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Specialty Music Productions
Beginning Fiddle DVD
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Headway The Band Violin Pickup SystemHeadway's The Band Violin Pickup Sytem gives you a compact, durable, and easy-to-install pickup capable of providing electric amplification for your violin or viola without the need for any destructive modifications to the instrument itself.The benefits of The Band are many: You'll get far greater volume levels before feedback compared to using a microphone. In addition to cutting feedback, The Band reduces bowing noise and body sounds and gives you the ability to filter out excessive treble. Thanks to The Band violin and viola pickup you'll have more freedom to use the stage when you're no longer tied down to your microphone stand during performances.Just think how much faster you'll get through sound checks with this unique band-shaped pickup on your violin or viola!The increased headroom (volume) before feedback offered by The Band pickup enables you to monitor your violin without problems from modest to high volumes.The Band wraps around your violin under the strings and is firmly secured with 2 Velcro® hook-and-loop strips in a 3-step process:1. Pass the end of The Band pickup tube under the strings between the bridge and the tailpiece and wrap it around the violin's waist.2. Strap the 2 ends of the tube firmly around the violin's back and secure with the provicded Velcro® strip.3. Wrap the other provided Velcro® tape is around the first to provide additional security for the mounted pickup.Headway's The Band instant pickup works equally well on violins and violas and is covered with a stylish black material that will not detract from your instrument's appearance.
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I have performed several times now with my new "Band" violin pickup and am very excited about the warm, natural sound quality it is producing. I find that this pickup gives a more natural sound than many other pickups which either fit into, or are built within the bridge. Since a vibration produced when a string is plucked or bowed reaches its maturity within the body of the instrument it only makes sense that this is the desired sound to be amplified. The Band is easy to put on and take off and needs no pre-amp. I can simply strap it on, plug it into any amp or PA system and play. I have found that a 90 degree jack works better than a straight one (like the one in the picture) with the cable running between the instrument and the shoulder rest before dropping directly over the left shoulder. Now I need a Band for my viola!
"The Band" really speaks for itself. "The Band" is easy to use. It can go on and off in a minute. People often come up to me after performances to comment on the rich, expressive sound. When I do studio work I have been requesting that sound engineers try recording "The Band" as well as using their mics and all have mentioned (often with surprise) how good it sounds. Several I have worked with have ended up using the tracks recorded with "The Band" in the finished mixes. I have even tried plugging it directly into my computer for recording in GarageBand and have had great results.
This being my first attempt at providing myself with a pick-up, I did a lot of research to begin with. Firstly, I want to avoid feedback, so I ruled out a small microphone. My fiddle requires a very bright bridge, so a pick-up built into a bridge of arbitrary density was out of the question. I wanted some thing cheap with good sound that was easy to remove, because most of the time I play without it. The Band looked like the right choice, but I was concerned about the sound quality of a piezo pick-up. Having used fancy tube amps in the past for vocal recordings, I also bought a small ART tube amp (also not expensive) with phantom power. When I push the gain--and drop the output--the sound is really rather good. So, I got lucky the first time.
The previous reviews mentioned how natural the sound is. This is true, but I wanted to mention how versatile it is. This will work on (literally) any violin sized instrument. An example of this is that I also tried it on my ukulele, and my mandolin (on the mando, just below the bridge. on the uke, on the bridge (make sure it's snug, and works best with logo upside-down with jack facing floor)).The extra Velcro strap that is used to wrap around the jack when it's folded up can be used as an extender on instruments like a mandolin (which is slightly larger than a violin). I also love the fact that it folds up & stores so neatly, and that there's no adhesives to deal with like most transducers have. On many transducers, the adhesive can absolutely ruin the finish of a good violin (or any other instrument for that matter). Since this uses Velcro instead of adhesive, that problem is eliminated. I may get another one for a backup. I don't know who thought of this simplistic, but effective idea, but whoever it was is a certified genius!!!
This is the warmest, most natural sounding pickup I've ever tried, but I can't give it five stars. It's very easy to install, but the jack is very, very tight, and takes two hands to plug in. When used with a shoulder rest, and you're plugged in, you will notice the extra weight. I would recommend a right-angle plug on your cable, to drop the line straight to the floor.
The sound was amazingly natural through my SWR bass amp with a ten-inch speaker, but I had to turn way up to hear it, so maybe a pre-amp would be advised. It is certainly worth the purchase price for the violinist who needs some extra volume without sacrificing the tone quality of their fiddle.
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