Review: Lace Pickups USA Ultra Slim Acoustic Sensor Pickup — Video

For those of us who dabble on resonator guitars, finding a way to amplify the distinctive sound of these wood- or metal-bodied instruments can be a challenge. Resonator guitars have traditionally been built without electronics because they are designed to be loud enough for acoustic duties, thanks to their intricate metal-cone soundboards that project the instrument’s uniquely complex tone. But if you’re trying to compete with amplified instruments, you’ll invariably want to add a pickup to your resonator.

Unfortunately, many aftermarket resonator pickups require professional installation, but thankfully, Lace Music makes the process easy with its USA Ultra Slim Acoustic Sensor pickup. Anyone can mount the pickup within seconds on most resonator guitars and enjoy amplified tone that is round and clear, with absolutely no noise.

FEATURES At .275-inch tall, the USA Sensor is without a doubt, the slimmest full-size humbucking pickup. Its low profile allows it to slip effortlessly underneath the strings by the upper bout, but for optimal placement it’s best to mount it closer to the soundboard cone in order to capture the instrument’s powerfully balanced tone. Non-marring adhesive tape keeps the pickup firmly in place, making it a breeze to install.

Lace is well known for creating pickups that operate quietly and efficiently, and the USA Sensor is no different. The duo-coil humbucking design eliminates the feedback and interference commonly found in higher-profile pickups. The pickup specs at 8kohm resistance with a 3,100Hz peak frequency, and features a high-quality cable with a Switchcraft 1/4-inch female jack and enough cable length to have the pickup permanently installed. The USA Sensor comes in chrome and is also available in micro-crinkle black powder-coat finish.

PERFORMANCE I was curious to hear how the USA Sensor handled high volume levels. Mounted on a Dobro and plugged into the clean channel of a Fender Twin Reverb, the pickup delivered a beautifully balanced response. Because the USA Sensor perfectly articulates your playing dynamics without adding tonal coloration, I was able to dig into the strings, and the pickup nailed all the nuances of my slide attack with exceptional clarity. There is no volume control, so the USA Sensor is always on. Fortunately, the pickup is extremely quiet and transparent, even when you boost it with an overdrive.

LIST PRICE $199.99

THE BOTTOM LINE The Lace Music USA Sensor pickup perfectly captures the gutsy tone of resonator guitars, providing clear and articulate tones without feedback or noise.

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Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.