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Piezo, midi, v-bass options? - MERGED

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by nonsqtr, Apr 21, 2004.


  1. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Does anyone have a midi pickup on their bass?

    If so, what kind of pickup are you using?
     
  2. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    I don't have a midi set-up yet, but I'm working on it. I've done quite a bit of research on it, and the nearly unanimous opinion is that an RMC or Shadow pickup system (both use a piezo-equipped bridge) with an Axon AX-100 midi interface is THE set-up to have.
     
  3. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    So you have to have the special bridge installed on your bass to use that system?
     
  4. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Any piezo bridge can be used, as long as the outputs for each string are separate. ABM makes most of their bridges with a piezo option - pretty reasonable pricing on them at www.allparts.com . Shadow (Piezo bridges at Shadow ) sells the ABM "monorail" type individual bridges equipped with piezos; they have the ABM's as well, but their prices are a lot higher than allparts. If you want, you could probably have your existing bridge saddles fitted with piezo transducers. They're not real hard to do. Most luthiers can do it. RMC pickups ( www.rmcpickup.com ) has a pretty long list of authorized installers on their website, so you might want to get with one of them to see what your options are.
     
  5. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    By the way........you can only use 6 individual string outputs with midi guitar/bass systems, so if you are wanting to use a 7 (or more) string, you'll have to "sum" 2 of the string pickups to 1 output. Most guys sum the 2 low strings on their 7's to one output.
     
  6. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    There are also the Roland GK MIDI pickups that attach to your bass.. No modifications required. Probably not as "true" as the piezo/midi driver arrangement, but xush's set-up didn't sound bad at all...
     
  7. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Also.....the bass will also have to be equipped with the proper output jack to hook up to the midi interface. RMC has a couple of different models called PolyDrive 1, PolyDrive 2, etc., the main difference being where you want the controls located.

    Overall, you're probably looking at $600-$800 to get the bass equipped, plus the Axon unit, then you have to have some synths and/or samplers to trigger. The Axon units are selling new for $750 or $800, but I do see them from time to time on e-bay. The Axon unit can have an additional circuit board added that gives it it's own built in sounds, but I don't know how good they are. You can get all kinds of synths and samplers, especially the rack-mount versions (just the guts of the unit, no keyboard) dirt cheap on e-bay.
     
  8. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Yep, and Yamaha makes one, too. As I recall, their pickup is called a BD-1, and their interface is called a G-50. Bass Player reviewed this set-up quite a while back; the review used to be available on-line, but I can't seem to find it now. They were fairly impressed with it. These types of systems use what they call a "hexaphonic" pickup.

    This might be a better thing to use if you want to try out the midi thing without the committment of altering a bass. BUT, the drawback is that the pickups arent real adjustable; you can't adjust the individual height of each strings pickup, and you can't adjust the string spacing at all, so the bass has to have string spacing that is agreeable with the pickup. Basically, you probably won't be able to get the sensitivity of the system just right, and sensitivity is pretty much the whole ball game with these systems. You can get pretty good performance from the hexaphonic systems, but keep their limitations in mind before passing judgement on all midi systems. Some folks try out a low end system and come to the conclusion that all midi systems kinda suck.
     
  9. Hi

    Having just been part of a thread on Lightwave basses and their abilty to output via a 13 pin cable to a v-bass or midi converter, I figured it would be worth looking at what other options exist!
    I know this kind of output can be obtained from a piezo eqiped bridge such as an RMC unit, but whats involved in making it happen? can any piezo equipped basses be made to work i.e Musicman etc
    What retro fit units are available!
    Just looking at the options here so as much info and wild ideas as possible would be appreciated!

    Tony
     
  10. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    None.
    i think there are a few TB Conklin owners with this config.

    they'll be along shortly.

    have a seat please.

    :D

    f
     
  11. I saw a Roscoe with RMC piezo bridge with midi out on UK e-bay a few weeks back, turned out the seller was from Indonesia asking for wire transfer only! had him removed!! But this is the sort of thing I want to know more about, the midi out that is, not fraudulant f#ckwits from Indonesia (hope that doesn't offend anyone, but someone bid on this item!)

    Tony
     
  12. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    As long as the piezo bridge has individual wires for each string, you can use it for midi. Normally each string saddle has a wire coming out of it, but a lot of piezo set-ups have the individual wires spliced into a single output, so it just depends on if there's still enough wire from the individual saddles before the splice to use with a 13 pin output.

    RMC sells what they call a midi driver; it's the 13 pin output jack with the necessary electronics for a midi system. They've got a couple of different models depending on whether or not you want the controls on-board or not.

    I posted some more info and links just yesterday in
    this thread....
     
  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i have 4 basses equipped with the rmc poly drive and piezo bridge elements, some from shadow, and some from rmc himself - he's making single string bridge units that are really nice. i'll probably be getting these units for my doubleneck too, when i midi-trick it out.

    with more than 6 strings, bill conklin ties the lowest strings together to use the same output. since it's rare that you would want to play doublestops that low, that solution works out great, ime.
     
  14. Thanks, just what I was looking for!

    Tony
     
  15. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i've merged the two threads together that were asking the same thing. furthermore, this would be better served in setup as opposed to basses, so i'll move it there presently.
     
  16. wyliee

    wyliee

    Jul 6, 2003
    South Hill, WA
     
  17. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    well, my 2 8's have seymour duncan mm-style pickups, and my 2 hollowbody instruments have bart pickups in them.

    i sometimes use the piezos blended, sometimes use just the magnetics. i've recorded just with the rmc/synth before for certain things, as well as combination of bass and synth.
     
  18. Would a musicman Stingray with a piezo bridge do the job?

    Tony
     
  19. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    How's the state of the art with tracking a low "B" string these days? I haven't really done any serious investigations into Midi basses in a long while (a few years maybe), and probably things have improved. Last time I checked around, most of the bass Midi pickups didn't track the low notes very well. The only bass-Midi interface I found that did a reasonably good job with low frequency tracking were the wired-fret versions, like the old Peavey MidiBass (and that one was such a pain to set up that it wasn't worth messing with).

    Back a few years ago, people were using the high strings to play notes, and the low strings to do patch changes and such, 'cause the low strings were largely unusable for Midi from a note-playing standpoint (the tracking would go in and out, sometimes it would drop in the middle of the note and then come back, and other annoying things like that). Do you people with Midi setups find that the RMC's and the like track well enough for you to use the low B string? Do you find that the tracking is accurate even when you're playing "fast"? Do you need to use a pick or does the pickup function well even with fast fingerstyle?