The sweetness of a soundboard transducer, with the feedback resistance of an under-saddle transducer.


the Ultra Tonic™ Pickup Version 3

With patented technology James May Engineering is proud to offer the Ultra Tonic Pickup V3 – a unique solution for guitarist who love the microphonic quality of a soundboard pickup, but need to play in real-world environments where feedback is an issue.

It’s a soundboard transducer with a twist—an integrated feedback cancellation sensor that cleans up the low end boom and mud typical of other soundboard transducers, and the same time greatly reduces feedback.

The steel string version consists of only 2 sensors, an elongated main sensor that covers all the strings, and a feedback cancellation sensor. Your luthier will appreciate that. It comes with a state-of-the art sound-hole mounted volume control. It’s totally passive, but unlike other designs, does not change tone when adjusting the volume.

How does it sound?

It sounds similar to the most popular sound board transducer, the K&K Pure Mini—a quite good sounding pickup. However, the Ultra Tonic does not suffer from the same low end tubbiness. It sounds clearer and crisper, with great articulation and perfect string-to-string balance. Compared to typical under saddle transducers, the warmth and natural attack characteristics of this pickup are very compelling.

How well does it work?

It has a lot more feedback immunity—at least 10dB more than a K&K at the fundamental chamber resonance around 100Hz. (The exact amount is adjustable, and will usually go to 15-20dB if desired.) That makes it a lot more usable in real-world situations. Feedback is no longer an issue. Sound-hole plugs and notch filters will usually not be necessary, even under quite loud situations.

The pickup and included circuit board are totally passive, and totally noise free. No batteries, minimal intrusion. It has a low output impedance and a high output level which makes it non-fussy about what you plug it into. It provides no-compromise performance into instrument inputs of any impedance 500Kohms or greater. The bass response does not change if higher input impedances are used.

By itself it is highly expressive and highly impressive, offering a much richer sound than any under-saddle transducer can give. When paired with a ToneDexter, it will knock your socks off! If you aren’t yet familiar with ToneDexter, you might want to check it out at

The UTP V3.2-ST works with most 6-string and 12-string flat top steel string acoustic guitars, as well as nylon string and other guitars without a center brace.

The UTP V3.2-CL is for classical guitars and other guitars with a center brace, archtop guitars, and for many other instruments such as ukulele, bouzouki, and others. It has the same performance and sound, but splits the main sensor into two discs, one for each side of the brace or for situations that require two distinct main sensors.

The UTP V3.2-CK will convert your K&K Pure Mini into an Ultra Tonic Equivalent. It comes with an extra K&K-like 12mm disc to bolster the high E which is usually weak. It contains the feedback cancellation sensor and all the rest of the Ultra Tonic components, including a sound-hole mounted volume control that works without compromise into any impedance of 500Kohms or more.

What’s not to like?

Nothing. If you are looking for the best sounding, hassle-free passive pickup that money can buy, look no further than the Ultra Tonic!



Ultra Tonic package
Ultra Tonic for steel string - complete view
Ultra Tonic circuit board endpin jack
Ultra Tonic volume control close-up
Ultra Tonic sound hole mount