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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / I have to ask about a piezo that sounds like poop

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Therealfrogman
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Pueblo, Co

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Mar 27th, 2019 09:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

It is in my Alverez Parlor size guitar and it sounds like distorted rectum spew. I have checked the flatness of the bridge saddle and it is pretty flat. I have not removed the pup strip under the saddle yet to look at it.

There is a fresh battery and this one has a tone dial and a volume dial. It just is horrible but the reviews I have read are all pretty good. Could there be a crack or something in the little strip under the bridge?

This is new territory for me, please excuse the ignorance.


Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Mar 27th, 2019 09:26 AM   Edit   Profile  

"Could there be a crack or something in the little strip under the bridge?"

Absolutely. These things can be pretty fragile, and if handled roughly on installation, it can be damaged. There's no way to break these open and repair them. Luckily, they are very cheap to replace (the piezo strip) because most makers use the cheap stuff from China.

Structurally, these types of pickup are very simple and fairly standard in construction. Even the rock-bottom-priced units you can buy on FleaBay are pretty good.

If yours uses a sub-mini plug to connect to the power module, replacing it would be a cinch.

However, the symptoms you describe (distorted sound) could also be due to a bad connection somewhere in the system (power or signal).

Before you do anything else, try a different cable between the guitar and the amp/board to rule out a simple thing like a bad instrument cable.

If the guitar is not new and out of warranty, pull the entire thing out and test it. If it does turn out to be a bad piezo pickup, measure it for length, width, and thickness (they can vary) and get a replacement that matches (or is slightly undersize) the one that's currently in there.

No affiliation with this seller...just one example.

hushnel
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Mar 27th, 2019 10:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

When I first started using these piezos I tried to find information on quality. I found nothing that indicated one was better than another, but it was a while ago.

I was more interested in the disks, and I used them for the cigarbox bass and put a couple in to ukuleles. They come in different diameters. The ribbon under saddle type, I was told but have no proof, are the same as used to trigger traffic lights at intersections. Since I could find no information on quality I just started buying the discs l and wired them up myself. They look exactly the same as my K&K but I could get a few dozen of them for the price of one K&K

12 premiered for $2.39 on eBay

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Mar 27th, 2019 10:38 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've had the exact same experience as you, Mike. Cheep cheep cheep and just as good as the big names.

Therealfrogman
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Mar 27th, 2019 11:28 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yooz guyz is incredible. I will do some yanking today to see what is in there.

Therealfrogman
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Mar 27th, 2019 11:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

Here is what it looks like (the controller) and from what I can see the pup is wired directly into this controller.

Have you guys removed one of these before? I will figit with it after my meeting.

I'll be back :0)

External link

Harleyboy
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Mar 27th, 2019 01:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

Sometimes messing with the controller dials can make a world of difference. I once had an Alverez set-up like your picture. It had a sweet spot for the knobs that was pretty nice. Every other setting was garbage.

Note: I didn't have aa acoustic amp and was playing it through my Bass Amp. The right amp may have made a difference in how well the controller worked.

Therealfrogman
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Mar 27th, 2019 01:22 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks, Harleyboy. I have plugged it into 4 different systems including direct PA and it sux with any adjustment. I just inspected the saddle and this thing is far from being flat, in fact both ends are tapered for some reason...

I was hoping that contact issues may be the problem, seeing as how there is no way that it is contacting the piezo flush. Any thoughts?

hushnel
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Mar 27th, 2019 03:25 PM   Edit   Profile  

It needs to be flat, is it the saddle slot or the bridge. I’ve avoided acoustics that have built in controls, I always figured transducer to strap button output then pre-amp/EQ. I have near violent reactions to controls cut into the sides of the instrument, the non-invasive sound hole set up is pretty cool.

thumbpicker
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St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Apr 14th, 2019 02:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

Piezos aren't a good microphone that's for sure but they can offer some very good sounds if installed correctly.
I favor the K&K under the bridge plate sounds even without a preamp. They're just a touch woofy to me but have a great sound.
As far as the ones from ebay a friend of mine uses several different types. The round ones similar to K&K which sound about the same to me. The reason I favor these is they're less invasive into an expensive guitar as you simply stick or glue them in place. . They work well and no battery is installed in your guitar. For a couple of bucks it's hard to go wrong.
The under saddle type I have had trouble with before . Mainly they get messed up by someone doing string changes or the installer got them in too tight or in a bind in the bridge slot. As mentioned if the bridge slot is not really good and flat you can get buzz, hums,and dead strings.
Years ago the best sound on an acoustic were the stick on types from Barcus-Barry! They were just a single piezo in a rubberlike puck that suctioned onto the guitar top. They were temporary with a short cord to plug into. You played half the song then the pickup would slide off the guitar and dangle at your feet.
Seems odd that 45-50 years later we are still using these but till something better pops up it'll go on.


reverend mikey
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Apr 14th, 2019 06:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

Another vote here for the K&K pickups that attach under the saddle to the bridge plate.

As mentioned above, no battery, and no real need for a preamp, however, they will require some eq-ing of some kind. As mentioned, they can be bassy or woofy, so being able to tame that is important.

But then you have a very natural sound. They play nicer with some amps than others, which has to do with the amp's input impedance. An eq pedal or the right DI box can deal with that issue.

For $99 plus install cost (usually $25-50) they sound great. I have them in my Martin J-18 and J-40, and will be putting them in several more guitars.

Ayns
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UK

England's Sloppiest Guitarist
Apr 15th, 2019 04:37 AM   Edit   Profile  

I’ve got a K&K in my Taylor 355 13 string and it sounds great.

Any thoughts on the cheaper K&K types, eg JJB?

hushnel
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North Florida

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Apr 15th, 2019 06:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

I know it’s difficult to believe but the $99.00 K&K transducer is the same as the ones I linked above that are just under 25 cent a piece. You can get them even cheaper without being pre-wired.

thumbpicker
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St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Apr 15th, 2019 06:26 AM   Edit   Profile  

I found that as well about the k&k pickups. The ones available on eBay for a few dollars look about the same and sound the same. I installed the k&k pickups before I knew that.

Ayns
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UK

England's Sloppiest Guitarist
Apr 15th, 2019 09:06 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Guys,

and before anybody mentions it I *don't* have a 13 String, I of course meant 12 String ;-)

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Apr 15th, 2019 11:14 AM   Edit   Profile  

We just assumed you were using a piece of bailing twine as a guitar strap. You know--full-on hillbilly stuff :o)

hushnel
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Apr 15th, 2019 11:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

“I installed the k&k pickups before I knew that.”

I did too, then did the research. That’s when I learned that transducers are transducers. I couldn’t even find information on the values of the differences in the size and just assume the larger disk generated more signal than the smaller ones.

I need to study the technology a bit more.


thumbpicker
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St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Apr 15th, 2019 03:31 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think it’s one of those things that even after decades they put different slants on it and preamps and all but the tech is pretty much the same now as back in the 70s. Other than maybe better more consistent manufacturing practices .
Taylor tried multiple piezos and linking them with magnetic. It worked but still wasn’t the sound of a good acoustic. Then they tried turning them sideways with expression system II. Same result.
You’d think it would be better but it is still the same stuff. It works but it’s still not perfect.

Ayns
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UK

England's Sloppiest Guitarist
Apr 15th, 2019 05:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

Ok. I've just ordered a cheaper than cheap 3 transducer set. I'm going to install it in my ej200.

willie

Too Near Atlanta GA

Amp Tech Emeritus
Apr 29th, 2019 02:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

Big fan of the K&K mini. Installed one in my old USA Taylor 110 some years back and it's still my #1 best sounding acoustic when amplified...very natural and rich sounding...sounds like an acoustic guitar. :-)

willie

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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / I have to ask about a piezo that sounds like poop




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