Cavaquinho pickup install, lots of electronics in a small box!

Notice the under saddle pickup
We got lucky and found this Fishman preamp that fit the existing hole.
BEWARE!!!  Scary shielding job……
Cool Fishman pickup
This cavaquinho was brought to us with a DIY pickup install.  A big hole had been cut on the side with a piece of plastic installed to hold the preamp.  The sound was uneven and quiet, and I’m guessing noisy too because it had been completely covered with copper and aluminum*. 

That was just the start of it…shorted turns, too much capacitance, grounding out of the circuit…the list goes on.  Needless to say this system was not working well.  Enter: The Fishman solution!   In the past we had to order Fishman pickups in custom lengths to be able to put it on a saddle that is this short, but look what they make now.  The Fishman AG-Series 094 Ukelele Passive Undersaddle Pickup is great for any short saddle acoustic instrument.  In a uke it gives a loud, strong feedback-resistant signal.  A battery is required and, in the case of the cavaquinho, there happened to be another hole on the side so we converted that to a pull-out battery box.  This Series 094 side mounted preamp has a pull out battery compartment but we didn’t use this so that the owner could have easy battery access**.

The advantage to an undersaddle pickup as compared to any of the stick on pickups is tonal clarity and resistance to feedback.   We have installed many stick on pickups (K&K and B-band, etc) and they sound beautiful, more acoustic and natural than an undersaddle but if you need to cut through the mix in a loud band situation and you do not have a quality sound system you may encounter premature feedback.  In a perfect world we would combine both types (internal stick-on and undersaddle) in a blending circuit.

This instrument sounds beautiful; clear-voiced, clean and loud.

* – One word about shielding, unless the shielding has a solid ground attached, it will become an antenna, attracting more of the same noise you were trying to get rid of!
** – If necessary, just about any on-board preamp can be powered with a remote battery box.

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