Curt's Personal Recommendations

  • L. R. Baggs The L. R. Baggs Element is great for the ukulele and acoustic guitars. I have this installed in my Ko'olau CS Tenor and the L.R. Baggs UKE-FIVE-O in its backup ( in training uke ) CS Tenor.
  • Fishman Transducers, Inc. - Great amps, pedals PA and pickups.
  • K & K Sound Systems, Inc. - K & K soundboard transducers are a good alternative to the under the saddle pickups.
L. R. Baggs

L. R. Baggs Pickups

We started this in a loft in downtown Los Angeles, California, with a hope and a dream, and no business sense whatsoever. The first L.R. Baggs product was our LB6 Series Pickup. We would like to thank Leo Kottke for his early support. Stores would call us and say, "Leo Kottke said he was using your pickup." We could literally track his touring route as the stores would order in his wake. Early endorsers were Steven Sheehan of the Judds, James Taylor and Kathy Mattea. These endorsers gave us the encouragement and support that sustained us when we had more enthusiasm than business sense. They spread the word and gradually our business grew.

Fishman Transducers, Inc.

Fishman Transducers, Inc. Amplifiers

Fishman is dedicated to helping acoustic musicians achieve the truest sound possible whenever they plug in.

Mi-Si Electronics Design, Inc.

Mi-Si Electronics Design, Inc. Pickups

Mi-Si Electronics Design, Inc. (pronounced "My-Sigh") was founded in April 2004 by an experienced team of engineers with a passion and a drive to make music technology better - for both artists and music lovers. Although new to the marketplace, Mi-Si's engineers bring an arsenal of expertise and more than 25 years experience in the amplification field, developing exciting and revolutionary electronics specifically designed for acoustic amplification.

K & K Sound Systems, Inc.

K & K Sound Systems, Inc. Pickups

Our mission is to establish K&K as the premier manufacturer of the highest quality acoustic amplification products in the world while maintaining the highest respect and service to our customers, employees, and community.

Active vs. Passive System

ACTIVE pickups have a electronic circuit that needs battery power. Passive pickups need no additional power.

PASSIVE pickups send a low power, weak signal. Passive systems need an external preamp. Active pickups have the preamp built into the circuit. At a minimum an active systems will have a volume and maybe tone or EQ controls. Passive systems might have a volume and tone control on the instrument but typically do not.

A passive approach gives you the flexibility of using a wide variety of external options for a preamp. The tone controls on your amp, P.A. and any outboard gear will typically perform better than an on-board preamp. Plus, as better solutions become available you are not locking into the on-board preamp. An external preamp converts a “passive” system to an “active” system and greatly enhances tone and volume.

A Soundboard Transducer is a pickup that sticks to the top of the instrument using tape or suction cups. Either on the inside or the outside of the instrument. The K & K pick is a soundboard transducers system. This is the system that Mya-Moe Ukuleles recommends.

An Under Saddle Transducer (UST) pickup is placed under the saddle in the bridge slot between the saddle and the bridge. It is a thin ribbon like element that picks up the string vibrations. A small wire connects the pickup to the end pin jack. This can be used with an active or passive system.

Piezo “Quack”

If your like me and when first introduced to the to term Piezo Quack. You probably thought as I do "What the heck is that?". I ran into a video on the Trace Elliot Acoustic amp that the very first part of it really shows - not on purpose - just what the “quack” is. Trace Elliot TA100 & TA200 Acoustic Amps - In Depth with Paul Stevens

Visit the Amplifying Your Ukulele page for a great video series by Gordon Mayer of Mye-Moe Ukuleles on ukulele pickups.

Popular Acoustic Pickup System Manufactures

B-Band Ltd

B-Band Ltd Pickups

B-Band is a manufacturer of high quality pickup systems for acoustic guitars, double basses and drums. All B-Band pickups use our proprietary patented electret film technology instead of common piezo materials. Piezo pickups tend to impart a sound of their own, often described as “quacky” or “plastic’, B-Band transducers act in much the same way a condenser microphone does. This results in excellent reproduction of your acoustic instrument’s unique voice. “Hear the Truth”.

Dean Markley

Dean Markley Strings

Established in 1972, Dean Markley USA is recognized as an innovator and leader in the world of musical instrument strings.

Duncan Turner Acoustic Research (D-TAR)

Duncan Turner Acoustic Research (D-TAR) Pedals

What makes D-TAR different from other onboard systems? The D-TAR Multi-Source combines the Wave-Length piezoelectric under-saddle pickup with a miniature condenser microphone that is nestled in a special absorptive visco-elastic polymer shock mount for optimal isolation. With separate signal sources coming from two different tonal points inside the guitar, and two low-profile knobs for master volume and microphone volume to control the blend of the piezoelectric pickup and microphone, the player has more flexibility to bring out the most natural sound possible from an acoustic guitar when amplifying it. Additionally, output can be wired in mono or stereo to further expand on the tonal possibilities when using two signals. The Wave-Length piezoelectric pickup is powered by an 18-volt preamp that operates via two AA batteries. Compared to a more common 9-volt system, 18 volts allows far more headroom, resulting in increased clarity and less distortion when the strings are hit hard. And something most players will agree with is that having great tone inspires you to play better!

Fishman Transducers, Inc.

Fishman Transducers, Inc. Amplifiers

Fishman is dedicated to helping acoustic musicians achieve the truest sound possible whenever they plug in.

K & K Sound Systems, Inc.

K & K Sound Systems, Inc. Pickups

Our mission is to establish K&K as the premier manufacturer of the highest quality acoustic amplification products in the world while maintaining the highest respect and service to our customers, employees, and community.

L. R. Baggs

L. R. Baggs Pickups

We started this in a loft in downtown Los Angeles, California, with a hope and a dream, and no business sense whatsoever. The first L.R. Baggs product was our LB6 Series Pickup. We would like to thank Leo Kottke for his early support. Stores would call us and say, "Leo Kottke said he was using your pickup." We could literally track his touring route as the stores would order in his wake. Early endorsers were Steven Sheehan of the Judds, James Taylor and Kathy Mattea. These endorsers gave us the encouragement and support that sustained us when we had more enthusiasm than business sense. They spread the word and gradually our business grew.

Mi-Si Electronics Design, Inc.

Mi-Si Electronics Design, Inc. Pickups

Mi-Si Electronics Design, Inc. (pronounced "My-Sigh") was founded in April 2004 by an experienced team of engineers with a passion and a drive to make music technology better - for both artists and music lovers. Although new to the marketplace, Mi-Si's engineers bring an arsenal of expertise and more than 25 years experience in the amplification field, developing exciting and revolutionary electronics specifically designed for acoustic amplification.

Meyers Pickups

Meyers Pickups Pickups

Myers Pickups allows your passion to be heard by picking up the natural tone and sound of your instrument. This easily removable pickup will capture your expression without leaving a mark on your instrument. Our most popular models are the "Gooseneck" and "Feather" pickups. The smallest, all-in-one, multi-instrument, preamp pickups on the market today!

Pick Up The World

Pick Up The World Pickups

Pick-up the World is dedicated to reducing our environmental impact and to this end, PUTW’s pickups are now built using 100% non-polluting, renewable energy. Additionally, all of PUTW’s pickup packaging is made from United States small farm grown / Non GMO quick composting plant based materials.

Schatten Design

Schatten Design Pickups

Schatten Design’s continuing quest to build the finest pickups, preamps, and related accessories in the world has produced some truly fine new products. Newly introduced at the 2010 Los Angeles NAMM show was a series of innovative pickups for Uprighnt Bass and for Steel String Acoustics. Also introduced was a new endpin jack preamp, The Player Preamp. The Dualie for Ukulele Dual Element Acoustic Soundboard Pickup

Shadow Electronics

Shadow Electronics Pickups

Shadow Electronics stands for high quality and absolutely reliable pickup systems - and this since 1971. Shadow was founded by Joe Marinic in 1971 and is one of the most experienced companies in the musical instrument business. Up to the present, musical enthusiasm and recognized electronic knowledge are the interlocking columns of the success of Shadow. We cooperate not only with world known top-musicians but we also have a team of highly qualified engineers and partners on staff.

Electric Ukulele Pickups

Aero Instrument Pickups

Aero Instrument Pickups Pickups

AERO Instrument designs and manufactures all its products. We are not an importer. We focus on artful design and high quality workmanship. We listen to our customers, and to the best of our ability, advise and educate them.

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Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books!Peter Rhee

Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the bestGlen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys

Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too.Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg

I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent.fatveg — Portland

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