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Homemade Piezo pups placement question...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by borden, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. Ok, i'm planning on building piezo pups just to experience the tone of homemade piezo. Since they are relatively easy to build using David Fittel's technique (http://www.fittell.id.au/piezo/), i was wondering where could i place it on a No-Name bass i have lying around here.

    I want to know if it could be possible to place it under the bridge, so they make contact with the bridge to get as much vibration as i can. Also, could i make multiple with different capacity for Highs/lows and combine them together?

    The plan was to carve a little cavity under the bridge just about the thickness of the once-assembled piezo, then just wire the pup with a switch so i can turn it off or on depending..

    Do you guys think the Under-The-Bridge way would work or do you have any other placement to suggest? (Bass is a noname Pbass replica)

    Thank you!
  2. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    Funny you should ask, because I'm doing the exact same thing to my OLP this weekend :D So I listed what I'm going to try, and see if it jives with what you're thinking.

    Try it under the bridge saddles first. Find a way to wedge the sensors under the saddles without damaging the solder leads, and see how that works before carving the bass, maybe a thin piece of wood veneer or cardboard? Even though I could just fill mine in with wood dough, and it's under the bridge and out of sight, I still like to find ways to do things that don't involve permanently altering an instrument first!

    If that doesn't work, then carve away!

    I've made several piezos for my DB, and found one setup I actually liked the sound of, and the prospect of adding a blend knob and homebrewed preamp to my OLP has me anxious for the weekend!

    Later on, I'll also be attempting to use the piezo cable available at windworld, and may end up using individual string sensors and a mixing circuit like a piezo-equipped Ernie Ball eventually. But for starters, just the standard two sensors that works on my DB, and a blend knob between the magnetic and piezo pups will be fine for me.

    I've bookmarked this thread so we can compare notes, if you'd like. I'm taking pictures, could you possibly do the same?

    EDIT: For the record, I'm using the Radio Shack piezo buzzers for elements, not the film as you've suggested. The film ones will most likely require a preamp, whereas the buzzers have enough output without. Also, I'm not an actual luthier (yet!), I'm just a guy who likes to tinker. Your idea sounds well, sound, to me though, and I may end up doing something similar even if my method works, since I never can leave well enough alone :)
  3. Well under the saddles i tought about that but i was wondering if there was a way to make them kinda invisble... let's say i'll be using the film piezo, it would be very difficult to make them un-noticable due to their size. Then i guess if ever i manage to place them under the saddles, i'll have to drile hole thru the bridge to get the wiring inside...i don't know if i'm getting it right.

    I wonder how to get them somewhere on the saddle, un-noticable, getting the best result and, of course, not damaging them by the string adjustment allen screws (being compressed by the screws, DIRECTLY under)... The bridge on this noname looks like this :


    Spacing between saddle adjustment screws is 10.5mm and saddle diameter is 9mm... How do you figure doin' that?


    EDIT- I Must say i'm not a luthier either, it's probably why i ask question like that... i dunno!
  4. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    Hmmm. Under the bridge is probably better, but if I were going to try under the saddles, I'd put a strip of thin copper or aluminum metal underneath, and wedge the elements between the metal strip and the bridge itself.

    As to wiring, well, I don't mind having wires visible on my bass, but if you do, this would definitely involve drilling through the bridge.

    The pickguard on my bass is close to the bridge, so I'd only have a 1 1/2" piece of exposed wiring harness poking through. Now I'm thinking I may as well not bother trying though, reintonating the bass and adjusting string height afterwards would be too much of a pain to make it worthwhile, and since no one else has done it yet, it may just plain sound bad, too.

    I'll be starting it saturday night, I'll post some before/during/after pics of my work then. Good luck!
  5. i was talking earlier about hiding the piezo under the bridge or the saddle and making it unnoticable well... i talked to some CNC machining friends and i might just be able to have them machine me some new saddles that would accomodate the smallest piezo buzzer available..

    it might take a while before i get some other developement but i'll get you posted!

    i had another idea..... maybe keeping the saddles intact and machining another bridge wich would like a little like that (sorry i used paint for a quick preview)


    i hope you get the idea

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