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I made a piezo pickup and preamp!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by RumbleBot, May 1, 2020.

  1. 88ABB9E1-5604-430E-AF6E-2E5F74ABB6F4.jpeg So, I've had this old Vantage VS600B forever and never play it, so I thought I'd use it as a project bass. I've always liked the sound of the wood with my ear against the horn so I decided to try to build a piezo pickup system into this bass.

    I build a basic buffer amp circuit to get the piezo impedance where I wanted it (diagram attached). I had some old Radio Shack piezo buzzers that I tore apart and used as the pickups. I tried them first under the bridge but it didn't have any weight to it. So I installed them in the neck heel and the sound was heaps better.
    It as now missing some mids so I put in a noname humbucker from ebay. I had to build another buffer circuit with an internal trim pot to keep the pickup from loading.
    That worked! And to keep the controls simple, I used a stacked volume knob to blend them together.
    Still got some kinks to work out, like the battery is staying on (forgot to wire to the jacK) and the humbucker picks up EMI (probably have to shield the cavity around it), but it's pretty usable as is. Pretty functional as a dirty EUB substitute.

    Here's a messy little demo video of the tone. It picks up sound from all of the wood. In the video, I start out with just the piezo then blend in the humbucker about halfway through.


    Attached Files:

    Snaxster and Matt Liebenau like this.
  2. AceOfBassFace


    Jun 23, 2019
    Interesting - sounds pretty nice actually. Would it be usable live?
    Is there a reverb effect on there or is that being generated through the sound of the wood/strings?
  3. The reverb must’ve been on on my board. It’s not from the bass.
    As for live usability, I should really test the sensitivity of it. See if I get some low end feedback. I’m surprised how much I like the humbucker blended in. As some nice mid clarity.
  4. JKos


    Oct 26, 2010
    Torrance, CA
    @RumbleBot ,
    Can you describe how you mounted the piezo(s) between the body and neck?

  5. They are just little wafer disc, about the size of a dime. I just used a dremel tool to carve out little recesses for them to sit in without being crushed by the bolt on pressure. Too much pressure and they just sort out. I was able to drill a routing hole from the neck joint to the pickup cavity for the wiring.
    Really wish I took more pictures instead of just going for it.

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