Simplicity, functionality, and tone are nestled together in DiMarzio’s passive pickup solution for acoustic guitarists.


Even the most hipster coffeehouse crooner can see value in acoustic amplification. I mean, there’s a limit to how much background conversation one troubadour can take. The DiMarzio Black Angel is a passive soundhole pickup that’s aimed at helping non-electrified acoustics be heard above the dim roar of happy hour. The main hesitation with after-market acoustic pickups is usually wrapped around the installation process. The Black Angel offers two methods: You can simply run a 1/8” cable (which is provided) out of the pickup or you can have a more permanent option via the endpin jack kit, which is also included.

With no tone or volume controls, the Black Angel might be viewed as slightly one-dimensional by those who enjoy tweaking frequencies, but once I installed the pickup in my Córdoba and plugged into a Fishman SoloAmp, my appreciation for simplicity won out. The pickup gave off a beautifully flat response with plenty of midrange and treble, just like my Córdoba. As I moved from a singer/songwriter strum to fingerpicking, the Black Angel responded admirably to shifts in right- or left-hand dynamics. If you need a less invasive way to get your vintage dread ready for the stage, the Black Angel might be the right choice.

Test gear: Córdoba D9-CE, Fishman SoloAmp

Ratings

Pros:
Very easy installation. Rather transparent.

Cons:
No volume or tone controls.

Street:
$165

DiMarzio Black Angel
dimarzio.com

Tones:

Ease of Use:

Build/Design:

Value:

It’s not difficult to replace the wiring in your pickups, but it takes some finesse. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. After numerous requests, this month we’ll have a closer look at changing wires on a single-coil pickup. As our guinea pig for this, I chose a standard Stratocaster single-coil, but it’s basically the same on all single-coil pickups and easy to transfer. It’s not complicated but it is a delicate task to not destroy your pickup during this process, and there are some things you should keep in mind.

Read More Show less

The emotional wallop of the acoustic guitar sometimes flies under the radar. Even if you mostly play electric, here are some things to consider about unplugging.

I have a love-hate relationship with acoustic guitars. My infatuation with the 6-string really blasted off with the Ventures. That’s the sound I wanted, and the way to get it was powered by electricity. Before I’d even held a guitar, I knew I wanted a Mosrite, which I was sure was made of fiberglass like the surfboards the Beach Boys, Surfaris, and the Challengers rode in their off time. Bristling with space-age switchgear and chrome-plated hardware, those solidbody hotrod guitars were the fighter jets of my musical dreams. I didn’t even know what those old-timey round-hole guitars were called. As the singing cowboys Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey strummed off into the sunset, the pace of technology pushed the look and sound of the electric guitar (and bass) into the limelight and into my heart. Imagine my disappointment when I had to begin my guitar tutelage on a rented Gibson “student” acoustic. At least it sort of looked like the ones the Beatles occasionally played. Even so, I couldn’t wait to trade it in.

Read More Show less

Need an affordable distortion pedal? Look no further.

We live in the golden age of boutique pedals that are loaded with advanced features—many of which were nearly unthinkable a decade or so ago. But there’s something that will always be valuable about a rock-solid dirt box that won’t break your wallet. Here’s a collection of old classics and newly designed stomps that cost less than an average concert ticket.

Read More Show less
x