Hey guys, just wanted some advice on pickups, i have a Martin 00-18v acoustic and was looking to have a pickup fitted to it, now i don't want it to be seen an dont want to have to make any MAJOR adjustments to the guitar like drilling holes so an under saddle pickup would be perfect to be honest.. i have been advised by one of the best guitar guys around where i live that the LR BAGGS Ibeam ACTIVE pickups system is one of the best i can get but was really after the opionions of you guys to tell me if this is true or if you think theres something better in my price range.... my budget for a pickup is about 200.00 at the very top end.

i play alot of country/blues music so would be fingerpicking AND doing alot of strumming etc.

thanks very much!
Te Ibeam Active should be a pretty good system. My suggestion would be the Fishman Matrix Infinity, which is a transducer saddle. That one also sounds quite good.
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

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The LR Baggs I-Beam is a good choice, also the B-Band condenser, in terms of good tone, although the only problem I have with these is the batteries and onboard preamps which just clutter the guitar too much IMHO and add too much coloration. I also do NOT like undersaddle piezo transducers, because they exhibit that piezo quack and grainy, unnatural high-frequency reproduction. Choose something that attaches to the bridgeplate or the top itslef, rather than under the saddle, where it is compressed by the strings.

I prefer passive PUPs with an external preamp (if needed). My personal favorite is the K&K Pure Western. Very low profile on your vintage axe, and very VERY accurate reproduction of the guitar's tone (read the reviews), rather than the preamp's tone. I just run this straight into a mixer mic-preamp...and Bob's yer uncle.

The only modification is that you might need would be to ream the end-pin hole to accept a 1/4" jack, but you're going to have to do that anyway, no matter which system you choose.
thanks for the response guys!
the k and k PURE WESTERN LOOKS TO BE PRETTY DAMN GOOD to be honest, if i were to get the K & k western im guessing i would need a preamp either fitted to the guitar or do as max the axe said and run it through a microphone preamp is this right?
Would it not just be easier for me to get the fishmman or ibeam as recomended by numerous people and have the preamp built in?

So if you guys had to choose betwen the Fishman Matrix and Ibeam Active what would you suggest? my guitar is normally played acoustically but there will be a band behind me in a near future and i hear the ibeam isnt the best for this?
Well... lets look at the specific features of each system.

LR Baggs IBeam Active
- underbridge transducer
- active preamp
- more easily installed(although you should let a technician do it anyway)
- ability to add on undersaddle transducer or magnetic pickup so the IBeam becomes a dual source.
- no volume or tone control
- Price $130ish

Fishman Matrix Infinity
- undersaddle transducer
- tone and volume control
- active system
- Price $130ish

K&K Pure Mini Western(you'll probably want the mini over the normal)
- passive system
- no volume or tone control
- preamp needed(a good one will cost about $70-$100)
- Price $110ish

If I were you, I'd probably go with a Fishman Matrix Infinity, a K&K with a preamp, or an IBeam(passive) with a preamp box(not one attached to the guitar). My main reasoning is that in a band, I would want complete volume control. The IBeam Active doesn't have volume control, if I'm not mistaken. Tonal control I can do without, but not volume.

If I had to choose one, I would probably get the K&K or the IBeam passive and buy a preamp box to go with it instead. A preamp box offers a lot more tonal control and doesn't cost too much.

Hope that helps!
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
I usually have 2 or three different axes on stage with me when I play solo acoustic gigs, all in different tunings, and found that it's just ridiculous to have several different preamps, or extraneous junk on the guitars.

My solution is to use an inexpesive small-format mixer that has maybe 2 to 4 mono mic preamps, like the little Behringers, which have very clean preamps with adjustable gain and very little coloration. This way I can run everything through this mixer with all the same levels, run one output signal to onstage amp or monitor, another to house mains, and I can run compression and delay/echo through the 2 auxiliaries that these have.

I've seen these little mixers for about 50 bucks. A brand new one is not much more than that.