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Which bridge & pre-amp on a piezo only bass?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Easy Rider, Aug 25, 2003.

  1. I hope this is the right place to post this. Here goes:

    I'm in the process of building/assembling a piezo-only fretless, my first ever instrument making endeavour.
    Before I have the neck made I need to know which bridge to use.
    I've been looking around for piezo bridges, and I can get one easy and locally: an ABM.
    Are these any good? The piezo bridge will be the only pickup on the bass, so it'll have to be good, as I'll explain later.
    If anyone has experience with piezo bridges I'd be glad to hear about your findings and recommendations for a bridge.
    I'm also looking at what kind of pre-amp I want. Usually I find that piezo pre-amps are pretty tame in tone flexibility, just a volume and a three band EQ. Is the inflexibility in tone inherent to the use of a piezo pickup? I'm used to having the flexibility of having a sweepable mid-range, so I wondered: are the more tone-flexible pre-amps for magnetic equipped basses also usable (with or without modifications, either is fine) for my bass? I want the piezo because I want the bass to lean toward an upright-like tone, (I'll be using flatwounds) but I don't want the upright tone exclusively (otherwise I'd get an upright, right?) Also, because of my design for the bass (it involves some woodcarving) I don't want any mag-pu's on there.
    What are my options in this? Or am I asking the impossible?
    Many thanks in advance for any help.

  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I think you'll find that the Shadow/ABM that AllParts sells to be a little harsh on its own.

    People here have reported that they like th Graph Tech or RMC enough to go it alone, but I have not used either of those.
  3. I've got a set of RMC piezo along with their hybird active preamp. Too bad they haven't been installed yet so I can't really tell you first hand experience. But I've read quite a few testimonials that they're nothing short of amazing and can be use completely without the aid of traditional magnetic pickups.
  4. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Shadow cells on their own are a no no, except for an acoustic.
    On the other hand, Graphtec work like a charm.
    If you want to use piezos for aesthetical reasons, going Lightwave pickups would be a much better idea.
  5. do they now sell those to individuals instead of exclusive manufacturers?
  6. Thanks for the replies!

    So, I'd best steer clear of that ABM bridge then.
    I'll go and have a look into Graphtec/Graph Tech and RMC!
    And lightwave would be a tad expensive, way too expensive for my first bass project. But it would be a good choice for both sound and looks. And indeed, do they even sell those to individuals?

    I could still use some help on the 'which pre-amp' question, although I have to admit it's not quite as pressing right now as the choice of bridge.
    Thanks again!

  7. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    You can buy Lightwave pickups directly from them now.
    I have some going onto my next custom.
    They have been sitting in the box for a few months. :(