Recently I bought an Ovation guitar, after seeing some videos of people using it for percussive guitar playing, for example here, or here. Even talking "how sensitive and well-suited it is for this style", see here.

But after plugging mine in I discovered it does not pick up the percussion on the body.

Surely, it is another model, but as far as I can tell the Kaki king signature also just uses a Piezo like mine (it is beneath the bridge).

So I am wondering, how to see from the technical specifications if a guitar can pick up the percussive sounds from the body? And is it more the case that most guitars can not do it? What guitars do this well?

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    Not an answer, but an idea for you. Piezo stick on pups are very cheap, and can be stuck inside the top. Use that and you have a percussive guitar!
    – Tim
    Dec 8, 2019 at 16:41
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    @Tim What exactly do you mean, when I look up piezo pick up I mostly find ones that could be packed under the bridge...
    – StefanH
    Dec 8, 2019 at 16:44
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    The last couple I bought were supplied with a sticky pad, to be placed wherever on a guitar - in fact, one is now on a mandolin, doing a great job! Google piezo pup, and there'll be some cheap ones which you could maybe stick under the top, and have a separate wire to feed to the amp - so the volume is controllable separately.
    – Tim
    Dec 8, 2019 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


Percussive guitarist Mike Dawes talks over his pickup configuration in a Premier Guitar interview available on YouTube.

He has four pickups and internal mics. Overview of his pickups starts at 10:40

  • Magnetic sound hole pickup - combines with piezo for primary sound
  • Piezo under the bridge plate (not under saddle) - combines with sound hole for primary sound
  • Transducer about 2" from the sound hole at about 8:00 (assuming 12:00 is the neck). This gives his kick drum effect
  • Internal microphone to pick up external percussion (slapping & scratching) - "You need an internal mic to really pick it up well"

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