February 2001 Meeting

February 2001 LINT Highlights

The year 2001 started for LINT with our February meeting. The meeting was held at the MARS Music Superstore in Arlington, TX. This meeting was a little different for us because we didn't deal with instrument construction. Instead we had the opportunity to hear and compare many of the available acoustic amplification systems that are currently available to the instrument builder. We looked at Under Saddle pickups, soundboard transducers and magnetic soundhole pickups from L.R. Baggs, Fishman and Pick-up The World. Chris Jenkins arranged for Pat Nobles (pictured below playing one of Chris Jenkins' new guitars) to play the different instruments both unamplified and amplified so we could compare the guitar's actual sound to the amplified sound.

Pat with Chris Jenkin's latest

Pat is a great player and in addition to playing for us, he was able to provide input from a player's perspective about the different systems. Pat played all the instruments through a PA system with the EQ flat so we could hear the output of the pickup and not the sound of a particular amplifier. The differences were quite startling. One of the things that surprised me was that the type of pickup (i.e. under saddle or soundhole) really didn't determine sound quality. I was very impressed with the Fishman Rare Earth pickup that was mounted on one of John Fitzgerald's guitars. My initial thoughts were that it would have a less natural sound, but I was wrong. While it wasn't my favorite system of the day, it certainly would be a great choice for a player who was looking for a less intrusive installation. While we, as a group, did not try to determine a winner or a loser, I think everyone in attendance left with a definite favorite. This was our first listening session, but it will not be our last.

We also had the opportunity to see and hear a few new instruments from our members. Chris Jenkins brought in a gorgeous new guitar equipped with a Baggs Ribbon Transducer. John Timblin's 000-style cutaway (below on the left) was equipped with a Baggs Dual Source system (Ribbon Transducer and internal mic). John Fitzgerald showed up with two guitars, a 000-style guitar with both a Fishman Rare Earth soundhole pickup and a Pick-Up the World soundboard transducer, and a beautiful sunburst Dreadnought (below center) equipped with a Baggs LB6 saddle transducer. Steve Mayo also brought in his second guitar, a rosewood Dreadnought (below right).

John Timblin, John Fitzgerald and Steve Mayo

One thing that I think everyone agreed with is that the hand built instruments blew away all the factory guitars that were played that day. We might have been a little prejudice, but I think the difference was amazing. I would like to thank Steve Lamb Jr. and Sr. and all the folks at MARS for hosting this meeting, we will definitely be back. And a special thanks to Pat Nobles for taking the time to come and play for us and for his insightful input.