I was in the mood for another acoustic focused gear review this week. In this blog I take a look at the Woody single coil pick-up from Seymour Duncan.
My acoustic, like many, doesn’t have any sort of built in electronics to amplify it’s sound. It is of little consequence playing at home but it does pose a problem when jamming with other musicians or performing live. Some venues (and their sound engineer) are prepared to mic up an acoustic but it isn’t the best option playing in a group and I wouldn’t rely on it being an option. Bearing that in mind what are your options?
Assuming you love the playability and tone of your instrument the obvious answer, although a little costly, is to get a professional luthier/guitar tech to install some electronics. Let’s assume, like me, you don’t fancy fitting £150’s worth of electronics to your £100 guitar. Enter the Seymour Duncan Woody pick-up range.
The woody range is a selection of removable magnetic pick-ups designed to fit your steel string acoustic. When I purchased mine in the first year of production the choices were simply humbucker or single coil, of which the shop only had a single coil model. With a performance looming I took it and was pleasantly surprised at the fit (simply slot it on, the foam stops it moving), the subtly of the overall aesthetics and the bright tones. Having used it for half a decade I have a few things I’d love to see changed in future revisions. Here’s an honest break down of my thoughts:
- Strong passive output that works well with most pre-amps.
- Bright tone which is perfect for strumming or playing with a full band.
- Great quality components (VTG cable and Nuetrik jack end)
- Aesthetically pleasing with a subtle logo and range of colors to help match it to your favorite guitar.
- Cable isn’t detachable so and extender is needed to reach on larger stages.
- For solo guitar the tone is a little thin and lacks the warmth and bass end (definately need to try the HC version for this purpose).
- Being a single coil design it can pick up some noise if there is lots of computer and lighting equipment around.
Here is a video demonstrating the pick-up in a number of playing applications. The video was recording on a Fender DG-4 into a Focusrite 2i4. I didn’t add any post production so the sound is a little dry and a little on the mids. With reverb and a pinch of EQ and compression it sounds a lot less thin, so bare that in mind.
I also used it on ‘Wrapping Things Up’ that I recorded on the fly last summer. The Rig for that was the DG-4 into the Focusrite 2i4 mixer and finally Cubase. I hadn’t though recently but my studio has changed a lot in the past 11 months.
The sound of this pick-up to my ears is best suited for solo guitar strumming or alongside other musicians thanks to it’s bright tonal quality. For the solo guitarist looking for a way of amping up his fingerstyle playing I would look at some of the other options in the Seymour Duncan range (for percussive players see the disclaimer below*).
Have you tried this or anything else from the Seymour Duncan range? Let me know what you think of them? Till next week, keep practicing!
*Disclaimer: If you play a lot of percussive acoustic style then look elsewhere as the pick-up is similar to an electric pick-up in that it only picks up on the strings themselves. I would look at installing a microphone to capture those sounds instead. Players like Jon Gomm blend a number of different sound sources for those textures.