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Installing pickups from vintage rhodes, pointers?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by andershardeland, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. andershardeland


    Apr 5, 2013
    So, a good friend of mine had been told by a db player that the best pickup for db use are the ones from original Fender Rhodes 71. So, my good friend has a lot of vintage keyboards, and says he'll give me four. Thats awesome, but i dont know how to mount them best way possible, and how to interconnect them, and get it out to a jack output. Any thoughts?

    I am really looking forward to eliminating monitor feedback. Currently using Fishman bp 100. Sound is awful. But mixed together with a magnetic pickup, it might work.

    Please, excuse me if the language is a bit off, not a native english speaker.
  2. Probably any other pickup is better than the BP100.

    You need to mount the magnetic Rhodes pickups at the end of the fingerboard, metal end showing to the strings. Have a look at the magnetic Schaller double bass pickup to get an idea how to do it. Connect the pickup coils in series, that's what is done with the Rhodes (in groups of six, I think).

    But I would prefer a better piezo or contact pickup. You only need a magnetic one if you need to get really loud (loud electric blues band, rock band etc.). Any piezo pickup I use works with our big band, which can get rather loud sometimes. No feedback problems.
  3. andershardeland


    Apr 5, 2013
    Obviously, if i had money to actually spend on equipment, i would. Since i dont, i will have to rely on what i have, and what i can get my hands on cost free. Also, i was considering attaching them down at the bridge, but there is not as much string movement down there. I`m thinking that if i attach them at the end of the fingerboard, its probably gonna need some sort of a casing, so that its not wound copper shining all around.

    As said in original post, i would use this for a live setting, where i need proper (loud) monitoring, without feedback, and the sound engineer will probably have a proper microphone that is better suited for the PA, but I NEED to hear myself.

    Also, obviously, I love to experiment, and enhanching the sonic possibilities of the instrument is very interesting to me. Suddenly, you can have effects on the beast, and use it for non-acoustic stuff.

    And again, excuse my english.
  4. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I did something like this with a P-Pass pickup once. You will probably need a string ground to keep the hum down, and steel strings of course. For the mount you might try cutting up a piece of plastic plumbing pipe which matches the radius of the cutout under the FB, and attaching it with velcro.
  5. andershardeland


    Apr 5, 2013
    How did it sound? And what do you mean by string ground? Thin wire going down to one of the strings below the bridge?
  6. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Well, it sounded like a magnetic pickup! It worked well for some blues gigs on large stages I was doing at the time, but definitely not very acoustic. A Rhodes pickup might sound better though, being presumably designed to grab more highs than a slab bass pickup.
    String ground - yes, a thin wire running down below the bridge somewhere and touching all strings.
  7. ED6C8A22-F839-4D4D-AFD8-5B2142295759.jpeg 0FEDCADC-9DBD-4F56-A8EC-A6BDC44A24B4.jpeg I did this on my electric cello (I already use a Krivo on DB) I used heat shrink and drilled into the fingerboard. These are carbon fiber plates. They are wired in reverse one to the other to cancel noise.
    16fuss and james condino like this.
  8. E543FCB4-1974-44F6-8729-30AA736ED723.jpeg I also tried this, but the two sounded better and was easier to balance. Four were tight on cello string spacing but barely worked. Probably has to do with the vibration mode compared to guitars.
    16fuss likes this.
  9. Krivo sound better, but definitely more of an ebass sound.
  10. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    If you are doing it for the challenge, good on ya'....

    I've made and repurposed a lot of pickups over the years. If you think that somehow from all the effort & time you will save money, there is no way this will in any form compare to spending $35 on a Vic's pickup. Things have come a long way since 1971.....
    16fuss and zootsaxes like this.
  11. I was trying to duplicate a cross between the Krivo, bowtronics, and a European design for 1/10th the price on my cello. The piezo that came with it was dreck. I got the pickups for about $3.50 a piece. The carbon plates and screws were about $12. Not something I would play out professionally, but for silent practice or processed, it’s ok. String balance on cello is a problem when you play in the upper positions.
  12. nbsipics

    nbsipics Ours' is the only Reality of Consequence Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    Now ya' don't see that every day. Cool
  13. Martin Beer

    Martin Beer

    Dec 4, 2004
    I think bowed strings have relatively large side to side motion with the vertical component more damped. So I guess the two pole pickup works better because it's detecting the strings moving in and out of the magnetic field laterally, rather than towards and away from the poles vertically. I never managed to get acceptable bowed response with the magnetic double bass pickup I had, a Kent Armstrong with four poles.
  14. Bowtronics and Rebo place them in-between.
  15. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    Your ground also has to attach to the ground lug of the jack.
  16. Not 60 hertz ground buzz, rather ambient emf hum when wired in straight series. I wired them like P-bass halves i.e. the core wires connected and the secondary wires going to the output.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
  17. Fleo


    Jul 1, 2006
    Are you using a suitable preamp?
  18. Wrong orientation of the poles. The top part should be in-line with the strings.
  19. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 9, 2021

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