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adding a mag pickup to ABG

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by AndyPanda, Nov 14, 2016.

  1. I have an old Washburn AB-20 with the equis II preamp and under saddle piezo. It has potential but I just can't quite love the sound of the piezo pickup (harsh, quack -- finger noise is exaggerated). I have been thinking about adding a regular magnetic pickup and a blend so I can have all mag or all piezo or a blend of both.

    I'm planning to leave the piezo preamp/eq as it is but send the output of that to the blend - and from the blend I might go to a passive tone control so the passive tone affects both the mag and piezo.

    Question: Where would you position the mag pickup? Close to neck? or P bass position? Or Stingray position?

    Here are a couple of recordings (sorry for my sloppy timing) just to compare the sound of the fretted ABG (I may defret it) with piezo vs a fretless P bass. I think the two sounds blended together would be nice.

    Attached Files:

  2. If it's a true hollow body with cross-bracings, routing the top may not be such a good idea and you may be better off with a pickup hanging off the end of the fretboard like a jazz guitar. If it has a solid centre core, then it shouldn't matter and personally I'd put it in the P position.

    You'll need a very experienced tech to wire it. It will need a separate twin-buffer preamp for the blend to work. I'd recommend one with a gain trim for one (or both) channels, plus a peizo input impedance no less than 5 megohms. I've modded quite a few acoustic preamps like this, and even finding the voltage supply rails isn't always straight forward. I design my own stuff (it's a pretty simple circuit), but I'd think there'll be a couple of commercial options for the pre... Bart, EMG etc.

    Obviously you'll need to drill and install the blend pot itself, and IME, you'll need to tack in a temporary phase switch for the magnetic pickup so you can select the fattest blended tone. This is because it's very hard to determine the phase of the piezo on its own.

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