Fishman Pickups & Amplifiers

Written by: James Krueger On: Jan 9th, 2019

It seems that every week or so we have new products here at Solo, so it gets pretty easy to walk into our showroom/warehouse and see new stuff on the showroom counters.  However….we occasionally land a product that gets even an old guy like me excited.  First I’ll take you back many years ago………

I attended an ASIA Symposium (Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans) I think in Vermont.  Walking around the show they put on, I met these two really cool cats.  One was Ken Parker (Parker Guitars) who was showing off his latest axe, the Parker Concert Fly. This solid topped acoustic version of the Fly sported a piezo loaded bridge designed by the other cool cat Larry Fishman, and was currently being used by Joni Mitchell. You couldn’t meet two more interesting or passionate individuals, or two people who were as humble and knowledgeable as Ken and Larry.

So; to my surprise, I walked into the showroom a while back and looked at a brand new shipment of Fishman products!  Fishman is pretty well known these days for their acoustic pickups, but what is less known is that the company was started almost by accident.  Larry Fishman was a mechanical engineer and a musician who had moved to Boston to attend Berkeley. Upon graduation, he toured as a bass player playing standup bass in jazz groups.  As the music got louder, it became more difficult to hear the acoustic bass over the other instruments, so Larry went about designing a pickup for his bass and manufacturing it in his basement shop.  Through one thing or another, a local repair guy said he could sell these pickups, so Larry went on to creating violin pickups as well, among other things.  Soon after, his reputation grew, Guild Guitars ordered 500 acoustic guitar pickups from him which led to Martin Guitars ordering ten thousand custom pickups for their guitars.  Larry really had no intention of starting a company, nor did he have a business plan….but some ideas just grow.  By the way, his connection to Ken Parker was a friendship/partnership in the Parker Guitar company.

After 30 years in the industry, Larry Fishman has continued to play in jazz groups but at the same time has built this amazing acoustic transducer (pickup) company that owns no less than 27 US and International patents, has amplified virtually every acoustic instrument, has built world renowned amplifiers and now is revolutionising the electric guitar pickup with the ‘Fluence’ line of products.  Imagine a 3D printed pickup that can be manufactured to duplicate the sound of virtually any iconic pickup this industry has known….  The acoustic pickup systems that Larry has produced have stayed consistently on top of the market, and his amplification systems have helped to lead that part of the industry, whether it be the Loudbox or the Solo system.

We are pretty stoked here at Solo Guitars to have Fishman products on our shelves, and since we do sell kits for violin, mandolin, ukelele and acoustic guitar, you owe it to yourself to take a look at the Fishman line of products to beef up any kit, or to amplify any of the instruments you already own!

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