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Barbera Pickup

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Steve Freides, Oct 8, 2013.


  1. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    I haven't seen Barbera pickups much talked about - anyone using or has used in the past and care to comment?

    Apparently the pickup is embedded in a custom bridge (or top portion of the bridge if yours is adjustable).

    Thanks.

    -S-
     
  2. Earl

    Earl Supporting Member

    Jason Hollar likes this.
  3. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    How'd you find that? I did a search, but every thread I found just had some passing mention of it.

    Thanks, it was interesting reading but the most recent post is March, 2010 - would love to know if it's still an option people are using.
     
  4. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Steve,
    It was a very discrete pickup, that had to be spliced into the front or an existing bridge. When it worked it sounded good, but it was problematic and expensive. There are newer pickups that sound every bit as good, cost less, and are more reliable. Examples would be, The Ehrlund EAP and Pre Amp (depending on how it reacts to your instrument) the Headway Band, the new Realist Life Line, and Fishman Full Circle. The Barbera pickups time in the sun has come and gone. IMHO.

    Ric
     
    Duke_Spicher likes this.
  5. I have to agree with this. I used a Barbera pickup and when it worked, it was wonderful (but expensive). After a few years, mine developed a problem. We sent it back to Mr. Barbera and he refused to fix it. He said that someone had tampered with it and used epoxy glue to reassemble so that it was impossible to repair. However, no one had ever touched it since he installed the PU in the bridge. My experience was bad enough that I'll never buy another.

    Leni
     
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  6. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Thanks - that's really what I was trying to find out.

    BTW, the reason I asked was that I was listening to a video clip of a jazz guitarist, Nate Najar, playing nylon string, and he uses a Barbera. In that case, it's also Barbera's bridge that has to be used, but the instruments are built with that bridge in mind and, as we all know, a bridge (actually, a saddle in the guitar's case, not a full bridge) is a very different thing on a double bass.

    Thanks again to everyone for their contributions here.

    -S-
     
  7. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Your first second choiceâ„¢ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    I just came across this thread and found it amusing as I perform regularly with Nate Najar. I appear on three of CD's and he recently produced my daughter's CD.

    Nate does indeed use the Barbera pickup on his classical guitar and he has been very pleased with the sound. He's tried to convince me to have one installed on my bass, but I've don't want to due to the installation process and some of the things I've read here on talkbass.

    - Steve
     
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  8. basspipe

    basspipe

    Dec 19, 2004
    Pennsylvania
    Don't bother; terrible service. In my experience, Barbera has proven to be completely unreliable at following through on anything. He fails to respond to emails, makes promises, and then disappears for months on end. Not one luthier I have worked with supported my interest in this pick-up but I insisted that this was the pick-up I wanted. My luthier and I both made the initial contact with Barbera buy phone and email and he agreed to graft the pick-up to a bridge blank direct from my luthier. We did not hear from him again for nine months when he contacted me directly via email to offer to do the service previously agreed upon, but this time using a bridge of his own based upon the tracings my luthier had previously provided. By that time I had already given up as he had held up the completion of my bass for over a month after having had a month to complete the work he said would take no more than a week. I told him to contact me when its finished. It's almost a year now and I'm still waiting.

    I wish I could give an account of my direct experience with this product but I can't being that he has completely failed to do what he says should take less than a week in twelve months. I'm glad that no additional funds were ever exchanged. So, I would proceed with caution with this product but ultimately suggest that you move on and investigate other options. If you like that sound, I'd checkout the Wilson piezo system; better product and excellent service.
     
    Duke_Spicher likes this.
  9. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Ole Wilson is wonderful to work with!
     
  10. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Steve,
    The essential advantage is that the bridge on a guitar is relatively flat, and not as prone to being bumped or scraped. In contrast, a bass bridged frequently gets jostled
    and rubbed taking it in and out of the case, so the spliced wedge, that the Babera is embedded into can is prone to damage. If you want that type of "discrete" sound the Wilson is a possibility. Personally, I think there are much better options, considering how much the Barber costs, the inconvenience of having it installed, and it's failure rates.

    Ric
     
  11. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    I thought I'd update this thread, not because I've gotten a Barbera pickup for my bass but because I just had one installed on a parlor acoustic guitar that I then got to play in a local benefit concert through my Phil Jones Bass Cub (model is BG-100, and I believe it's got a pair of 5" speakers in it).

    Short story - absolutely fantastic sound. Plugged into a PJ Bass Cub BG-100, bass eq to 9 o'clock because it's a guitar, filled a 900-seat auditorium with zero going into the PA. It was a benefit concert with lots of other musicians and everyone raved about the guitar sound. I did none of the install - the guitar needed a setup, anyway, and my usual luthier (Allen Watsky in Leonia, NJ) did everything (except pay for it. :) )

    Everyone still not liking this option for bass?

    -S-
     
  12. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Rufus Reid uses a Barbera pickup on his bass. It sounds great and he's happy with it. All I know.
     
  13. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I'm not so sure he does that anymore, When I saw him at the he was using a DPA 4900B microphone, now he may have been using the Barbera as well but I didn't
    see a pickup lead. Just my take.
     
  14. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    He may have changed. I took a master class with him last year or the year before on amplifying the bass; he's been offering it for years and he proudly showed us his bridge and commented how much he liked his Animas, but I hear on the down-low that he's been trying other strings so he's probably not settled yet. Are any of us? @rickwolff ?
     
  15. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Perhaps he uses them together in larger venues. Rufus is one lucky guy
    since I know how suseptible to dammage, that particular pickup can be.
     
    Tom Lane likes this.

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