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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Good, better or best transducer

hushnel
Contributing Member
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jul 5th, 2018 10:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

I’ve researched this a few years back, looking at the component level I could not find any information concerning quality or ratings on the transducer “Piezo” disks.

I’ve installed the K&K on a few homebuilds and I’ve used the basic disk transducers I’ve gotten off eBay on a few too. The disks size seems to be about the only information I can find when comparing these Piezo Discs. I can get 20 for $1.00 but no information if they are inferior to the ones used by K&K.

I’ve got a bunch of them wired but they are a larger disc size and I use them on the short scale Cigarbox Bass I build ocassionally. Same size as the K&K I’ve installed and I really can’t tell any difference, but I don’t always hear what others seem to.

I’ve read someplace that the undersaddle Piezo elements are the same stuff that the DOT uses for triggering signal lights at intersections.

Educate me please “o)

wrnchbndr
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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Jul 5th, 2018 11:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

There are a few companies who take a piezo element and put it in a more refined package an its the encasement of the element that makes it superior but generally in my experience I have found them all to be of the same origin. I buy those under-saddle elements on ebay -- not as cheap as 20 for a dollar but certainly less that $1 each and when connected to a decent preamp they work and sound just as good as the ones sold for over fifty times the price. I have used these as s replacement part when an OEM piezo goes bad dozens of times and have never had a complaint from a client. But I'm also honest with the client to the point that I don't add a profit margin to these parts.

You need to pay a little more for the thin piezo elements that are more like the Martin Thinline but I just looked on ebay and found them for about $7 each. But this is about 1/20th the cost of the real thing in the nice package. These I find superior because the saddle can sit deeper in the bridge slot and that is important.

However,... When I have a client who wants to add a piezo to a quality guitar, I advise them to spend the extra money and buy a Fishman Infinity Matrix pickup and preamp. It costs $100+ but its a sure thing that'll provide a good result every time, the installation is straight forward and non destructive, and there is good customer service/support.

I have purchased and installed quite a few of those less expensive (less than $50) preamp/piezo units found on ebay. Some have a built in tuner and maybe even a reverb and chorus effect built in. Never have appreciated the built-in effect found on these - they're quirky and not quite up to my standard. But the simple ones with the 3-band EQs generally are okay.

I have never liked the sound of any piezo without an active preamp.

hushnel
Contributing Member
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jul 5th, 2018 12:39 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks wrnchbndr, my research and experience is pretty much the same, though limited. The size seems to be the only real variable. I use K&K for this information. The transducers used for bass have a larger diameter that those for guitar. I'll order a bunch of different sizes and experiment.

It seems that the longer the wave form the wider the piezo is. These things come in an assortment of diameters.

I am amazed at the amount of signal they put out and they certainly need to be corralled a bit. When they first started putting them under the saddle it was too much, it didn't take them long before they added onboard EQs to control the quack.

It appears that many wiring diagrams for the piezo transducers use 100 meg pots for tone and volume, I'm wondering if any offerings for EQ type potentiometers are available. I don't really understand the theory though I have rudimentary grasp of it, it seems to me that this transducer's signal needs more than just a variable resistor to harness the signal properties.

The ones in the 20" scale bass I often run straight into the amps and control it effectively at that point, using the rudimentary EQ circuits on board. It sound better and I have more range when I run it through the SansAmp DI.

wrnchbndr
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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Jul 5th, 2018 01:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

Its a can of worms unless you're an engineer but IMO using pots alone without an active circuit doesn't yield the optimal result.

hushnel
Contributing Member
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jul 5th, 2018 01:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

OK, I kind of figured that. Thanks again.

Oh wait, naw bio-med doens’t count “o)

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Good, better or best transducer




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