NAMM 2023: Acoustic pickups have come a long way since the spiky, wasp-in-a-tin-can sounds of the first acoustic-electric designs – and a large part of that evolution has been down to Californian specialist L.R. Baggs. The firm’s latest innovation is the HiFi pickup system – a ‘peel and stick’ pickup that mounts under the instrument’s bridge.
The system uses two lightweight plate sensors attached to the bridge plate with peel and stick adhesive strips. This means you don’t have to alter your instrument to install them, but they still benefit from the string definition, sensitive dynamics and feedback resistance of their position. The firm also supplies an installation jig to ensure they are placed correctly.
“The construction, materials, size, and shape of the pickups contribute to a balance between string and body energy that represents the inherent sound of your instrument,” notes L.R. Baggs. “Lastly, HiFi’s built-in, studio-quality preamp is voiced to complement the pickups for an optimal plug-and-play experience.”
The “all discrete, high-fidelity endpin preamp” is connected to volume and tone wheel controls, which can be mounted on the edge of the soundhole, and a single 9V battery offers over 700 hours playing time.
L.R. Baggs has boldly shared a video demo (see below) that has been recorded direct with no post-processing or audio trickery, letting the HiFi’s tones speak for themselves. We have to say that the results in the clip are really impressive, though that is helped in no small part by the beautiful playing of demo guitarist Bob Minner.
Given the ease of installation and the fact it doesn’t leave any lasting damage on instruments, we can imagine a lot of acoustic guitar players will be tempted by this system – particularly if it can live up to the demo performance.
Priced at $199, it’s not a particularly expensive experiment, either…
For more information on the HiFi, head to L.R. Baggs.