The Ehrlund Acoustic Pickup (EAP) is a linear microphone for acoustic instruments. We emphasize the term "linear microphone" because this is what Göran Ehrlund (inventor and manufacturer of the pickup) calls it. He made it a point to tell us that it is not just a simple piezo element -- which is the technology used by most other commonly available bass pickups. It uses a special hybrid "contact mic" sort of design in conjunction with piezo technology to sense both vibration and sound, thereby getting a full, realistic signal without the characteristic "quack" of many piezo systems.
So, we're not sure exactly what's going on within that mysterious triangle, but we can tell you that whatever it is, it sounds really good!
We specialize in Upright Bass, so our description of its use and sound are focused on that instrument - but Ehrlund recommends it for use on a large variety of instruments, including violin, acoustic guitar, banjo and others. Check out our "Alternate Description" of the EAP if you play an instrument other than Upright Bass.
In our tests on Bob's Juzek and several other basses in the shop, we found that the Ehrlund mic pickup has a very open, quite "microphone-like" sound - realistic, and not very "direct" or "dry" sounding (as pickups can often be.) However, it doesn't have many of the drawbacks of a microphone - among them, increased feedback, easily picking up other nearby instruments onstage. So the initial impression is that you get the realism of a mic with the convenience of a pickup. It's almost too good to be true!
However - you know what they say about things that seem too good to be true... and with that common statement in mind, I'll give you another one: "Garbage in, garbage out." As with most any pickup, mic, or other amplification gear, know this: how your bass sounds acoustically directly affects how it sounds when amplified. If your bass has a stiff top, or your strings are old and crusty, or your endpin rattles when you play an "A"... all of these things will probably be apparent through the EAP - it is, after all, a contact mic.
Another thing about the EAP - there are no rules for placement. Göran says it combines both vibration and "through the air" sounds to create its tone. This means that the linear microphone pickup's tone can change rather noticeably from (even quite small!) adjustments in location and placement. This is a device that should sound like "your bass, only louder" - which is what most of us are looking for. But you should know that finding "just the right spot" where it will do that (for you) takes a bit of patience and experimentation.
As long as you have a little time to spend, the trial and error really isn't a big deal - the element is mounted with a non-permanent, non-marking adhesive putty (tack-it). So you can easily apply, test, remove, try a different spot, test, etc. As recommended, the material is rolled into small balls and applied to the 3 corners -- though I've even heard that some customers have tried other adhesive placement options as well. Even how much "air" is between the bass top and mic pickup can make a very noticeable difference in the tone you get.
The long and short of it: Finding the best spot to put the EAP, as well as how firmly to affix it, fine-tuning the settings on your amp, etc.; all of these efforts will truly pay off with superior sound.
As we do with many of the products we sell at Gollihur Music, we include a sheet chock full of tips for the Ehrlund Microphone Pickup along with your purchase, to help guide you on your quest for getting the best sound out of the EAP.
Also included with the EAP is the Ehrlund Preamp. It was designed to be used with the pickup, it features simple adjustments: a Volume Control, a "High/Low" Switch (Ehrlund recommends "low" for upright bass), and a Phase Switch for helping to reduce feedback or for switch phase to match a second pickup/microphone, if applicable. It also properly buffers the signal for whatever you're plugging into.
Ehrlund pretty strongly recommends that you use his preamp for the best possible results, particularly if you play arco. And, since it's INCLUDED, you might as well use it!
While it seems to be a pretty simple device, we suspect that Göran Ehrlund has carefully tailored the preamp's setup to specifically suit his pickup - it really does seem to sound better through the Ehrlund preamp than most others we've tried. A good example of one that works well, though, is the Grace Design BiX (or FELiX or ALiX) - they have a high input impedance, audiophile quality sound, and high build quality (with top-shelf components) so if you're looking for a more fully-featured option for use with the Ehrlund, that's a good one! We offer it together with the BiX as an option, and you can also purchase the pickup alone without any preamp as well, to couple it with one you already have.
If you choose not to use the preamp in favor of another (or none at all), you certainly can. Important note for use with another preamp: if it has phantom power capability, you should turn it off when using the Ehrlund pickup, as it can cause a failure of the pickup (Goran says that it's a temporary failure that corrects itself, but I personally wouldn't want to test that theory on my pickup.) Otherwise, use whatever preamp you want - you won't break anything!
Included with every Ehrlund EAP Pickup at no extra charge!
A common modification of the Ehrlund EAP has been discussed at length on several of the online forums; it seems that many bassists prefer to have the output be a jack rather than the supplied plug, which you can then mount on the bass and plug a regular "guitar" cable into. This changes the uncommon plug setup on the EAP to something more like what the majority of other bass pickups have. While replacing the jack, you can also shorten the cable (which, stock, is 3 feet long) so that you don't have to wind up a bunch of extra cable behind the tailpiece.
With this in mind, Gollihur Music now includes - with every Ehrlund pickup - a "jack replacement kit" which consists of a lightweight inline female ¼" jack, and a small collection of plastic widgets to mount that inline jack to the back of your tailpiece. It's a pretty simple job to swap out the jack (and shorten the cable, if desired), and we include instructions so that you - or a handy friend with a soldering iron - can quickly and easy do the modification. We can also, for a small bench fee, replace the jack and/or shorten the cable for you - but please note that once the pickup has been modified (by us or you), there can be no returns for credit or refund.
Recommended: install the jack and/or shorten the cable yourself, rather than have us do it. Why? Until you get the pickup, you don't know exactly where the "right" spot on your bass is going to be; as we note, it takes a little experimentation to find the optimal placement for the best response. If we shorten the cable to 16", and your bass' sweet spot ends up being 18" from the tailpiece, now whattya do?
Gig Report - from Chris Davis-Shannon, (former) Gollihur Music Employee
We recently got the Ehrlund Acoustic Pickup Linear Microphone (EAP) in, a product that has been creating a bit of a stir in the on-line bass world. This little triangle seems to be, for some people, the "holy grail" of upright bass tone. On Bob's carved Juzek bass we were quite impressed with the natural sound reproduction of this contact microphone, but this was in the living room; what really matters is how it performs on a gig. So on Tuesday night, I took the Ehrlund out to a trio gig with a fairly heavy-handed drummer. In my book, Drums + Microphone = Disaster; so needless to say, my hopes were not entirely high (but at least I had my Fishman Full Circle as a Plan B).
I had an hour to play with placement on my 1951 Kay before I had to load up and get to sound check. The Ehrlund attaches to the bass via bits of adhesive putty that allows you to move its position easily. I initially placed the pickup where Bob had it on his Juzek, right next to the G side F hole; that position didn't suit my Kay at all. Over the next hour I moved the pickup/microphone to every imaginable location on my bass, and finally found that sweet spot — which for my bass is just below the bridge foot, over the bass bar, on the E string side. What came through my speaker was a beautiful sound: the clear, open sound of my bass!
My regular rig is a Fishman Full Circle into a LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI/Preamp; this setup reliably gets me very close to "My bass, only louder." Having a few minutes before I had to hit the road, I set up an A/B box to compare the Ehrlund to my Full Circle setup. The sound difference is not night and day, but the Ehrlund provides more "air" and detail, the kind of open sound one would expect from a microphone. The big surprise was when I cranked up the speakers and my Full Circle hit me with some wonderful feedback, while at the same volumes the Ehrlund didn't even break a sweat. Given its body location, that was unexpected!
While I wanted to use the Ehrlund, I was a bit nervous prior to sound check; I always have a bit of apprehension using unfamiliar equipment on a gig. It didn't help in the least when the sound man, upon seeing my upright bass, proclaimed, "I've never had to mic one of them before. They don't have pickups, right?" I set up the Ehrlund and preamp on my bass, and plugged into my trusty Baggs DI to send a signal to the house. I played a couple notes; sounded pretty good out front, but would it be too much to throw me in the monitors?
After the second song, I was finally in the mix and could hear myself, and that extra clarity and detail allowed me to both cut a little better and hear my intonation more clearly, for better or for worse. This gig was about 80% pizz, 10% slap, and 10% arco. To my surprise the slap tunes had a great click to them, something I can't really get with my usual set up. But it was when the bow came out is that I was really really pleased. While the Ehrlund is great for pizz, it truly shows its dominance in the arco playing. My notes were crystal clear, with a great fundamental, and not a hint of the piezo "quack" that I am accustomed to.
So, I was thoroughly impressed with this new Ehrlund! But there are some caveats. This is not like a generic sort of pickup that you can take out of the box, throw on your bass and immediately go play. It took me an hour to "dial in" a tone that I liked. You really do have to experiment with this "pickup mic" to get good results; there are no hard and fast rules. Additionally, the EAP has an attached cable with a quarter inch plug to feed the preamp. I would much prefer to have the more commonly used tailpiece mounted jack and a shorter cable; the thin, long cable, while appearing to be very high quality, seems a bit fragile and makes me nervous. Also note that this unit is very dependent on the bass; if you don't like the acoustic sound of your bass, you're probably not going to dig it when well-amplified, either, because it delivers what the bass sounds like.
Despite a few minor considerations, this is a truly great live microphone(?) pickup(?) system for the double bass, and one of the more usable amplification solutions I have tried for playing in slightly louder settings.
7-Day Audition Period
Most of our pickups cannot be returned once installed, because they show evidence of use and cannot be re-sold as new. However, we are happy to offer a 7-day "audition period" on this pickup, so that you may try the pickup on your own bass and be certain that it will work for you. As long as you handle the pickup and all of its packaging and materials carefully, you may contact us for a return authorization within seven days of delivery if it's not everything you'd hoped it would be.
Note that we will make the following small deductions from any refund or credit:
• Outgoing "free shipping" costs
• A $15 deduction to cover our processing costs
These deductions merely cover our costs for running your credit card (they are not refunded, even if the charge is) as well as our shipping costs if you're not keeping the pickup.
Note also that this return period does not apply if you alter the cable (or if you have us do it for you.) Once altered, the pickup is not returnable.
7-Day Trial Period
Your purchase of this item is covered by the exclusive Gollihur Music 7-day Trial Period, under the following terms:
You may contact us to return this item, for any reason (or no reason), within the first seven days of ownership. The timer starts on the day that you receive the item, not the order date.
Returns are subject to deductions as follows:
- Any shipping costs you paid are not refunded, and if the item shipped free, the costs we incurred to ship the item to you will be deducted from your refund or credit.
- All shipping costs you incur to return the item are your responsibility.
- A small fee is deducted from your refund to cover credit card/PayPal fees which are not refunded to us even if we refund your charge. Note that if you choose to accept a store credit instead of a refund, this deduction does not apply.
Items must be returned in 100% "as new" condition, with all original packaging, shipping materials, and accessories/manuals/bonus items. Deductions are assessed for missing or damaged items.
IMPORTANT: You must contact us for authorization BEFORE shipping the item back.
Need to figure out some of the more in-depth features of this product? Here's a copy of the manual, in PDF format, here.
You may wish to visit the manufacturer's website to see if a more recent version is available.
The guys at the shop told me that this pickup could be a little finicky and they were right... but man... once I found "the spot" to put the pickup, the sound of my bass came out of my amp and all was good with the world... I also find it pretty easy to relocate the pickup in the right spot now that I found it. If it helps, the placement is about 1 1/2 inches below the F hole on the G side, just a little bit to the outside. Thanks for such an ear-opening product!!
I just bought the eap bass pickup - wow it sounds great - have tried a host of others - this is the best - i do go back to piezo for really loud blues gigs on upright - but this thing sounds so good on everything else. great product!
Just to let you know that the Ehrlund pickup has arrived and it is MAGIC. I spent 1/2 an hour with my guitar player moving it around while I played. The sweet spot jumped out at us. With the volume knob at 1/2 on the pre amp and the gain on the Genz Benz shuttle 10 at 2 oclock. I velcroed the pre amp behind the tailpiece and coiled the cord and velcroed it as well. I have a R********* S*** on the bass and I tried a R******. the Ehrlund is going to put all these other guys under. Thanks for your great service and information.
The Ehrlund bass pickup is great. I have been using the NS Cr4 at gigs because of the feedback a with my upright. At first I placed the triangle pickup where you suggested in the paperwork that comes with the pickup. I was not happy and started to try other spots all over the bass. I found my sweetspot high up on the upper side of the bass. I was so inspired I used it the same day at a gig that night. Having a volume control on my belt is so great. No more reaching down during a gig tring to fiddle with the volume.