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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fishman Rare Earth Acoustic Soundhole Humbucker Pickup ... (Review)

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacture
Street Price: $159.95 USD

Fishman Rare Earth acoustic soundhole humbucker pickup. Based out of Andover, MA Fishman is known for their acoustic guitar pickups and amplifiers. The Rare Earth Humbucker is equipped with cutting-edge neodymium magnets, the pickup is slim and fairly light weight with durable construction, a pre-wired end pin, and a cork bushings to protect your guitars finish.

The installation took less than a half hour on a permanent instal; 20 minutes was hand drilling out the end pin.  But you can just pop it in the soundhole in under 2 minutes if you didn't want to do an instal. I do not recommend using a power drill, use a tapered hand drill bit and go slow.

I am not one for acoustic guitar soundhole magnetic pickups but I was impressed. I find that your typical soundhole pickup is just an electric guitar pickup with a new cover; not so in this case. The first thing I noticed is that there was no damping of acoustic response, and the balance from string to string was dead on. The highs had sparkle without the feedback you receive from an under-saddle setup, and the warmth of the bottom end held true to the guitar. In an upcoming video compression review you will see that this was the only soundhole pickup that did not project unwanted body noise or low end hum. The pickup features a built-in preamp that runs off of watch batteries. The only control is a small lever switch mounted on the body of the pickup and is reached by poking your finger into the soundhole between the edge of the soundhole and the 6th string. The tone is excellent and acoustic-sounding, the output was a little low but at the same time it did not overdrive my amp like other soundhole pickups have. 

Out of the four soundhole pickups I used this was by far the one that did not alter the sound of my guitar. It took the quality and tonality I love about it and amplify that sound.  I also liked that is was black so it didn't stick out and change the appearance of my guitar.

My advice:
If you are in the market for an acoustic guitar pickup and do not want to deal with having to dial out feedback a soundhole pickup is the way to go, and in my opinion this is the one I would use. Fishman also has the same pick with a Mic/Pickup blend feature with a street price of  $309.95 USD.

6 Riverside Drive
Andover, MA 01810

Posted 04/2012