Musings on a piezo bridge

dbw

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So I'm still totally in love with my LP.  All my other guitars have the strings rusting off... I never pick up anything else.  And if I want to play acoustic, I don't play my acoustics, I just unplug my LP and strum hard  :guitaristgif:

Obviously that's not satisfactory so I'll have to tinker!  :evil4:  I want some nice acoustic sounds from this guitar... then it will be the ULTIMATE.

And so I'm thinking about piezo bridges.  It's a TOM, obviously... how do I get the wires from the bridge to the control cavity?  Am I going to have to pull a stud and drill a hole?  :dontknow:

Which one do I want?  I believe the choices are Fishman, LR Baggs, and Graphtec Ghost.  Anyone know one from the other?  :help:

How do I control it?  I think this is the most difficult decision.  I have standard LP controls and I don't want to make any permanent modifications (yet).  I'm happy to switch to a master tone knob, freeing up one tone knob to control the piezo bridge.  So what do I do with this knob?  Well it could be a blend knob, mixing the piezo and magnetic pups together and making the control scheme VVBT; or it could be a volume knob for the piezo making the controls VVVT.  If I do VVVT I will probably make it a push/pull (NOT push/push, those things feel too loose for my taste) pot so I can switch on/off the piezo bridge.  What would be even better is a pot that clicks off when you turn it to zero, but I haven't been able to find those.  :(
 

tfarny

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4,481
You'll probably need to drill holes in your beautiful LP, first off, so don't take this on lightly. I'd go play a few piezo guitars through an electric amp for a while and see if you really, actually do like the sound.

You probably read my thread about junking my graphtech setup, and that was on a thinline with nice resonating body. Then if you want one, you probably want the fishman powerbridge TOM - http://www.fishman.com/products/details.asp?id=56 because it'll be minimally invasive for a TOM. THEN you'll need an internal preamp with battery. So if there's room in your LP cavity, no biggie, if not you'll need a rout for at least a battery box. Sound like fun?
And just from looking at the fishman pre: http://www.fishman.com/products/details.asp?id=33, looks like you'll need to replace that pot with a long shaft pot. OH, and you probably don't get to choose the controls on the pre - looks like you've just got a volume, which means going back and forth is going to involve multiple knob twiddles, and you'll lose a tone pot unless you want to drill a fifth pot shaft hole.

Having fun yet? Oh, and please post pics of the process!  :icon_jokercolor:

Another possibility is to split the coil on your neck pup and use an acoustic simulator pedal.
 

ocguy106

Senior member
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731
I used to have a Parker Fly with Fishman's it was an awesome guitar but to say it sounded like an acoustic was a strech. It had a good sound but to me definatly didn't sound like an acoustic. I don't think you are going to get the sound you are after and wouldn;t be worth putting holes in that guitar. That being said go on down to GC and play a Parker
 

dbw

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4,531
I should mention that anything I try is going to get tested on my other Warmoth, which is a workhorse and not as pretty.  It also has a TOM so I could try out the whole setup and then just swap the bridge in to my Paul...

Of course I have not come to any decisions on this.  Just musing, as I said :D
 

theklanch

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209
Hey bro I can say a little about the LR Baggs.  I haven't played it yet, but I have installed into my WGD body.  So far what I have run into with the install:  My body has a TOM recessed route and the string through, so the hole wasn't such a big deal as it would be on a carved top.  I drilled into the bridge PU route and routed a spot for the LR baggs wiring in the floor of the pickup rout.  I also drilled another hole into the control cavity for the wiring from the PU rout.  One problem I ran into with the LR Baggs T-Bridge so far was Warmoth drilled my body for the larger TOM studs.  The LR Baggs setup has the holes for the Nashville Gibsons I believe they are smaller.  What I did was put the LR Baggs bushings into a set of Gotoh bushings, they fit pretty tight and I soldered them together and pressed them into the body.  Fits perfectly.  I woud tell anybody that is thinking about this bridge to tell Warmoth in advance not to drill the holes so big.  I thought about plugging and redrilling, but the two bushings fit together so well, a little solder will be fine (I used a propane torch to solder them together... Like doing some plumbing work, put lots of solder in there!!)  I mentioned wiring, because there are actually six shielded leads on the T-Bridge, which they include a little PC board to sum them to one.  I twisted all of mine together and put a piece of shirnk wrap over them to make one wire.  It gets really stiff with the shrink wrap, I might end up taking some or all of the wrap off before final installation and assembly.

I am curious to hear this bridge on the guitar.  I'm not buying into the Control-X setup or any preamp yet.  LRBaggs includes a stereo jack with the bridge too, so you can send the bridge signal to a different amp.  I am not going to do this, I am going to combine my DiMarzio's and my T-Bridge together on the same output.  I will wire the volumes Jbass style so they are independent, and we will find out how it works.

I will let you know how it works when I assemble the guitar, which should be some time next week, I think Warmoth is shipping my neck out today.  All I need is a set of tuning pegs, some string ferrules and a couple of pots and I am done........


 

tfarny

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4,481
Klanch, if you run that without a pre, I have a hard time seeing how you're going to get enough output to get any kind of a sound - I know they say the preamps are 'recommended' but it doesn't seem like you'll get a useable signal without it. The actual signal a piezo crystal puts out is pretty dang small if I remember right and a decent length cable will then steal all your treble away iirc. That's why acoustic pres go either in the guitar or on the belt, the amp is aleady too far away.
Hmmm, either I'm learning something about electronics on this board or I'm going nuts....

Also a stereo jack will automatically combine the signals when you plug in a mono cable, or separate the signals when you plug in the Y. No reason not to go stereo from the start. Hope that's helpful.
 

dbw

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4,531
Yeah you're gonna be real unhappy without a preamp, I'm pretty sure of that.  The highs are going to vanish into your cable.  Thanks for the info about installation  :rock-on:
 

theklanch

Senior member
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209
Thanks guys like I said, I haven't played the guitar yet, so I don't really know what is happening there. 

When the bridge came in the mail, I wired it up to an output jack and held it onto the strings of one of my guitars and strummed away.  It had a bunch of output I was actually suprised at the output it had the way I was messing around with it.

Like I said, there is some experimentation going on in my WGD,  if I need the preamp after all, I will buy one, I just hate to if I don't need it.

I don't know how much I will be mixing the magnetic PU's and the T-bridge.  I am building this guitar to create "my" sound, so I'm kind of up for whatever,  I really don't have any expectations on what the guitar "should" sound like.  So whatever it sounds like is what I'm going to have for a little.  If it ends up sounding like someone running their fingernails across a chalkboard or something that unpleasant, I will do a rewire or 3.....  This is one of the beauties of building a guitar, the experimentation. 

Worst case scenario is this, I don't use the piezo setup while I'm playing.  If that is the case, I will send it on it's merry way and replace it with a regular TOM. 

I am gonna try a couple of different wiring setups to see what I like best and go from there.  My neck will be here Feb 19th, so I have about a week to wait.

Here was my original plan of attack:  Dimarzio PAF in the neck and a Dimarzio Super 3 in the bridge both with on-on-on minis wired for series/parallel/splitter into a blender pot for PU selection (I always wanted to try a blend pot for this) with a concentric pot for tones on both PU's, a push pull volume for the Dimarzios (the push pull will control the TRS effects loop I put into my guitars) and a separate volume for the T-bridge.  Like I said, if I need to change anything up, I am open to it, I just want to get this thing off the workbench and strapped to my belly.

I will be sure to let everyone know how it turns out good or bad.......
 

dbw

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4,531
By the way this is kinda what I had in mind:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EHoI_urMWw

That guy rocks  :headbang1:

Here's a guy who did this on a Schaller... it's a nice clean job.  http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1033226

07boresightbridge2rs.jpg
 

tfarny

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4,481
Interesting thread - way to hard and risky with the tools I've got. Would NOT like to see a drill bit poke through the face of my precioussssssssss.
 

Orpheo

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for the toneknobs I'd use concentric ones for tone and volume of the piezo.

ferthermore, I'd pass the wires to the cavity through the bridge humbuckerring. if you've got the nerves, drill a hole, like the dude did with the schecter. I'd do it, but I dont know if YOU'd do it; under the humbuckerring si something people do alot too.
 

dbw

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Orpheo said:
for the toneknobs I'd use concentric ones for tone and volume of the piezo.

I agree this would be great but I like the look of speed knobs.  Now if someone makes concentric speed-style knobs... that would be awesome...

Orpheo said:
ferthermore, I'd pass the wires to the cavity through the bridge humbuckerring. if you've got the nerves, drill a hole, like the dude did with the schecter. I'd do it, but I dont know if YOU'd do it; under the humbuckerring si something people do alot too.

Yep this is what I would do.  By the way, humbucker ring is two words... it's only in German you're allowed to stick two words together and make new ones whenever ya like ;)
 

Orpheo

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dbw said:
Orpheo said:
for the toneknobs I'd use concentric ones for tone and volume of the piezo.

I agree this would be great but I like the look of speed knobs.  Now if someone makes concentric speed-style knobs... that would be awesome...

Orpheo said:
ferthermore, I'd pass the wires to the cavity through the bridge humbuckerring. if you've got the nerves, drill a hole, like the dude did with the schecter. I'd do it, but I dont know if YOU'd do it; under the humbuckerring si something people do alot too.

Yep this is what I would do.  By the way, humbucker ring is two words... it's only in German you're allowed to stick two words together and make new ones whenever ya like ;)

sorry, I typed it in a rush. was to lazy to use space between those words :p

but what you want is quite uhm.. problematic indeed. I have no idea how to do it otherwise...I'd sacrifice a bit of looks for ultimate tone and versatility, if thats what you REALLY REALLY want....


or do what I wanna do: buy the godin xtsa, take her guts out, and put it in another guitar....

Godin-XTSA-3voice-fr-detail.jpg


those sliders are the EQ for the piezo.

 

Crappy

Senior member
Messages
210
With a fishman no drilling needed just run the wire from the bridge under the pickup ring.

 

BigBeard

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433
dbw said:
Yeah you're gonna be real unhappy without a preamp, I'm pretty sure of that.  The highs are going to vanish into your cable.  Thanks for the info about installation  :rock-on:

Here is an update on this situation.  Well the guitar got finished first without a pre and I can't say I was unhappy, but I can't say I was happy either.  So I pulled the trigger on the cntrl-x from lr baggs.  Wired it up last night and I do like it.  I was having a problem losing the piezo sound when I had the mags turned all the way up.  Now they mix just fine.  Haven't tried it stereo yet, I only have one TRS splitter cable here for my FX loop, but I am gonna try it here in a few minutes to see how I like the sound split into both of my amps.

Well now I either gotta make some new TRS splitter cables or find them somewhere (they get expensive to buy, so I usually just make them)
 

kboman

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2,378
dbw said:
By the way, humbucker ring is two words... it's only in German you're allowed to stick two words together and make new ones whenever ya like ;)

In Swedish it's mandatory, writing it as "humbucker ring" or similar here makes you look like a retard. And as the new internet generation grows up reading loads and loads of English, that habit is carried over into Swedish, making us look like a people of illiterates. Oy vey.

On topic though, I've never liked the sound of piezo (I'm very original that way...) - what are the real, practical benefits of having it installed in your guitar? I have personally never felt the need to switch to acoustic mid-song so maybe it's not for me, I'm just curious.
 

kboman

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Marko said:
In Sweden its also mandatory to eat rotten fish!!  :tard:
kukjavel!

Whoa whoa, that's some extremely harsh language!
And no, it's not mandatory and it's not even rotten :)
 

m4rk0

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5,383
kboman said:
Marko said:
In Sweden its also mandatory to eat rotten fish!!  :tard:
kukjavel!

Whoa whoa, that's some extremely harsh language!
And no, it's not mandatory and it's not even rotten :)

but it smells rotten ;)
oops was kukjavel the really bad one? maybe I meant to say 'helvetta' ?
either way, didn't mean to offend you, just wanted to say some swedish words ! knulla!
 
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