Piezo system on a Universe? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-03-2005, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
 
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Question Piezo system on a Universe?

Is it at all possible? Could you get a piezo system installed on a universe? I understand it would probobly be pretty expensive, but I'm willing to spend quite a bit. Also, anyone know if a second input could be added? Know of someplace that could do these crazy things? (LGM?)
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-03-2005, 10:07 PM
 
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Re: Piezo system on a Universe?

Funny that you should ask this. I tried to do the same thing on my Universe a couple years back. If you want to keep your Universe looking stock, the only thing that I ever figured out how to do is to either:

A) Buy a 7 string double edge trem and retro-fit your universe. (will require making some new holes in your Universe's pickguard)
B) If your don't use your trem at all (I have mine blocked), you can stick a contact pickup(circular stick-on pickup) on your sustain block. That's how I did mine(before I scrapped the whole thing and rewired it with a vari-tone switch like BB King's Lucille). I was thinking of sticking an acoustic under-the-saddle pickup between the trem and the sustain block, but the contact pickup method worked fine for me(and it was cheaper to do anyways).

Mind you, if you DO INTEND to use that contact pickup method you will probably have to rewire your guitar with seperate volumes for the contact pickup and your magnetic pickups as well as a stereo jack.

(btw. what you're asking for isn't crazy)
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-04-2005, 05:55 AM
 
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Re: Piezo system on a Universe?

I was interested for a while in buying a Rg2027 (with the double edge piezo), and then taking the double edge out and putting it into a swirl universe (this would be my ideal guitar - a swirl uni with piezo's), but when I looked into it I was told that the double-edge wont fit into the routed hole for a normal lo-pro, and that it wouldnt be possible to do it without making a custom body, so I gave up on the idea at the time. Don't know if anyone out there has any more info on the feasability of doing this, as I would still like to have a go (if not then I suppose I would have to buy a Rg2027 and just copy the body - I don't think I could bring myself to swirl the gorgeous wood of a Rg2027). Anyone else have any opinions?
Rich
PS, having said all that, just having a RG2027 would probably be enough for me, even with no mods, etc, they are lovely
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-04-2005, 06:56 AM
dex
 
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Re: Piezo system on a Universe?

It's doable but it's going to take a lot of effort.
First of all the only way to get an Ibanez double edged 7 bridge will be to track down a RG2077, butcher the bridge and the electronics out and install them in your Universe.
From what I hear the wiring is so intricate that you need someone who's done that before to do it for you and I don't think Jeremy (LGM) can spare the time to atempt to do it.

The best thing is to just try and get a 2077 and swap the pickups for something more dynamic, then just EQ your tone to get closer to your current tone and just play the 2077.

ilia
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-04-2005, 07:46 AM
 
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Re: Piezo system on a Universe?

2027, not 2077
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-04-2005, 09:02 AM
 
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Re: Piezo system on a Universe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serratus
...but when I looked into it I was told that the double-edge wont fit into the routed hole for a normal lo-pro, and that it wouldnt be possible to do it without making a custom body, so I gave up on the idea at the time.
Former 2027x owner here - I'd be inclined to disbelieve your source. I never actually pulled out the trem and A/B'd the trem cavity between that and my 7620, but they looked virtually identical to me. If there are any differences in the trem cavity routs, we're talking VERY subtle.

The bigger problem is the internal routing for the wires and the mini-toggle switch. As the MC's are rear-routed (i think... someone back me up on this), you'd be looking at some drilling to get this and a second volume for the peizo added. If you were willing to do without separate volumes for magnetic and peizo outputs, then you could make do with a push-pull toggle on your volume to switch between magnetic and peizo, with the volume functioning as a master volume for both outputs.

Also, you'd either have to run a single stereo output jack, or have a second output jack added if you wanted to have the option to split your magnetic and peizo signals, and even the best clean channel on a good tube amp won't really do peizos justice, so going to a stereo jack, at least, is almost mandatory here.

Personally, I think you're crazy, as the transparent vintage violin finish over mahogany is WAY more attractive than any swirl I've ever seen...

-D
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-04-2005, 05:35 PM
 
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Re: Piezo system on a Universe?

Hey buddroyce, that's real interesting how you used a contact pickup. I was tooling around with the idea of adding some kind of piezo pickup to my Jem and the same ideals came through my head, I just haven't had much time to try them yet. Anyway, did you have to add a powersource for the piezo? I mean, as I understand it, piezos are active, but of course, i could be totally wrong. Also, if you could go in to more detail about exactly how you added the contact pickup and how you amplify the 'acoustic' sound, that'd be great, thanks!

-Bo
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-04-2005, 09:50 PM
 
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Re: Piezo system on a Universe?

Piezo pickups themselves are actually passive by nature, but thier output is *VERY* low and that's why most companies sell preamps for them. However, that's not saying that you *require* a preamp, you just need more gain in the amp. I've had some varying success using the EMG After Burner as a preamp but I ditched it and just went with a second volume.

The piezo pickup that I used was the circular pickup the size of a quarter that's usually used to stick on acoustic instruments. Mind you, the pickups come in varying qualities and I just experimented with a REALLY cheap contact piezo pickup. My guess is that the higher quality contact pickups have higher output. Basically my Universe at the time had the trem blocked on both sides of the sustain block, but I left a bit of space on one side and stuck the pickup on the sustain block.

I had to cut off the 1/4" output jack off the pickup and ran the cable through the hole in the trem cavity that leads to the control cavity. It's the same hole that the ground cable from the trem claw goes to. From there, in place of the tone pot I replaced it with a 500k volume pot and wired the pickup to it. Think of it as wiring a regular two conductor pickup to a single volume. Out of the new volume pot went to the ring if the stereo output jack. (you will need a stereo jack for the piezo.. trust me...)

I got the stereo barrel jack from EMG, but it's actually a Switchcraft part (Switchcraft part # 152b). You'll also need a stereo Y-cable (1 male stereo 1/4" to 2 female mono 1/4"). Here's a quick diagram of how I mounted the pickup as well as a wiring diagram I just made to show how I wired the pickup. Be in awe of my photoshop skills


Diagram of how I mounted the piezo
http://www.animetor.com/guitars/trem_view.gif

Wiring diagram
http://www.animetor.com/guitars/wiring_mod.gif

Hope this will help clarify some things. It *IS* possible to wiring a piezo contact pickup to a Jem/Universe/(practically anything that a contact pickup can pickup vibrations from). Mind you, I ran this setup with two seperate outputs(via the Y-Cable). So you will probably need two amps. But then again.. didn't the RG2027 have a seperate output for the piezo and the magnetic pickups?

-Budd
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-05-2005, 12:04 PM
 
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Re: Piezo system on a Universe?

Budd, that is really interesting - I've never thought of trying something like that, can I just ask a couple of questions? Did the sound from the extra pickup sound like an acoustic? The only thing I can find which is like the sort of thing you are talking about is from allparts (part no. PU 6475-000), and is described as a transducer pickup (to attach to an acoustic guitar top) - is that the sort of thing you used? Although you had your trem blocked, do you reckon it could still be used in an unblocked trem? I think I may have to have an experiment with this (and put a preamp in, with the volume replacing the tone control, and then as you did with a stereo out into a Y cable, into guitar amp with mag pickups, and PA with acoustic pickup). Thanks very much for your ideas and pics, any other info about your experience would be appreciated.
regards,
Rich
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-05-2005, 08:19 PM
 
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Re: Piezo system on a Universe?

Yes, the piezo sounds like an acoustic(more or less). You gotta keep in mind that with these contact pickups, you get a different tone from different spots on the guitar. The closer you mount it to the bridge, the brighter it gets. Mounting the pickup directly onto the sustain block resulted in a very bright sound. Reversing the pickup (ie. turning the pickup around to it stuck onto the guitar body and not the sustain block) resulted in warmer tone. Mind you, this is probably where the acoustic properties of a solid body really makes a difference. Where as mounting it directly to the sustain block wouldn't make that much of a difference.

That part from Allparts would be the similar kind. Since the majority of people around here seem to prefer Dimarzio pickups, I'd like to point out that Dimarzio also makes a pickup like this (DP130 -The Acoustic Model).

Although I did have my trem blocked, there's no reason why you couldn't still use the trem. The problem is, making sure you don't crush the pickup when you use the trem. I never actually measured the clearance available on the upper part of the trem(where the sustain block attaches to the trem itself), but if there's enough clearance between the trem and the body even after diving on the trem, I guess the pickup could go there. The spot I'm referring to is the area where I actually have my wood block(and a little above).

Alternatively you could try to mount the pickups elsewhere. Maybe somewhere else in the trem cavity or maybe in the control cavity. Keep in mind that the farther you go from the trem block, the less vibes it'll pick up.

In terms of a preamp, you could also try the EMG after burner that I tried once. It does work, since it'll give you a variable +20dB boost in signal, but that still wouldn't be a true volume for the piezo. I'll probably do this piezo thing on the J-Custom that's coming my way. Seeing that the guitar is destined for a new paint job/new body entirely, I'll just wire it up with a piezo to demonstrate how I did it before. (Just need a digital camera or bug someone to lend me thiers again..)

Hope that helps,

-Budd
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-06-2005, 05:03 AM
 
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Re: Piezo system on a Universe?

Thanks for all the info - I will definitely have a go
regards,
Rich
PS I had a look at the trem cavity from the back and it looks like there's a fair bit of room either side, so i would think a piezo would fit in ok, even without the trem blocked.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-06-2005, 01:15 PM
 
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Re: Piezo system on a Universe?

Thank you so much for the information. I will definitly try it sometime! Another question though, do I have to have another volume pot for the piezo? I just don't wanna have to lose the tone pot.

Thank you so much!
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-06-2005, 03:36 PM
 
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Re: Piezo system on a Universe?

Serratus -> I never actually looked into the space available on the sides of the trem, but it all comes down to how big the piezo pickup is. Let me know how you do with the piezo and the working trem.

bobojem -> It all comes down how how much fancy wiring you want to do. If you want to keep your tone you could always either wire a dual-concentric pots for your Volume & tone and then have a seperate volume for your acoustic. You don't really need a volume pot for the piezo, but then you would always have the volume fully on.

I would highly advise not to mix the piezo output with the magnetic pickups output. The two different signals don't mix well at all.

If anyones got any more questions or problems let me know. I'll see what I can do.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 05:00 PM
 
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Re: Piezo system on a Universe?

Well, I did it - I bought a transducer pickup for an acoustic, stuck it to the trem block on my Universe, took the wire through the trem earth hole and into the wiring cavity. Then took a preamp out of an old electro acoustic I had sitting around and put the volume pot for the preamp in place of the Universe's tone pot - the battery and preamp circuit board just fit into the cavity. Then I replaced the jack socket with a stereo socket, and fitted a switch to the back plate to turn the preamp on, made up a Y-lead, and voila - normal pickups go to my amp as normal, and acoustic pickup goes to the desk. Sounds nice - I had to mess with the eq on the desk to get it sounding at its best (but you have to do that with most electro's in my experience). It sounds quite metallic - kind of like a cross between a normal electro-acoustic and a dobro, I guess it would be different if I fitted it to the wood inside the trem cavity instead of to the trem block itself (although might be quieter aswell?!). The trem still works perfectly, although if you have the piezo turned up when you use the trem hard, it makes alot of noise (if you knock the trem it comes through the piezo pickup quite loudly). But I'm very happy - next best thing to a RG2027 I think
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Tags
acoustic guitar , dimarzio pickup , dimarzio pickups , double edge trem , edge trem , guitar body , jack socket , magnetic pickups , piezo pickup , piezo pickups , piezo system , toggle switch , trem block , trem claw , tube amp , wiring diagram

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