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Old 13th July 2006, 04:52 PM   #1
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Default Piezo pickups

If this is the wrong place- shoot me.
Looking through the electric bass players forums there has been interest in Peizo pickups over the last couple of years - including with solid body instruments. Unfortunatly, bass player spend most of there time playing bass ( which they should) rather than puzzling over the science. The definitive website has yet to be written.

There are very expencive piezo bridges and some people have taken the oposite route. Ripping tweeters apart and gluing a single element under the bridge.

Questions:-
Does it need to be mechanically linked to the string? eg "compressed between the bridge and the body. Could it be stuck "near"?

I know that it is best to use a high inpeadance pre amp, but I read that you must not use a bipolar. Why not? Yamaha basses use a TL062
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Old 13th July 2006, 06:47 PM   #2
Tim__x is offline Tim__x  Canada
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It needs to placed somewhere were there will be significant pressure changes, or significant flexing. Generally, the only practical place you'll find these things is under the bridge/saddles.

Piezo elements are a capacitive source, as you said, you must use a high input impedance amplifier, there's no reason why it can't be bipolar just as long as it's high impedance.

The TL062 is fet input, it's not all that great with but two redeeming factors, it's cheap and it draws very little current.

P.S. "Musical Instruments" would be a more appropriate forum, but honestly, you probably wouldn't get any useful response posting there.
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Old 13th July 2006, 08:11 PM   #3
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opps! I'd forgotten about musical instriments. But until the moderator moves me.......

I also didn't know about the TL062.

Does it need to be clamped hard or "floated". Hard would be better. Since it transferrs the sustain to the wood better. Also its a bigass 5 string with a shed load of tension. Hard would make it stable.
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Old 13th July 2006, 08:27 PM   #4
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
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I've moved you. You might find it worthwhile to rephrase your question in terms of piezo tweeters and ask it on the loudspeakers forum, or perhaps the analogue forum.

You want a nice high input impedance at your pre-amplifier >1M, so FET input op-amps are good. TL062 allows operation from a single battery, but TL072 is lower noise.
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Old 13th July 2006, 09:28 PM   #5
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Have you thought about piezo film? It's reasonably inexpensive, relatively easy to interface, and can be placed in some novel spots.
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Old 14th July 2006, 08:03 AM   #6
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If you haven't already seen it, there's a therad on TalkBass about using Radioshack sourced piezo elements. Also either in the pickups forum or in Luthiers, Rick Turner has made a number of posts about how he designs for his products and the Dtar stuff as well.

If your bass has a Fender style bridge there are some altenative pickup saddle assemblies available. Otherwise get ETS to machine you up one to match your original and spec it with piezo inserts.
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Old 14th July 2006, 08:45 AM   #7
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Don't laugh too hard..but..

A friend and I got bored one day,and grabbed some planks of wood and whatnot,and built up some very crude guitars.
For pickups I used piezo discs on each string (only 4) with a spring(!) soldered to each disc,and then the string (bailing wire) coming off of that,with an adjustable clamp at the top of each string for "tuning".
Added a switch with a cap,for "tone" and a pot for volume,and plugged it into the "phono" input of a stereo reciever..
Worked pretty well,and sounded alot like the bass guitars I've heard in Tool,Primus,etc. I built up a couple quick-n-simple fuzz effects on a breadboard,and we had lots of fun playing along to music..(or,erm,trying to..we suck.)
I still have one of them somewhere..I should take a pic.. LOL
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Old 14th July 2006, 09:18 PM   #8
Tim__x is offline Tim__x  Canada
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"If you haven't already seen it, there's a thread on TalkBass about using Radioshack sourced piezo elements"

I already advertise for talkbass too much so it didn't feel right for me to mention it. But now that it's been brought up...
http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showth...ighlight=Piezo

It includes several posts by a much more poorly informed ( ), two years younger me.
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Old 15th July 2006, 09:25 AM   #9
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Actually, it was Talkbass that got me started.

What I was really looking for was particulars. "mounted under the bridge" is open to a little interpretation hard or soft?, and the high impeadance preamp is kinda skipped over. (I do have the Yamaha TRB5P scheamatic though). Talkbass reflects what people did as bassists rathed than scientists.

I was just hoping for an alternative slant on the subject from the guys who crunch preamps for breakfast. Ther might be a "better" Piezo
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Old 15th July 2006, 09:43 AM   #10
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Can you send the Yamaha schematic to me? I'm building a 6 string fretless semi-acoustic, and I will be using piezo and magnetic PU's.
I know, I know, it's not exactly rocket science but I am still eager to see how Yamaha did it.

I'm not sure if the PM button works so here's my e-mail address: Jarno.Verhoeven@planet.nl

Thanks!

Regards,

Jarno.
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