I’m playing a wedding in June and one of the requests was a song by Jon Schmidt called “Pachebel meets U2.” It’s a combination of Canon in D and “With or Without You” and is definitely worth a listen. To prepare, I also listened to some guitar performances of Canon in D and With or Without You and of note is this cool arrangement by guitarist extraordinaire, Doyle Dykes.
The video is by LR Baggs, who is (for those who don’t play acoustic guitar) one or the two major players in acoustic electronics. Acoustic guitarists have long sought to amplify their guitars while maintaining the guitar’s true sound and there are hundreds of pickup designs, each with benefits and drawbacks and most are some variation of a piezo transducer, magnetic sensor, or microphone. Baggs and Fishman are the two largest providers of this technology and I think Fishman may still have a bit more of the market, but Baggs makes better pickups, is more innovative, and will overtake Fishman eventually. This video is really intended to demo the Baggs LB6 pickup which is Bagg’s original pickup, and despite many models gaining their priority since then, it has continued to be a part of their inventory. Doyle uses it, but so does Phil Keaggy, Vince Gill, Eric Johnson, and James Taylor. Oh, I use it too.
No one would claim that it sounds the same as placing a mic in front of your guitar, but it has a strong and warm sound that is much cleaner and less prone to distortion than models by Fishman. When plugged into a good preamp or amplifier, the sound it produces will be powerful and acoustic, even if not the exact sound of your guitar. At some point you can continue to obsess over the exact reproduction of your guitar’s sound or you can get a good sound when you’re on stage. The LB6 gives you a good sound and that’s good enough for Doyle, James Taylor, and myself. It’s more important to play well than to have the best pickup, but as far as I’m concerned, the LB6 is the best.