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Cheap 4$ DIY Pickup for the enthusiasts

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by timobee4, May 11, 2010.

  1. made a DIY pickup, pretty good how can I show everyone? I have desperately tried to post a link to my Myspace pictures but not much success. I am going to record the sound I get but if the link dont work for myspace I will have to do it like youtube? I have seen others posting myspace links! :(
  2. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Some pics and sound clips might be nice to add to this rant.
  3. I will and trust me I am not ranting and raving I am so happy that I figured out something that we can all benefit from!
  4. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Right, because the only cost that any of these manufacturers have is materials. :rolleyes:

    It only cost you $3 to $4? Is your time worth nothing?
  5. gre107


    Dec 25, 2005
    I'd like to see some pictures of this. Sounds cool.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Another point is that you know of this design thanks to existing designs. Not to discredit your work at all of course. For myself, I'll stick with the Realist. It sounds just great on my bass. All of the wing pickups I have tried have failed to give me what I am looking for. Different basses respond differently to different pickups.
  7. Roger Davis

    Roger Davis

    May 24, 2006
    If you have been looking for the magic bullet you will certainly have been taken for a ride - because there is no magic bullet. It's well known by a broad spectrum of bassists that there is no piezo pickup on earth that will truly reproduce the sound of a double bass. That said, the sound you do get with most pickups is perfectly OK when the bass is heard above the sound of all the other instruments in the band.

    Underwood, no balls? I strongly disagree. I have four - Underwoods,that is.
  8. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Thanks for pointing this out. There are so many products whose materials are quite inexpensive but are the result of considerable expense incurred for R&D and tooling. Think contact lenses and pharmaceuticals, just to name two.

    In this specific case, the product mentioned (the Revolution Solo) has not nearly been duplicated via the slapping together of materials from the hardware store and the hobby shop.

    That the OP would say this is very telling:
    Which piezo? What are it's impedance characteristics and transfer function? What material, if any, is used to improve the transfer function via mass-loading of the element in its casing? In the case of the RS, I know all of this was considered over a period of quite a few months while the design was refined. Add to that labor costs, tooling for production, paying a sales staff, and legal fees for the filing of a successful patent application and, well, you should get the idea. When all is said and done, the DIY hardware store/hobby shop method involves neither the cost of the commercial product nor does it duplicate its physical characteristics.

    I'm quite sure that the story is quite similar for every pickup mentioned, i.e., the Realist, Underwood, Full-Circle, etc. I think it's quite likely that one could spend more in materials (forgetting the value of one's time) than the asking price of any of these pickups before one would hit on a combination that performed as well and as reliably. Even then, as Adrian mentioned, no pickup is right for every bass.

    Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so yes, sound clips obtained under controlled conditions could be somewhat useful but not nearly as useful as comparing the DIY device to the commercial device on one's own bass with one's own rig.

    I think it's more like the OP has given himself a ride, rather than been taken for one by the pickup makers. :)

    Although a high-quality mic can certainly approach that but, then again, I wouldn't call a mic a pickup.
  9. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    I don't think spending 2% of the value of my bass on a reliable, good sounding pickup to be excessive.
  10. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I agree with you-- I sure see your point. It's about 2% for me as well. Still, I would tend to evaluate the price of a pickup in the absolute. That is, does it's performance justify its price, independent of what my bass or another bass happens to be worth. I could certainly see buying a $200 pickup for a $2000 bass-- a full 10%. :)
  11. Red Planet

    Red Planet Banned

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.
    I can see this story from both sides. OP I'm glad you were able to build your on pickup. I would enjoy doing that.

    I agree the materials are not very expensive but time spent must be added to the equation if others are to buy said pickup plus what drurb mentioned as cost. That being said I really do not think building a pickup is rocket science. Building a good sounding pickup I'm sure takes a little more effort (not that your isn't a good one).

    I would say this to timobee4, you need to build another and see if you can replicate the tonal characteristics. If you build another and it's different one would think consistency would play a major part in R&D cost.

    As far as the cost go I just got a Realist and am very happy with it. I like the boom boom, it will fit in very well with my Booji Wooji Band. I have a couple gigs booked this weekend and will know more then but I'm excited.

    If I were selling a product I would expect to profit what the market will bare and I'd expect to make a profit.
  12. uprightbass.com


    Jul 28, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Is not compensated for endorsements. Does not sell for profit.
    Have you tried the BassBalsereit Aktiv or Studio? I've gone through what you have also and am finally done with my Piezo search. It's tonally adjustable to blend between horizonal and lateral bridge vibrations. Also it has an integrated active electronics inside of the XLR jack and is powered via phantom power. Very well constructed.


    I would say that it's one of the more expensive Piezo's, which is one of the reasons it's not so popular, but it's worth it. YMMV. For reference, I paid about $650 for the Studio version.

    P.S. $100 a gig? You should demand more. From time of leaving your home at 6pm to arriving home at 4am, you're pretty much getting minimum wage at $100 a night.
  13. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    ...but you gotta drill a hole in the bridge foot.
  14. uprightbass.com


    Jul 28, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Is not compensated for endorsements. Does not sell for profit.
    Yes, you do. The hole has never been an issue. I have a hole on every bridge on each of my basses. An unintended benefit of that is that it takes 3 seconds for me to move the pickup between basses.
  15. So so true!! I took myself for a ride looking for a pickup! Live gigs I only use DPA4099B and at home 90% of the time play acoustically or 10% with a piezzo thru my Markbass 121P, I have no intention of making another pickup as the one I made is a ripper, but very happy to share my findings! By the way I am not taking anybody’s research I feel as I know that a piezzo element is a pretty simpe device and ALL the pickups on the face of the Earth built on the same principle! Its only the casing that makes tonal difference but inside there is just a little 2$ piezzo, in fact I would bet that it cost them next to nothing cos they mass make them in China. Oh, sorry about the Underwood no balls comment, they have balls but they sound better with only one element under the treble wing on both my basses, so I fail to see the fuss. I am electrical engineer so it made my blood boil when I built my little beauty thinking that I have spent so much money on pickups. And also so so true that there is no magic bullet! All piezzos are garbage if you want to hear what you hear unplugged! I am glad to see that some people get why I started this thread. My luthier is meeting David Gage this week and he told me that his first question is "why your pickups so boomy?" I guess lot of guys practice using an amp at home and the sound they get represents the sound they after forgetting the unplugged sound, I know an Upright player who couldn’t play unamplified and he gets upset if I call him an upright fretless payer who plays double cos its cool.:)
  16. bejoyous


    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    This thread reminds me of the fuss made when I made my own wire tailpiece for $8 of hardware.
  17. bassCanadabass

    bassCanadabass Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2009
    Sounds interesting. I'd be interested to hear some samples.
  18. To Uprightbass.com! Mate in Australia you lucky to get 100$ plus dinner! Some places give you a beer or two, one of my friend tried to trade his beer for a scotch&coke and they refused it!! And that guy is no nobody, probably the best alto player here! Also my buddy who came 3 at the MONTREUX Jazz festival (with a hangover!!!!) couldn't afford a beer last week when we went out. Jazz musicians get appreciation but not much money, usually just the door money split, thats why most bands are just quartets or trios. Thats why i am putting a Klezmer band together, I am Jewish anyway and there's more money in Klezmer than jazz. I should have listened to my gran at 20 when she said " you cant live off music" but it was too late cos by that time I already had 9 years of music behind me.;)
  19. Hahahaha! Bejoyous you right mate! Except a tail wire dont cost over 200$! But still I almost regret starting this thread but I can see that there are some finding it interesting perhaps they want to give it a shot one day! Its ONLY FOOD FOR THOUGHTS! Nothing more! As I said I like condenser mic's although I am so glad that most people using piezzo :) ! I get compliments about my sound from sound dudes saying that I actually sound like a double bass. Thanks to my little sweetheart treasure! DPA4099B.
  20. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    :scowl: Completely wrong. It is not only the casing that makes a difference. The casing is, however, a large part of the design of a well-made piezo pickup. In addition, if you truly are a EE, then you ought to know that the transduction characteristics of piezos can vary enormously. Part of a successful design is choosing the right one. Then again, if you don't discern the difference, then you'll be happy with any old $2 piezo. Finally, they are not all made in China. The RS, for example, is made right here in the USA.

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