[tried to insert pictures directly from flickr but it doesn't work - just using links for now instead rather than bother with a photobucket account]
Thanks to a kind & generous person on this board who had a W-ROMP (EZ microphone pickup for Rover) that he wasnít using, I was able to acquire one at last; Iíve installed it and tested it out, and wanted to offer some feedback (pun intended) and comments.
I should first mention an update regarding Janet Davis Music. Later on the same day I posted my experience with trying to order one from them (my order was repeatedly delayed for various unusual reasons, but then I found out that the item had long been discontinued), they called up and said they got a shipment of them in, and would send one right away Ė free shipping Ė if I would reinstate my order. I also got an email ad from them touting that they had just gotten some of the W-ROMP in). Boy was that tempting, but I just didnít have confidence that the claims were accurate Ė esp. after learning that the item has been long discontinued. Nice offer, maybe they somehow secured a supply of them Ė but I just didnít want to potentially deal again with delays and excuses.
Around the same time I heard from the fellow who offered the one he wasnít using. It arrived in less than a week from Canada and I went about looking it over. There are 2 button cell batteries (LR41, I think) that go underneath 2 clips on a mini circuit board. I guessed that positive was up, negative was down, and that proved to be right.
Obviously itís very convenient that the thing screws right into the Roverís endpin hole:http://www.flickr.com/photos/37210736@N03/6804580552/
I looked at a Schatten Soundboard Transducer from Stewart McDonald that also screws in where the endpin would go, but it appeared to me that the threading didnít nearly match Ė the Rover endpin is coarsely threaded, the Schatten is finely threaded. Also, a Stewmac tech pointed out that you need to be able to reach in through the soundhole to tighten the inside nut. Although both of these issues could probably be cleverly overcome, it proved not to be necessary.
I installed the W-ROMP in my nylon-stringed Rover, the RO-20. In another thread someone had suggested that on the RO-10, the metal shaft covering the circuit board may bump up against the bridge pin of the D or G string. So the classical Rover seemed like a better choice (and I already have an electric guitar anyway).
After installing the thing, I could not wait to hook it up. Now, I knew feedback was a potential issue, so I didnít sit facing my amp (Roland Cube 15; want to try it on the Micro Cube!), and I didnít have the volume up much at all (and it was on clean, so no ďgainĒ applied). Well, some feedback hit anyway and wow, was it loud! No relation to the volume knob position (except turning it to zero helped).
I had a prototype soundhole cover that I made and put that in: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37210736@N03/6950692191/
It basically stopped the feedback and it is really a neat thing to have the classical Rover electrified! Granted, itís a bit of a conceit, and the treble strings donít have much sustain or carry, but still, itís fun. And you can certainly put it on ďMetal StackĒ and crank up the gain for a truly ironic experience.
This soundhole cover / feedback buster consisted of an elliptical piece of stiff cardboard from a Costco-sized box of cereal. It was corrugated cardboard, not just single-ply, but a bit thinner than say that of a shipping box. To this, I affixed (with hot glue gun) a block of foam from some weatherstripping that came with a window air-conditioning unit. It was rectangular, but the corners just extending beyond the perimeter of the hole so that it kind of wedges itself in there securely. [On my prototype I had clipped the corners to fit, but you need those corners to keep it snug]
To pattern out the oval I used the word processor in LibreOffice and, using the drawing tools toolbar, inserted an ellipse of dimensions 2.25Ē high by 2.88Ē wide. This is just enough to cover the soundhole and not fall in. For my final feedback buster, I cut that elliptical pattern out of a piece of paper and positioned it over some postcards of paintings to see what part of the painting would be visible. I had a book of such postcards of Adolphe-William Bouguereau, whose works I like. I chose a scene from classical mythology called Le ravissement de Psyche (The Abduction of Psyche). Someone else might like Van Gogh or Rembrandt, etc. Pictured below (no nudes, but close; remember, this is classical art): http://www.flickr.com/photos/37210736@N03/6804580524/
Of course, my postcard image was larger than the soundhole, so I had to crop - but I feel that I got nearly all of the important features of the painting). I slightly enlarged the elliptical cutout to 2.34Ē x 3.00Ē (keep ratio) so there would be a little overlap over the cardboard underneath. After carefully cutting the picture out, I sprayed it with some satin finish clear polyurethane.
When affixing the picture to the cardboard, I didnít want the wrinkly effect that you so often get with white glue (even though the postcard is somewhat stiff, I didnít want to chance it). So I used the hot glue again. However, when mashing it down to flatten out the area between them, I had the front of the picture facing down, flat on a piece of closed-cell foam. The glue was apparently so warm that it softened some of the polyurethane spray and I nearly had some of the closed cell foam stick to the front of the picture. However, it seemed that it only mottled the satin finish, so once it cooled, I gave it another ďtopcoatĒ spray and evened things out.
In thinking of how I could have done things differently, I should probably spray the polyurethane last, so the heat of the glue isnít a factor. I could also stand to notch corner of the image out so it isn't pushed a bit askew by the fretboard.
Getting back to the internal mic pickup, I also tried it with a headphone amp I have - another discontinued thing (by Dean) called "Stack in a Box". It has 2 volume settings and a clean setting, in addition to overdrive and distortion. On the clean setting, higher volume, it really does pick up every sound of your fingers on the strings, of your shirt brushing against the body of the guitar, etc. Iím not convinced that this is some shortcoming unique to the W-ROMP; it may well affect any internal mic, and who knows, maybe any contact mic/piezo/transducer as well. So if you actually were performing with the Rover, and you needed it louder, you should almost certainly use an external mic if one is available. Nevertheless, itís a fun thing to have, and who knows, maybe if you work hard to control those extraneous sounds, it will really help your technique! Or maybe you just keep the volume lower.