I used to recommend and sell another brand of pickups, but one day I got a Martin 000-16 in for a setup and the customer wanted me to install a supplied K&K Mini-Western pickup in it. The first thing I noticed was that it was a lot easier to get the pickups on the bridgeplate, compared to the previous brand of pickup. With 3 individual discs, it's easier to push them around or spread them out, as the bridgeplate allows. I did the install and plugged the guitar into an L.R. Baggs ParaAcoustic DI and then into my Peavey Ecoustic 112 amp. I was expecting the typical quacky piezo sound but I was surprised! I ended up playing the guitar for about 1/2 hour and even my wife, who dislikes pickups very much, commented on the quality of sound. What I noticed was:
A smoother, more balanced sound
The response was more in tune with the acoustic guitar. I could strum harder or softer and the pickup reflected that. Most undersaddle pickups are way too responsive.
Plenty of volume.
Good response to changes in the preamp. If I turned the amp's treble up, I got more treble.
Less sensitive to hand pressure on the top. Undersaddle pups really pick up noise if you brush the bridge or saddle area while playing. The K&K didn't
I was a K&K dealer w/in the week and I have a K&K installed in my personal "stage" guitar.
K&K pickups can be installed using a sticky tape or superglue. The sticky tape is okay for temporary installations, but I really recommend using superglue and just treating the install as "permanent". For one thing, this is a much more secure installation and won't fall out while traveling. I also think the superglue attachment produces a better sound.
As a K&K dealer, I can order any system you want and match any price out there. Contact me and I'll get it. These are the "Big 4" that I try to keep in stock.
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This is my #1 selling pickup. It's inexpensive, easily installed, durable, and sounds great. This is a good choice for the player who plugs in just every now and then and/or works in an ensemble of mixed electric and acoustic instruments where pure acoustic tone isn't so important. You'll get a great plugged-in tone, but the Trinity (below) is more versatile and gives an even better acoustic tone. If you order this, I recommend either the Pure Preamp or XLR Pure, below.
More details on Mini-Western
The Trinity adds a small, highly adjustable internal mic to the Mini-Western for an even purer acoustic tone. The supplied preamp allows you to mix in the amount of mic vs. pickup that you want. You can adjust treble/mid/bass via pots inside the cover. I recommend this system for those wanting the best plugged-in acoustic tone.
More details on Trinity System.
Trinity Western UPGRADE:
If you already have a K&K Western or Mini-Western installed, this kit lets you upgrade to the Trinity sytem. It includes the internal mic, preamp, and stereo cable.
More details on Trinity Upgrade.
The K&K Mini Westerns work best with a preamp. They'll work alright w/out one, but a preamp gives you volume and tone controls as well as sending the correct signal to the amp/board. The Pure Preamp sends the signal out via a 1/4" jack and thus is more appropriate for plugging into an amp than directly into a mixing board.
More details on the Pure Preamp.
|Pure XLR Preamp:
The XLR preamp is my first choice for a preamp as it allows you to send a 1/4" signal to an amp, or an balanced XLR directly to a mixing board. It's larger than the Pure Preamp and works best sitting on a stand or the floor. If you think you want a belt-mounted unit you may find that this unit actually words better since you can mount it anywhere and don't have to shuffle your clothes aside looking for the volume knob, like you often have to do with a belt-mounted unit.
More details on the Pure XLR Preamp
An Installation Question and Tips for removing a stubborn jack.