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Piezo's on fretted basses, anyone use them?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MrFortuneCookie, Mar 30, 2002.


  1. Does anyone here use piezo's on their fretted basses? What do you guys think? Is it worth it? I know a lot of people think they are worth it on fretless and not on fretted.
     
  2. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    I've got one. I use the magnetics much more, but I definitely like having it available. Piezo + frets can be pretty harsh sounding. Also, I've got the Shadow elements (commonly bundled with an ABM bridge), and I think they're not as good as they could be. I haven't heard RMC piezos yet but word is they are a lot better. My Shadows have some difficulties on the lower strings, they get out of alignment sometimes and sound fairly hollow.

    Generally, mixing in the piezos adds high treble and low bass and sucks out some of the midrange. If I boost the mids at 250Hz a bit the sound gets fuller again and it's very tasty. Doesn't cut through a mix however. And every little mistake you make (eg fret a little softly or too far back -> buzz) jumps out.

    They have a very sharp attack so it can add definition when slapping or (most useful I think) tapping.

    Also if you need special effects, switch to the piezos, crank up the treble, and scrape your fingernails on the strings. . . :) don't fry the tweeters though. . .
     
  3. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
  4. So basically, if i do either of those techniques a lot, it would be worth having, but otherwise, it basically probably isn't worth the money? Just trying to get the full opinion.
     
  5. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    Whether it's worth the money is up to you, what it is your looking for and what your budget is. :)
     
  6. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    yep. sounds good - like a classical guitar. i also like the rmc piezos more than the shadows - shadow used to be happening, but they've gone down in quality, imo.
     
  7. Well john, tell me, with the RMC piezo, do i need to have the midi port installed and run it all through the midi port, or can i have it all go through the 1/4" jack? Also, if i install the midi port, can i have it run through both the midi port and have the 1/4" run both the pickups and piezo?
     
  8. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    no, bill can hook up the piezos alone, with no synth connection.

    on the rmc synth setup instruments, the 13 pin port (not true midi, but control voltages) transmits the magenetics and the synth, and the quarter inch transmits the magnetics and piezos. you would use one or the other connection, depending on the situation, but you wouldn't have to use both.
     
  9. Ok John, thanks, i really appreciate your help. Two more thing, is the RMC synth the samething as the RMC piezo, only without the midi port there? Also, if you had the midi port there, would you be able to use an RMC fanout box to seperate the string signals?
     
  10. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    (hoping not to confuse the matter further :), or insult your intelligence)

    A typical guitar-to-MIDI conversion uses a pickup which senses each string individually (ie the Roland GK-2). These signals are processed a bit but mainly sent down the wire to the actual MIDI-converter box.

    If you've got a piezo system, you've already got a pickup per string. So it's only a matter of buffering the outputs (and maybe a bit more, not sure all what goes on inside the GK-2) and providing the 13-pin jack for the MIDI cable.

    So, the short answer, you can get an RMC piezo system. In addition, you can get their MIDI-buffer/driver for it. The Fanout Box takes the signal from the 13-pin MIDI-driver output, so yes you could add one of those if you had the full RMC piezo/MIDI system.
     
  11. FalsehoodBass

    FalsehoodBass

    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    i have piezo's in my stingray 5. Even for using a pick or fingerstyle, a little bit of piezo's blended in REALLY improves the sound to me. They're not just slapping or tapping.
     
  12. Thanks Geshel, i understand what you mean. Alright cool.