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Well, I made a makeshift piezo from a door alarm piezo element, more just to show that it can be done.
I didn't make the pickup on my electric. It is stock, the usual rectangular thing that fits under the bridge and has the piezo element near the bass foot. I did add a DC blocking cap to reduce the "pumping" sound a bit and use a preamp I built because the one that came stock drove into distortion easier than I liked. But that's just a simple jFET preamp with a little tweaking.
Rather than using a clipper or limiter, I tweaked the preamp to only begin to overdrive when the instrument is bowed hard. Since it is FET, the overdrive tends more to even order distortion like a tube amp than the somewhat harsh bipolar transistor (IC op-amp) it came with (those tend to odd-order harmonics when overdriven). That way overdrive can be controlled by the bowing.
Probably not the sort of info you were hoping for, Ty, but maybe there's an idea or two in it that you can try.
"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman
Oh yes, I recall now. We talked about the use of FETs for the distortion and controlling reaction. I have several disc piezo elements from old PC boards that might work. I was hoping for more info on the energy loss in the transfer and what distortion the element would induce. I guess most of that will be inherent in the quality of the transducer itself.
I have been looking at home grown instruments of the solid body type and am interested in seeing what one will do. I still would like to try my pulse lighting effect on it, but then again, there would be signal degridation from the added circuitry with the low budget project, not to mention the power source. I hate to lug around a car battery for the lighting effects. lol
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