Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Barbera Bridge

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by flatback, Jan 9, 2005.


  1. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    Bolinas Ca
    I was just reading the previous thread and it started to wander into the subject of the Barbera. I've used the BP 100, Underwood, Wilson, Realist, PUTW, DYN B, Stat B, Mics and I've tried a bunch of the other offerings too, oh and the Barbera.
    I would rate the Barbera as way up there in Piezo sound. It still has the piezo whine but with 8 elements in the bridge it picks up in a very even and controlled way. I dont think the sound is so fantastic as to overcome its problems though. When a Barbera goes bad, it drags your whole bass with it. I had a Barbera that after a while one PU element began to fuzz. I know I could have sent it back but I don't really have two bridges that I keep going for my bass (thats why I have adjusters) so I would have either had to have a new one cut, or take a vacation for several weeks. I noticed that when I finally had a new bridge cut that I had been nursing the old shape thru fingerboard work that made it less then an ideal playing shape but because it was unalterable I just dealt with it. Mine now sits on a shelf with other expensive useless relics.
    I have to say tho.. to show up with the barbera plugged into anything and just one thin wire coming off the bass was nice. I never had feedback anywhere and the evenness of the tone was very nice.
    I have been using the Pick up the World for some months now (sounds like a clearer and more mic like Realist) and I just bought a full circle (i have been interested in this pick up for a while- someone told me it sounds best on dark toned instruments like mine)
    I've never heard the Barbera sound woody though. It was a nice PU to blend with a mic.
     
  2. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    If I may ask... What did you not like about the Wilson?
    Seems like it would be similar to the Barbera.
     
  3. abaguer

    abaguer

    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    I had a Barbera installed on my Knutson Messenger EUB and have been extremely happy with the sound. Really a quantum leap from the stock pickup (I have a very old Messenger that had one of the first pickup systems that have since been thoroughly upgraded by John Knutson on his current instruments). I travel a lot with it overseas and Rich Barbera told me the one thing to watch out for is that the bridge doesn't recieve a solid blow because it might loosen one of the piezo units. When flying in November I wedged pieces of foam between the top of the bridge and the roll bar and the sides of the bridge and the roll bar. This worked pretty well for whole tour but I really was careful of it.

    The sound is definitely a big step up, I hope I never exerience the pickups going bad as mentioned in a prior post.
     
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I also have a Messenger with the Barbera pickup. The Barbera has a full, rich, modern sound with good attack. Very sweet arco and punchy pizz. The mids are a little bit scooped--I find myself blending in a bit of the honky under-bridge stock pickup to cut through in loud band situations.

    Abagauer--I grew up in Darien and studied with a smoking bass guitarist in Norwalk named Gerry Tyler back in the '80's. Do you know if he's still around?
     
  5. I use a Barbera with a full set of plain guts. I agree it is very feedback resistant, ideal for someone in a loud situation, which I often am. As with any piece of equipment for double bass, it will vary from bass to bass. On my bass it is fantastic. I tried it with two different preamps, and it sounded better without one. I play jazz in a piano trio, and rockabilly in a um.... rockabilly band, and it cops that Paul Chambers sound nicely for the jazz, also picks up the slaps pretty good.
    As stated by a previous poster, there are two drawbacks. I want to change the curvature of my bridge a little, but cant. Also if an element ever futzes, it's stuffed. It can be repaired by Barbera, but I live in New Zealand, which is gonna be a lot of down time, maybe three or four weeks.
    Overall though, a very nice pickup system.
     
  6. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    And again..... The wilson seems like it would be very similar
    in sound, but have the flexibility to be taken off. Anyone
    have experience with both the Wilson and Barbera?
     
  7. abaguer

    abaguer

    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    Winston
    I just moved to CT so I haven't gotten a chance to see much of the music scene. I like Norwalk though.
     
  8. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    i have barberas on 3 of my 4 basses, and at some point in time all 3 have had elements crap out.... rich is cool and he'll fix them (although he did charge me for one) but you're stuck without that bass for a while. also, like others , i want to now change the curve of the bridge on one of my basses and i cant. thats why when i got my latest bass i declined to put the barbera on it.... it sounds great, but i have tweaked the bridge on that bass a few times so far, and it has really made the bass more playable. i couldnt have done that with the barbera on there. i'm seriously considering a wilson for all the same reasons... listen to chick corea's acoustic band alive... patitucci is using a wilson on there. not a bad tone, but kind of electric sounding... i'm thinking of using the wilson, and blending it with a more thumpy piezo pickup that i have that i can mount in the bridge wing for a more traditional sound. having said all that, on my 4th bass i'm currently using a magnetic pickup blended with a thumpy piezo wing pickup. the combo is great so far. i get the thump from the piezo, and i get good sustain and clarity from the magnetic. i usually just use a touch of the magnetic. it seems to be working pretty well so far, but it's definately not plug and play like the barbera. if you get the barbera i'd suggest sitting with your bass and bridge for like a year to make sure you like your bridge before you commit to that curvature with a barbera. charnett moffet had that problem when barrie kolstien tried to reshape his bridge (with rich's permission, although he did caution him) and tore into the elemens. it had to be replaced. so, long post short, i dont think i'll get another barbera unless something can be done to address those issues. i'd rather have control over the playability of my bass and live with another pickup solution.

    btw, the curve of the bridge matches perfectly on my messenger. john knutson really gets the curve right on the bridge blank before he sends it to rich. no playability issues at all there.... but the pickup element did crap out on me once and had to be fixed.
     
  9. abaguer

    abaguer

    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    .... but the pickup element did crap out on me once and had to be fixed.

    That's pretty disconcerting. I do a lot of travelling and humping my Knutson in less than ideal conditions. Any suggestions on how to guard against element failure; or do they just go?
     
  10. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    as far as i know they they just go....
     
  11. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Maybe light a few candles and put on some nice romantic music before humping ;)
     
  12. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Hey guys -- just found this thread...

    I too have experienced similar issues with the Barbera pickup and its reliability. In fact, I'm right in the middle of having a new one installed. In order to prepare for the possibility of a future pickup failure and downtime for repair, I'm having two bridges made. The first one is my tester bridge...and I am living with it for a while -- to make sure the curvature and height are correct. I had a Fishman Full Circle installed and really like the sound -- but its not as good as the Barbera -- especially in louder situations. So! I'm soon off to my repair guy's shop -- and am having him cut a second bridge to send off to Rich Barberra. This way, if I ever have to send it back to NYC for repairs, I'll have a "spare" bridge and Fishman pickup as a backup.
    Another idea I had was to buy a cheap bass practice mute. They make several models...but there's one that's like $7 that's a big curved honkin' piece 'o black rubber that sits right on the top of the bridge. I'm going to use this as a "bumper guard" when traveling with my bass. Fortunately, I have enough slack in my gig bag to make enough room for the mute!
     
  13. harleyman888

    harleyman888

    Feb 11, 2014
    Gulfport,Fl.
    Last I knew he was in Oxford Ct.
     
  14. Barcza

    Barcza

    May 1, 2005
    Budapest
    Did you try the Fishman BP-100? It's cheap, and pretty mutch the same kind of sound....
     
  15. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    Just for balance, I don't think those two pickups sound anything alike :)
     
    pmad_bass likes this.
  16. Barcza

    Barcza

    May 1, 2005
    Budapest
    Allright, sounds not the same, but same direction.... I personally hate all the piezzo pickups, I use Ehrlund PU an DPA mic, from that perspective, the Fishman BP-100 is not that bad, but cheap easy to install and reistall, not really feedbacking. It's allways in my gig bag for loud sitations...
     
  17. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    +1 I fought with Piezo's for many years, before the Ehrlund came along, it's sound, on my bass, with my amps is almost as clear and detailed as the DPA, with much better feedback resistance. Fortunately, for you and I, and a significant number of other players, it
    achieves the sound were after. The Fishman, from what I know, was a "re-imagining" of the Underwood. Because Don, had the patten on a dual wingslot transducer, Fishman had to mount the pickup with those clamps, in a less desirable location on the bridge.
    When, I wrote Barbera and ask that they send me their literature, they sent along this little floppy plastic record, that contained demos of their pickup. Listening to those samples convinced me that I wasn't at all interested in that design. I think, there are much
    better sounding and more reliable pickups now.

    Ric
     
    Barcza likes this.
  18. Barcza

    Barcza

    May 1, 2005
    Budapest
    Both Barbera and BP-100 is close to strings, instead close to body, but barbera is expensive, can not install for yourself, can not move to bass to bass. Buster williams used the BP-100, as a piezzo sound, it's not natural sound, but good with his hands:)
     
  19. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Barcaza,
    Well, I hate to tell you this because I love Buster's playing as well, but when he performed at the International String Bass Socitey convention this year, the sound was horrible. He obviously could not hear himself. It made my heart sink.

    Ric
     
    Barcza and MR PC like this.
  20. Barcza

    Barcza

    May 1, 2005
    Budapest
    Yeah, it could happen....
    I don't know he still useing the BP-100 or he switching to another PU.
    The BP-100 is very unnatural, but never muddy or undefinied, instead is more harsh, midheavy.