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Piezo pickup options

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Nick man, May 13, 2002.

  1. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Hi everyone. I need help with my pickup/preamp options for a bass I'm building.

    I started a thread with the information before which relates to the piezo pickup and buffer system, but got only 1 reply which led me to thinking that maybe I should ask the pros.

    So here I go!


    Please go there and help me by giving any help possible.

  2. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Doesnt anyone have advice?

    I was really hopeing to get some more useful information on this stuff.

  3. dhuffguitars

    dhuffguitars Luthier/Bass Wanker depending on your opinion

    Sep 18, 2001
    I don't have much experience with piezo's, sorry.
  4. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    Since you are going into different preamp/eq circuits, I'd suggest a buffer circuit of some sort ...BArtolini has one for example..
    as for the foam issue...don't know how that will affect the piezo's sound...
    sometimes all you can do is try it and see....
  5. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    What does a buffer system really do?
    Is one nescesary?

    Thanks again.


    PS: Hey Darrin, a while back you recommended I go to Gilmer Woods for the wood I was going to use on my project, and they just came in today.

    They look great and I cant wait to get it all together.
  6. Skorzen


    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    You might want to check out the MIMF they have several threads about piezos in the library.
  7. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    strickly speaking, no a buffer isn't necessary.

    But I usually go thru a series of 1 meg trim pots to allow adjustment of individual string volume..

    A buffer circuit is just what the name implies...it acts as a buffer between the active component and the outside world, so the latter doesn't backwards affect the pickup thru different load resistances, etc. It also serves to even out things when there are differences, as might be the case here going thru different preamps...

  8. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I plan on using this with an EMG pre system.

    To my knowledge they dont offer a buffer system, does anyone know otherwise?

    What about the Bart system? What exactly does it offer (independant string volume, tone shapping, etc...)?

    Thanks for all your help, I really apreciate this.

  9. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    The main role of the Bartolini buffer is to get the impedance of a piezo signal to match that of a magnetic signal so they can be blended and will sound good. The Bartolini MPB has a piezo in and a magnetic in. and an out for both signals that can be blended with a 250k dual-taper blend pot. You don't get individual string controls, but you do get a magnetic/piezo blend that sounds good.
  10. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I personally dont like blend controls and would rather have seperate volume controls for each.

    Is this possible with the Bart system?

    Also I plan to use EMG and I know that they use 25k pots. Would this cause problems?

    Im startimg to think it might be easiest to just try wirring the piezos directly to the volume knob and preamp. If it doesnt sound good then I might try something else.

    Ive emailed EMG before with no return, does anyone know of a better way to contact them? Is this usual.

  11. gyancey


    Mar 25, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Load resistance and capacitance play a large part in determining the frequency response of a piezo system. A buffer circuit is designed with this in mind and keeps things like cable capacitance from affecting the piezos. 1Mohm trim pots can be used like DP said, but I would still use a buffer too since load resistance isn't the only parasitic piezo's are concerned with.
  12. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Thanks for the advice.

    Im considering the F.A.A.S. system with the preamp.

    I figure it is best since I can use it with most any bridge I choose. Would it work in a Hipshot style B?Im choosing either that or a Gotoh bridge.

    Does anyone have this?

    There are a few different accesories I can get with it, and I was wondering if any are worth getting.

    As of now Im thinking to wire the Piezo pickups to the FAAS buffer/ pre, to the EMG Pre.

    Any objections?

    Thanks in advance.

  13. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Hi Nick,

    I have recently undertaken a project similar to what you appear to be desiring. I am having a tech install the FAAS piezo system into my Peavey G-Bass, with a volume for the FAAS and an optional 'mid' blending switch.

    My main problem was that the Peavey's electronics were 18V. However, after emailing Graphtech, I found that I could still use their piezo preamp system without frying it (as long as the bass's current electronics were supplied by their own supply and the piezo system by its own battery also).

    I haven't heard the results yet, but I will this Thursday when I get it back.

    Another tip: adequate buffering with a preamp is essential to getting a good sound out of these systems. Mismatching of impedance results in a clacky, tinny, trebly , bassless sound which is nigh on useless. I found this out when I built a homebrew piezo system out of the piezo element from a greeting card! When plugged into an input on my amplifier without adequate impedance, it resulted in this kind of poor tone. HOwever, when plugged into the other input (1 MegOhm impedance) the sound improved dramatically. That's when I starting investigating piezos and found the FAAS system.

    At any rate, you can run an 18V signal into the FAAS piezo preamp and the preamp will allow independent control of the mag/piezo volumes.

    Good luck! I'll let you all know how the FAAS turns out.


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