What follows is a letter of praise sent to the staff at LR Baggs.

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After producing a Christmas music/drama variety show at our Church last Sunday I feel compelled to share my experiences with LR Baggs vs. other solutions that arrived during sound check. As many of you likely understand, sound check for a slew of different music groups is a nightmare at worst and challenging at best. Without going into too many details, sound check is a time for the house system to wring out its gear and mentally prepare for the segue between groups. This is not the time to debug the internal electronics for the performers’ acoustic guitars. Right?

Wrong.

Of the four initial acoustic guitars with installed pickup systems, only two, using Drum & Strum installed LR Baggs units, worked flawlessly. Other plain acoustics using sound-hole pickup systems also worked well. I can’t say the same about two other “high end” guitars with built-in electronics that caused no end of trouble during our sound check. The first guitar clipped and then… fed back and then… became unusable. A second of the same brand was swapped in – didn’t work. The quick thinking owners of these issue prone guitars borrowed our Norman and a “save the day” PRS acoustic (PRS Acoustic? Who knew?) that wandered in the door in response to a plea for functioning guitars. I’m not going to mention the brand of the otherwise superb guitars with coffee can sounding electronics other than to say some trade names rhyme with “depression.” My guess is the guitars’ batteries were low and these things seem to eat batteries like candy. I’m surprised the guitars from this maker don’t come with a replacement battery bandolier to wear on stage. Or, perhaps, they should just swallow their pride and create an external power supply solution. Alembic does this very well so this is not an odd concept.

Now I come to the point of this message. The above Norman guitar and my Fender (yes Fender) 12 string acoustic both had LR Baggs pickups installed last year: Anthem SL and Anthem respectively. Since these two guitars were never scheduled to play at the same time, they shared one LR Baggs Venue DI with easy, pop-free, swapping via the mute/tune switch on the Venue. This show vindicated my decision to choose LR Baggs for my pickup and DI needs.

Let me preface my final point by stating I am an electrical engineer by trade with over two decades of circuit design experience including plenty of analog work. When I was first turned on to LR Baggs I reviewed their, and other, products with a critical eye towards value, not price. Once I discovered the Anthem Mic/UST hybrid with crossover mixing approach I thought to myself “Hey, that’s good thinking.”  Believe me, I was hesitant to put a $299 Anthem system into a $250 Fender 12 string, but this particular guitar has earned its stripes and I was tired of micing it. I purchased the Anthems for installation by the local luthier at Drum and Strum. Other than a bit of gain difference between the two guitars, the Anthem SL-Norman combo has more signal, the whole LR Baggs approach has earned the highest accolade I can give an analog audio system… and that sums to one simple word…

Transparency

With my examples of LR Baggs product installations, you don’t notice the system is there. It just works well. It is transparent. My cheap guitar benefits greatly and others notice. Can you tell a difference between the Anthem vs. natural sound? Of course you can, but you have to focus to notice. Whereas the high end guitars mentioned above have pickup systems that are unmistakably “electric”  sounding when and if they work; The owners of these guitars deserve better.

There is a saying “You only buy quality once.”  So far this is ringing true for my handpicked LR Baggs solution for my not-so-high-end guitars. You did not let me down. The sting felt to the wallet when I purchased your products has long since faded away in the Joyful Noise of beautiful acoustic sounds celebrating Christmas.

So thank you LR Baggs for making my electrified acoustics not part of the problem during sound check and the performance.

Merry Christmas.

John

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