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Best Placement of an acoustic guitar pickup

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December 12, 2004 12:58:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I'm looking for any advice as to the best place to put it, and the best
means of holding it in place(temporarily). This is one of those round,
bottle cap sized vibration pick-ups.
December 12, 2004 1:49:20 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

terry wrote:

> I'm looking for any advice as to the best place to put it, and the best
> means of holding it in place(temporarily). This is one of those round,
> bottle cap sized vibration pick-ups.

Depends on the instrument & the pickup. It also depends on the type of
adhesive used, and in the case of the temporary adhesive, it also depends
on how hard you press it down.

Experiment with different locations until you find what you like. Usual
locations include on the apron of the bridge, either on the treble or bass
side. Just behind, below or above the bridge, halfway between the treble
side of the bridge & the lower (for right handers) edge of the guitar.
Also try some unconventional locations such as on the back, somewhere
between the soundhole & the neck block. You'll need to experiment with the
amount of adhesive & pressure you use to attach it as well.

If you bought the pickup new, it SHOULD have come with some temporary
adhesive, but you can get it at the top of this page:

http://www.shadow-pickups.com/parts.html
Anonymous
December 13, 2004 2:39:26 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> I'm looking for any advice as to the best place to put it, and the best
> means of holding it in place(temporarily). This is one of those round,
> bottle cap sized vibration pick-ups.

Ideally you should bust the piezo element out of the plastic case, and affix
it to the underside of the bridge. It's not the simplest job, but when a
more suitable installation is done you can just cut the wires and leave the
pick-up in there. Using a permanent glue that hardens when dried is your
only shot at decent tone anyway.

I've installed a few such pick-ups on a guitar and a homemade mandolin, a
pair of piezo's in each for better coverage. In both cases I got the piezo
elements from some cheap boom box speakers (the tweeters) and some broken
telephones at a thrift shop (the speakers used for the ringer). Identical
transducers to even the best saddle-mount pick-ups, just a different shape.
It's the buffer amp that makes or breaks a guitar pick-up's effectiveness.
The DOD mosfet preamp pedal is an acceptable temporary measure for a passive
piezo pick-up.
Related resources
December 13, 2004 3:22:11 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

agent86 wrote:

> terry wrote:
>
>> I'm looking for any advice as to the best place to put it, and the best
>> means of holding it in place(temporarily). This is one of those round,
>> bottle cap sized vibration pick-ups.
>
> Depends on the instrument & the pickup. It also depends on the type of
> adhesive used, and in the case of the temporary adhesive, it also depends
> on how hard you press it down.
>
> Experiment with different locations until you find what you like.

One IMPORTANT thing I neglected to mention. If this is a vintage
instrument & the finish is in less-than-tip-top shape, you should stick to
(no pun intended) putting the piezo on the bridge apron. Otherwise, there
is some risk of lifting the finish when the unit is removed.
December 13, 2004 3:37:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Sugarite wrote:

> Ideally you should bust the piezo element out of the plastic case, and
> affix
> it to the underside of the bridge. It's not the simplest job, but when a
> more suitable installation is done you can just cut the wires and leave
> the
> pick-up in there. Using a permanent glue that hardens when dried is your
> only shot at decent tone anyway.


Can you expand on the effect of rigid mounting on tone? My own (somewhat
limited) experiences would lead me to expect the opposite.

I have typically used the stick-ons only to avoid drilling holes in vintage
instruments. Accordingly, I've always used the temporary adhesive (On my
own instruments, anyway). It's always seemed to me that if you press them
down too hard, all the top end goes away. This SEEMS totally
ass-backwards. A more rigid mound SHOULD (as you say) conduct the
vibrations more efficiently. But in practice, a more flexible mount seems
to actually enhance the tone. I don't know why.
Anonymous
December 13, 2004 6:34:33 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> Can you expand on the effect of rigid mounting on tone? My own (somewhat
> limited) experiences would lead me to expect the opposite.
>
> I have typically used the stick-ons only to avoid drilling holes in
vintage
> instruments. Accordingly, I've always used the temporary adhesive (On my
> own instruments, anyway). It's always seemed to me that if you press them
> down too hard, all the top end goes away. This SEEMS totally
> ass-backwards. A more rigid mound SHOULD (as you say) conduct the
> vibrations more efficiently. But in practice, a more flexible mount seems
> to actually enhance the tone. I don't know why.

It could be you're damaging the casing by applying too much pressure. With
the bare PZT, rigid contact is always beneficial. Apply a thin layer of
solvent-based contact cement to the PZT, allow it to dry fully, sand it
smooth, then use minimal wood glue to stick it to the inside, using a weight
or preferably a long-reaching clamp to secure it as it dries. The farther
away from the bridge, the more prone to feedback it is.
December 13, 2004 12:03:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Sugarite wrote:

> It could be you're damaging the casing by applying too much pressure.

Nope. It's one of those BIG Shadow things; fully enclosed in metal & then
hard plastic over that on the top side. I'd probably break the guitar top
before it would break. I've had it since around 1979 or 80, & it's always
behaved the same way.

I get the best tone (to my ears) with a pea-sized ball of adhesive&
pressing down untill the ahdesive is still about 1/8" thick. Pressing down
harder (until the adhesive flattens out) results in a big loss of high end.
But I don't think it's damaged, because I can pull it off & re-stick it &
the highs always come back with lower pressure.


> With
> the bare PZT, rigid contact is always beneficial.

Maybe the enclosed unit works differently than the bare PZT?

I've used the thing on three different guitars. All were old Gibsons with
checked finish, so I've almost always used it on the bridge apron. It
might behave differently directly on the top.
December 13, 2004 3:44:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Thanks for both the advice, I got a Simon and Patrick guitar (I think its
sometimes listed as a SP6 in catalogs) and what I'm using is a 'Shaller
Oyster' pickup, it was given to me awhile ago never really used it until
recently because until recently I've mainly just recorded myself and I never
liked the sound it gave. Now that I play a bit out, I want to find a way to
make plugging in work.

I had been using poster gunk but find it doesn't really hold-up for long
periods well. I've also tried double sided carpet tape in the last few
days - its not bad, it seems to hold and can still be peeled off after - but
then I could care less about the finish.

My biggest gripe has been I've been finding the sound very thin, much
thinner then the guitars with the built in electronics. On the advice I've
tried just beside the bridge, it is richer. When I change strings I'll try
attaching it inside.

thanks.
Anonymous
December 13, 2004 3:44:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

x-no-archive:yes

Adhesive velco always works!
Anonymous
December 13, 2004 9:19:06 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"terry" <reply2group@thanks.zzz> wrote in message
news:_8gvd.497247$nl.261712@pd7tw3no...

> My biggest gripe has been I've been finding the sound very thin, much
> thinner then the guitars with the built in electronics. On the advice
I've
> tried just beside the bridge, it is richer. When I change strings I'll
try
> attaching it inside.

What are you running it into? Piezos want to see *very* high impedances, and
the 10k of a mixer's line input is way, way too low. It'll sound not only
thin, but crunchy in that piezo way we all hate. Look for a preamp
specifically intended for piezos. LA Audio made one, don't know if they
still exist.

Peace,
Paul
Anonymous
December 13, 2004 9:25:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Paul Stamler wrote:

> Piezos want to see *very* high impedances, and
> the 10k of a mixer's line input is way, way too low. It'll sound not only
> thin, but crunchy in that piezo way we all hate. Look for a preamp
> specifically intended for piezos. LA Audio made one, don't know if they
> still exist.

Best inexpensive one I've found so far is the Baggs Paracoustic DI. Best
one I've found so far, period, is the Evil Twin. Great River MP-NV
series also work very well, as does my GTQ2 from Geoff Tanner. But the
ET rules so far.

--
ha
Anonymous
December 13, 2004 9:25:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"hank alrich" <walkinay@thegrid.net> wrote in message
news:1goqa8p.59c12z12k17gmN%walkinay@thegrid.net...
> Paul Stamler wrote:
>
> > Piezos want to see *very* high impedances, and
> > the 10k of a mixer's line input is way, way too low. It'll sound not
only
> > thin, but crunchy in that piezo way we all hate. Look for a preamp
> > specifically intended for piezos. LA Audio made one, don't know if they
> > still exist.
>
> Best inexpensive one I've found so far is the Baggs Paracoustic DI. Best
> one I've found so far, period, is the Evil Twin. Great River MP-NV
> series also work very well, as does my GTQ2 from Geoff Tanner. But the
> ET rules so far.
>
> --
> ha


Hard to beat the Baggs Para DI...for live use anyway.




--
Piezo Guitar/Joe Mills
w/o Para DI
http://tinyurl.com/62z86
Anonymous
December 13, 2004 9:30:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I've had good results temporarily attaching a piezo element (with no case, just
the raw transducer itself) with 3M double sided sticky foam tape. There's no
buzz from the transducer rattling against wood, the foam somewhat attenuates
the horribly harsh high end that attends piezo elements, & it's easy to detach
& try different locations. Mind you, I use these only as wierd special effects
transducers, with no thought that the result will sound naturally acoustic,
because it can't.
Scott Fraser
Anonymous
December 14, 2004 2:22:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Sugarite wrote:
>> I'm looking for any advice as to the best place to put it, and the
>> best means of holding it in place(temporarily). This is one of
>> those round, bottle cap sized vibration pick-ups.
>
> Ideally you should bust the piezo element out of the plastic case,
> and affix it to the underside of the bridge. It's not the simplest
> job, but when a more suitable installation is done you can just cut
> the wires and leave the pick-up in there. Using a permanent glue
> that hardens when dried is your only shot at decent tone anyway.
>
> I've installed a few such pick-ups on a guitar and a homemade
> mandolin, a pair of piezo's in each for better coverage. In both
> cases I got the piezo elements from some cheap boom box speakers (the
> tweeters) and some broken telephones at a thrift shop (the speakers
> used for the ringer). Identical transducers to even the best
> saddle-mount pick-ups, just a different shape. It's the buffer amp
> that makes or breaks a guitar pick-up's effectiveness. The DOD mosfet
> preamp pedal is an acceptable temporary measure for a passive piezo
> pick-up.

This is almost exactly what I recommended to the guy who needed a mechanical
watch sound. I've used these on acoustics in exactly the same way...highly
recommended; but experimentation (both in placement, and in size/shape of
the transducer--cut 'em up with scissors) is vital. Best placement is
generally somewhere in the neighborhood of the underside of the bridge.

jak
Anonymous
December 14, 2004 2:25:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

agent86 wrote:
> Sugarite wrote:
>
>> Ideally you should bust the piezo element out of the plastic case,
>> and affix
>> it to the underside of the bridge. It's not the simplest job, but
>> when a more suitable installation is done you can just cut the wires
>> and leave the
>> pick-up in there. Using a permanent glue that hardens when dried is
>> your only shot at decent tone anyway.
>
>
> Can you expand on the effect of rigid mounting on tone? My own
> (somewhat limited) experiences would lead me to expect the opposite.
>
> I have typically used the stick-ons only to avoid drilling holes in
> vintage instruments. Accordingly, I've always used the temporary
> adhesive (On my own instruments, anyway). It's always seemed to me
> that if you press them down too hard, all the top end goes away.
> This SEEMS totally ass-backwards. A more rigid mound SHOULD (as you
> say) conduct the vibrations more efficiently. But in practice, a
> more flexible mount seems to actually enhance the tone. I don't know
> why.

Put it inside (as detailed earlier). Use a combo 1/4" jack and strap
holder. You only have to drill the hole out slightly larger than the
original, and you then have a place to attach the guitar strap *and* a place
to plug in your pickup...simple/elegant

jak
Anonymous
December 14, 2004 2:27:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

ScotFraser wrote:
> I've had good results temporarily attaching a piezo element (with no
> case, just the raw transducer itself) with 3M double sided sticky
> foam tape. There's no buzz from the transducer rattling against wood,
> the foam somewhat attenuates the horribly harsh high end that attends
> piezo elements, & it's easy to detach & try different locations. Mind
> you, I use these only as wierd special effects transducers, with no
> thought that the result will sound naturally acoustic, because it
> can't.

Ahh...but it can, with proper placement/eq/termination.

jak

> Scott Fraser
Anonymous
December 14, 2004 4:06:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

jakdedert <jdedert@bellsouth.net> wrote:
>ScotFraser wrote:
>> I've had good results temporarily attaching a piezo element (with no
>> case, just the raw transducer itself) with 3M double sided sticky
>> foam tape. There's no buzz from the transducer rattling against wood,
>> the foam somewhat attenuates the horribly harsh high end that attends
>> piezo elements, & it's easy to detach & try different locations. Mind
>> you, I use these only as wierd special effects transducers, with no
>> thought that the result will sound naturally acoustic, because it
>> can't.
>
>Ahh...but it can, with proper placement/eq/termination.

I've been looking for a natural pickup for a long time and still have not
found it. I have found some that are better than others, but none of them
sound like a guitar.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
December 14, 2004 8:45:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

, << sound naturally acoustic, because it
> can't.>

Ahh...but it can, with proper placement/eq/termination.
>>



I'm not saying it can't sound OK or even desirable for some concepts (I used it
extensively on the upcoming Kronos CD) but it's not accurately representing the
acoustic sound of the instrument. This is not a "quality" issue (i.e. a better
pickup design will achieve a more acoustic result,) it's a concept issue. Sound
traveling through wood is nothing like sound traveling through air. Our ears &
microphones hear through the medium of air, not wood.
Scott Fraser
Anonymous
December 14, 2004 8:45:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

ScotFraser wrote:
> , << sound naturally acoustic, because it
>> can't.>
>
> Ahh...but it can, with proper placement/eq/termination.
> >>


>
> I'm not saying it can't sound OK or even desirable for some concepts
> (I used it extensively on the upcoming Kronos CD) but it's not
> accurately representing the acoustic sound of the instrument. This is
> not a "quality" issue (i.e. a better pickup design will achieve a
> more acoustic result,) it's a concept issue. Sound traveling through
> wood is nothing like sound traveling through air. Our ears &
> microphones hear through the medium of air, not wood.
> Scott Fraser

I'll concede that point. Like Scott said, none of them sound 'exactly' like
a what you hear when you are in a room with a guitar player. Rarely does
anyone make a recording like that either. Guitars, rooms, mic's and
placement all vary.

For the most part, they're good for getting the sound of an acoustic guitar
into a p.a. system, so that they can be heard in a live situation. In this
case, it's very possible to approach--or even exceed--the sound of expensive
pickups by using a cheap salvaged piezo element with a bit of
experimentation.

I wouldn't 'even' think of using one for recording.

jak
Anonymous
December 15, 2004 12:08:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<< I'll concede that point. Like Scott said, none of them sound 'exactly' like
a what you hear when you are in a room with a guitar player. Rarely does
anyone make a recording like that either. Guitars, rooms, mic's and
placement all vary.
For the most part, they're good for getting the sound of an acoustic guitar
into a p.a. system, so that they can be heard in a live situation.>>

Or for getting a semblance of useable sound from an overly loud monitor system,
while, hopefully, the miked signal goes to FOH.

<< In this
case, it's very possible to approach--or even exceed--the sound of expensive
pickups by using a cheap salvaged piezo element with a bit of
experimentation.>>

Yeah, I've been using my own 79 cent Radio Shack buzzer element transducers for
many years.

<<I wouldn't 'even' think of using one for recording.>>

Well, like I said, they're all over an upcoming album I recorded/produced, but
in situations where violins are sounding like saxophones, trumpets, synths &
guitars. Definitely an effect.


Scott Fraser
Anonymous
December 15, 2004 6:28:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

jakdedert wrote:

> Ahh...but it can, with proper placement/eq/termination.

I don't think anyone can install these things better than Lance McCollum
can in his own guitar(s), and manufacturers constantly send him their
latest pickups to try. While he can get them sounding decently the final
result does not represent that the pickups are able to deliver the same
sound that the instrument does acoustically. And mind you, he doesn't
lack for adequate preamps with which to try them, either.

--
ha
Anonymous
December 15, 2004 6:28:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

hank alrich wrote:
> jakdedert wrote:
>
>> Ahh...but it can, with proper placement/eq/termination.
>
> I don't think anyone can install these things better than Lance
> McCollum can in his own guitar(s), and manufacturers constantly send
> him their latest pickups to try. While he can get them sounding
> decently the final result does not represent that the pickups are
> able to deliver the same sound that the instrument does acoustically.
> And mind you, he doesn't lack for adequate preamps with which to try
> them, either.

Yeah, I conceded that...best for special situations. I mispoke...thought I
was in the 'live' ng, not 'recording'. <g>

jak
Anonymous
December 15, 2004 6:43:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

It sounds like the original poster wants to stick with the transducer
he has, but for what it is worth... I have installed McIntyre Acoustic
Feather transducers on high and low end guitars, as well as dulcimers.
Preamp is of course needed, but even without they are very
natural/acoustic sounding. They are also the slightest bit microphonic
, which may help their natural sound. It also makes them more likely
to feedback if not placed properly. I have found that directly under
the bridge saddle, as recommended by Carl McIntyre, is the best
location. A very warm and woody sounding pickup.FWIW
Gary Gallier

hank alrich wrote:
> jakdedert wrote:
>
> > Ahh...but it can, with proper placement/eq/termination.
>
> I don't think anyone can install these things better than Lance
McCollum
> can in his own guitar(s), and manufacturers constantly send him their
> latest pickups to try. While he can get them sounding decently the
final
> result does not represent that the pickups are able to deliver the
same
> sound that the instrument does acoustically. And mind you, he doesn't
> lack for adequate preamps with which to try them, either.
>
> --
> ha
Anonymous
December 15, 2004 8:37:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<< I mispoke...thought I
was in the 'live' ng, not 'recording'. <g> >>



A lot of us do 'live' as well as 'studio', but my response on the piezo issue
is the same for both.

Scott Fraser
Anonymous
December 15, 2004 8:37:58 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

ScotFraser wrote:
> << I mispoke...thought I
> was in the 'live' ng, not 'recording'. <g> >>


>
> A lot of us do 'live' as well as 'studio', but my response on the
> piezo issue is the same for both.
>
Depends on a lot of variables in a live situation: type of music, size of
venue, type of monitors, size and stage volume of the act, etc. It's gonna
be a bit more difficult to successfully mic an acoustic in a large venue,
with a loud rock band in the background using conventional monitors
(especially if the artist likes to move around); than to mic the same
instrument for a seated bluegrass trio using in-ear--or no--monitors, in a
small quiet club.

For absolute quality live, I'd prefer to mic as well. Sometimes it's not
easy...if it's possible at all.

jak

> Scott Fraser
Anonymous
December 16, 2004 6:31:30 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"hank alrich" <walkinay@thegrid.net> wrote in message
news:1gosb69.c871lb1t8weimN%walkinay@thegrid.net...
> jakdedert wrote:
>
> > Ahh...but it can, with proper placement/eq/termination.
>
> I don't think anyone can install these things better than Lance McCollum
> can in his own guitar(s), and manufacturers constantly send him their
> latest pickups to try. While he can get them sounding decently the final
> result does not represent that the pickups are able to deliver the same
> sound that the instrument does acoustically. And mind you, he doesn't
> lack for adequate preamps with which to try them, either.
>
> --
> ha
Who me? Yea I'm pretty anal about pickup's in guitars. I hate mics inside
guitars, the best sounding unit is the B-Band ast with an A2 preamp, in a
small setting its awesome ! I even have one in my Baritone and it handles
the low notes great! I have 3 channels of Millennia with Gafells and a Cad,
a Rane ap13, and have had allot of other stuff but this is what works for
me. I prefer to use just mikes for recording, but when working things out I
like pickups. I have 3 kids : )

Lance McCollum
mccollumguitars.com
!