Piezoelectric pickups are made from piezo transducers that can be bought at Radio Shack for about two dollars. They sense string vibrations and turn them into electrical signals that are sent to your amplifier.
- When used on an acoustic guitar, it can be used as an acoustic-electric while still maintaining sound quality unplugged and producing great sound while plugged into to an acoustic amp.
- Piezo pickups make electric guitars sound more like acoustic guitars when plugged into the clean channel of an amplifier, or help the cleans sound better.
Making piezo pickupsEdit
- Piezo element (link)
- Soldering iron and solder
- Optional: SPDT switch
- Pliers or something similar
- Wire stripper/cutter
- Mono output jack (optional if wiring to output jack in guitar)
- Optional: Potentiometer, if installing a volume control you will need a type B (audio/log) potentiometer
- First, carefully pry the plastic casing of the piezo element open with pliers. Inside you will find a small disc with two wires attached. One wire is the ground wire, while the other is the hot. Carefully take the disc out and solder two longer wires to each of the wires coming from the disc. Next solder the wire soldered to the disc's hot (red) wire to the jack's hot lug, and the wire soldered to the ground (black) wire to the jack's ground. Attach the disc to a guitar near the strings (usually near the bridge), and plug a cable into the jack, going to an amp, and it should work. This is the most basic DIY piezo pickup circuit. The "disc," here, is the pickup.
- To add a volume control, solder the hot wire from the pickup to lug 2 of the potentiometer. Solder a wire from lug 3 of the potentiometer to the jack's ground lug, and solder a wire from lug 1 to the jack's hot lug.
- If you want to install the pickup in a guitar that already has pickups and an output jack, instead of wiring to a new output jack, you can wire the piezo pickup to the guitar's output jack the same way you would have done normally. However, you can wire a switch to switch between the original pickups or the piezo pickup. This is done by cutting the hot wire running between the output jack and the pickups, and taking the hot wire coming from the output jack, and wiring it to the middle lug of the SPDT switch. Next solder the other end of the wire you cut and wiring it to one of the outer lugs. Now take the hot wire from the piezo pickup circuit (which would normally be wired to the output jack) and soldering it to the other outer lug of the switch.
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