Piezo pickups and acoustic / electric hybrids

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Randy, May 11, 2013.

  1. Randy

    Randy Member

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    After playing electrics exclusively for decades, I now find myself in an acoustic trio. I've got a decent acoustic (Baden) in which I've installed a Fishman soundhole magnetic pickup (rare earth humbucker), which I run into a Kemper.

    My problem is that I still struggle to play leads on the acoustic, even though it's strung with .011's with a plain 3rd. There are also times when I'd like to get a true electric tone from it, which it will not do.

    So I'm looking hard at hybrids like the Taylor T-5 and especially the Anderson Crowdster.

    I happen to have a Gibson Alex Lifeson Les Paul which has a Graphtech Floyd Rose with Piezo "Ghost" saddles. I've tried running this into my acoustic patches on the Kemper and it sounds like ass - nothing at all like a real acoustic.

    So my question is - will the piezo on something like an Anderson crowdster sound that much better then what I'm hearing from the Axcess? And if so, why...?
     
  2. lespaulreedsmith

    lespaulreedsmith Supporting Member

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    If you look at my post on the 'Warmoth Guitars' thread, you'll see that more than 3/4 of those that I build have Fishman piezo bridges... I run those guitars passively into the board through a Korg AX3A acoustic modeler (it has enough signal 'oomph' to go through a 100' snake).
    Highly recommended for the price (I own 2 with one as a spare) and here's a pic... (I think you need an acoustic processor to get you where you need to be)
    [​IMG]
     
  3. custom53

    custom53 Member

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    Mine sounds pretty good just thru the piezo, plus I am able to "mix" the humbuckers with the piezo or go just thru the Humbuckers without the piezo at all with a flip of the switch..

    I usually run the piezo output striaght into the sound board and the humbuckers thru my amp..

    I don't know if this helps any..

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie Silver Supporting Member

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    I love love love love love my Crowdster Plus, but it won't solve your problem if you want acoustic AND electric tones. The Plus needs a wound G for the pickups to work properly.

    I don't know if the regular Crowdster will work okay with a plain G or not.

    I do know that the Crowdster, plugged in, sounds AMAZING!

    You can use a number of products to warm up a piezo. The most recent is the Zoom A3, which showed promise to me, but I can only recommend it if you are going to use just one setting with just one guitar. The user interface on it is that bad. But it warmed up a piezo NICELY.

    I use an old Yamaha AG Stomp with my piezo equipped electrics and it does a nice job. But I'd never use them in an acoustic only group. Not convincing enough.

    Another GREAT option for you is a James Tyler Variax. Their acoustic tones are AMAZING!

    The T5 s not a horrible option for this either, although it can NOT do acoustic and electric at the same time (which was a deal breaker for me).

    My old godin Flat Five X was awesome for this, too.
     
  5. jrjones

    jrjones Supporting Member

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    I use a prs hollowbody ii piezo. I run it through either a u5 or paraDI. Both sound really good. I can either do one signal at a time, both separately into the U5 with the piezo and my pedalboard and amp with two completely separate outs, or I can blend the two through one output. I play acoustic sets using the piezo only. Does it sound like a super amazing acoustic? No. Is it convincing enough to work standalone? Yeah.

    I don't use a wound G either. I've heard it makes the piezo sound better, but prefer the feel of the regular G string when I bend it. I use it as an electric guitar only a lot playing solos.
     
  6. cochese

    cochese Supporting Member

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    Actually it will depend on how much a stickler you are for what you consider a "good" acoustic sound and electric sound. Do you have a dedicated electric amp and acoustic amp or will the electric go through an amp and the acoustic through a PA. Acoustic sound is pretty much always a compromise and this doesn't matter if you are using a full bodied acoustic or hybrid. We have all grown accustomed to acoustics with piezos and they can sound very good to very bad. Most of the real happening acoustic tones tend to be with multi source systems.

    I had a Wendler hybrid which to me didn't work well for either/. I had a Turner S6 Duece and that was a really nice guitar but the electric sound was very weak and the acoustic sound was good in the studio but tended to be thin through my live PA. Two QSC K10's. I've played the Crowdster and while it is a great guitar I don't like the idea that it is designed around acoustic .12 gauge strings. To me acoustic strings make sense on a true acoustic but once you go the electric route the guitar won't benefit as much from acoustic vs electric strings but more from the heavier gauge vs light gauge and the wound G does make a difference. It's no mistake that Michael Hedges used electric strings to make his Sunrise pickup work better, I'm not sure about the Crowdsters electric pickups but on the RicK Turner he modifies the Duncan Stag Mag to work better with acoustic strings by reducing the output of the E and B strings to match the weakened response of the wound acoustic strings. This to me is pointless.

    The T5 either you like it or don't. It plays very well and to me does have great electric tones and the acoustic tones don't sound like a typical piezo equipped guitar because it doesn't use that system. I would disagree about running both acoustic tones and electric at the same time. You most certainly can. Even using the magnetic pickups on their own the guitar still sounds like an acoustic through an acoustic amp. Once you play both the electric and acoustic tones together it's a composite sound at that point and it still works. You have to think a bit outside the box. I'm not sure if Taylor really intended for people to switch back and forth constantly or just have the various sounds available.

    I would at this point say that the best choices are the Crowdster or T5. The T5 can be had for less than the Anderson.

    Godin also makes a great sounding chambered acoustic but I haven't tried the hybrid version.
     
  7. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie Silver Supporting Member

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    YOu can "Mix them", which is, to me worthless. Thanks, what I meant was that you can't separate them out and play them through their respective signal processing simultaneously. In other words, it's a mono output.
     
  8. cochese

    cochese Supporting Member

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    True you can't separate the outputs but it can still sound good. The T5 is built like an acoustic so even running the magnetic pickups it will still sound acoustic. I use a Lehle Dual SGoS and route to an amp and the pa. I often run in parallel. Like I said you need to think outside the box a bit rather than approach it like a + or - type thing. I used to run my Seagull with a Fishman Rare Earth for electric sounds as well.

    I'm not saying that it has to work for "you" but it does work for myself and others. My friend had the original Crowdster that was just an acoustic with the Baggs Element before he got the Crowdster Plus. He would run it into the Bose system with just the piezo pickup and use distortion pedals and boost pedals and no amp modeler or speaker sims and do EVH solos. Mathematically incorrect but it sounded great so who's to argue. Once again, thinking outside the box.
     
  9. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie Silver Supporting Member

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    i agree, cochese. it does sound good. which kinda broke my heart, because it didn't work for my purposes, in which I HAVE to be able to separate the signals.

    A buddy has one, it sounds fantastic, but to me, only 2 or 3 of the 5 settings would be useful. That's okay.

    When I found the Crowdster Plus, it worked way better for me. But if you're trying to play electric forget about it. no good for that.
     
  10. randomhitz

    randomhitz Supporting Member

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    Seems like any system can have outputs dedicated one to an acoustic amp and one to an electric amp. The blend system is there for your convenience. You could wire up the guitar so the output of the magnetic pickups, after running thought their orignal volume and tone circuits go directly to the tip or sleeve of a stereo output jack and run into a switch box that allows you A,B or Both. requires 2 amps but they can be small and light.
    Another option would be something like a pod 500 that has 2 independent inputs.
    You could either use the switch box or program the foot switches in the pod.
     
  11. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie Silver Supporting Member

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    And once you try separating the signal... you will never go back (see the articles in my sig if you're so inclined). It's awesome.
     
  12. Ben Furman

    Ben Furman Member

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    Nice Hamer, custom53! :)

    Here's a vid I found for the basic Wendler model with a Kent Armstrong jazz pickup:



    My CJ7 sounds quite a bit different with a pair of DiMarzios....
     
  13. Dave1

    Dave1 Member

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    I get a very believable stage sound from my t5. It has a very similar system to a normal Taylor acoustic. It sounds much better than my other guitarist's loudon on stage, plus no feedback or other compromises.
     
  14. Jaredstepp

    Jaredstepp Member

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    I've tried many hybrid guitars - that's basically all I play - prs hollowbody is a good option, the best options for acoustic tones out of an electric is the Babicz Octane - they're hard to find, but crazy sexy looking, light as a feather like an acoustic, and they have a wonderfully fast neck. The LR Baggs piezo on them is great and because of the woods and the completely hollow shape it just booms. The Seymour Duncan electric pickups on it are solid pickups, but in my opinion are too high gain for a guitar that is that hollow - they feed back easily - so switch 'em. But for straight acoustic sound on an electric the Octane can't be beat.
     
  15. Rango

    Rango Supporting Member

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    I ended up going with a Fishman Aura DI/Imager to get where I wanted to be with the Piezo in my PRS P-22. The P-22 is similar to the Lifeson in that there are seperate jacks available for the Mag Pu's and the Piezo. I run the Mags to my amp and the Piezo to the PA via the Fishman. Works pretty well and I get complements on the tone. :D

    Good demo of this type of rig here:
     

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