Piezo Installation on a Gretsch

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by CharAznable, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. CharAznable

    CharAznable Member

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    I love the sound of piezo blended with magnetic pickups, and I'd like to have that sound on a Gretsch electric.

    Anybody ever done such a thing? Is it even feasible? If so, does anybody know someone who could do it?
     
  2. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

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    What kind of bridge do you have?

    They make piezo pups in TOM bridges, so that might work for you.
     
  3. CharAznable

    CharAznable Member

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    The bridge is the Adjusto-Matic which is just like a TOM, but it's attached to a moveable rosewood block. Installing a piezo would probably require drilling the top and probably attaching the rosewood block to the body permanently.
     
  4. FrankieSixxxgun

    FrankieSixxxgun Member

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    Couldn't you use an upright bass type piezo transducer right on the floating bridge?
     
  5. 62Tele

    62Tele Supporting Member

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    I looked into this pretty heavily on a Gretsch-type guitar and experimented a little. I did no try the piezo tune-o-matics simply because I'm not a fain of piezos. I did try the pickup the world, a Lace/National magnetic and a strategically placed I-Beam and here's what I found;

    1) if you have a Bigsby it gets complicated real fast. The piezos will make some horrific sounds when you hit the thing. You either have to go to a trapeze tail piece or never use the Bigsby with the piezo on.

    2) both the folks at Fishman and Baggs felt that a Bigsby would hasten the demise of the saddles with the piezos embedded. The materials are softer and the extra string movement will have an effect.

    3) the PUTW pickup is a thin film type that sits between the rosewood/ebony base and the face of the guitar. It sounded pretty good, but the bridge rocking again causes problems and could lead to the pickup delaminating.

    4) The active I-Beam sounded REALLY good, almost like a good flatop, but had so little gain (my guitar is a semi-hollow so the top isn't moving nearly as much) that you had to turn it up to stupid levels. Lead to a lot of noise.

    5) the Lace pickup is pretty microphonic and picks up the sound of the instrument which allows it to make a reso sound like a reso. On the archtop, it sounded a lot like the TV Jones pickups already on the guitar so the difference at the time wasn't worth it. This is high praise in my book since I really like the tone of TV Jones' stuff. I didn't experiment with an acoustic amp etc, so there may be more potential here.

    I spoke with Deiter at K&K and it turns out that he had been trying similar things on his own 335, but to date (about a year ago) hadn't achieved any results he was happy with. I do think that the I-Beam results underscore one important point - the tones are in there, you just have to figure out how to get them out. Hope this helps in the quest.
     

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