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K&K Rockabilly Fingerboard Transducer Placement?

Discussion in 'Rockabilly [DB]' started by ricobasso, Dec 6, 2019.


  1. ricobasso

    ricobasso

    Jan 18, 2007
    UK, South East
    I bought one of these K&K Sound Rockabilly Fingerboard 'Clicky' Transducer (Pickup) for Upright Bass at Gollihur Music - Double Bass, Upright Bass, String Bass Specialists

    but have not been able to get much out of it. I have a small 2 input high Z mixer. My regular bridge wing pickup works great but I get very little output from the f/b pu when slapping. So far I've only tried a couple of pu positions, both on the underside flat part. I'm thinking this does not move as much as the scooped out end nearer the bridge. However fitting a flat piezo to a scooped surface is problematic.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. I haven't used the K&K, but I have the similar Shadow rockabilly system. I have the clicky at the flat part of the fingerboard, and have no problem getting lots of sound from it. It would surprise me if the K&K is very different.
     
  3. 210superair

    210superair

    Sep 10, 2019
    I have the same pickup on two different basses, and in one I run a realist for the bridge, on the other the k&k wing pickup. I use the k&k preamp for both basses. On both clickity pickups, I have it right where the fingerboard and the neck meet. I played around with where to put it, but honestly I think you can stick it anywhere near the top and dial it in with the preamp controls.

    I'm not familiar with your preamp, but the k&k is really great, and I've heard similar good reviews about the shadow Fredrik is running. Maybe the problem is the preamp...
     
    dhergert and Fredrik E. Nilsen like this.
  4. bassburner

    bassburner Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2008
    Just for kicks, did you try swapping the inputs that the pickups are going to do ensure that the one the clicky is going to is working correctly?
     
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  5. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    I'm using a Vic's Model C which has both wing and fingerboard piezo pickups feeding into a stereo output plug, which then feeds into my onboard K&K Dual Channel Pro ST blending pre-amp.

    I've heard the K&K pickups are pretty similar to Vic's, so from that standpoint my fingerboard pickup is mounted in the scooped out area just a little south of where the neck is joined to the body of the bass, opposite of an area where I've tap-tested the fingerboard and found its most resonant point.

    ...And after having to replace a messy fingerboard pickup installation that came with my bass, I've mounted my fingerboard piezo under there, sandwiched in Velcro, so I can remove, adjust or replace it without un-taping or un-gluing any area of the pickup itself, freeing it just by pulling the Velcro apart. Even with that much thick material between the pickup and the fingerboard I'm still getting huge signal out of that piezo, so it sounds to me like your fingerboard piezo, and/or the pre-amp, and/or one or more of the cable connections leading to/from it, aren't working right.

    An easy check of either piezo is to simply rub it with your finger with it plugged in and supposedly working; piezos are normally very sensitive and they will literally pickup the sound of your fingerprint as it rubs against the piezo housing. Since your wing pickup is working, you can compare the wing piezo rub test results with your fingerboard piezo. If you can clearly hear the rub test with your fingerboard piezo, it's working ok at this time and the problem may be with your pre-amp or amp settings...

    If not, I'd still double check all your EQ and blending volume settings to make sure they should be working right, and I'd also check all your cables and in particular your cable plug connections, possibly even swapping connections and cabling with your wing piezo since you know it's working properly. Getting a new fingerboard piezo would be the last and most time consuming option; it would be unusual, but it could still possibly be the solution.

    Good luck with this!

    Edit: Mark Gollihur is a joy to work with if you have to get the piezo replaced... Or if you need further suggestions on how to manage this.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
  6. ricobasso

    ricobasso

    Jan 18, 2007
    UK, South East
    Thanks for the replies. Both pickups are working fine. Both inputs on the pre-amp work OK. If I scratch either of the pickup surfaces directly with my finger they sound equally loud.

    When playing, the Ashworth pu in the bridge wing sounds great - always has done. That's my main sound. On the other hand, the K & K pu, which I've recently added to get more click from my slaps, hardly produces any output from my slapping. I've tried a couple of positions on the back of the fingerboard, both up near the body join (on the flat part of the underside). Not much difference.

    I've exchanged emails with the Gollihur shop. They say more gain is always required for the fb pu than the bridge one. I will try this out.

    Meanwhile any more suggestions for the best "sweet spot" or how to find the best spot on the back of the fb will be gratefully received.
     
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  7. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    With my tap testing on my fingerboard for a "sweet spot", I looked for the most recognizable tone and volume as opposed to thud. But that's pretty subtle, primarily affecting tone, and it didn't make a significant difference in pickup volume, so from your description I really don't think that's your issue.

    With my K&K blending pre-amp I run EQ flat-high and gain at about 20% for both channels as output to my amp where I ultimately tweak the EQ. But for a good blended volume balance I always run the bridge wing volume about 20% higher than my fingerboard volume, which is an indicator of how strong the fingerboard piezo is, as mentioned despite a thick Velcro layer between it and the fingerboard.

    On my setup since both pickups feed out through a single stereo plug to the pre-amp, I don't have this option, but you do... Have you tried switching the piezo outputs on your pre-amp? Is it possible that one of your pre-amp channels is stronger than the other?
     
    ricobasso likes this.
  8. 210superair

    210superair

    Sep 10, 2019
    Every bass is different as far as best position. You'll have to play around with it to see, but until you fix your issue, it seems moot, as that will change your sound anyway. I think the most standard spot is pretty far north on the fb, but again it varies.

    As far as the fb pickup needing more gain, mine is the exact opposite. At nearly no volume mine sounds good, and at 1/4 it's too hot for my taste, and can begin to sound like speaker clip. BUT, with my realist I have to run super hot, and the k&k, not so much, so it just all varies I guess.

    At any rate, good luck!
     
    ricobasso likes this.
  9. bigshiny

    bigshiny Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2010
    St Louis MO
    What amp and cab are you using?
    How loud is the band?
    How loud are the drums( if any) ?
     
  10. ricobasso

    ricobasso

    Jan 18, 2007
    UK, South East
    Can't believe that a piezo pu works well through Velco!!!!!! Can you post a picture?
    As I said, I get loads of signal if I tap or scratch the fb pu with my finger/fingernail, but I get very low output from slaps. I've stuck the pu directly to the flat part of the underside of the fb using the double sided tape that came with the pu. I should also say, I am using gut strings.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
    dhergert likes this.
  11. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Sure :) :

    Pickup layout.jpg Fingerboard Pickup Arrangement.jpg

    Edit: Sorry for the blur of the under-fingerboard pic, it was hard to get an image at all there. The reason I was even willing to try this Velcro arrangment was that the foam rubber double-face adhesive tape that comes with the pickup is also thick, indicating to me that the pickup design includes some buffering material between the pickup and the fingerboard. Note that a Velcro sandwich is also in place below the pickup, around the rest of the pickup lead under the fingerboard, eliminating the possibility of rattle.

    The pickup and lead can be removed simply by opening up the Velcro sandwiches. And since the Deuce1 bridge has a set screw for holding the bridge wing pickup in place, the whole pickup system can be removed and replaced easily and without worrying about cleaning up non re-usable double face tape.

    Regarding volume, I get complaints from my wife (also in our band) when my slap is too loud. That happens pretty frequently.

    3) pre-amp and wiring, driver side.jpg

    Here's the K&K Dual Channel Pro ST pre-amp. The left volume adjuster is for the fingerboard pickup. Typically, when I have the bridge wing at 6:00, I'll have the slap at around 4:00. There is lots of headroom.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
    Keith Rawlings and 210superair like this.
  12. You need the K&K preamp to balance the levels. It also has internal trimpots for EQ. It helps.

    Errant noise from the lead to the clicky is a separate discussion.
     
    210superair and getrhythm like this.
  13. bassburner

    bassburner Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2008
    That's weird. I always have my fb pickup way lower than the bridge one or it sounds way out of balance.
     
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  14. 210superair

    210superair

    Sep 10, 2019
    Same. This must've gotten backwards-Ed somewhere along the lines...
     
    dhergert likes this.
  15. Same here, with the Shadow Rockabilly-system.
     
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  16. 210superair

    210superair

    Sep 10, 2019
    Since it may help the OP, how do you like that shadow? Almost got that instead of the k&k. If you've played both, any experience pearls? I've heard they're quite similar sounding...
     
  17. bigshiny

    bigshiny Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2010
    St Louis MO
    I’ve been using the K&K RAB system since it came out around 1999. I use that pu and all plain gut on all 3 of my Basses. Your location of the clicky pu is fine. Just add some more volume and sweep out the lows and maybe some mids, boost the treble a bit too. Oh, and by the way. If you don’t have a tweeter/horn in your cab you’ll be fighting to get that frequency audible. Just my .02
     
  18. I haven't tried any other similar systems, but I like the Shadow. The bridge pickup is great by itself (I often use it as backup on my other basses). True to the sound of the bass. The clicky sounds like it should sound, and it's easy to get a good balance with the pre-amp. All in all, I'm very happy with it.
     
  19. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    And me too, as I mentioned earlier. (I'm using Vic's.)

    The OP's situation and some of the specific K&K pickup related responses in this thread have me wondering if the K&K fingerboard pickup in general is less sensitive compared to the non-K&K variety of fingerboard pickups that we are using.
     
  20. Keith Rawlings

    Keith Rawlings

    Aug 3, 2019
    Dhergert - I like how you have the slap pickup wire running through the foam on your bridge. It looks very clean. I’m going to have to try that.

    As far as placement of the clickity pickup, I have my Vic’s Model C directly above the scoop out in the fingerboard, which is directly under where my attack hand snaps for the slap. I’m very happy with it - I’m even putting a little delay on that signal for an old room reverb type feel for the slap and it sounds great!
     
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  21. Primary

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    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.

     
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