Headway HE4 Pickupsystem

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Headway HE4
Douglas C., 03.06.2015
The quality of under-saddle pickups will divide opinion in people's search for the ultimate representation of the acoustic sound of their instrument. There are a huge range of systems on the market offering their own take on reproduction of acoustic sound.

A much larger number of systems now have controls mounted discreetly in the sound hole and combine multiple signal sources preventing the need to cut into the sides of an instrument and giving a good level of on-board control. I have been impressed by many of these systems over the years, but each has their strengths and weaknesses.

To me, there remains an elegant simplicity to the under- saddle pickup, particularly when you have outboard controls or trust your friendly sound engineer. There is no cutting the side of the guitar and no restriction to installing a rubber feedback buster which, irrespective of clever notch filters and phase reversal, ultimately will make life a lot simpler, particularly if you are playing at higher volumes and have a lively instrument.

I have had a Headway Snake pickup fitted to one of my instruments for a number of years and it has proven to be reliable and give reasonable sound reproduction. For the new instrument I upgraded to the HE4.

HE4's have a round rather than flat cross section element and I would advise anyone buying one to have it fitted by someone who knows what they are doing and has fitted this type of pickup before. Headway has a list of installers on its website. It took 2 or 3 attempts to balance the string output on this particular fit but we eventually got there and the effort was well worth it.

Sound quality-wise this pickup exceeds my expectations. It is always difficult to describe sounds, but compared to a Fishman UST and the Headway Snake I have in other instruments it has a more clean crystalline quality and gives a good level of signal output with very little colouring to the signal. It does a really decent job of capturing the tone of the guitar.

Headway is a UK company which seems not to be on the radar for many but I believe it should be, but make sure you allow for it being professionally fitted.
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Headway HE4 Pickupsystem

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