Fishman vs. LRBaggs Piezo bridge…help me design my next guitar!

pinefd

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Hi guys,

As some of you may know, I’ve been making octave guitars for a few years. But now, I’d like to do an octave guitar that’s a bit different…and more versatile, than what I’ve been doing all along.

As such, I’m working on a semi-hollowbody design, with a mahogany body and neck, and a flat maple cap. Scale length is 15.5”. And, instead of the one neck humbucker (my Standard octave), or the one P-90 (as in my Junior octave), I want to do something a little different, as I mentioned previously.

So, I’m thinking of doing one version of the guitar with a piezo ABR style bridge, so that it’s more of an acoustic-electric octave, and another version that has both a piezo bridge and a P-90 or mini-hum in the neck position. With the latter, I’d want to be able to switch from one pickup to the other (the piezo and the magnetic pickup), or use both simultaneously.

I’ve never, ever worked with a piezo bridge before, but I’m assuming that the acoustic version of my guitar would probably be relatively easy and straightforward. Except there’s the whole active versus passive piezo thing, which I’m kinda confused by.

But once we get into the piezo/P-90/mini-hum version, it gets a lot more complicated, I would imagine. Plus, because these are little guitars (about the size of a mandolin or tenor ukulele), I’m somewhat limited in the number of knobs/switches I can aesthetically and functionally fit onto the guitar. I’m thinking that the most I’d want to squeeze onto the guitar would be three knobs and one switch. But I’m not exactly sure what the functions of each would be...perhaps a volume control for each pickup, and a single, shared tone control; and also a three-way toggle switch to use for pickup selection.

So, I’m wondering what makes sense here for controls; and then also, how I would go about wiring the whole thing. And again, the whole active versus passive thing is very confusing to me. Plus, I understand that some people might opt to install a separate output jack for the piezo. Or could you just accomplish the same thing with a stereo jack?

Oh, and what are the advantages/disadvantages of the Fishman piezo tune-o-matic style bridge versus the LRBaggs (or any others?)? I believe the Fishman only has one wire coming from it versus the six that the LRBaggs has. And then there’s the cost difference. Is one considered preferable over the other?

Anyway, for someone who is just used to building and working on guitars with pretty straightforward single and double pickup configurations, this is all a bit new and confusing to me.

So, if anyone who’s worked with these types of piezo bridges can offer any help or suggestions on which of the two noted above would better serve my purposes, and if you could recommend a configuration that would work for me, I’d be very grateful.

Thanks!


Frank
 

Marshall & Moonshine

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Havent tried the piezo, but Baggs destroys everything else, in my experiences, which involves loads of acoustic stuff, from dreads to 00's to banjo/mando toys that my friends have.
Disclaimer: they're made 10min away, and my friend works there.
I like how they always go for the sound of the instrument, and meah that with performance needs (like feedback rejection) and come out with a natural sound, vs adding anything remotely digital/modeling/anything else.
To my knowledge. I can ask my friend for you later, but you could probably just email them. It's actually a pretty small place, you'd be surprised.
 

RAG7890

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Waiting on Charles to get back to me with his recommendations Frank.

Should have something later today.

Cheers, Rudi
 

pinefd

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Awesome, thanks Rudi!
 

Novatone

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Have you checked out the Graphtech Ghost piezo?
I am looking into the same thing (well not for an octave guitar ofcourse. That is your department) and the Graphtech seems very good

DV016_Jpg_Large_H73627.003_nickel_R.jpg


I would love to try their wraparound piezo. That thing looks so comfy en sexy!
 

RAG7890

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Have you checked out the Graphtech Ghost piezo?
I am looking into the same thing (well not for an octave guitar ofcourse. That is your department) and the Graphtech seems very good

DV016_Jpg_Large_H73627.003_nickel_R.jpg


I would love to try their wraparound piezo. That thing looks so comfy en sexy!

And the winner is.............................above.

Frank, Charles just got back to me & said in his opinion the best sounding system on the market today is the Graphtec Ghost Piezo System: -

Ghost Modular Pickup System by Graph Tech

Now, if any others are interested Charles is a very good Guitarist, has played many years of live Gigs & is arguably one of the best Luthiers in Australia & possibly the world (IMHO & from what I have seen first hand).

He has built many Guitars with Piezo systems & pushed the envelope re what he can do with them on various projects.

While I am not in to Piezo systems, I'd have a close look at above if he says it is the best sounding one on the market.

My 2c FWIW.

Cheers, Rudi
 

pinefd

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That's awesome, guys! Thanks for the info! Now all I have to do is to try and figure out how the heck to incorporate that into my design! I'll connect with you off-line, Rudi, to see if I might be able to get Charles' help with the best control and wiring configuration to fit my needs. Meanwhile, another forum member connected with me and mentioned that the National Res-Olectric has a similar setup to what I'm looking to do. So, I'll definitely be looking into that as well.

Thanks for the help, guys!


Frank
 

Jan Folkson

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I've installed several of these systems into LP's and would be happy to answer any questions.
 

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