Building a Piezo Pickup for Acoustic Instruments
|Ill say right up front that, while
this home-made pickup produces a very good sound for my purposes, it may not measure up to
yours. Some folks report that their home-made pickups "sound as good as the
high-dollar" passive piezo pickups currently available. I make no such claim. There
are just too many variables in the process, including the fact that everyone
"hears" things differently.
Still, the pickups Ive made sound very good, to my ears anyway, especially when they are used with a pre-amp or with an acoustic amp that has equalization. For example, I typically run my cigar box uke into a Danelectro E-Studio. From there the signal goes into headphones, or if I feel like terrorizing the family, into a Pignose amp. The sound is much better using the Danelectro as a preamp than by just running the signal straight into the Pignose. Louder, too!
Consider your own skills before trying this project. While the mechanical skills are pretty basic, soldering is an art that takes a bit of practice to get it right. (And if you dont get it right, your pickup either wont work properly or it will be unreliable.) Keep in mind that good pickups are available for reasonable prices, so building your own pickup may not be the most economical path to amplify your instrument.
You also should ask yourself questions like, "Do I really want to drill a hole in my instrument?" And "Do I really know how to drill this hole without screwing it up?" Or "Am I irrevocably screwing up a valuable, vintage instrument?"
Messing around with tools and electricity are not for everyone. If you attempt this project and screw up your instrument or yourself, dont come whining to me I tried to warn ya!
Before you decide to go the do-it-yourself route, be sure to check out the various pickups available. You can still install it yourself, if you want, but youll have the advantage of starting out with a top-notch professional-grade pickup.