Acoustic bass guitars are highly flexible instruments that can be utilized both live and studio settings. Their distinct tone can add texture and depth to any section of a song or fill out low end for acoustic guitarist players.
Acoustic bass instruments can either be connected to an amplifier or used without one; choosing the most appropriate model depends on performance type, venue and player technique.
Piezo pickups use crystals to measure pressure changes (vibrations) in strings and wood, then convert these vibrations to electrical signals which are further processed through a preamplifier to produce louder tones that more closely match those produced by an acoustic guitar.
Piezo pickups provide several advantages over magnetic ones, including better clarity and sound brightness. Unfortunately, however, some piezo pickups can sometimes sound “quacky” and nasal when strumming heavy chords.
Opting for a piezo pickup on an acoustic bass guitar can help improve its sound while sharpening up your playing, but before purchasing one it is crucial that you understand which type is appropriate for your instrument and play style.
A quality piezo pickup should feature high voltage input and output for optimal operation, enabling it to pick up higher frequencies without distortion. Furthermore, its ability to boost signal and add EQ makes it ideal for use with guitar amps and preamps.
Piezo pickups’ primary advantage lies in being non-invasive to your instrument’s aesthetic – which makes them an appealing option among many players, leading to them opting for them over other types of pickups.
There are various piezo types, including undersaddle pickups and bridge plate transducers, which work by converting string vibrations into electricity with an extensive strip of piezo crystal conductor.
Undersaddle pickups are the most widely used acoustic pickups and typically rest underneath the saddle. Also referred to as under-saddle transducer pickups, these devices work by converting string vibrations into electricity through a thin strip of piezo crystal conductor.
Bridge plate pickups function similarly to undersaddle pickups, yet are mounted directly on the bridge plate of a guitar. Installing these pickups may prove more complex as their installation requires taking extra steps such as unhooking and reconnecting the bridge to its position on the instrument.
Both piezo pickup types require batteries for operation. The most powerful models typically rely on 9V batteries. You should select a battery compatible with your guitar that won’t weigh too heavily or bulkily when transporting.
Undersaddle pickups are a favorite among acoustic bassists for various reasons. They allow them to easily amp up your tone for gigging or recording situations while helping reduce any unwanted hum.
These pickups work by sensing vibrations passed through a saddle or other resonant point on an instrument and reflecting them back to a microphone through piezoelectric material forming part of them – much like solid-state generators which generate electricity when compressed or stretched microscopically.
Acoustic basses benefit greatly from using piezo pickups, as their higher feedback resistance makes it less likely that playing loudly will produce feedback howls. Furthermore, internal installation requires no drilling into the guitar, providing greater versatility.
Fishman and L.R. Baggs provide many of the highest-rated undersaddle pickups available today, suitable for single pickup use as well as incorporation into blend or hybrid systems.
Some of the most sought-after acoustic bass guitar pickup systems combine magnetic pickups and contact pickups into hybrid systems that offer enhanced sound capture capabilities. These unique configurations bring some of the natural sound from an acoustic guitar into its amplified version for greater variety in sound reproduction.
These pickups tend to be more costly, and installing one may prove challenging without the appropriate tools. If you choose this route, be sure to follow all installation instructions closely and install with caution.
Use of microphone pickups may also be considered, though these tend to have lower sensitivities that don’t detect string vibrations as accurately. Furthermore, microphone pickups tend to sound harsher when recording.
However, for an acoustic bass pickup that provides you with more versatility in terms of mixing acoustic and amplified sounds together seamlessly, microphones may be your ideal solution. Some of the top pickup systems on the market feature magnetic pickups with mics to form hybrid systems for enhanced flexibility.
Resonance transducers are pickups often installed beneath or atop an instrument’s soundboard to convert vibrations into electrical signals that can then be amplified. Resonance transducers have become more popular with acoustic bass players due to their unique sounds compared to piezo or undersaddle pickups.
Resonance transducer pickups can be constructed from various piezoelectric materials, including PZT (polyZylene tritium), PTFE (Teflon), and other polymerized metals with high piezoelectric stress coefficients – this means they deliver more acoustic power with the same amount of electrical power input.
Piezo pickups can be an ideal solution for guitar players looking to maximize the playing experience without compromising tone or comfort. Installed beneath or atop of the bridge saddle, and often coming equipped with preamp technology.
Preamps in most acoustic pickup systems come equipped with volume and tone controls that enable you to further shape the sound. From simple “tone” knobs to advanced systems with individual sliders for bass, mid and treble frequencies EQ sliders allow you to refine and modify how your pickup sounds.
Some acoustic pickups come equipped with an onboard tuner, enabling you to tune your guitar to alternative tunings or key transpositions at the press of a button. Others go further by including MIDI output for controlling keyboards, Ableton Live sessions or pedals via individual strings – opening up endless opportunities!
Pickups with interchangeable mountings offer another distinct advantage over their conventional counterparts: versatility in application across a variety of guitar models. Available in sizes suitable for most acoustic instruments, you won’t have to remove or replace them should your instruments change over.
Piezo pickups can sometimes produce harsh, unnatural sounds that make them difficult to use. To address this problem, the PZ-DI provides an elegant solution: featuring a 10 meg-ohm input impedance to extend frequency response, as well as a variable low-cut filter which removes unwanted resonance – providing more natural sounds which you can customize according to your individual needs.
Microphones are devices that convert airborne sound waves into electricity, making them useful in professional recording studios to capture sounds with minimal disturbance from ambient noise. Acoustic bass guitar pickups use this same principle.
Pickups can be found either at the front or back of a guitar’s body, usually under its bridge. Their purpose is to capture vibrations coming from either its soundboard or bridge and convert them to an electrical signal for use by its amplifiers.
The top acoustic bass pickups use piezo transducers to convert instrument sound to an electrical signal, often combined with an internal microphone for enhanced recording quality.
Magnetic coil pickups convert string vibrations to an electrical signal, typically found on acoustic bass guitars but also found on some electric instruments.
Magnet pickups work by sensing string movement through a coil of copper wire and transmitting voltage fluctuations when strings vibrate – producing an electrical signal that can then be turned into sound through an amp pickup amplifier.
Acoustic bass players may opt to add a microphone as a pickup on their instrument; although this approach is less common among upright basses, it can still prove beneficial in certain circumstances.
Some acoustic bass guitarists employ two sources for amplifying their sound: microphone pickups combined with an undersaddle or magnetic pickup, known as dual-source systems. This combination offers the best of both worlds.
These premium pickups can be found from several of the leading acoustic bass pickup brands, such as Fishman, L.R. Baggs and Seymour Duncan. While they tend to cost more than undersaddle or magnetic models, if you desire maximum acoustic amplification they are worth every cent!
The Element Acoustic Bass Pickup is an example of a dual-source system and an ideal choice for anyone seeking to enhance the tone of their instrument while adding an onboard mic. Installation of this system is straightforward and comes equipped with an endpin jack kit for permanent attachment.