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Piezoelectric components

  1. May 27, 2014 #1
    Hi everyone!
    First of all I would like to say that my native language is not english, so I will try to explain myself as good as I can
    This is my first thread in which I would like to ask a question a friend of mine asked to me, hoping he could get some answer from me, but I couldnt give him a good result, so that is why I'm looking for others help :rolleyes:

    So, my friend is building a homemade bass guitar, and he often asks me questions about electric components to make his instrument sound better, and a few days ago he came with some ideas from an article he read about piezoelectric components, and wanted to know if he could make his instrument sound with this kind of component.

    I talked him about the normal use of this materials such as ceramics, which are used in instruments with a resonance box. Ej: upright bass

    But he had the idea to make an about 10x2 cm rectangular piece of quartz to use it as a pickup,
    (a pickup in a bass looks like this http://citron-guitars.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/pickup_bassJ4.jpg and is a simple use of magnets that are affected by the vibration of the metal strings of the instruments )

    After a little research in the internet I found out some stuff about this piezoelectricty concept, but anyway I dont know if this is possible and neither I know what to answer him :frown:

    So: Would it be possible to make a string instrument(in this case the bass guitar) sound out of the catchment of the vibration that the strings make in the air with a "piece" of quartz/ceramic?

    I've posted this thread in earth threads space because I dont know where to post it exactly

    Hope you can help me out!

    Thank you in advance!:biggrin:
  2. jcsd
  3. May 29, 2014 #2


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    Welcome to PF.
    Yes, it is possible. But why would you want to do it?

    Ceramic would have bigger response and a lower cost than quartz. But there is no need for such a big pickup.

    Your pickup transducer needs to be sensitive to the string movement and deaf to room noise. A large single transducer will also pick up other noise in the room, which will then feedback around the amplifier system.

    To use piezoelectric transducers you must find a coupling system couples to the string while cancelling room noise.
  4. May 29, 2014 #3


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    As Baluncore mentions, "To use piezoelectric transducers you must find a coupling system couples to the string ...".

    I'm thinking that any mechanical coupling would surely dampen the string vibration too much.


  5. May 29, 2014 #4


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    I certainly do not advocate close mechanical coupling, or a piezo microphone nearby.
    There are good reasons why magnetic pickups are used.

    String vibration is a 2D thing, often with a rotation between the modes.
    How might the orientation of piezo sensors change the sound recovered?
  6. May 29, 2014 #5


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    Whether or not you personally like them, you can buy guitars with both types of pickup.
  7. May 29, 2014 #6


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    Just to make sure, my comment was intended for the OP as I totally agreed with you.

    Dang. I should have realized electric guitars have evolved since the little bands I played in back in the '70s.
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