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  • What equipment is needed for an opn mic?

    Posted by bmacdonald on March 12, 2022 at 9:00 am

    Hey All, I am hoping you can give me some guidance and direction. I have a goal to do a Open Mic this year. The only guitar I have is a 1978 Guild NT40. It sounds beautiful and plays nice and is just acoustic, no electronics. My question is “Do I have to have electronics in my guitar to play an open mic? Is there anything else I need? Can I add electronics to my guitar and how to do that?”. Thanks for your help.


    GuitarGeni replied 2 years ago 9 Members · 11 Replies
  • 11 Replies
  • JeffM.22

    March 12, 2022 at 11:57 am


    Adding a pickup to an acoustic is not very difficult, but the topic is somewhat of a rabbit hole. Unfortunately they all have varying sound characteristics. They can be active (battery) or passive (may need a preamp); Piezo Style (fit under the saddle), Transducer Style (fit under the bridge inside) Coil style (across the sound hole). The best are a combination and utilize an internal mic. Almost all versions require drilling an end pin for the cord. Some require a pre-amp to be cut into the upper bout. Any Luthier or guitar shop can install.

    Tony did a pickup review a few years ago. It may be a bit dated, but it is a good primer. It might be on Accoustic Tuesday. Tons of pickup reviews on YouTube as well.

    Amps are yet another rabbit hole.

    If you just want to record yourself, it can be done with only a phone or simply recording a private Zoom session.

    A mic, audio interface and a DAW will do the best job of duplicating your acoustic sound.

    Possibly you can avoid all this by starting with an open mic session in someone’s living room.

  • JeffM.22

    March 12, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    <div>@bmacdonald Here is Tony’s video</div>


  • bmacdonald

    March 13, 2022 at 11:58 am

    Hey Jeff,

    Thanks so much for the information. I just watched the episode on pickups…. a little overwhelming. Not sure what I will end up doing but there are a lot of options. Who knows, maybe being a geek it is time to invest in another guitar with electronics. Thanks so much for the help. I’ll let you know how it all plays out.


    • JeffM.22

      March 13, 2022 at 1:55 pm

      Ok, don’t rush it.

  • Loraine

    March 13, 2022 at 6:17 pm

    Hi @bmacdonald What a great goal. I have a 1973 Guild F30 that doesn’t have any pick up/electronics in it, and I had no problem in the past using it at a VOM. I used my phone or my iPad (can’t remember), but the sound came out fine. I think you’ll do well with either of those or with a laptop with an external mic, such as the Blue Yeti.

  • Carol-3M-Stillhand

    March 16, 2022 at 4:13 pm

    @bmacdonald Wow congratulations on making a goal of playing at Open Mic this year!!!

    If you are referring to a “real” open mic (in person…. yeah, what is that again?, haha), most open mic setups are equipped to mic your guitar by placing a separate mic on a stand, about 18″ from your 12th fret. This is actually one of the best ways to mic a guitar for a performance. They have a vocal mic separate, for your singing.

    If you are referring to a virtual Zoom style open mic, most laptops are equipped with an onboard camera and mic which are more than adequate to perform virtually. There’s tons of gear you can buy to geek out with, but I’d say give simplicity a try first and then see what you end up wishing for from there.

    Best wishes at your Open Mic Goals!!!!!!

    • AttyTJ

      March 21, 2022 at 9:55 am

      +1, and no drill need be damaged in the process.

  • Cadgirl

    March 21, 2022 at 4:17 am

    @bmacdonald , great question. I was wondering myself 🙂

  • N-lightMike

    March 21, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    I guess I’m late to the party @bmmcdonald , but I see there are somethings that I would have said that haven’t been said, so… I’ll say them.

    First, the direct answer to your direct question: NO, you DO NOT need electronics in your guitar to play in an open mic. Simple answer.

    Ok, so open mics, you didn’t say wherther you are talking about a “real” open mic or a Virtual Open Mic. We would love to have you join us on the Virtual Open Mics. Let us know and we can provide you with links to join.

    Now, @Carol-3M-Stillhand already gave you some info on this, but I will add to it. Usually, the “real” open mics have a cable lead to plug into your guitar. I don’t know if all Open Mics have an instrument pickup as they are local affairs run by a local person and there is no uniform code that they have to adhere to regarding equipment or technical expertise. Some are better equipped than others. There is a good chance the open mic in your area could handle acoustic guitars, but you’ll have to find out.

    If you do indeed want to play at a real open mic and the one in your area doesn’t have an instrument mic for acoustic guitars, then you would need some kind of pickup. That information has been covered very well, so I’ll leave it there.

    On the Virtual Open Mics, Carol mentioned that a laptop would work for you. That is correct, assuming you have a laptop. A smart phone also works, technically, but they are even more limited than a laptop. If you have a desktop, that’s the best, but then you need some equipment.

    I will leave it there for now since I don’t know what you have or what you want. If you want to be a part of the VOMs (Virtual Open Mic) and you also have a desktop and you are willing to invest some money, then let us know and we can give you further information.

    I hope this helps.

    MG 😀

  • ScottyMac

    March 23, 2022 at 4:43 pm


    I hosted an open mic for about a year. If the venue is even reasonably equipped, they will mic your guitar into whatever sound system they are providing.nit is a good technique to contact the open mic host and confirm this ahead of time.

    There is a good clip on mic you can buy from a small North Carolina company, Bartlett Audio. I have one that I move from instrument to instrument as required.

    https://www.bartlettaudio.com/ I have the one with a power supply that connects via 1/4 jack to an amp/pa or mixing board. You can also get an unpowered option with an xlr (3 pin). I would bet any host can work with either.

    Open mics are great non threatening fun.

  • GuitarGeni

    March 24, 2022 at 6:10 am

    Depends on the venue for the open mic. I take my guitar and my Yamaha THR10 amp which I use the Acoustic setting on. My guitars have a pickup but they (venue) mic my amp so I imagine they could just mic the guitar instead. Get there early and find out who the sound guy or gal is. I’ve found them to be very helpful.

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