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Piezo pups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by dwynsen, Feb 25, 2001.


  1. dwynsen

    dwynsen Guest

    Aug 31, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    Does anyone on this board have experience with piezo saddle pups? I'd like to hear your opinions. Thanks.
     
  2. snyderz

    snyderz

    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I have a Stingray 4 Five Knobber(piezo). I actually use it more than I thought I would. Definately softens or 'acoustics' the MM. I use it a lot as a blend with the magnetic, and I like the tones I can get. I play a fretless, so I like the sound.
    Doc
     
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    All these questions and many more are answered in the "Pickups" forum.

    Will C.:cool:
     
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I'm sure this will be moved to 'Pickups' but I am gonna go ahead an post.

    I was always one of those who thought that piezos were gimmicky and had heard a lot of negative things about the clackiness and rattles associated with lower priced piezos. I had thought about getting a bass with them once or twice, but always figured that they really wouldn't benefit me, and weren't worth the extra dough.

    Then I bought a used fretless Zon Sonus Custom with piezo bridge saddles, thought 'Yeah, that's nice, whatever, I'll never use them though.'

    Boy was I ever mistaken! The piezos bring out facets of the basses tone that do not come out through the magnetics. I use at least 40% blend piezo almost all of the time, and on songs where I am looking for that woody, almost double bass vibe, I use the piezo exclusively!

    This bass, even with just the 2 Bart soapbars, is the most versatile bass that I have ever owned(It's got me wondering if I should buy a fretted one too!:)), but with the addition of the piezo, I can get any tone that I hear in my head!
     
  5. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I have installed a set of Fender-compatible (and as a result, compatible with many other bridges) piezo saddles from GraphTech. They are really wonderful-sounding, quite better than others I've tried. No clank, just tone.

    As a result of my satisfaction I have become a dealer and expect my first order from them soon. I'll put up info and photos on my site at that time.
     
  6. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    HI all, first time post from a long-time reader.

    Just wanted to chime in. I've been looking at installing piezo saddle pickups in my bass (a Peavey G bass 4 string) for some time now and have been doing a lot of research as a result. The most inexpensive solution I could find was the one Bob Gollihur refers to, the GraphTech piezo pickups (also includes a preamp as well). I got the kit from Stew-Mac for $140 or so. Believe me, that was by far the cheapest way I could find to go.

    However, seeing as I'm abroad in Australia at the moment, I ain't had time yet to try installing it! So I'll need to look into that when I get back to the UK.

    Bob, any tips? Since I'm installing it in a bass that is already active I am anticipating a few complications.......let me know about your experience. I've been trying to figure out how to get the system to mesh with the already complicated electronics in place. I've currently decided to run the Graphtech system independently (ie use its own battery instead of adding to the drain on the ones already in place), and then take the output into a 25K blend pot to blend with the output from the mag pu AFTER the Eq section. This means the EQ section will control only the mag pu already in place.

    Any thoughts anyone? I have been agonizing over this installation for ages, because of a few worries I've got:

    1. The G bass uses 2 9V batteries. But I don't know whether it runs as +/- 9V or as +18V/0V. I wondered if I might accidentally fry the piezo preamp if the signal is too 'hot' and I run directly from the Peavey's electronics into the preamp (as the instructions indicate you can do with a PASSIVE pickup output).

    2. I need to figure out a switch to turn the system off or have it controlled by the jack so that I don't drain the battery continuously.

    that's all I got for now. All and any replies appreciated.

    Pete
     
  7. dwynsen

    dwynsen Guest

    Aug 31, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    Hi Pete! Welcome. I believe Stew-Mac might be able to help you untangle your wiring puzzle. You might diagram what you've already got (and take a photo of the guts), send it to them and ask 'em to help you figure out how to incorporate the piezo kit you bought from them. BTW, where are you from in UK?
     
  8. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Sounds like fun, Peter. I think you are right in placing the blend post-EQ. That's what I will do -- thusfar I have mine just dummied in and using an external preamp for testing. When I get their preamp I will install it, though will share 9v batteries with the Bart preamp in mine. I'll do the same thing with my Fender A/E when I install a preamp it it for the piezo side, which comes stock without one.

    The Peavey is almost certainly an 18v situation. With the low drain from preamps there would be no point to use 9v batteries in parallel. So you do have the obstacle of turning the piezo preamp on.

    I thought that switching jacks were available, although I don't know if they are obtainable in a barrel jack form (assuming-- I don't know the Peavey's setup) -- I sent an email to a friend who is up on those things and will let you know what I find out.
     
  9. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    hi dwynsen, I'm from Edinburgh (see my profile for bands, etc). Where are you? Good idea about talking to Stew-Mac - I didn't know they did that sort of thing.

    Thanks to Bob G. also - very kind of you to talk to your friend. While over here in Oz I have been buying electronic parts (pots, switches, etc), mainly because they're not so easy to source back in Edinburgh - e.g 25K blend pot is kind of not common. Also Tandy have closed up shop in the UK so now I can't go to them....

    I'm going to have to sit down and figure out a circuit where neither the native electronics or the piezo module are active until a cord is plugged in .....if I can.......I have just bought a 9-pin stereo output jack so perhaps that might be of some use......

    It certainly is complicated. Thanks for your help.

    BTW, I have been (re)learning electronics again and a Radio Shack book I have found good for beginners with a background of high school physics is one I picked up in Sydney - 'Beginner's Complete Electronics Short Course' (or some such name) by Forrest M. Mims III. Look at it if you want to learn the basics.....it's taking me a while to get thru (1st couple chapters in 3-4 days or so) but is very nicely laid out/explained.

    TTFN!
     
  10. dwynsen

    dwynsen Guest

    Aug 31, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    Hi Peter! I'm located in Columbus, Ohio. A few years ago, I visited Aberdeen. Very nice people.
     
  11. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I have found that an endpin jack that K&K Sound uses has switching capabilities and could be a solution. It is used in some of their pickup systems, and I think I understand that it will do the job. I am verifying its potential application for this task.

    Only thing is, of course, that it is larger in diameter, long, and designed for use in acoustic guitars, which means instrument modifications. Still don't know who makes it, but might get Dieter at K&K to send me one just to check out.
     
  12. dwynsen

    dwynsen Guest

    Aug 31, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    Carvin uses a switching jack for their active electronics. I believe they sell 'em. Check out their site, and leave 'em a message asking your question. They're good about getting back to folks.
     
  13. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Hi all. Tried going to the carvin website but the 'contact us' page isn't working correctly - errors occur when I try to post a question. Odd...

    Perhaps getting my hands on an appropriate jack may be a littl ebit too much ahassle - do let me know how the K+K one looks, Bob - but we'll see. I may just use a switch somewhere to turn the piezo circuit on/off - not sure yet. Of course there would be problems with 'pops' unless I buffer it with a capacitor, but easily done I think. Still working......

    I'll be offline for a day or two - I'm leaving Sydney tomorrow (Fri) and will be flying for a couple of days. So, don't worry if I'm incommunicado - I'll just be on a plane somewhere. Edinburgh, here I come!

    Talk to you all soon.
     
  14. ChrisRae

    ChrisRae

    Jan 25, 2001
    North Wales, UK
    How do people rate the Fishman piezo pickups as fitted to some Wawicks?
    How do they compare?
    Thanks.
    Chris
     
  15. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Hi all....back again.

    Have made it back home and have been contemplating an idea which makes (I think) my soon-to-be-performed circuit surgery workable.

    Simply put, I have had a look at the kit I was sent and I think that I will run the piezo/preamp and mag pu/EQ sections separately as I said before. I will send the piezo/preamp output to a volume pot and then simply use a blend pot to blend between the two separate electronics systems.

    This will then go to a 9-pin stereo output jack, with either 'side' of the electronics system (piezo 'side' and mag pu/EQ 'side') going to one 'side' of the jack (the 9 pins = ring, tip, signal ground for each 'side' + another ground, as well as 2 extra pins which I do not yet know the function of). This should theoretically keep both 'sides' from being switched on until a cord is inserted, as the circuit is incomplete until this occurs.

    So, the system schematic looks like this:

    (18V).............................(9V)
    magnetic pu ................piezos
    | .......................................... |
    3 band EQ ................. preamp
    | ........................................... |
    volume ...................... volume (25K pot)
    | .......................................... |
    \_blend pot (25K pot)___/
    ......................|
    9-pin output jack (switching)

    (sorry everyone I had to edit this a few times to get it looking right - the periods are there in place of spaces, please ignore them, just look at how the solid lines hook up)

    A few questions:

    1. Does anyone know of any reason why this would not work? Anyone got any better suggestions?

    2. Anyone know what the extra pins are for, or where I can get more info?

    3. I also want to know whether using the jack in this way will give a composite output which is suitable for simply entering into ONE instrument input on my amplifier.....or will there be a problem that I am not forseeing here?


    One benefit of this idea is that using a stereo cable I can send the two signals to two different systems (e.g. amp + pa, or two channels on an amp, or two channels for recording...)

    If anyone else has any bright ideas please let me know. Thanks all!
     
  16. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Is this the jack you have?

    http://www.stewmac.com/catalog/1.asp?name3=Special_9-pin_Switching_Stereo_Output_Jack

    Dunno if they do so, but often Stew-Mac includes diagrams or supplemental information with some items (like blend pots). Perhaps they have the schematic for this component.

    Otherwise, time to get out the ohmmeter and a stereo plug - it's all going to be straight short/open connections and should therefore be pretty easy to figure out.

    If you don't have a VOM it's a good investment (I prefer analog over digital); Sears usually has a little one, often on sale, for around $15.
     
  17. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    >If you don't have a VOM it's a good investment
    >(I prefer analog over digital); Sears usually has a
    >little one, often on sale, for around $15.

    Addendum to my own post. Seems Sears has a Sun/Mon sale on the same little meter I've been using for the last few years -- tiny, cheap, and just right for occasional needs. Only $9.99 (special purchase while supplies last) -- it has only a single resistance scale, but that's good enough for continuity tests on cables and such, and also has a 1.5v and 9v battery test capacity, nice for checking those 9v cells we seem to need for so many things.
     
  18. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Yes, that's the jack that I bought (now I have two since one came with the kit).

    Thanks for the tips about the sales Bob.......Actually, I own a VOM (analogue) so I'll get cracking with that. Doing all the basic electronics reading has been beneficial I have to say....for me anyway (med student so I'm a bit more up in physiology/etc).

    Well, I guess since I don't hear any criticisms, I'm going to assume that this schematic will be workable and go ahead with it. Time for some routing I guess.....

    My only other thought is that perhaps the blend pot is superfluous if both 'sides' have their own volume pots. So perhaps I won't bother with it...it's one less hole to drill at least.

    Wish me luck. I'll post results to this forum when I'm done.

    Pete