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  • Piezo pickup not responding the way I expected

    Hey guys,



    I just got the Fishman Ellipse Matrix Blend installed on my Blueridge 163A (000 style), and I have another BR-160 (dreadnaught) that has the Fishman Ellipse Matrix Blend in it. I've had the BR-160 for the last 7 years and loved the guitar and combination so much I wanted a backup. Picked up the 163A and loved the guitar. Very balanced, great tone but after installing the Matrix Blend the piezo has a very heavy bass response, and almost no highs. I tried increasing the highs and mid way past where I would've otherwise and STILL felt as if the balance wasn't right.



    My question is when I talked to the guy that installed it he said "the pickup is going to react how the pickup reacts". The thing is, I have the exact same pickup in another guitar and the balance between the strings isn't the same. He suggested putting a buffer on bass strings, but I don't want the bass strings quieter, I want the guitar to sound balanced. If it's the "tone" that changes between the guitars, I invite that but I feel like the balance should be the same.



    If you have any experience with this, please let me know your feedback and your remedy's. I'll try to post examples of each tomorrow (10/15/12). I'm going to try to meet up with him on Wednesday or Thursday. I'm just really bummed out because I was so excited to start using the guitar ASAP!
    garretschmittling.com - Instrumentalist
    garretsguitarlessons.com - Lessons

  • #2
    I highly recommend a thin shim made of Amaco self-hardening clay. The improvement in the sound of a UST pickup is always obvious to my ears. More balance and much less of the quack.

    Comment


    • #3






      Quote Originally Posted by koiwoi
      View Post

      I highly recommend a thin shim made of Amaco self-hardening clay. The improvement in the sound of a UST pickup is always obvious to my ears. More balance and much less of the quack.




      2nd this...it's flat-out amazing how well this works!
      God(s) bless the rest of the world(s), too

      Comment


      • #4
        Here we go here's a recorded example. First guitar is my 160. I love the sound of that piezo, after 30 seconds I have the same input volume but I switch to the 163 with the new pickup. Guitars are going straight in.



        Notice the immediate drop in volume and how the high notes aren't very pronounced?



        Here we go here's a recorded example. First guitar is my 160. I love the sound of that piezo, after 30 seconds I have the same input volume but I switch to the 163 with the new pickup. Guitars are going straight in.



        Notice the immediate drop in volume and how the high notes aren't very pronounced?



        http://soundcloud.com/gschmittling/160-163-test
        garretschmittling.com - Instrumentalist
        garretsguitarlessons.com - Lessons

        Comment


        • #5





          great tone but after installing the Matrix Blend the piezo has a very heavy bass response, and almost no highs.





          My guess is that the pickup is not lined up with the strings correctly. A typical piezo UST (if that's what this is) has 6 tiny crystals on a strip that must align perfectly under thier individual strings for you to get a strong balanced signal. My guess is that the spacing is off/doesn't match or the transducer isn't aligned properly under each string.



          Personally I perfer soundboard transducers over piezo USTs. The balance is less finicky and the tone is more woody and natural. USTs always seem to have a "springy rubber-band sound" to me that you can't fix easily with EQ.
          "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

          Comment


          • #6






            Quote Originally Posted by koiwoi
            View Post

            I highly recommend a thin shim made of Amaco self-hardening clay. The improvement in the sound of a UST pickup is always obvious to my ears. More balance and much less of the quack.










            Quote Originally Posted by Terry Allan Hall


            2nd this...it's flat-out amazing how well this works!




            Yes ^ ^ ^ ^ . I'm another huge fan of the clay shim trick.
            Howard

            Comment


            • #7






              Quote Originally Posted by koiwoi
              View Post

              I highly recommend a thin shim made of Amaco self-hardening clay. The improvement in the sound of a UST pickup is always obvious to my ears. More balance and much less of the quack.




              Tell us more! Where do you get it? What is the process for making the shim?

              Comment


              • #8
                Depending on how they are wired, a piezo will act as a capacitor and have the effect of a pickup with the tone control rolled down. I've not listened to your clip, but from your description it sounds like that is what's happening. If so I'd look at how it's wired as my first trouble-shooting port-of-call.
                -^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-

                Comment


                • #9
                  It is standard self-hardening modelling clay sold in all good craft shops. You just roll out a thin strip about 1mm thick, and cut out a thin strip that will fit the saddle slot (use the saddle as a guide - place it base down on the rolled out clay and cut around it with a razor blade or craft knife). You can use two strips to ensure good contact (I do it this way) - place one strip of clay in the base of the saddle slot, fit the UST on top, place another strip of clay on top of the UST, then fit the saddle. Press down firmly and leave overnight for the clay to harden (I usually string up straight away so that the strings hold down the saddle). The hardened clay forms a perfect seal between all elements - and it's reversible - the clay scrapes off quite easily.
                  Howard

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    http://soundcloud.com/gschmittling/160-163-test







                    yep...piezo UST..I can't stand that sound.
                    "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      That's some seriously ugly quackstick tone.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You may or may not like my tone. I blend it with the condenser mic in the soundhole for my "acoustic" sound. Most of the time I use it as a platform to loop, and need the quackstick tone to give me my bass sounds/autowah/distortion/rotary/vocoder tones as in this (all done with the BR-160 and EHX/hardwire/boomerang pedals)






                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrA_lXOvdYQ





                        Hence why I need the output and balance good!
                        garretschmittling.com - Instrumentalist
                        garretsguitarlessons.com - Lessons

                        Comment


                        • #13






                          Quote Originally Posted by gschmittling
                          View Post

                          You may or may not like my tone. I blend it with the condenser mic in the soundhole for my "acoustic" sound. Most of the time I use it as a platform to loop, and need the quackstick tone to give me my bass sounds/autowah/distortion/rotary/vocoder tones as in this (all done with the BR-160 and EHX/hardwire/boomerang pedals)






                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrA_lXOvdYQ





                          Hence why I need the output and balance good!




                          Yep, I can see you dispensing with any faithful acoustic sound needs in this kind of production. Pretty cool actually. Coulda done without the alarm clock at the end. Knocked me right outa my trance.
                          Be back when I get back. TTFN.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            So I got the balance figured out, the output is pretty low compared to the other Blueridge. Any ideas on how to boost the output?
                            garretschmittling.com - Instrumentalist
                            garretsguitarlessons.com - Lessons

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Have you swapped batteries yet? Try it if you haven't. If the battery doesn't correct the problem then you have either a bad UST, preamp and/or the connections between battery box, preamp and/or UST are poor and need to be checked.



                              I know this is a big duh with most people but if you leave your cord plugged in you're draining the battery. The cord jack is the battery switch typically in these systems. I put a battery switch in my guitars so I can leave the things on the stand plugged in.
                              Be back when I get back. TTFN.

                              Comment



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