Janeen Rae Heller posted an interesting question on FaceBook recently:
Does anyone know how to amplify or use a microphone on a saw while playing with a loud electric band- with out getting feedback from the other instruments through the saw microphone? Any help would be appreciated. Also, any ideas on how to hear your self play in a band with loud instruments?
Some of the answers:
The trouble with contact mics is that a saw has no hollow body to resonate sound. I like to think of the saw as a one string bell. You can’t attach a mic to the metal it dampens it. The peak of the vibration moves dynamically up and down the blade while you play as well which means a large area that needs to be covered.
Your best bet is a great sound engineer when you play on stage. If i can I always try to take a moment and talk to him about some of the difficulties of getting sound out of a saw, placement of the monitors and where is the best place on the stage. Dropping some of the higher Freq so the rasp of the bow is less piercing as well as to play a little with the re-verb. Being in a band that gets loud and often plays in bars with stages that are not up to the Majesty and Sophistication of the Saw, I keep back up instruments to play. -Byron Owens
You can buy a magnetic pickup (humbucker, NOT single-coil) for $5-$200+ & affix it to the handle more-or-less elaborately…I’ve been doing this since 2000- piezo pickups sound like #### on a saw…hope this helps…. – George Hiller