Do strings go "dead" on basses with piezo pickups?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Blackbird, Jul 19, 2001.

  1. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Hiya, all.

    I just got a Godin Acostibass with a piezo pickup and was wondering if the strings need to be replaced as often (or as little) as on an instrument with magnetic pickups. Thoughts?
  2. i was wondering the same about lightwave pups.
  3. I dont even know what a piezo pickup is. I think it might be a microphonic pickup??


    The string is still gonna get stretched, thinned, worn and dirtied. Id expect strings to go dead no matter what they are on.
  4. I think Big Wheel might be asking more if a piezo will be able to reproduce a brighter (less dead) sound from an old string than a magnetic pickup could, rather than if strings will actually take less time to go dead with a piezo.

    I don't own a piezo equipped bass so I have no idea, but it sort of makes sense.
  5. Strings go dead on my acoustic guitar.....

    Deadness in strings is a matter of physical string deterioration. They get worn and pitted and stretched, and the groves between the wingins get filled up with dead skin from your hands. Acid sweat eats away at them.

    Piezo pups produce a different sound, but not a brighter or longer lasting one.
  6. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Thank you! I was hoping I didn't have to be that technical, I mean, strings are strings, the physical time it takes for them to decay (meaning, go bad) is the same regardless of the instrument one plays. the qestion is does the nature of piezo pickups allow for longer string longevity in terms of sound quality than magnetic pickups?

    Keep 'em coming...
  7. LowRanger


    Dec 24, 2000
    I've got a Turner Renaissance with piezos. The mags alone really sizzle, the piezos are phenomenal.

    The short answer is yes, I think they do extend the "life" of the string, but perhaps not in a meaningful way.

    I recently tried replacing the Thoms it shipped with, which are very rubbery, with a brand-new set of Warwick Black Label strings to see if I could get the action down a bit. I got the action down all right, but for the next day or so couldn't figure out what was wrong with my sound: the D and G strings were nice and zingy, the B,E, and A strings were just thuddy. They had "top end," but it wasn't very sweet... all lows, some highs, and not much else.

    In desperation I replaced the strings again, this time with some Daddario XLS strings. Wow, problem solved... the zing was back, the mids were back, with lowered action to boot.

    So I think that piezos will continue to provide the top end that most of us perceive in a new string, long after the rest of the string's sound has deteriorated.

    Hope it helps...
  8. If I am not mistaken, Piezo pups are right in the bridge saddles, picking up the actual vibrations of the string. So if you are wondering if they will become dead or not while playing, I believe they will have the same sound because I myself find it a little hard to get my fingers in between the string and the bridge saddle while the bass is strung. Yes, your strings will stretch and get dirty, but I don't think the sound will change all that much.

    How does that Godin sing anyways?
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    You're not mistaken SAX. Piezo's use crystals. The crystals vibrate from the resonances passed through the body and bridge.

    The magnetic properties of iron/magnets weaken.
  10. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    One of the good things about using piezos is that you can use flatwound strings without having the tone change that much from roundwounds. Flats won't wear and deteriorate at nearly the rate rounds will.