Focus on the Wilson Pickup System

Violin fitted with Wilson Pickup system

Over the past few months we’ve focused our blogs on repairs of instruments of particular note. This month, we thought we’d focus in on an in depth look at one of the most advanced pick-up systems on the market for stringed instruments: the Wilson Pickup System.

Many professional musicians come into us seeking our advice on pick up systems that retain as natural sound as possible when amplified. We do offer a range, of which the Wilson is a special choice for optimum performance.

Cello fitted with Wilson Pickup System

The systems have been handmade in Denmark company since 1983, when Wilson was started by Jørgen Wilson an engineer and jazz double bass player who was dissatisfied with the pick-up systems that were then available. Much experimentation led to a prototype that was tested by the late Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen, the legendary bass player to Oscar Peterson. Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen liked it so much that he used it across his recordings and live performances.

Wilson Pickup System

What makes the Wilson Pickup System so unique is that it consists of individual pickups, one for each string. It gives a clean, warm and distinct sound that comes very close to the acoustic original, and each string can be individually volume adjusted – a patented feature only found on the Wilson systems. The system uses piezo ceramics optimised for double bass, violin, viola and cello and gives an incredibly close, near acoustic sound. It has also successfully been used on a range of other stringed instruments including the Russian balalaika, Norwegian hardanger fiddle, 21 string African kora and Swedish nyckle harpe.

The system’s precision and sophistication means that it can be used across a range of musical forms, from jazz musicians to rock and pop. From a string player’s perspective, it performs equally across pizzicato and arco playing and usefully, does not require a pre-amp. Built into the bridge of the instrument, it has a frequency response of 25Hz to 30Hz and it well-shielded to prevent picking up unwanted signals and does not distort or feedback. The range of extraordinary musicians using the Wilson Pickup System is testimony to its excellence and includes John Patitucci (performs with Chick Corea), Aladar Pege (performs with Herbie Hancock), Rob Amster (performs with Dizzy Gillespe), Nonny Rosenberg (The Rosenberg Trio) and Ronda Smith (performs with Prince).

Detail on Wilson Pickup System

We are proud to stock and fit the Wilson Pickup System here at our Stoke Newington workshop. See our full range of pick- up systems here which also includes DPA pick-ups used extensively in the orchestral world. Alternatively please call us for more details or consultation on amplifying your stringed instrument. Our dedicated shop and workshop staff, many of whom are performers themselves can give you guidance on the options available.

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