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New German pickup system

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by BelfastBass, May 2, 2005.

  1. Visited Luthier Tobias Pheoling's workshop near Viersen, outside Dusseldorf, Germany last week. Tobias learnt his trade in Bridgewood and Neitzert, London before returning to Germany and is doing some really fine work not only as a maker of basses but also in his research into pickups.

    As well as trying out his extensive and impressive array of basses, Tobias introduced me to a new pickup system which he has developed and which was introduced recently at the Frankfurt Music Fair.

    The pickup is cleverly built into the bridge and if you follow the link below, you'll get some idea of what it's about. This is an extremely natural sounding piece of equipment and looks great as well! I know Tobias is keen for more players to try this pickup and will respond quickly to any queries.....


    Can I add one more thing - Tobias is an absolute gentleman, and although I didn't buy a bass from him this trip, I'll certainly be returning in the future.....
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Looks neat -- except that you can't use it on a bridge with adjusters. I had a similar pickup about a year ago.
  3. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    Gary and I played with different "in the bridge" mounting positions after David & Ned put a legal squash on the original Revolution pickup we designed. I think we even jumped the gun a bit and called it the "Revolution AXIS". The sound was good...but in the end we decided DIY installation and the ability to remove the pickup easily for non-amplified gigs was pretty important.

    Did Tobias encorporate the ability for the pickup to be removed?
  4. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    Tobias is going to send me a pick up for trial. I will post some results when I get them. Ray why don't you think it can be installed with adjusters? it seems to be very low profile and easily oriented around them? Anyway I am planning to have it installed in an old bridge that is a bit warped but still serviceable. I still dont know even what it is yet...Piezo or something else?
    anyway about 15 years ago when I was at CalArts there was this (very Good) european bassist named Zoltan who had a similar pick up. It was made by a German Luthier I think. I really liked it at the time. It seemed like a wilson with one big element in the E side leg. It sounded really good too. I didn't buy one cause I wasn't into drilling into my bridge (I still think the Full Circle is a really clever compromise) but since then I have been thru a lot of pick ups and those that pick up the E side leg seem to be the way to go and are getting better every year (Realist, PUTW, Upton, Full Circle)
    I dont get the need for phantom tho, unless it is a contact mic or something...
  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The pickup sounds best right where the adjuster is. With the one that I had we were left mounting it above the adjuster (the foot didn't have enough wood) and it ended up really unbalanced overall, and real pickup-y on the E side of the bridge while sounding great for the D and G.
  6. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    was it this pup or another?
    are you playing in the city this week?Any thing good to recommend? im in town this week...
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    It was the Planet Pickup. Too bad it didn't work out because of the positioning thing, because it was probably a great pickup if it was in the right spot.

    Planet Pickup
  8. Hi guys,
    it looks as if it's time to clear up a few things about this new pickup.
    The picture on my website only shows the cable leaving the bridge, the part you see is not the pickup.
    The p/u sits in the bridge foot, it touches the front and picks up vibrations this way rather than through the bridge.
    Ray is right, there is a problem with adjusters, the threaded bit that goes into the leg, is normally too long. The only adjusters it will work with are the ones from Titanovation (www.titanovation.com) which have a very short thread.

    The pickup is not a piezo!

    It's an electrostatic contact microphone. It needs phantom power either through an amp or a pre-amp. An on board pre-amp should be available some time soon.
    Even though it's a microphone, it doesn't have more problems with feedback than a piezo, less in fact.
    The question about easy removal I have to answer with no, once installed it's not meant to be taken out again. But as it doesn't change the sound of the bass (and believe me, we checked this quite thoroughly) and doesn't really look very intrusive (only a cable from bridge to tailpiece with jack socket) I can't see any reason why you need to remove it for acoustic gigs.
    OK, I hope this helps the discussion along a bit, I'll be happy to answer any more questions and am looking forward to flatback's review; pickup is on its way to the Westcoast!
    Have a nice day
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm sure it sounds very good, but it's too bad you have to jump through so many hoops to install it. I'll be honest, the installation routine would pretty much turn me off of getting one. I hope you sell a bunch and get lots of satisfied customers, but too bad you don't have a way to make it a DIY installation.
  10. In my experience working in a violin shop, most people buy their pickups there. We were selling Realists, K&K, Underwoods and all sorts of other p/us. Nearly all customers asked us to fit the pickup for them, which we either did for free or for a small fee.
    With this new pickup the plan is to sell them through violin/bass shops where it can be fitted. As the fitting is fairly quick, once you've done it a couple of times, charges shouldn't be very high.
    At the moment I can't see a way of making it a diy fitting p/u, but I think people who like the sound it produces, will go through that little extra effort of seeing their local luthier.
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well, I guess that's good if you have a local shop you can go to, which I don't think I do. And if I do, I haven't found it yet. Having said that, musicians will quite often jump through whatever hoops they need to jump through to get the sound they desire, so you're probably right that if your pickup gives them the sound they want, they will do whatever it takes to get one. I wasn't trying to be argumentative, by the way. Just pointing out my initial impression of seeing it.
  12. That's quite alright, I know it would be easier to have it diy fitting. I guess one way for you, if you haven't got a repair shop or anything near you, would be to find someone who does woodwork and has a pillar drill. The soldering you can probably do yourself and that's all you need. Or, if you want to make absolutely sure that it's done right, send your bridge to me and I'll fit it. Would take about a week I guess, depending on mail speed.
    By the way, I like a good argument about the pros and cons of the p/u, we are at an early stage with the selling and marketing, so every constructive argument helps to get rid of a few hoops and sell a few more p/us ;-)
  13. Peter Kaae

    Peter Kaae

    Oct 10, 2004
    So, what´s the price for this pickup?
  14. Having just read the forum guidelines again, I discovered I'm not allowed to disclose this information in the forum. I'll put prices on my website in the near future, so just check it out there.
  15. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    I am in NYC this week. I just heard Larry Grenadier (I bought his previous bass and just love it) with Chris Potter and Bill Stewart. Larry is so deep. Then I went down town and heard my good friend Ben Street playing with some Cuban cats. Man, Ben is heavy. Such a deep musician. He is playing his @%$ off these days. It was a memorable night.
    I just read your suggestion about the adjusters. They sound interesting although VERY pricey. 180.00 Euros is a lot of money for adjusters. I am really interested in the sonic possibilities of titanium...I am a big fan of the Camelopard endpins, and the design of these adjusters seems very interesting but...I'm going to have to work something out, because I NEED adjusters. I travel with my bass and the action goes up and down a fair degree. Any way to modify normal adjusters to fit your pick up?

    I'm glad to hear that it is a contact mic. i have been curious about how that might work built into the bridge. I've got a bunch of phantom powered preamps..I really like the D-tar solstice right now but I'll try everything i have.
    Does it terminate in an xlr? Do you have pictures of it unmounted? If not I'll post some when I get it.
    Again thanks, I'm looking forward to trying out what you have made,
    Piro Patton
  16. Hi Piro,
    Nothing like that happening around here, if I want to see some good bass players, I go back to London and see my former customers play. Not that there aren't any around here, but it's a lot of travelling around to see them.

    What kind of adjusters are you using? I would have to think and experiment a bit and see if it works, these titanium ones are great, people here start using them now, they've only been available for a very short time, but first reports are coming back and everyone thinks they are a great idea. Thing about them, if the top moves due to change in humidity, the feet don't fit properly any more. With the ball joint in the adjusters, this problem doesn't exist. Sure, they are expensive, but still cheaper than a new bridge, or nearly.
    The pick up has a standard 1/4" jack socket which is mounted on the tailpiece.
    I'll take some pictures of the unmounted thing, will also put that on the website, everyone seems to think the pickup sits in the back of the bridge.
    I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the p/u.
  17. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    So many interesting innovations coming from europe these days. I am very interested in these adjusters now. I have always loved to find luthiers and inventors who think up novel ways to improve instruments and sound reenforcement. My father who is a drummer, first hipped me to a retired aerospace engineer who began making super light weight drum equipment (axxis)out of aircraft aluminium because he hated carting around all those heavy cases. His products became a big hit, despite the lock all the big manufacturers had on the business. Mike Pecanic's products and Camelopard endpins and all the noble attempts at the next great pick up and Velvet strings (in fact all of Schertlers stuff is good). I have an appointment with David Gage tomorrow to check out his Czek bass- a weird truncated traveling upright that looks interesting and has had some really good reports. Gage also has Slone tuners which I think are the best around (or at least that I have seen yet) There are great new amps out there too with light weight speakers and Cabs and preamps and amps that just keep getting so much better.
    I used to not give that much of a damn about all this stuff, but when you play a gig and you feel and sound great because at the very least, your instrument and equipment are not failing you or sabotaging your concentration, you realize that attention to the details of sound is vital. And then there is the microscope of modern recording where every buzz and dead spot is like a spotlight...
    Let me know if you figure out a way to use normal adjusters though...it would be really beneficial to not have your pick up tied to buying an additional $250.00 adjusters even if they are the next great thing. Almost everyone I know uses adjusters and very few of them would be willing to plunk down that kind of bread for just the adjusters.
  18. Hi Piro,
    I know exactly what you mean, even though I'm not a player myself (well, only when noone is listening), I have spend many a day trying to get the best out of people's basses, in London we had some of the greatest bass players in the shop who needed problems solved.

    What type of adjusters are normally used in the States? Before I've come across the titanium ones I always used the wooden ones.
    I think that fitting the pickup should be possible in every bridge that has about 1/2" space in the foot between front and adjuster. It might mean having to turn the adjuster around and have the thread go up into the bridge rather than the foot. And it depends greatly on the design of the bridge if this is possible without drilling through.
    I'll do a few more experiments this week and let you know the outcome.
  19. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    Mostly in the states w use aluminum adjusters, and I have seem them with the threads in both directions. I really encourage you to try for a work around that can accomodate these different adjusters as everyone here uses them or some variation.
    The guys from Titanovation have agreed to send me a set of the titanium adjusters for trial/review and suggested I send them a bridge blank so that they can install them as they should be for the absolute best fit. I think I will do this. Is there anything special I should tell them so that it can accomodate your pick up more easily?
    I am looking forward to trying thes new products, and review them here when completed.
  20. Piro,
    It would be easiest if I would fit the adjusters.
    Alternatively you could have the pickup fitted first, making sure that it's fitted with the cable coming out as low as possible in the leg. They would then have to fit the adjusters above the pickup. Or tell them to fit the adjusters so that there is 1/2" or around 15mm free before the thread of the adjuster starts. I spoke to the guy who makes them, at the Music fair in Frankfurt, he said it was no problem to have a short thread in the lower section. If he doesn't remember, maybe give him my details so he can contact me before fitting the adjusters.
    I'll let you know of my progress with standard adjusters,

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