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RMC piezos/Hipshot bridge experiences

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Peter Weil, May 27, 2005.


  1. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Dear all,

    I'm planning a Jazz bass project where I'd like to use a Hipshot 'A' bridge and retro-fit it with RMC 'ABM' type piezo pickups.

    Just wanted to know:

    1) Anyone had any experiences doing this?
    2) Anyone have any suggestions as to preamp? (Mag pickups will be passive and I intend to have NO EQ on the bass. I prefer the 'open' sound of passive PU's. I just need a buffer for the mag/piezo interface.)
    3) Anyone have details of how/here you drill holes on the Hipshot bridge in order to get the wires from the piezo elements back into the electronics cavity?

    Details would be very helpful indeed.

    Thanks all.

    Pete
     
  2. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Anybody?


    John Turner, I know you have RMC's in your piezo bridges....


    Pete
     
  3. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    Yeap.

    I used a bartolini piezo buffer and ran it at 18v. Sounded great and got the idea from Bill Conklin.

    Well if you don't want the bass to be string thru bridge then use the holes for that for the piezo wires. That's what I did.

    The RMC power bass saddles are made for ABM bridges so they don't fit perfectly center but they will work.

    Dan...
     
  4. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Thanks Dan.

    Unfortunately, I would like to be able to string the bass through the bridge, so I'll need to drill some extra holes.

    But I'd like to see some pics/schematics of how you actually got the wires from under the bridge to the electronics cavity....

    Pete
     
  5. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    I guess I can send you some if you want to see a really crappy routing job. :smug:
     
  6. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    :smug:

    Please, anything!

    PM sent...

    Pete
     
  7. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I'm bumping this again.

    Someone out there must have some experiences.

    And fivestringdan - how about some photos, if you're willing?

    Pete
     
  8. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    I have an A-style bridge with RMC piezos.... I'm your savior. If you want to do that, contact Jason at Hipshot and ask him what they have.... Here's what I know: Hipshot will specially make an A-style bridge that fits the WLK piezos...you can use the intonation screw with that setup. I have that in my new Linc Luthier Impression bass. With that setup shimming the saddles is not necessary, but it is still possible. Jason said to me that RMC and he were planning to modify an A-style to fit that ABM saddles. Trust me on this one, use the WLK with the specially modified A-style. You can have the Hipshot made of brass or aluminum, and in any string spacing. Also you should check out RMC's individual piezo bridges...they're nice too. Oh, and with the Hipshot, they make special holes for the piezo wires, and you can still order string-through-body if you want to (mine doesn't have string through)
     
  9. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Dave,

    You ARE my saviour! :hyper:
    I am all over that.
    What's Jason's last name?
    How much did it cost you?
    Can I also ask what preamp you ended up using? Strangely, my desire is to have passive mag pickups, the piezo, and no onboard EQ, so all I need is a buffer for the piezos/mags (bartolini do one for $70 that looks OK for that...).

    Thanks so much. I was beginning to despair until I saw this post....

    Pete
     
  10. whooomp!

    whooomp!

    Jun 9, 2005
    Hi Folks!
    WoW! Lifesaver thread! :hyper:


    Some of you may know me as bassman1956 on HCBF, where I spend a lot of time; and also on ebassist, where I have spent very little time. I think I was bassman1956 on here last year too, but can't get in as such, and the name's being used by someone if not me. So, although I dropped the webmaster a line, don't know what can be done about it... Anyways... bpocall forwarded this thread to me, or I would have missed it entirely.

    Am building a Warmoth Gecko Jazz 5. Not-so-recent pics can be seen at http://www.kew2.net/warmoth.htm
    This is close to the current status, as I'm spending a lot of time on the finish. But it's getting there. Main addition to those pic is pao ferro knobs, and stock for truss rod cover and thumb rest by THG Knobs.

    The bridge I got is a Hipshot Style "A". I wanted that style, and I wanted piezo. The bass has 3/4" spacing on the bridge. AMB's with the piezos is smaller, only like 5/8" max.

    After talking with both Jason at Hipshot, and Lea at Graphtech, I ordered the Hipshot. This was at the start of 2004: late January, early February. I don't remember which of them I talked to first, but they're supposedly in together on making piezo's for the Style "A".

    Jason got me a brass bridge already machined for this, and sent it off for plating. Now, it took longer than promised, but, I got it, and it's fine! It's prepped for both string through, and piezo wires under the saddles. So I routed a corresponding groove into the body for the wires.

    Well, Lea said it would be 4 to 6 weeks before the piezos made it to production. Which turned into another 4 to 6 weeks. Which became 6 to 8 weeks. Shortly after the start of this year, I called again, and gee, it's still 3 months off.

    I was ready to get the entire Graphtech package, saddles, preamp, all. Lea had me really talked into it. I planned for it! But after a year of this, I have given up on Graphtech ever doing anything more than wishful thinking about this project, and I really wish they had been straight up with me to start! They lost my business.

    So, after being coached by a few others, I contacted RMC. They mentioned the AMB type with shims, but said nothing of the Wilkinson type. I'll have to give Jason a call and find out what the mods are. I can always machine this stuff myself, but hate to screw up a perfectly good goldplate job! ;)

    I was going to go passive on the jazz pups, or active for jazz + piezos. The Graphtech lent itself to this. What would any of you suggest? How does the Bart buffer wire in? After the piezos but before the jack or preamp? Do you have a schem?

    Thanks guys!
    Oh, and sorry for the length...
     
  11. Not sure where you are with this project, but I'll toss in my 2 cents anyway.

    I have some RMC's on a Godin Multiac. I ran into some "hiss" issues and after a fair bit of dialog with Godin and RMC it turned out to be the type of opamps RMC is using. RMC sold me a daughterboard with sockets so I could put in new opamps which solved the problem perfectly.

    I was then looking to add MIDI to my bass with the RMC setup. I also wanted to go with a Hipshot trem bridge. Turns out the RMC saddles don't fit the Hipshot bridges but I talked to Hipshot at NAMM and he said he would custom machine a bridge for me. A solution but a bit of a pain. When it came to the RMC Polydrive preamp I was faced with the same opamp "hiss" problem. RMC refused to do a similar deal on a socketed Polydrive board suggesting I desolder the existing opamps and put in my own sockets. After looking at the size of the board and the issues involved I just sort of gave up with RMC.

    I met the Graphtech people at NAMM and was considering going that way, but after installing Q-Tuners I've sort of lost interest in doing anything else to the bass, it sounds just fine the way it is.

    Hope this helps.
     
  12. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Pete,
    Sorry for the delayed response. I've not been doing the TB thing much lately. Jason's name is Ungleich....and I think he is the son of the owner if I'm not mistaken. Very nice guy to work with. I went with the Hybrid B buffer preamp, and there are no EQ controls on it. There is an optional Master Tone, which will be a treble roll off that would affect the mags and piezos as well. I ordered mine without the string-thru-body holes, as Linc doesn't do that. The specially made plate has the intonation screw holes on the opposite side, as the normal bridge design has holes on the other side from where RMC's WLK saddles are. I don't know about the Bart pre, but I'm sure it's very good. RMC's system is dialed in just right for his piezos. Only thing is the Bart is a nice enclosed epoxied circuit, and RMC's is more open if you know what I mean. I hope that helps, good luck. BTW, RMC also makes individual bridges, but they are aluminum not brass. And, Richard McClish is fantastic to deal with if you email him (he never answers the phone). He is extremely helpful, and I would recommend his products to everybody. ;)
     
  13. whooomp!

    whooomp!

    Jun 9, 2005
    Looking on Graphtech's site last week, they have added piezo saddles for both ABM and Hipshot Style 'A' bridges. Pics are only the shapes, no real detail of the assembly. I haven't looked into this further tho.
     
  14. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Seattle
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    I am using the Graph Tech piezos in my ABM hardware and am extremely impressed with how well they work. An exact replacement for the ABM saddle, with only minor surgery to existing hardware. I have been informed that Graph Tech now makes altered hardware available so retrofitting isn't a requirement.

    Their pre (the GHOST system) does an awesome job of balancing impedance and output, but I cannot speak to their tone controls - I have gone passive with their offerings only to date.
     
  15. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I did not know about this! This is fantastic news. :hyper:

    I use the Graphtech system on one of my other basses and really like it.

    Now my ideal project Jazz Bass can go ahead with my favourite bridge choice (Hipshot 'A') and my favourite piezo choice (Graphtech).

    Just need to investigate what bits of electronics I need to buy with the preamp and I'll be set....

    Pete
     
  16. whooomp!

    whooomp!

    Jun 9, 2005


    Have you ever pursued this? If so, are they shipping Hipshot 'A' bridges with piezos yet? The last I looked, these still weren't listed as available product on their site. I gave up waiting, and just quit expecting them.
     
  17. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Yes, I partially pursued this.

    Ended up buying a Lakland Darryl Jones instead, and decided not to mod it.

    However - I did get as far as nearly ordering the bridge form Jason Ungleich at Hipshot, and Graphtech DO have the saddles ready to ship (although not curently listed on the website).

    So, if you want, your project could take off reasonably quickly by contacting the people mentioned above.

    Good luck!


    Pete