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Getting a Bigger Sound

Pickups and Microphones for your Musical Instrument

Book by Bart Hopkin with Robert Cain and Jason Lollar

104 pages, paperbound, 8.5″ x 11″, illustrated with b&w charts, diagrams and drawings.
Published by Experimental Musical Instruments in conjunction with See Sharp Press, 2002. 

This book tells you how to take the sound of a musical instrument and convert it to an electrical signal for amplification. Whether your instrument is something as familiar as an acoustic guitar or something as exotic as a recycled-junk-o-phone, you can learn here about the best options for adding a pickup or an onboard microphone to it.

The opening chapters provide information on the various types of musical instrument pickups in use today, focusing on the three main types: contact pickups, magnetic pickups, and air microphones. You’ll learn how each type works, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and for what sorts of instruments each is best suited. Mounting options are described, and there are lots of tips and tricks on how to get the most out of each type. All that you’ll need to know about cables, pre-amps, impedance matching, amplifier inputs and the like appears in the next chapter.

The following section shows how to make your own components. It may be easier than you think to wire microphones and pickups that compare favorably with store-bought products, often at great cost savings.

The next section presents ideas for sound explorations and easy-to-make sound devices based on the special characteristics of the different sorts of pickups. Following that is a section listing specific instrument types, with suggestions on pickup options for each. Finally, there’s a where-to-get-what appendix, a bibliography, and an index.

To produce the best and most authoritative book possible, lead author Bart Hopkin has enlisted the support of a wide range of experts in the relevant fields. Most important among them are co-authors Robert Cain, an expert in microphone design, and Jason Lollar, one of the leading independent makers of magnetic pickups.

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