Types of Pickups to Install on a Takamine G406S Parlor Guitar

Written by scott shpak
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Types of Pickups to Install on a Takamine G406S Parlor Guitar
Adding a pickup allows the sound of an acoustic guitar to compete with louder instruments. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

The Takamine G406S is the smallest body acoustic guitar in the Takamine product line. This guitar is factory shipped as a true acoustic instrument. No internal pickups or electronics are included, although with a standard round sound hole, the G406S is compatible with almost any acoustic aftermarket pickup.

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Permanent Sound Hole Pickups

Most permanent installations require drilling and replacement of the strap button at the bottom of the instrument, although some preamps require more drastic modifications to the side of the upper bout. These pickups should not be considered if you wish to preserve the value of a collectable guitar. However, installations done professionally with a quality pickup should not harm resale value. Pickups like the L.R. Baggs M1 Active and the Fishman Rare Earth Humbucking are excellent choices for permanent installation.

Temporary Sound Hole Pickups

Temporary pickups used in the sound hole are more common than permanent retrofits on natural acoustic guitars. With care, the pickups don't damage the finish of the guitar and can be used as needed. One drawback is that acoustic coupling with the guitar's top is not as solid as with a permanent installation. However, this is usually factored into the pickup design. The Dean Markley SC-1 ProMag Plus is the most recognised pickup of this design. The Seymour Duncan SA-3SC Woody is similar in design and function.

Bridge Pickups

Bridge and bridge plate pickups are popular when you want to avoid the visual of a sound hole pickup. Piezoelectric pickups mount underneath the bridge saddle to sense string vibrations and create tiny electrical signals for amplification. Bridge plate pickups mount underneath the bridge, producing sound in a similar manner. L.R. Baggs has examples of both designs with the Element Active System being an under-saddle design, and the iBeam Active System being a bridge plate model. Both require permanent installation.

Internal Microphones

Adding a microphone to a magnetic or piezo pickup, and then blending the results is an approach that is growing in popularity. Pickup styles represent a compromise in translating the movement of air that is the nature of acoustic instruments. Adding a microphone brings that element back. Systems like the L.R. Baggs Anthem and the Fishman Ellipse Matrix Blend combine pickup and microphone elements. These too require permanent installation, but like bridge pickups, little modification is visible.

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