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Pickup gurus - I need you!

Discussion in 'Backline' started by lostrack, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. lostrack

    lostrack New Metal Member

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    I have an NS electric cello, and it comes with piezo pickups. These are horrible and scratchy.
    However, I held a Les Paul up to the strings and recorded the output from the humbuckers, and it sounds phat!

    So - what I need is to install humbuckers. As more of a cello guy I'm not mr knowledgeable on this one.

    Here's the catch:

    The body of the NS Cello is curved. So putting a flat humbucker would make it closer to the outside strings, farther from the inners - it would be unplayable.

    [​IMG]

    What I need is a recommendation for some humbucking pickups, that are either individual, or can be shaped. I'm happy to drill holes in the cello, the body makes little/no difference to the sound.

    any thoughts?
     
  2. dominus_malas

    dominus_malas Member

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    1. All pickups are flat. You can't "shape" them.

    2. Some guitars are curved, but not to that extent. How curved is the fretboard / bridge / strings? (The body doesn't make a difference here.)

    3. You can adjust string sensitivity with the screws on the pickups. Perhaps you'd do best with a double screw, low output humbucker. (Edit: Carvin has a few models that may work here, as they have 12 screws per coil, really letting you dial in the sound.)
     
  3. Mago

    Mago Austrian Blech Machine

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    butcher the body and make it flat at the spot you want to place the humbucker? ^^
     
  4. Jarkko Mattheiszen

    Jarkko Mattheiszen The FU guy.

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    Unfortunately it won't be that simple. First of all, the cello's fretboard/bridge radius and thus the difference in the height of individual strings is still a problem even if you butcher the body for a flat pickup install. Even with individually adjustable pickup poles, I doubt you could compensate enough to get an even response. Second, the cello has four strings, so you're shit outta luck with regular guitar humbuckers. You could of course go with bass humbuckers, but the tone is different from what you heard and the string spacing is still a problem - AFAIK the cello has way more spacing than a regular electric bass. If you're gonna go ahead with this experiment, try to find a blade humbucker so the pole positioning won't be such a problem. Thirdly, magnetic pickups might not play well with a bowed instrument at all, since the strings move and vibrate in a different manner than a picked string instrument. I've heard of a couple of luthiers experimenting with cellos and magnetic pickups, and from what I understand, they haven't been successful.

    To be honest, I'm afraid you might end up butchering a cool instrument and not getting the results you hoped for. I'll go out on a limb and say your best bet is to replace the piezo (it's in the saddle, right?) with a high quality cello pickup.
     
  5. Terminus

    Terminus Member

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  6. indecizo

    indecizo Member

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    looks like a sawed off shotgun
     
  7. abt

    abt BT

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    Yep, the reasons mentioned above are why they used Piezos in the first place. Have you tried using FX on it. I'd take it to a store and run it through some stomp boxes try a boost, saturation, eq, comp. Or you can do the same in your DAW.

    You could throw a clip up here of your raw sound and a clip of what you're after, someone might give you a better answer.
     
  8. Jordon

    Jordon Member

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    Perhaps you could find a small pickup manufacturer to build you a pickup in a custom housing?
     
  9. lostrack

    lostrack New Metal Member

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    Thanks for the response everyone.

    The cello has to have a curved bridge as it's impossible to play a separate string with a bow, with a flat bridge.

    I was thinking of some separate pole pickups - like these. I found this interesting czech site a few years ago and got in touch with the developer.

    [​IMG]

    Magnet AlNiCo Ø 5,5mm

    Segment Diameter 12 mm

    Spacing Segments 15 mm

    Width of the end fingerboard 56 mm +/- 2mm

    D.C. Resistance system 5,2 kohm

    Resonant Peak 7kHz

    Power supply 9V CR2032 – 3 pc

    Current (9V) 70uA

    Battery Life (Hours) 3300

    Output Impedance 1 kohm

    Peak Output Voltage 6Vmax

    Minim. Load Impedance 25kohm

    Output Noise -108 dBV

    Hum canceling Yes

    Weight 120g

    Does anyone know if these will have a sound that resembles a guitar pickup?

    Essentially a magnetic pickup from the string is desirable, as the piezo pickup gets alot of the bow sound, leading to a very, very scratchy and thin tone. Even when you roll off the top end.

    Thoughts?
     
  10. MOSHWITZ

    MOSHWITZ Stunt Guitarist

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    Sup? :)

    It might be possible to bend one of the Lace Alumitone humbuckers with the split magnets.

    or perhaps flatten out the legs so the P'up sits as close to the body as possible. might be an option.

    http://www.lacemusic.com/Alumitone_Humbucker.php


    MOSHON
    DAVE
     
  11. flowersinsulpher

    flowersinsulpher New Metal Member

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  12. Notuern

    Notuern Bloody vaginal belch

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    I cant say the name due to some circumstances, but a fairly know swedish violinist swore by using a combination of transducer and piezo pickups.
    He/she sent the signals to an acoustic guitar preamp that allowed you to blend the signals and EQ them to taste.
     
  13. lostrack

    lostrack New Metal Member

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    These could be cool, thanks man. I'll check them out

    I contacted NS designs about it and they told me to buy an Omni bass. Looks similar to the pickup designs I posted earlier. [​IMG]
    However, it's on a bass scale and won't be playable in the same way as a cello.

    Posting my replies here so that if anyone wants to try this in the future, it'll save time.

    cheers

    www.losttrack.co.uk
     

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