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Piezo Panic

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by cozmic, Jul 29, 2003.


  1. cozmic

    cozmic

    Aug 8, 2002
    Germany
    Hi Everybody,

    I have a problem with a piezo pickUp on my fretless bass.

    I have a fretless bass, equipped with 2 Kent Armstrong Studio humbuckers, a brass milled Bridge, Active Noll Electronics and a active mix pot for mixing the magnetix pu´s with a piezo pu. I installed a B-Band piezo strip under the bridge, right where the strings rest on it. The screws of the Bridge (3) are tightened. The Signal coming from the Armstrong pu´s is ok , but the piezo signal has very little bass. The trim pot on the mix pot is already set to full. Any ideas on how this can be fixed? Could it be, that the piezo element doesn´t pickup enough of the strings oscillation, because the bridge is consuming everything? Or is the placement under the bridge the problem, because there´s not enough room for the pickup to pick up the oscillations from the strings? Would it help to replace the brass milled bridge by an ebony one?

    Thanks in advance

    Andrej from germany
     
  2. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I don't know anything about placement of Piezo transducers, but if I remember right, you need to have a buffered preamp for a Piezo...Fishman, Highlander and others make good ones.
     
  3. cozmic

    cozmic

    Aug 8, 2002
    Germany
    Hi, the Noll mix pot includes in fact a buffered preamp for the piezo...the two signals are mixed via this mix pot (see http://www.bassline-bass.de for info) and then routed into the tc3pm preamp (see same page). I have a signal, and it is loud enough, but you just hear very harsh hi-mids and highs. No bass...and one thing, I like about the piezos is the growl...but where is it?
     
  4. John East

    John East Commercial User

    Jan 10, 2002
    Oxford UK
    Owner of E-Pro & East UK
    I've a little experience of piezos having designed some electronics for them.

    Your problem sounds like there isn't enough vibration for the piezo in that you've tightened the bridge hard down onto the strip, constricting it. Is that what the instructions say you should do? Obviously your bridge has to be screwed down.

    Most of the piezos I've seen utilise the vibration from the string saddles on top of the bridge and so are only restricted by the pressure and vibration of the strings.

    I know on the B-Band for uprights, the bridge is just resting on the piezo strip and therefore the vibrations aren't restricted, due to the bridge being screwed to the body.

    The pressure on a piezo is crucial to getting a good full sound. Too much and it's strangled!

    Worth contacting B-Band for some advice I would think.

    John
     
  5. cozmic

    cozmic

    Aug 8, 2002
    Germany
    Hi John,

    I think you´re right, that the brass milled bridge doesn´t pass the vibration to the b-band. I´ve untightened the screws a little and it got better, but it´s still not satisfying. My concern is, if the bridge is too "loose" maybe the overall sound will suffer. What´s you opinion? A friend installed that b-band on his fretless, but it´s got an ebony carved bridge with the strings resting on bone. His sound is very brilliant and has lots of low mid/bass growl. Maybe the ebony is passing the vibrations much better than the brass. I replaced my aluminium bridge a while ago with a brass milled one, because the sound of the aluminium was to harsh in my opinion and brass was meant to sound warmer. Now it seems it´s way too heavy for the piezo... :meh:
     
  6. This is an interesting thread...

    I know a bit about piezos too (though not, I guess, as much as John East) having used them for years (though on acoustics). A piezo works by sensing pressure differences. I guess it is not going to sense much in the way of pressure diffs under an enormous, heavy brass bridge.

    What about trying your lighter bridge again, or (and I have no idea if this would work or not) putting the piezo between a piece of veneer and the body (the kind of hardwood veneer you would use to shim a neck or a nut), and them screwing down the bridge on top of the veneer.

    Now, if you put a piece of veneer between a normal under saddle piezo and the bone saddle on an acoustic guitar, it sounds like ****. But perhaps in this case if would add just enough flexibility to the system to make it work.

    If you do try it, let us know what happens.
     
  7. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I don't know if the system you are using supports this, but on my Rick Turner Electroline, bridge is heavy, but piezo ribbons are under the saddles, not under the bridge itself. So, only the downward pressure of the strings is involved, and it sounds great.
     
  8. John East

    John East Commercial User

    Jan 10, 2002
    Oxford UK
    Owner of E-Pro & East UK
    I don't know enough about the B-Band to advise but it would seem a bad idea to have your bridge loose!

    Is your B-Band actually designed to be fastened down under a bridge?

    It's usual to transmit as much vibration as possible to a pressure transducer rather than restrict it, such as the scheme Brooks talks about on his Turner.
     
  9. cozmic

    cozmic

    Aug 8, 2002
    Germany
    In fact, the B-Band isn´t designed for Bass at all. But it works perfectly together with an ebony bridge. So, as it is a piezo with a moderate price, we tried it on a bass with a brass bridge...and that´s where the problems started...

    It´s designed to be put under a bridge, but under a bridge that carries the resonance from the string over to the pickup. So, i´ve got to work out a solution here. I guess, we´re on the right path. I´ll try the sugestions next week, as i can´t find any time this weekend.

    thx so far to all of you.

    Andrej
     
  10. The B-Band is designed to sit under the saddle of an acoustic-style bridge--the saddle moves freely to transmit vibrations to the pickup. It isn't meant to go under a metal electric-style bridge.

    Mike
     
  11. cozmic

    cozmic

    Aug 8, 2002
    Germany
    So, maybe I should replace the brass bridge with an ebony bridge...sad but true... :O)
     
  12. I'm afraid so, unless you want to replace the B-Band with individual piezo saddles from RMC or some other company that makes them.

    Mike
     
  13. cozmic

    cozmic

    Aug 8, 2002
    Germany
    Another idea I have is, that i´ll saw the bridge in 2 pieces. One which is screwed and holds the ball ends and the other one with the saddles in it which i could mount on a swingable construction, so that the b-band could do his job...
     
  14. I'm not sure a "swiveling" plate is quite what you want. Rather, you want the feet of the saddles to rest on a flat piece of wood or bone that can move freely to transmit the vibrations to the B-Band. Even with a regular acoustic bridge, though, getting the saddle to put correct pressure on the pickup and the output levels from each string to balance out is a bit of an art. I expect it would be even harder with an arrangement like this.

    Good luck!
    Mike
     
  15. cozmic

    cozmic

    Aug 8, 2002
    Germany
    Problem solved... :)
    Here´s what I did. I replaced the B-Band with a Headway "The Snake" System. Tightended the outer 2 of the bridge fixing screws full and loosened the inner one a little. That did the job. Now I have a great acoustic sound with lots of lows and crisp highs.
    No additional work needed to be done.
    I think, the B-Band was just the wrong choice.

    Thx for all your suggestions!
     
  16. jojo

    jojo

    Feb 13, 2004
    Hi Cozmic from Germany,
    could you send me a picture of your solution?
    Where exactly did you fix the snake?
    I am looking for a solution for a completely different bass,
    an Ibanez BTB.

    Gruesse von JoJo
     
  17. cozmic

    cozmic

    Aug 8, 2002
    Germany
    Hi,

    it´s fixed under the bridge. I drilled a tiny hole through the body, so that the wires would fit through and fixed the Snake directly underneath the bridge. The bridge presses the snake onto the body. That´s all.

    The Problem with the BTB is the mono rail bridge. I guess, it would also work with that bridge, but you could see the snake, which is fit underneath...

    There is a system from Schertler, I think, which replaces the pieces of the bridge, where the strings rest on, and the piezo is built into these...Ibanez uses a similar one on the EDA Series, which is produced by Fishman.

    Andrej