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Thread: taming a Rod Piezo

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    taming a Rod Piezo

    Does anyone have any suggestions of ways to tame the harsh tin tone from an under the bridge rod piezo ??

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortcircuit View Post
    Does anyone have any suggestions of ways to tame the harsh tin tone from an under the bridge rod piezo ??
    Nothing cheap & easy that I know of. Passing the signal through a filter that puts a deep cut on 5 KHz works. A parametric EQ would be one solution. Another, some years ago I was working with an artist who had such a problem. I found a Tech21 "Acoustic Guitar preamp/DI" with dual preamps that were combined with a mix control. When the balance was set with the knob at about 1 o'clock, the combination resulted in a 5 KHz cut that was very narrow and very deep, about 25 dB. Turned those guitars from scratchy-klacky into clear rich & robust, very hi-fi, what a major difference! If you don't mind searching out that pre/DI, I've seen 'em on Reverb offered at @ $150, you could do the same. Besides the 5K cut trick, the pre has a 3 band EQ with a semi-parametric midrange, and in my experience it's one of the very best things you can apply to an acoustic guitar - or any other instrument. Highly recommended for any performer's arsenal. BTW it can be run from P48 phantom power, what a relief if you have it available, then no wall wart or battery needed.

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    Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.

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    Supporting Member John_H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    Nothing cheap & easy that I know of...
    Strings can make a difference. To me, The John Pearse 80/20 bronze, and ernie ball earthwood strings (also 80/20) sound better on an active piezo. I've had a few guitars with passive piezo pickups, and I preferred the tone.

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Agree and add: avoid creating a squeaky scratchy frequencyb response in the first place.

    Put a 10M input impedance buffer or preamp right in the guitar, less than 12 inches away from pickup.
    Youīll be amazed at the now recovered fatness.

    And now you have a loud and low impedance signal which can drive any EQ you want to add, even a plain 22k series resistor and 1000pF to 2200pF capacitor to ground.

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    Agree and add: avoid creating a squeaky scratchy frequencyb response in the first place.
    Don't use one to begin with, problem solved Just kidding , thanks for all the input, I'll do some R&D , see what I come up with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    drive any EQ you want to add, even a plain 22k series resistor and 1000pF to 2200pF capacitor to ground.
    Are you referring to the cap across the tone pot??
    I built this circuit to try , just because I had all the components on hand
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortcircuit View Post
    Are you referring to the cap across the tone pot??
    I built this circuit to try , just because I had all the components on hand
    Click image for larger version. 

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    To that circuit shown you can add a cap parallel to the 220k resistor which will bleed HF to ground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eschertron View Post
    To that circuit shown you can add a cap parallel to the 220k resistor which will bleed HF to ground.
    Thanks I'll give that a try, not sure what I have in pf caps on hand

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Build it as-is and post results.
    Maybe you donīt even NEED treble cutting or if a little, it can be dealt with with standard amplifier tone controls.

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    Build it as-is and post results.
    Maybe you donīt even NEED treble cutting or if a little, it can be dealt with with standard amplifier tone controls.
    You may be right, definitely made it more manageable in the test subject , and would change depending on amp/cabinet etc. Made a portable unit for testing.
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	52838 I'm sure this isn't what you pictured ,here is where it's going
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ID:	52839 This is a Lace Alumitone Matchbook pick-up , Bourns 250k push/pull volume splits the Alumitone , Bourns 250k tone with a .022 cap, that all sounds real good. The piezo is in the bridge, the brass pin is my saddle,sitting right on the piezo . Taking your "avoid creating" quote, I've been switching out the brass pin with , bone, plastic, a Q tip shaft (rolled cardboard ??) all with interesting results . I plan on adding a 10k pot from the piezo straight to the jack , so it can be blended with the Lace or singled out. Open to all suggestions they are always appreciated.

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Beautiful build, and also the explanation for your harsh unbearable sound: you can NOT repeat NOT connect a Piezo straight to another pickup, or a standard volume control, tone controls, etc; PERIOD.

    Iīm appalled at your circuit , so Iīll draw something suitable, that beautiful cigar box guitar deserves it.

    Your big problem is not in the saddle material or anywhere else, compared to the electrical problem.

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Ok that would be great, the Alumitone set up was suggested to me by Lace , and it does rock. Am always open for improvements and corrections that's why I'm here to learn from the best!!! Thank you for the build compliment appreciate that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    I found a Tech21 "Acoustic Guitar preamp/DI"
    Did check this out, the new version is called Tech 21 SansAmp Para Driver DI Preamp Pedal V2 , new for $200 . Unfortunately I have to make a 120 mile round trip to try one out , unless I do the buy, try, return dance (if it didn't work out ). I see other similar units , that's where a side by side comparison would be nice, maybe it would make the trip worth it . Interested to see what JM comes up with. Thanks for the input

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Hi, searched all over the place I have not been able to find a wiring schematic for the Matchbook Alumitone, not even at the Lace page itself https://lacemusic.com/pages/wiring-diagrams

    All it says is this, which is incomplete:
    https://lacemusic.com/collections/9/...tchbook-pickup

    do you have any clickable link?

    In any case, also draw and post wiring of what you built, so I can add the piezo buffer and how to interconnect it with the rest of the circuit.

    In spme videos I see a bunch of white, red and green wires coming out of the pickup, but nobody shows wiring.

    Thanks.

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Here is what comes with the pick up , and also what Lace sent me.
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	52856 this is crude but what I did, Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	52857 and I'm happy with this part so far,but always open to other options. The piezo pre amp circuit I built is the one posted earlier Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	52858 I just installed it into an Altoids tin for testing. Really appreciate your help

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    Last edited by shortcircuit; 03-09-2019 at 09:30 PM.

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Ok, IF I understand you well, you connected the Alumitone as a conventional splittable Humbucker , with its own Volume+switch pot, a conventional tone control, straight to output jack and absolutely not connected at all to Piezo?

    And you connect the bridge Piezo through *another* jack to an external FET preamp?

    Please confirm.

    As I understood earlier,
    I plan on adding a 10k pot from the piezo straight to the jack , so it can be blended with the Lace or singled out.
    made me think both were already connected together and so adding a 10k pot woukd be an "improvement".

    Please draw what you had done earlier and what you did now, you are not showing me the full picture, just unconnected circuit blocks.

    NO NEED FOR PRO SCHEMATIC DRAWING SOFTWARE AT ALL, just draw it by hand , pencil on a white sheet of paper, correct what you donīt like , erasers were invented for that, then copy on a new piece of paper and send a picture of that.
    Donīt worry, this is not the Royal Academy of Arts but a bunch of Techs trying to understand what you did.

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    Ok, IF I understand you well, you connected the Alumitone as a conventional splittable Humbucker , with its own Volume+switch pot, a conventional tone control, straight to output jack and absolutely not connected at all to Piezo?
    And you connect the bridge Piezo through *another* jack to an external FET preamp?
    Correct , Alumitone is connected as you describe , no piezo connected . I tested the pre amp in another build with the same bridge set up . I'll post the drawing(s) you requested asap . Didn't want you to think I pulled the amazing post and vanish act.

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    I think you get the idea ,leaving the Alumitone as a split conventional humbucker with vol/tone , and adding the piezo with pre amp to a seperate 10k pot to the same output jack as the Alumitone . traveling now, will post pics when I get back
    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by shortcircuit View Post
    I think you get the idea ,leaving the Alumitone as a split conventional humbucker with vol/tone , and adding the piezo with pre amp to a seperate 10k pot to the same output jack as the Alumitone . traveling now, will post pics when I get back
    Thanks
    Connecting the low impedance output of the piezo buffer to the same output jack as the high impedance Alumitone will load down the Alumitone. You will probably need a PU selector switch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    Connecting the low impedance output of the piezo buffer to the same output jack as the high impedance Alumitone will load down the Alumitone. You will probably need a PU selector switch.
    Thanks , JM's point to begin with and Leo's nothing cheap and easy. Is there a way to wire this to come out of one jack, to a Y cable with 2 separate signals ?? Sorry if I'm getting off topic

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    Quote Originally Posted by shortcircuit View Post
    Thanks , JM's point to begin with and Leo's nothing cheap and easy. Is there a way to wire this to come out of one jack, to a Y cable with 2 separate signals ?? Sorry if I'm getting off topic
    Well, things get more complicated if you want to be able to use both PUs simultaneously and with the same amp. You might use a stereo jack, stereo cable (splitting to 2 plugs) into a small mixing console or two amp channels.

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    Last edited by Helmholtz; 03-12-2019 at 11:03 PM.
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    Supporting Member John_H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortcircuit View Post
    ... Is there a way to wire this to come out of one jack, to a Y cable with 2 separate signals ?? Sorry if I'm getting off topic
    Two separate signals would be easy. You could use a DPDT push-pull pot to switch it.

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    If you are building the preamp for the piezo into the guitar, use the same power supply and build a simple buffer for the passive humbucker. Make the output impedances match and then you could blend/mix the signals together in the guitar. If you have already built the preamp, then you've proven that you can build a 1 or 2- transistor buffer.

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    If it still won't get loud enough, it's probably broken. - Steve Conner
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    We need more chaos in music, in art... I'm here to make it. - Justin Thomas
    MANY things in human experience can be easily differentiated, yet *impossible* to express as a measurement. - Juan Fahey


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    Quote Originally Posted by eschertron View Post
    If you are building the preamp for the piezo into the guitar, use the same power supply and build a simple buffer for the passive humbucker. Make the output impedances match and then you could blend/mix the signals together in the guitar. If you have already built the preamp, then you've proven that you can build a 1 or 2- transistor buffer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    Well, things get more complicated if you want to be able to use both PUs simultaneously and with the same amp. You might use a stereo jack, stereo cable (splitting to 2 plugs) into a small mixing console or two amp channels.
    Thanks all.. trying to avoid internal pre amp(s)/battery , did answer my "can you match the impedance "? Stereo output vs. 2 jacks ..Ric- O Sound .. J M Fahey my drawing may be delayed

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    My idea is precisely being able to have both ON if needed, maybe each with its own volume pot, maybe with a "balance" pot to smoothly go from one to the other in any desired ratio, but Iīll wait for your sketch

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    Quote Originally Posted by shortcircuit View Post
    Thanks all.. trying to avoid internal pre amp(s)/battery
    If you have a change of heart, it looks like there are some turn key products for mixing piezo and magnet pickups on board http://bartolini.net/product/mpb2/ . I really like the idea myself. If I ever get used to the idea that my guitar might become unplayable because of a dead battery, I might try it out.

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Well, you can both:

    * add a switch which worst case sends passive circuit straight to jack and

    * use a very low consumption circuit so battery lasts *ages* .

    As in a regular 9V alkaline lasting 1600 *playing* hours so over 2 Months if left on continuously, 6 Months if rehearsing 8 hours a day every day or 80 Weeks (20 Months) if you play/rehearse 20 hours a week, every week.

    Which in practice becomes 3 or 4 years "normal" use, the limit being battery shelf life.

    My shop Bass which has both magnetic and piezo pickups plus one of these preamps needs battery replaced every 3 or 4 years.

    The long life King is Music Manīs Bass preamp, built around Programmable current LM4250 , where circuit can be left continuously ON, since it needs *less* than battery self discharge, go figure, so definitely shelf life is the proper parameter, again 3-4 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antigua View Post
    If you have a change of heart, it looks like there are some turn key products for mixing piezo and magnet pickups on board http://bartolini.net/product/mpb2/ . I really like the idea myself. If I ever get used to the idea that my guitar might become unplayable because of a dead battery, I might try it out.
    Very interesting product Antiqua thanks for posting , if you look at the wiring diagram it's very similar to what J M was describing in post # 25 and what eschertron was going for in post #23 . J M please post your idea , I can tell already no matter what I come up with, it will be prehistoric to yours . As I've stated before most of you techs have forgotten more than I'll ever know. Any idea what circuit might be in the bartolini ?

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    No but there are not many different ways to skin a cat and to boot "Bill" Bartolini is Argentine ... so we "should" think in similar ways

    Iīll draw a postable schematic, doubt it ends upbeing very different from whatīs on those encapsulated modules

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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    No but there are not many different ways to skin a cat and to boot "Bill" Bartolini is Argentine ... so we "should" think in similar ways

    Iīll draw a postable schematic, doubt it ends upbeing very different from whatīs on those encapsulated modules
    Thanks J M that would be greatly appreciated maybe I should incorporate it into this build
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	52923 It does have the same issues

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    Last edited by shortcircuit; 03-14-2019 at 12:05 AM.

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    Piezo pickup requires a high impedance buffer. And such a buffer requires a battery. So your idea to avoid battery in the instrument is very difficult to fulfill. I would rather search for circuits with very low current consumption.
    Also, it's good to know that many companies make such circuits. The one that I know is Powerchip from Fishman: https://www.fishman.com/fishman-equipped/powerchip-oem/ . It's a mixer of piezo/magnetic signal. Of course, it requires a battery.

    Mark

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    There's a piezo preamp that's powered by a super capacitor. You charge the cap via the output jack using a 9V battery for 30 seconds and you get about 18 hours of run time. Russian fellow in Montreal, MiSi is the company.
    The main issue you'll have with mixing piezo with magnetic is that your signals will never be in phase (piezo pu is at the bridge node, magnetic pu is some distance from the bridge) so you'll always get some signal cancelation which you might like or you might hate. The higher up the neck you play the more obvious that cancelation becomes. No one ever speaks of this so maybe it's not a problem for them.

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Agree about the unavoidable phase difference.
    Anyway you may try it both ways and choose what you like best .

    But I guess any 2 pickup guitar has similar issues; maybe not that strong but anyway noticeable.

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    A blend pot comes in handy there, especially for wildly different sources. Even a two-volume instrument like an LP gives a lot of nuance. I end up tweaking the blend via pickup height on instruments that don't have relative volume control built in. A bit limited in control range, but I'm compelled to do it.

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    If it still won't get loud enough, it's probably broken. - Steve Conner
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    We need more chaos in music, in art... I'm here to make it. - Justin Thomas
    MANY things in human experience can be easily differentiated, yet *impossible* to express as a measurement. - Juan Fahey


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    Appreciate all for the input and ideas , pointers to available products a lot of great items, most are a little pricey for what I'm doing (again with Leo's nothing cheap & easy) Darn it !!!!!! But I'm still all in , processing the options . Do thank all here at the forum !!

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    Last edited by shortcircuit; 03-15-2019 at 01:26 AM.

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