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Electrifying Your Cello

Overheard on the net (rec.music.classical.performing):

R(> Does anyone have suggestions on methods or brands for installing
R(> electric pickup on a cello?
R(> I need more volume, but I do not think a mike will do it.
R(> Bob Rentler

Probably the best solution is a combination aproach... a pickup and a mike.
The setup that was recomended to me by Mark O'connor was to use a L.R. Baggs
pickup, and a small mike mounted on a flexible stalk, so you can experiment
and find a good mike placement depending on your playing environment. You
want to also have some kind of mixing control on the instrument, for
relative volumes.

What a lot of us in Nashville use in live situations is a bit simpler, just
a small mike attached with velcro to the strings just below the bridge. I
use a lapel mike I bought at Radio Shack, which is a Crown mike actually.
It's a condenser, with a little battery pack, and if the battery is fresh, I
can get a great sound out of it.
Steve
Stephen.Drake@Nashville.com

>I have been trying to find info. about this too!
> Would a simple acoustic guitar pickup do?

I'd be surprised if you could get a good sound out of a guitar pickup,
but if you just want to experiment, it might be good enough. I've
never heard a pickup for bowed strings that produced a good natural
arco sound. Since they are on the bridge, they seem to pick up a lot of
bow/string/rosin sounds that aren't normally heard. For quite a few
years, Barcus-Berry was considered to be the best string-player's pickup,
and with a pre-amp and some EQ, you can get a pretty good sound. No
doubt there is better stuff on the market these days.
If you need to play at rock band volumes, a mic is pretty sure to cause
feedback problems, but a mix of mic+pickup can be a good solution in a
lot of situations.

Zeta is a company which is making MIDI compatible pickups for violin &
cello and I've heard a couple of people say that they are very good.
(they also make non-MIDI models). Shar Products have a couple of contact
mikes in their catalog for less than $30, as well as Zeta instruments and
pickups (no prices...)

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Tim Janof, ICS Director
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