Caring for your Little-Jake pickup

Over the years I’ve sold a great many Little-Jake pickups to players all around the world. On occasion I find out one of them fails or breaks and I repair them at no cost but the shipping. There are two ways that I typically see the Little-Jakes fail, and there are ways to prevent both from ever happening in most cases. Here are some things I do to prevent damaging my own pickups.


The Japanese Beetles

Sat in with this pretty killer band a couple weeks ago. Laying some electric bassoon goodness on top of their great sound. Check it out.


Going au naturale

Several conversations with Paul Hanson and one nice little chit-chat with a really excellent sound technician at SubCulture, I have devised a plan for a complicated but I think reliable microphone setup that will amplify the bassoon well, with some amount of isolation, a balanced sound through the register, and maintain the natural quality of the bassoon sound. What follows below is mostly an email sent in private to a few colleagues, that I’m now sharing more publicly. As far as I know nobody has tried doing this yet, so if you read this and have a chance to give it a shot, I’d love to hear how it works in practice and not just theory. (more…)

On Effects

So I get this question a lot. “After I get a Little-Jake, what kinds of effects should I get?” Usually this is coupled with a question about amplifiers as well, which I’ve covered in another post. Effects are a giant rabbit hole you can jump down. Guitar players know this, as there are dozens of online forums and reviews sites dedicated to those metal or plastic things on the floor sometimes called “stomp boxes”. You can see some old blog posts of mine talking about certain revisions of pedal boards that I’ve used over the years. It doesn’t seem to get much better.

So anyway, here’s some general information on effects with specific guidelines on what I’ve found works well with the bassoon. (more…)

On Amplifiers

When bassoonists first explore the world of amplified playing there are some basic concepts that are taken for granted in the guitar world that translate to the bassoon, but are a bit unclear to the uninitiated. There are new things that happen to your sound when you amplify, especially when using a direct pickup like mine or even the Telex, that you have to consider when developing a sound that you like. (more…)

Little-Jake saxophone user spotted in the wild

Joel Woolf purchased a Little-Jake from Forrestsmusic and has been using it with his band since last August. Always cool to see someone really getting some good mileage out of the Little-Jake. He’s apparently a big effects user with his saxophone. Don’t worry, I’m assured that he bought a second neck so he didn’t drill into the original neck on his Mark VI.

K1X Rumberger Telex Pickup Fitting To Your Instrument at Howarth of London

It’s a bit more expensive than mine, but might provide some different sound opportunities. Looks like the mounting interface is similar to the Telex, but in reverse (the O-Ring is on the pickup not the adapter). Not quite as secure for bassoon use I suppose, although it’s probably fine for clarinet. There are a few other things like this out there, marketed to Klezmer or related clarinet players. Looks good though, a bit bulky. XLR though? Phantom power? For a piezo pickup that’s kinda weird.

Howarth of London

Sound production at Howarth of London is expanding even further with our ability to provide audio solutions for your woodwind instruments in a variety of different forms.

We are able to supply and fit pick-ups to your instrument, enabling you to amplify your sound in environments where musicians would normally find it difficult to be heard amongst electronic instruments. Our Audio Solutions Specialist – Philip Evans has written an article on the problems that musicians face when amplifying themselves. Please feel free to view it here:

Philip Evans – Woodwind Instrument Sound Reinforcement Problems and Pick up Microphones

We have been successful in fitting these pick-ups to saxophones and clarinets resulting in positive feedback from customers. This method of amplification is compact, easy to use and convenient for varying performance scenarios such as: loud electronic environments and electro-acoustic compositions.

“Pick up microphones:

Sometimes known as ‘piezoelectric’ microphones are different as…

View original post 178 more words

What does that thing sound like anyway?

Well, here’s some demonstrations of some various effects used on the bassoon.

Successful saxophone test!

We’ve determined the Little Jake works great on tenor saxophone. It only requires a modification to the mouthpiece, where a hole is drilled and a threaded tap made. The ideal place is likely in the neck area, but this only requires an extra mouthpiece (and a ligature that won’t get in the way).

The sound was very promising. When I had Brandon Wozniak test this on his saxophone when we turned the amp on it was just like increasing the volume on the instrument. The tone was very transparent, it was even difficult to tell it was on except that it was unnaturally loud. Effects worked very well too.

I’ll modify your mouthpiece for free if you send it to me when ordering a Little-Jake. I would say this would be fine on Alto sax or larger, and I can only do this on plastic or hard rubber mouthpieces (not metal). Soprano sax mouthpieces are probably too small – the ligature would get in the way if there’s even a good acoustic place for it. For soprano sax modifying the neck is still probably the only option.

New gear roundup


Into this:

Turn the bass down to 2 on the guiar amp and the treble down to 2 on the bass amp (high frequency horn off) and the sound is super huge, full range, loads of crushing bass when I want it from the HOG or the newest addition, the Pigtronix Mothership