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PU placement - keeping that upright vibe?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by reverendrally, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. So I got my headless working and altogether except for electronics. Between the flatwounds, the fretless board and the chambers it does a great upright sound acoustically. However, I don't want to put a PU in it and lose that sound electrically. So I wondering about where to put the PU. Where can I put it and keep that upright tone?

    SIhorn with ehrlund pickup by simpleinnovation on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free


    I'm using a chinese wilkinson MM passive PU.

    Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    p.s. no I'm not putting piezos in it, I've had nothing but sadness from them on my upright and I'm not interested in going there again.
  2. aronnes71


    Jan 4, 2010
    Alta, Norway
    If you wire up the pickup and hold it over the strengs and move it upp and down on the strings till you find the sound you want and mark that spot.

  3. aronnes71


    Jan 4, 2010
    Alta, Norway
    By the way, love the bass and the build trend!

  4. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Closest to the fingerboard as possible. Warm but not as bright.
  5. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars

    Also I would suggest foam mutes.
  6. I agree with Rickett but, just for conversation's sake, if you like the unplugged sound, have you thought of using a mic? I know that's what some acoustic guitars have. It's basically a mounted mic on a flexible stem. Put it where it sounds best but beware of feedback playing at high volumes.
  7. edt844


    Sep 9, 2010
    Chalfont, PA
    That bass looks cool. I love the balance of a headless guitar or bass. I think I'm going to take my recent headless guitar plans/research and redesign it as a headless bass.

    Ed T.
  8. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    I've found that with the right approach to EQ AND preamplification, the PBass sounds VERY acoustic.
  9. The soundclip I posted in the OP has the bass with an Ehrlund Linear mic stuck on the top. I liked the sound, but it was VERY, I mean VERY prone to feedback. Like way too much. I guess I could try it again, but it's also a very exy approach to a cheap prototype. Also, the top isn't big enough to transfere the bass frequencies effectively.

    Hence the mag PU instead.
  10. Fair enough. Experience is more effective than theory! My thoughts for a mag PU is as close to the fretboard as possible.
  11. scojack


    Apr 1, 2009
    Maybe a bit late now.... but never think of using piezos?
    Love the design btw !
  12. hey Jack, but experience has taught me

    piezo = scratchy, quacky, electric sounding... and you need racks and racks of preamps.
  13. edt844


    Sep 9, 2010
    Chalfont, PA
    Ever try a JFET preamp with a 1MOhm input impedance?

    Ed T.
  14. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    I'd agree, in many cases. One notable excepting is Harvey Citron's basses, they sound close to magnetic.
  15. In past experiences I found that piezos do amplify annoyances like finger noise more readily. However as someone else posted in your other thread, Mr. Mottola has a wonderful solution to that problem. Basically he isolates the transducer/bridge assembly in a bed of silicone (something that I'm sure you haven't tried on your upright bass). I have done the same thing with various experimental EUBs and have found it to be very effective and I ran the signal though very cheap 2, 3 and 4 channel pre-amps (Behringer and Belkat) with very convincing results.

    I know you don't want to hear (tough luck buddy ;)) but IMHO I'd first try the piezo route with something akin to Mr Mottola's idea before soiling that bass with a mag pickup... it just sounds sexy with the contact pickup in the recording you posted.
  16. what piezo element are you using? Can you throw me a link?

    I'm not anti having a go, but my past experience (and others too) with piezo has been so bad I'm pretty over them.

    I'm also looking for a cost effective solution. The MM PU cost me $20...
  17. Let's just say that I'm a cheap-skate at heart so I've never bothered with the high-dollar options. The piezo transducers I've used ran the gambit from the ones I yanked out of toys, PCs and other discarded electronic devices to the ones sold here and here.

    IMHO it's the execution in using a piezo transducer that matters most.

    BTW... this looks a lot like the Belkat pre-amps I bought several years ago that also come with an elongated bridge piezo (although from a different supplier) when experimenting with EUBs.
  18. What is the EQ like? I'm not beyond giving that lower one a go. I think I'd need to redesign my bridge though.
  19. right, so I bid on the lower pickup and preamp. But if it doesn't work.... oh well.
  20. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    I'm not sure what piezo's you have been using and in what configuration,but. I haven't found piezo quack or scratchiness a problem even with the cheaper Artec piezos these days. The Highlanders, David Gage, K&K, Fishman, Barcus Berry etc. Are all much quieter, and almost all come with some type of buffer to prevent the harshness. My personal favorite lately has been the EMG AT 093 and AT 125 with the EMG buffer are quite good in an under saddle situation, I have also read these work under standard metal bridges(something I have not tried). The piezo films are much less prone to quack and give a more even response across the bandwidth. Just my .02 on this. Good luck with your adventure.

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