Pickups

Good Or Bad? DeArmond Floating Pickup Clone Purchase

1

Do you think this was a good or bad move to buy this pickup? It's a Kent WC-52 Archtop Acoustic pickup. I couldn't find any info on the internet about this thing so not sure if I overpaid for it. After shipping it was $100. I didn't intend on paying so much for it. Now I'm thinking maybe I could have gotten a DeArmond for this much? Maybe not a higher end model but one of the lower end. I am not talking reissue but vintatge.

2

I have a stewart that looks almost identical. It's not exciting gold though, Gold things are always more expensive. It sounds good,

You have a cool vintage pickup likely made in Japan I expect. the Japanese make great electronics Mine is pretty hot sounding.

If you bought a reissue DeArmond you'd spend a bit more and get a new pickup also made in Asia, maybe not Japan and it would have to fasten on the neck with screws into the fretboard extension, not clamp behind the strings like yours which is like the old ones.

You could still actually buy a new DeArmond and mount it on that cool stick and wire it to that control box, even have two pickups on your archtop. With one of the new gold DeArmond 1100s it would like like an old unit

if you bought a vintage DeArmond (monkey on a stick type) you could easily pay 5 times as much...or more!! The prices are #$^$*%$%# CRAZY! I think you should try it out before deciding if you feel you made a mistake.

3

Toxo, thank you for the reply. Your logic is sound because it probably is made in Japan and any new DeArmond would probably be made in China and wouldn't have that Monkey Stick. This was $100 or $101 actually after shipping so that's not bad you are right.

I love your guitar. You say Stewart, do you mean an SS Stewart? If so then you have a high end model. I have a 1936 or so SS Stewart but it need serious work and I haven't gotten around to that as of yet. Your guitar is a beauty. Curious what strings do you have on that? Curious what strings work with your guitar. Thanks!

4

Yeah I think your pickup is probably pretty cool, and you have the chance to try a new gold DeArmond in the future on that old style stick if you want. The new ones sound decent but I wasn't blown away with their construction. Seemed a little cheap.

The guitar is actually a Fasan a 50s german archtop, and yes a high end solid wood carved top model that sounds great! I just noticed it has a one piece quilted maple back, strange. It has a big fat neck (not wide but deep in profile) which surprisingly doesn't bug me. Pretty sounding and LOUD. Very archtop. I like the little sound hole. I have 12-52 acoustic strings on it and I mostly play it acoustically.

It plays well and has the craziest looking tuners. Very Teutonic. Everything about it is pretty unique.

The Pickup is labelled Stewart but other than the black cutout on your pickup and the gold finish it is otherwise identical. Just another brand name for the same thing.

5

Check out the neck and headstock.. the body shape (kind of dreadnaughty..) isn't my favourite but all the strange aspects together and the fact that it sounds great make it a keeper for me.

Do you have an acoustic archtop to try your pickup on? It would also fit between the pickups of a conventional Gretsch electric archtop and look pretty cool.

6

Toxo, yep from the photo I think yours is the same as mine just some small cosmetic differences. A couple more questions.

Do acoustic strings allow for the magnetic pickup to pickup vibration and give output? Even though you play acoustically mostly do you plug in and get sound? Can't tell but does your guitar have a truss rod? My Stewart doesn't and it will take a lot to get it remotely in shape to actually be able to play. So far it is only good to play in the first few frets or as a nice décor piece for the room it's in. If it had a truss rod it would be so much better.

7

I have a Brownsville acoustic archtop which is a cheapo from Sam Ash about 17 years ago but man it sounds great. I don't have a picture but let me find on the internet and show it here if I can.

I have one of those D'Angelico EX-1 that were blown out for $599 last year. Not the best acoustic tone because it's not solid wood and the pickup is some floating humbucker that to me isn't that great. I can maybe put it on that guitar too. I'd rather put it on the Brownsville because it sounds excellent. It's acoustic and sounds great with acoustic strings as it was intended. Was $200 when I bought it. So I found a picture. Not mine but just like it.

By the way, I love the headstock and neck as well as markers on yours. Tuners look very cool.

8

The pickup will pickup the bronze strings as they are steel cored. Like any pickup with unadjustable pole pieces and a wound G the plain B is loud. The high E seems to balance pretty well with the rest of the wound strings. I might experiment with some sort of shielding material on the pickup under the B-string to see if I can even it out.

It might be better balanced with electric strings (I still have to adjust the pickup poles on my electrics to balance the GB and high E).The acoustic strings definitely work and it sounds good. It is an electric pickup though.

I think these are cool because you can mount them without mangling your archtop

Nice guitar with a nice orangy sunburst!

9

Oh and the tone knob, at least on mine, seems to work backwards all teh way up, no top, all the way off , bright

10

The proof is in the pudding, as the old saw goes. Try it, see how it sounds to you. Any overly hot strings can be sorted out by EQ. $100 isn't too bad of a price for that these days.

11

Toxo, if you don't mind, where did you buy your guitar and how much was it? Did the pickup come with it or did you get it elsewhere and install it?

12

The proof is in the pudding, as the old saw goes. Try it, see how it sounds to you. Any overly hot strings can be sorted out by EQ. $100 isn't too bad of a price for that these days.

– wabash slim

Very true. I can't hardly wait to receive it and try it. If it sounds good then $100 is good. I know this picture is of a real DeArmond but the price difference is a lot. Then again maybe this DeArmond will not go for this much. I wonder how the sound difference is.

13

The old DeArmonds seem to regularly go for what I think is ridiculous money. Often much more than that. I bought the Fasan off a fellow in town who was selling it as he wasn't playing it, really nice guy. I think I paid $450 for it which in my opinion for a solid wood vintage archtop is a smoking deal. I was unsure initially but when I played it a bit I was instantly convinced as it sounded great.

I think I've only found one like it online. What I was told by a guy from Hofner was that the model I have was made for the export market. this was confirmed by a Hoyer Collecter I corresponded with once.

14

Toxo, the price you paid is great for a guitar like that. Vintage, solid wood and German. I hear vintage German archtops are excellent guitars. Yours is probably on par with vintage Gibsons that cost many times more. I’ll keep my eyes out for something like yours although not common so hard to find.

15

Yeah it was one of my best deals I got on a guitar, that and my Yamaha AE1200S.

I was playing the guitar with the pickup, It actually retains a fare amount of it's acoustic sound, though with some electric guitar mixed in, Kind of half and half.

I put a piece of broken nut file (carbon steel which i read was the best for electromagnetic shielding) under the b string (on the pickup) and that seems to tame the volume of the B a little.

16

I have a re-wound vintage rhythm chief on my 1940 Epi Triumph. Love it. I bet this one will have some magic. They aren't really complicated pickups. I would think Japanese makers in the 60s-70s would replicate them fairly well.

17

Strummer, I have a feeling it should sound close to a real DeArmond. Of course not exactly. My circa 1967 Mosrite copy from Japan is almost spot on so I think they are great at copying things.

21

Received it via UPS half our ago. Installed it on the D’Angelico. Have a stock floating mini hum on it but didn’t want to remove it so I installed the Kent and positioned it slightly below the mini hum.

22

The D’Angelico has Thomastik flatwounds in .12s.

Then installed it on my Brownsville acoustic archtop which is a $200 guitar. Has 80/20 acoustic strings on it. The bridge is sort of high so the pickup hits the strings so I lowered it a little by taping it down with some blue painters tape. If it became a permanent pickup on that guitar I would probably have to lower the bridge and see if that would do it without messing up the whole set up. So far it’s set up perfectly. It’s a great sounding acoustic archtop guitar I won’t trade it for the world. Well actually I would but you know what I mean.

23

It sounds great but I don’t have an original DeArmond to compare it to. Like Strummer and Toxo said it should be similar. But the flats it sounds good but the chords sound like baritone almost because the strings are pretty thick but that’s the same with the stock pickup. The strings are a little bit more clear than the stock pickup and of course that’s because the stock is a mini hum bucker.

On the Brownsville it sounds really good too but I hear that string inbalance that Toxo mentions. I love acoustic sound of that guitar so I don’t think I will put electric strings on it but I’m curious how electric round strings with sound on it. Maybe on the D’Angelico I’ll do that.


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