portable and easier to use. A final note, if you are thinking of getting an Eastman E8d, then do, cuz they’re great

At the end of the day and all things equal, you can’t beat a good mic sound, of course. But, when other factors are involved, the pickup is a good choice many times. We don’t typically add pickups to guitars. We may get into that in the future, and I’m pretty sure we will. I’m personally a fan of L.R. Baggs acoustic guitar pickups but there are lots of good ones.

I hear you on the sound. We don’t do bluegrass at church so that’s not a factor. I sure wish we did do some good bluegrass hymns.

I think I’ll talk to our sound guy and see if he is ok with me using the mic every Sunday. Do y’all ever order the Eastman’s with factory pickups? If so what does that add to the cost?

I once saw a video of a guy using a small mic that clamped onto the body of the guitar next to the neck. The mic was on a flexible boom and was directed at the strings near the 12th fret. I thought it was a brilliant idea, but I’ve never seen such a set up for sale. I don’t know if it was a home made job or just never caught on.

I’ve also seen people using clip-on mics from Charlie Daniels to the US navy band and I think they’re a great idea but wouldn’t know where to get one

Just my opinion alert:

In my experience, using a mic at a typical church is problematic. Especially if you are competing with more direct and “up front” sources of sound like electric guitar and keyboards. You get everything from weak sound to runaway feedback. My suggestion is if you are playing with a contemporary band is to plug in. It doesn’t matter if you can get a great mic’d sound if it can’t be used effectively in the mix to the front of the house.

However, if you are just doing acoustic instruments and vocals, a mic would work great and with a little effort sound MUCH better than plugging in.

One last caveat: if you have a dynamite sound engineer, you can effectively use a mic even with a full band.


You could start campaigning to add some (although your success will depend on the type of church)

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Doesn’t every church have one of those? :stuck_out_tongue:


Awesome! I stand corrected… I should have said “Unless you don’t happen to have the standard issue dynamite church sound engineer (or he or she is missing on a given day)…” :+1:

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You can always sneak grass-ish stuff in there and get progressively grassier over time. Starter drugs are grassy versions of hymns like “I stand amazed.” From there work in a little “I’ll fly away” or “I saw the light” as a tag to a more familiar style song. Then maybe throw 'em a curve with something like “Drifting too far” during invitation. If you feel resistance at any point throw a genre bending (not gender bender) one like “There is a reason.” When in doubt just introduce any song as one that Chris Tomlin covered on (mumble mumble) album and you should be good to go! :grin:


Yes! More grass in church! And none of that newgrass either…play the grass that Paul played!

@Bcaves, I don’t know if Eastman offers them…I’ll have to check.


play the grass that Paul played!

Duh…Not getting it. Please elaborate.

Thanks just let me know! I bet Paul did play some grass!!!

Ha! I like that “Get grassier over time”, that should be our goal with country music these days as well. We do play one hymn almost every Sunday, but it usually gets a little contemporary flair. Our last worship pastor used to love to take a hymn in 3/4 time and change it to 4/4 time. It used to drive me nuts!

Yeah for sure every church has a dynamite VOLUNTEER sound engineer!


I’m with you Treblemaker,

Not really getting this whole conversation, including the dynamite volunteer sound enginner thing. I think maybe he means when Paul was singing in prison with Silas. Who knows, Paul and Silas may be the very first real Bluegrass group… And before Daily and Vincent, there was Paul and Silas!

BTW, I’m not fond of ANY electronics on my acoustic guitar… just me, sorry everyone. There’s no pickup system that exists that sounds like the real thing. I do realize, like Mike said, there are times that plugging in is necessary. And if you’re playing against alot of other contemporary type sounds, what’s the point of worrying how natural your guitar sounds? It’s most likely not going to stand out anyway.

So, what happened was Paul and Silas were singing bluegrass but they had to plug in cuz the jail had bad acoustics and no mics, and the volunteer prison sound guy was so dynamite, he blew all the doors open.


They don’t teach you this stuff in history class…