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Question about piezo bridge

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by CoffeeBass, Aug 21, 2007.


  1. I have been thinking about putting a piezo bridge in my P-bass. I had another thread about this and thought that I wasn't into it, but the more I listened the more I liked the sound:bassist:

    I found this piezo bridge on ebay for about $60 (probably too good to be true) but am wondering what I would need to buffer/blend this with the existing pup?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=290151744595&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=019

    To be honest, I have never done any mods to my bass so I am kind of clueless about how to re-wire it. :help:

    Thanks in advance.:)
     
  2. elros

    elros

    Apr 24, 2004
    Norway
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    You will probably need a piezo pre-amp (buffer) like the Bartolini MPB1-918 or MPB2-918. It comes with installation instructions, but if you don't know electronics I recommend taking your bass to someone who does. There's no limit to the amount of problems you could have if you don't know what you're doing.
     
  3. Don't do it! As far as I know you cannot get anything valuable in this price range.
    The examples you heard were from another manufacturer.
    I know that ABM and RMC make good ones, but these cost at least three times the list price of this one.
     
  4. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Piezos themselves a actually quite cheap. The RMC is waaaaay overpriced and there may be nothing wrong with this one....it may be junk too and that's the risk you run buying something unkown on ebay.

    You will have to put a preamp in as the output impedance of a piezo is over ten times that of the magnetic.

    What do you hope to achieve with a piezo? Every one I've heard in a metal bridge (including the very expensive ones) sounded like crap for me although I've heard other guys get nice sounds from 'em.
     
  5. Thanks everyone for the replies.
    lets see... in order..

    I do have experience working with electronics, just not in regards to my Bass, but it is good to know that bartolini makes a preamp that would work.

    I am not seriously considering buying this piezo, it just brought up several things to consider as I so more research. I think I am going to track down some guitars with the same set up and try them in person first. But I appreciate the warning.

    I have read in some other threads about people making their own piezos and them sounding fine, so I could see the "high end" ones being over-priced. That being said, I am not about to try and make my own right now. I hope to expand my tonal pallete. I have been looking up various artists using piezo/mag set ups and there is something unique about the sound. I don't really have the right words to describe it but I am sure you all have heard what I mean.

    I have been playing for about 11 years, only in the last year have I gotten any where near serious about it. I am self-taught and have not had the benefit of being around more experienced musicians very much. Up until recently my standard settings were vol: all the way up, tone: half way up, on the amp: bass: way up, mid: way down, and treble: off. I am working on a project with some pretty mellow music now and am realizing how much I do not know. I am looking for a different sound. I have already seen that improving my playing is the number 1 thing, but while I am at it I feel that an upgrade is due for my bass as well. I am going to experiment with this P-bass, play as many other bass' as I can get my hands on, seek out those more knowledgable than myself (You all), and practice,practice, practice.

    I cannot express how helpfull this forum has been. There is a wealth of knowledge here unlike what I have seen anywhere else.

    Thank you all sooo much for your time and willingness to help.

    Benj
     
  6. Koeda

    Koeda

    Aug 21, 2007
    Nashville
    Hey hey Benj,
    Don't be discouraged - makeing a piezo pickup is not difficult. I mad a whole set for drum triggers - dead easy. Am putting together one for under the Jazz Fretless at the moment and should have done in the next couple weeks. Since I am hoping to keep it passive will try to do so buy using 3 (for convenience Radio Shack Model: 273-073a at $1.99) in parallel under the bridge. Going to initially try with a push pull on the neck vol as a piezo-neck pu seletor-vol controll. Otherwise if have to will add a pre to buffer the imp. I will let you know how it goes soon. One thing to keep in mind - piezos are really sensitive and especially on the hi freq. Have liked them better on the fretless over the fretted as it will really pickup the fret rattle unless you eq that out just fyi.
    Aloha,
    David
     
  7. +1

    I have two of the exact same bass (Ibanez EDA905) one is fretted one is fretless. They both have a magnetic pup and a piezo under the bridge. The fretted one was a nightmare to use - I went through every EQ setting I could think of on my amp, and tried half a dozen sets of strings (which for a bassist is a PITA) before I found something I could use and like the tone. I now have a 10-band graphic eq, i have a slight scoop in the mids and take the last band of the treble all the way down. I use elixer nanowebs and it sounds great...after alot of trouble...

    I got the fretless, didnt have to do anything to make it sound good - roll a little off the treble, boost the bass a mids a touch, and I was set.

    Just sharing my story. Be patient with ti if it doesnt sound good at first.
     
  8. elros

    elros

    Apr 24, 2004
    Norway
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    The piezo sound is IMO very good to have as an alternative to the normal mag-pup sound that we all know and love - because the piezo sound is so totally different. I use the piezo pickups on my Surine (which BTW has the above mentioned Bartolini buffer) on songs that are more soft, songs which aren't groove-centric, songs that like a more open sound... it's fabulous.
     
  9. All good points, thank you.

    I am going to the mainland (I live on an island) this weekend and am going to GC to do research. I will continue my quest and project when I return.

    Thank you all for your input.

    CB
     
  10. I've been using GraphTech's GHOST system on my MIJ P and very satisfied with the sound.

    Visit http://www.graphtech.com/ghost_info.php

    You will need... (from http://www.graphtech.com/ghost_faq.php)

    -Set of GHOST pickup saddles.
    -GHOST Acousti-Phonic Bass Pre-amp - PE-0340-00

    Optional mid boost is sweet too, but I seldom use it because its sound is too aggressive to my taste.

    If you're curious how GHOST sounds, here are some clips.

    http://www.mediafire.com/?cdyy9iydefe

    http://www.mediafire.com/?c1xidytlt1n

    MIJ P62RI with Fender 9050ML
     
  11. m.oreilly

    m.oreilly

    Jul 5, 2006
    Ukiah, CA
    yeah, i'm very pleased with the graph tech setup. fantastic on a fretless, i cant imagine not having a bass without the tonal/dynamic options piezos offer. i'll have to install a similar setup in my fretted, as every time i play it, i feel something is dramatically missing from my tone...
     
  12. Koeda

    Koeda

    Aug 21, 2007
    Nashville
    Yeah, definitely looking forward to adding a piezo to the fretless J. Don't think I would want that on my fretted though. As I have been mulling over the infinite options of buffers, pre's on and off board, switching, ... while I was making the underbridge plate - had a thought. Stomp boxes have an in of usually 1M - say like a Boss GEB-7. I was wondering if that would be enough impedence to buffer a couple piezo's in parallel. That's quite a bit more that the standard amp input so may do the trick. Should be able to satisfy my own curiosity over the weekend. Am making a .010" brass spacer plate with a pair of 1 1/16" holes for the 2 piezo buzzers. Am planning to solder the piezos to the plate for both a mechanical and electrical connection. May go to the ghost system if this proves unsatisfactory. But for a couple bucks and happy results with the drum triggers gotta give em a try. I'll take a pick and post next week just in case it works well.
    Aloha, David
    PS Benj - am also out on an island. No coffee cheries this time of year in my neighborhood though.
     
  13. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Bet you'd get better advise on this from Bass NW than GC.....
     
  14. You're absolutely right. I was not going to seattle but spokane to the east. I went, I played, I was pressured to buy the most expensive thing, nuff said. I did get a lot of insight into what I am looking for, or rather what I am not.

    I played everything from squires to warwicks and I found that I really like every Jazz bass that I tried and that my favorite pup combo was a p/j setup in an ESP. I am going to go to Bass NW as soon as I am in the seattle area again.

    CB
     
  15. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    The RMC is expensive, but not overpriced. I had a Shadow in an ABM single saddle bridge that sounded terrible and broke 3 times since I got it. Later, I switched to an RMC and have never had a problem. The Graph Tech Ghost System is supposed to be excellent as well, and it is just a little cheaper than the RMC. Don't be fooled, you get what you pay for.
     
  16. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Just more proof you need to really do your homework and check these things out before you spend your money. I have heard guys get nice sounds from metal bridge piezos but they never worked for me. I've played acoustic instruments too long and have a real definite idea of what I want from a piezo and the acoustic sound of a solid body through a metal bridge ain't it.
     
  17. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    I agree, it won't give you that natural acoustic tone. However, it can really add some nice definition if you blend it with mag pickups, and it can add some really fat low end as well. One of these days I'll get another bass made and have the luthier make me a wooden bridge with a good piezo. You made very good points, and I don't really disagree here. It's just all how you intend to use it. I play upright, so no need to make my bass guitar sound like one!
     
  18. Koeda

    Koeda

    Aug 21, 2007
    Nashville
    Hey hey, finally getting around to the project. Here is the progress so far. Could only fit 2 under the bridge. To insure they don't get crushed and to maximize the contact points - soldered (for a mechanical and electrical connection) the piezo's to a .10" brass spacer plate just the size of the bridge (pics attached). This will also serve as the ground for the strings now as well. Simplified the switching controls so far as well. Just added a SPDT on-off-on near the jack. Will serve as and output/off selector for the piezo: Ring-Off-Tip. Left it in this state last night - will finish up over the weekend. Will let you know how it sounds.
    Aloha Friday,
    David
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Yes, any stomp box will be helpful. Piezos theoretically should have 10Meg or higher but 1M is near enough in my experience. However a long and/or high capacitance cable will suck out your lows - best to have electronics as close as possible to the piezos.
    There's been plenty of discussion on the URB Forums about DIY preamps, with a very simple design posted by fdeck - just a high input impedance buffer with one transistor and about 50c worth of other components - fits on a bit of vero-board about 1cm square. I used one successfully with my home-made piezos ( www.fittell.id.au/piezo ; www.fittell.id.au/eub )
    That bridge looks interesting - looking forward to hearing how it works.
    My next plan is to remove the bridge saddles from a Jazz and make a wooden bridge that sits on the bridge plate with piezos sandwiched under it. I find the MSI piezos work best with plenty of downward pressure.
     
  20. Let us know how that goes. I tried it last year. Rubbish. It picked up as much rustle from my left hand as it did string sound.
     

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