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ricdoug
01-12-2009, 03:43 PM
Electrify your uke for under $10 bucks:

A friend of mine built a cigar box steel guitar using cheap components
from Radio Shack. He electrified it using cheap components from
Radio Shack. He told it was not an original idea, but it came from M.I.T.:

http://web.archive.org/web/20090226060252/http://web.mit.edu/kumpf/www/Acoustics/main.html

The sound reproduction is actually pretty good. I'm gonna' do this to a
couple of cheap Makala's for fun. Ric

Piezo Buzzer:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062402

1/4" phone jack

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103454

You may already have some shielded cable in your home. Cut the ends
off of a stereo cable that you can get at a dollar store and use that, or
get a roll 50 feet of shielded cable for multiple uke mods:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062643

BUGOY
01-12-2009, 03:53 PM
NEAT!!!! i wanna do this! thank Ric!

BTWriter
01-12-2009, 03:57 PM
Awesome! I think I might have a go at this with my old cheapo makala.

ricdoug
01-12-2009, 05:03 PM
I'm gonna electrify my bongos and djembe's, too! Ric

therimidalv
01-12-2009, 05:11 PM
wow, this shows just how easy it really is to make your own tech from household, or cheap items. I tip my hat to him.

UkEdman90
01-12-2009, 08:07 PM
I Have Already Done This! even wrote up a TUT!

:cool:

ricdoug
01-12-2009, 08:23 PM
I Have Already Done This! even wrote up a TUT!

:cool:

How about posting that tutorial here, Ed? That would be cool.

Here's the tutorial from the M.I.T. page:

Make Your Own Acoustic Guitar Pickup

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Are you interested in turning your acoustic guitar into an acoustic/electric guitar without the high prices of commercial products? Looking for a fun project where you can customize the sound to make your guitar exactly how you like it? If so, you've found the place. With the help of a few cheap parts you can pick up at your local electronic store, you can design, construct and use your own acoustic guitar pickup.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


How to Make the Pickup


Parts you will need:
1. Piezo Buzzer Element
2. about 1 foot of shielded audio cable
3. a 1/4" audio jack (that can be mounted on the guitar body)
4. a small amount of medium density foam. (just a couple square inches)
5. soldering iron, solder, wire strippers, hot glue gun, and hot glue



The first step is to design and create your pickup. The heart of the pickup is a piezo buzzer element. You can find these for just a couple dollars at your local parts store. (Radio Shack) Sometimes the Piezo Buzzer packages don't have that much information on them, but you want to find things as close as possible to the information listed on the "Specs:" page. In other words, they are pretty cheap so go for a good one. Also note that you do not need a fully functional buzzer device... just the Piezo element.

A word about Piezo Elements. Piezo elements are made from two conductors separated by a layer of piezo crystals. When a voltage is applied across the crystal layer, the crystals pull on one side and push on the other. This in turn bends the metal conductor layers. When a sinusoidal signal (audio) is applied, the conductors are pushed and pulled very quickly, creating sound waves. The beauty of the Piezo element is that it also can be applied reversely. If sound waves push and pull on the conductors, an electrical signal is created and can be output to an amplifier or recording device. This is exactly how we will use the Piezo Buzzer element in this project. It will be attached to the inside of the guitar body, and, as the body vibrates, the sound will be turned into an electric signal by the Piezo buzzer element.

Now that you have the Piezo Buzzer, you need to carefully break it open and get out the piezo element. Be careful not to hurt the metal device inside. Bending the element may cause it to break or lose some of it's sensitivity.

You are now ready to solder the device together. Strip the ends of the shielded audio cable. On one end connect the signal wire to the center of the Piezo element and the ground/shielding to the metal/brass surface of the piezo element. On the other end of the shielded wire, connect the signal wire to the signal tab on the 1/4" audio jack and connect the shielding to the ground tab.

We have found that a small piece of medium density foam improves the performance of the pickup over a large number of frequencies.(If you are familiar with circuitry, feel free to experiment with combinations of capacitors and resistors to cut undesired frequencies) Cut a piece of foam the same size of your piezo element and about 3/8" tall. Place a large drop of hot glue on the back side of the piezo element (where the wires connect) and then press the foam on until the glue cools.

Your piezo pickup device should now be ready to install. You may want to make sure it is working by plugging it into an amp and lightly tapping on it.


Installing the Piezo-electric Acoustic Pickup

STEP #1.
The first step is to get all of you supplies together. This is what you will need to turn your acoustic guitar into and acoustic/electric guitar.

1 Piezo-electric transducer pickup. (The main part)
1 Electric drill.
1 3/8" drill bit. (Use a spade bit)
1 Roll of double-stick tape / or hot glue / or sticky putty
1 Roll of masking tape.

STEP #2.

Figure 1
The second step is to mark where the hole will be in the body of the guitar. Unless you are handy with a soldering iron and have an endpin-jack on-hand, do not place your hole in the end of the guitar. This is where the pin that holds the strap is located. There is a block of wood there and the provided jack will not work in this position. I recommend marking the hole about halfway through the curve on the end of the guitar. It is, however, up to you where you choose to put it. Be creative! You will probably want to mark the spot with pencil first, then take the tip of the drill bit and twist on the mark by hand (not in the drill) to make a small indentation in the wood, as seen in Figure 1.

STEP #3.

Figure 2
Next we must drill the hole. This is the most difficult part of the installation process. It is in your best interest to take the tension off of the strings to get rid of forces that may be pulling on the wood. You may want to practice drilling holes on a scrap piece of wood if available to get a feel for the drill. Using a good sharp 3/8" spade bit, as seen in Figure 2, very slowly (fast drill speed, very little pressure) and carefully drill the hole in the body. Be steady and smooth.

STEP #4.

Figure 3 Figure 3b

Carefully clean the edges of the hole, Figure 3. Take the washer and nut off of the 1/4" jack. We must now feed the jack into the guitar body and direct it towards the hole we just drilled. Depending on the size of your hand, you may need to take the strings completely off the get your hand in far enough to guide the jack towards the hole. I usually just loosen the strings, (very loose) and squeeze my hand in as far as it will go, as seen in Figure 3b. It is almost certain that you will not be able to reach the hole. This is okay. Just be patient and keep fishing for it. You may find it helpful to use something such as a paperclip or a pencil to help guide you through the hole. Once it is through, put the washer and nut back onto the jack to hold it in place. Do not overtighten the nut. Too loose and it will come off... Too tight and you will have a guitar with a crack in it... A little loose is better than too tight! If you are worried about the strength of the jack in the side of the guitar, you can easily make a sheet-metal washer for the inside of the guitar to help support it.

STEP #5.

Figure 4
This step is a very important part if you want your guitar to have a nice sound. We are going to mount the piezo element. Be careful with the element. Piezo pickups can be broken if you bend them. Although it may seem odd, your pickup will produce a much better sound if you mount it hanging off of the guitar, 50-50. In other words, half of the element (brass side) is taped to the bridge (or a brace), and the other half is hanging out in mid-air. The best place to mount the piezo element is on the back side of the bridge. (the side towards the endpin) To apply the pickup, take a piece of double-stick tape, just enough to cover half of the element, and place it on the element. You may also want to use hot glue once you have found the best place on the guitar, as this improves the .4k-1.0kHz range of the pickup. A lot of people also use a sticky-putty, available at a local office supply store. The half of the pickup with tape (or glue or putty) will be the part that sticks to wood on the inside of the guitar, see Figure 4. The other half will be hanging off. Try to keep the adhesive (tape/hot glue/putty) as thin as possible as this will help overall performance. It also important to note that the placement of the piezo element can also be used to boost frequencies from .25-3.0kHz depending on how much of the device hangs in mid-air. Play around with different placements if you want your guitar to have a unique sound. Typically, the closer the pickup is to the bridge, the warmer the sound.

STEP #6.

Figure 5
The hard part of the installation is over. Now for the finishing touches. First, we must secure the loose wire that runs from the pickup to the jack so that it does not flop back-and-forth when someone moves the guitar. Go in through the sound-hole and place generous pieces of masking tape to secure the wire. Next you may want to snug the nut on the jack to finalize its placement. Then tighten up the strings and plug it in! That's it. See Figure 5. You just made your acoustic guitar into an acoustic/electric!

Adam Kumpf @ MIT
450 Memorial Dr.
Cambridge, MA 02139

ricdoug
01-12-2009, 08:27 PM
Sound Samples:

Chords: http://web.mit.edu/kumpf/www/Acoustics/chords.mp3

Solo: http://web.mit.edu/kumpf/www/Acoustics/solo1.mp3

Harmonics: http://web.mit.edu/kumpf/www/Acoustics/harmonic.mp3

Blues Riff: http://web.mit.edu/kumpf/www/Acoustics/blues-riff.mp3

beeejums
01-13-2009, 01:39 AM
I wonder if the placement should be any different on a uke? I mean, a guitar has a wider range of frequencies than an ukulele, but do notes on a guitar eclipse the notes available on a uke? Would there be way to mount the pickup that would optimize it for ukulele?

I apologize if I'm asking really basic stuff... but if I don't ask, I'll never know :-)

HaileISela
01-13-2009, 03:03 AM
I wonder if the placement should be any different on a uke? I mean, a guitar has a wider range of frequencies than an ukulele, but do notes on a guitar eclipse the notes available on a uke? Would there be way to mount the pickup that would optimize it for ukulele?

I apologize if I'm asking really basic stuff... but if I don't ask, I'll never know :-)

I don't really know about this, but I always put my pickup just in the middel of the Uke, right behind the bridge. I think it's a good place to pick up all the strings, because it's more or less the same distance to them...

btw, if you use some pickup like the dean markley transducer (which I use) it comes with some sort of sticky stuff to put it on your instrument. the problem with this is: it ruins the finish if you take it off the instrument again. but I found something similar without that negative effect, I don't know if there is something like that in the US, but in Germany you find this... (http://www.amazon.de/UHU-Tac-Patafix-80-Klebepads/dp/B000GPI7S6) it's awesome...

mwalimu
01-13-2009, 03:39 AM
I've been doing this for years. I found an article detailing the same procedure from a "FRETS" (or maybe it was "ACOUSTIC GUITAR") magazine in 1988. I've found two things:

1) Size doesn't matter much. Cutting a piezio disk in half will produce the same results. I used to cut them into quarters.

2) The sound quality is very good, but it picks up too much of your hand movements along the neck and sides of the Uke. I used to use foam double sided tape to attach them, but that did not help much. Filtering does help, however.

JoeyJr858
01-13-2009, 04:48 AM
I'm gonna electrify my bongos and djembe's, too! Ric


ooh, great idea Ric!

ricdoug
01-13-2009, 08:53 AM
Dave, from Waverly Street ukes has an easier method. He's a luthier and does this with his own creations. He does not even remove the piezo buzzer from it's plastic sase. I posted a question to him on another board, as to noise introduced by not using shielded cable. Here's Dave's photo tutorial:

http://www.wsukes.com/electric/electric.html

Here's video of the uke being played amplified:

http://www.wsukes.com/electric/piezodemo.wmv

BUGOY
01-13-2009, 12:13 PM
^ even better! i'm so doing this!

Link
01-13-2009, 04:35 PM
Wow that' easy. That's it, I'm doing it.

UkuleleHill
01-13-2009, 06:19 PM
This is awesome! I am so goig to do this with my concert :)

SuperSecretBETA
01-13-2009, 07:33 PM
Anyone willing to make a YouTube of their creation and installation adventures?

That would help times a million.

micropilot
01-13-2009, 08:03 PM
Hi guys I found this on ebay

http://cgi.ebay.com/SPIRAL-PIEZO-CABLE-PICKUP-EQ-AND-PRE-AMP-FOR-UKULELE_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1713Q2em153Q2el 1262QQcategoryZ47067QQihZ009QQitemZ190249271251QQs alenotsupported

Hobgoblin Steve
01-13-2009, 08:09 PM
wow, nice find.

ricdoug
01-13-2009, 08:43 PM
I hot rodded a painted dolphin bridge Makala today. I bought 7
Piezo Transducers and 8 1/4" phone jacks (they come in packs
of 2) to hot rod 6 ukes. I soldered the leads of the first one to a
jack and played around with it on various positions on the tops
of my guitars and ukes, playing through a small Kramer 10
combo amp. I drove over to Giacoletti Music in Carlsbad and
gave it to Roy Goode with a copy of Dave's (Waverly Street Ukes)
instructions that I printed out. Roy took a uke off the wall and
played it through a Roland Microcube while I held the pickup on
several positions on the top of the uke. One of Roy's employees
has a gig with his band coming up this weekend and he had not
entertained the thought to put a pickup in his baritone, as he did
not justify the expense of the electronics in his uke. Roy's going
to mount this pickup jig in that baritone for his employee. They
get a lot of requests from customers to put pickups in their ukes,
but the customers don't want to spring the scratch to double,
triple or quadruple the cost of their uke.

Here's the materials (I need a camera with a macro setting next
time I replace it):

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/Ukulele534.jpg

First I soldered the pickup leads to the jack. The knife was used
to clean the tip of my old soldering gun. I can already tell I'm not
a fan of lead free rosin core solder. It does not make nice
concave fillets like 60/40 lead/tin solder, but the connections
read out zero ohms on the multimeter:

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/Ukulele535.jpg

Next I placed the pickup on top of the uke and strummed it to
make sure it worked properly:

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/Ukulele536.jpg

Now I picked the spot for mounting the jack and reamed that
hole out first with a lockblade knife. After that I started using
drill bits turning them only with my fingers one size at a time,
until the jack fit nicely. I don't remember the exact bit size that
worked, but it was one size shy of 3/8". I hand turned the drill bits
in small increments so as not to split the wood:

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/Ukulele537.jpg

ricdoug
01-13-2009, 08:44 PM
Then I loosened the strings on the uke and Scotch Taped them out
of the way and put the 1/4" diameter wooden dowell into the jack
snugly. Then I applied Scotch double sided foam mounting tape to
the side of the transducer that had the part number on it (this tape
is so strong that it can only be removed with a putty knife!):

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/Ukulele538.jpg

I pressed the pickup firmly underneath the bridge between the G and
C string, as I had determined this the best position while testing.
Slowly pulled the wooden dowell through the hole and tightened the
jack with its bolt while leaving the dowell inserted for restance to the
tightening:

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/Ukulele539.jpg

Complete success! I tuned the uke and plugged it into the amp and
started jamming. It produces a warm and sweet tone:

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/Ukulele540.jpg

ricdoug
01-13-2009, 09:57 PM
but I found something similar without that negative effect, I don't know if there is something like that in the US, but in Germany you find this... (http://www.amazon.de/UHU-Tac-Patafix-80-Klebepads/dp/B000GPI7S6) it's awesome...

Plumbers Putty which can readily be found in Home Depot. Lowes, ACE, True Value and other hardware stores is da' shizzle for this application! I used Scotch double sided foam mounting tape in my project. It's so strong you can only remove it with a putty knife. Ric

BUGOY
01-13-2009, 10:17 PM
good job Ric! Time for me to go to Rad-Shack!

ricdoug
01-13-2009, 11:03 PM
The lady at the counter at the Oceanside Radio Shack laughed when I told her what the components were for, Bugoy. Where do they get these employees fro anyway? Ric

beeejums
01-14-2009, 01:39 AM
The lady at the counter at the Oceanside Radio Shack laughed when I told her what the components were for, Bugoy. Where do they get these employees fro anyway? Ric
I used to work at a Radio Shack... At least where I used to work, they'd take just about anyone willing to try selling a cellphone to anyone who walked through the door.

...I didn't last long :-)

...And it's worth mentioning that I was the only employee there that had ANY clue what those strange things in the components drawers were, AND I was scolded for helping customers find actual solutions to problems rather than pressuring customers into buying crap they didn't need.

Except for the parts drawers, Radio Shack sucks.

dave g
01-14-2009, 02:15 AM
Dave, from Waverly Street ukes has an easier method. He's a luthier and does this with his own creations. He does not even remove the piezo buzzer from it's plastic sase. I posted a question to him on another board, as to noise introduced by not using shielded cable. Here's Dave's photo tutorial:

http://www.wsukes.com/electric/electric.html

Here's video of the uke being played amplified:

http://www.wsukes.com/electric/piezodemo.wmv

Thanks, Ric :-)

I originally got some shielded cable, took the case off, etc. But I got to looking at it and thought "Well heck, there is a 1/2" unshielded at each end of the 4" cable anyway; let's try it completely unshielded...". I can't tell any difference myself, but then I'm not by any means an expert. I do know that it's a LOT easier to just use the existing wires and leave the element in the case.

ricdoug
01-14-2009, 05:11 AM
I watched and listened to your video, Dave. I got pretty much the same results when I tested the final product in my kitchen under a large flourescent light. I did not notice any noise. Your method works just fine! Thanks, Ric

NukeDOC
01-14-2009, 05:49 AM
this is awesome. cheap and effective passive pickup system. cant wait to try it out. ive been wanting to plug my makala in for some time now.

ric, do you have a LRBaggs para-acoustic DI? i would like to see how this preamp works with this setup. it does WONDERS for every passive system ive run through it.

Hobgoblin Steve
01-14-2009, 06:34 AM
ric, how did you manage to get your hand all the way to the bottom to put up the transducer? Im looking at my concert and even my baritone, theres noway I can get my hand in that hole. (insert sexual joke here)

beeejums
01-14-2009, 07:37 AM
Dave, from Waverly Street ukes has an easier method. He's a luthier and does this with his own creations. He does not even remove the piezo buzzer from it's plastic sase. I posted a question to him on another board, as to noise introduced by not using shielded cable. Here's Dave's photo tutorial:

http://www.wsukes.com/electric/electric.html

Here's video of the uke being played amplified:

http://www.wsukes.com/electric/piezodemo.wmv

I wonder if the leads that come on the transducer would be long enough to do this with a tenor...

ricdoug
01-14-2009, 07:38 AM
ric, do you have a LRBaggs para-acoustic DI? i would like to see how this preamp works with this setup. it does WONDERS for every passive system ive run through it.

No I don't, Arvin. I do want to try my Ovation Applause through one, though. I've heard the same improvement comments from others that use the Baggs. I was impressed at the sound quality of this cheap transducer, though. I really expected less. Ric

ricdoug
01-14-2009, 07:48 AM
ric, how did you manage to get your hand all the way to the bottom to put up the transducer? Im looking at my concert and even my baritone, theres noway I can get my hand in that hole. (insert sexual joke here)

Bamboo chopsticks, Steve. I use them to hold wires when I'm soldering, too. You don't have to get all your fingers into the soundhole this way. Ric

UkEdman90
01-14-2009, 04:32 PM
kind of like ricdoug's but not pertinent! creates nice warm tone to!

!!!First know how to solder!!!

-second your gona want three diff. colors of wire. preferably 16-18 g (thats the size)

-next choose the type of 1/4 audio jack connector you want
* either one where you have to drill a hole in your uke like this one:
http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=search
or a jack like this:
http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=search
( i opted for the second one because i didnt want to drill a hole in my baby!)

Get a Piezo Element 1500-3000Hz like this
http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=search

ok now to make it all happen

1. First carefully pry or cut off the plastic on the element. I used a cutoff wheel
2. once you have the Piezo element out solder the Your HOT wire to the copper rim of the disc
3. next take the remaining two wires and twist together and solder as one whole wire to the whit part of the dis. (make sure its close to the edge)
4. Once all soldered braid the three wires together and cut at about one foot.
5. Once all ends are spliced solder your HOT wire to the small little tabs coming off of the audio jack
6. next solder the remaining two wires to the remaining two tabs. each wires gets its won tab.
7. cut a small amount of cork or medium density foam and hot glue it to the bottom of the piezo disc.

thats pretty much it for the one i made kep in mind when i want to hook up to an amp i just use some good old scoth tape and tape it directly to the sound board. make shure you tape the piezo disc down solid to ensure a good connection to the wood.

If you want permanently use this type of pickup then use the first audio jack mentioned and drill a 3/8 hole where you want to mount it. then permanently tape the element under the bridge.

sry if its a little unclear let me if u have n e more questions thx

-Don

beeejums
01-15-2009, 01:35 AM
I wonder if the leads that come on the transducer would be long enough to do this with a tenor...

Quoting my own post... I hope that isn't a faux pas... But for others out there aspiring to plug in their tenors but lacking much experience in such things, the leads that come on the transducer were not long enough. But, after some trial and error, I now have an electric uke!

ricdoug
01-15-2009, 05:40 AM
Nice, Beeejums! How much more did you have to extend the wires for your tenor? At last night's kanikapila with Moonlight Beach Ukulele Strummers, I ran into a few that already added this simple pickup to their soprano and concert ukes. What amp are you playing yours through? Ric

ukulelemotion
01-15-2009, 11:22 AM
i gotta try this.. thanks for posting this up guys..

UkEdman90
01-15-2009, 11:52 AM
Anyone willing to make a YouTube of their creation and installation adventures?

That would help times a million.

im going to make a new one! gona do it just like the links provided above! i will make a vid of every step! including what to buy!

Link
01-15-2009, 12:18 PM
im going to make a new one! gona do it just like the links provided above! i will make a vid of every step! including what to buy!
That would be awesome and helpful.

UkEdman90
01-15-2009, 12:21 PM
That would be awesome and helpful.

no prob ight im off to radio shack!

UkEdman90
01-16-2009, 07:32 AM
alright guys vid is coming today!

UkEdman90
01-16-2009, 07:45 PM
Anyone notice a nasty ass buzzing noise? I AM! when i strum i get a really bad buzzing sound! REALLY BAD! how can i fix this?

Guting
01-16-2009, 07:47 PM
one problem could be that the disc is not completely in contact with the surface

UkEdman90
01-16-2009, 07:49 PM
one problem could be that the disc is not completely in contact with the surface

i didnt take it out of the plastic shouldn't need to yah no

Guting
01-16-2009, 08:01 PM
orly?

I see, with mine I made sure the disc was completely super glued to the wood, no buzzing no nothing but what I play.

ricdoug
01-17-2009, 06:23 AM
My guess is one of two things, Don:

1. M.I.T. recommends mounting the disk with a small piece of foam:

http://web.mit.edu/kumpf/www/Acoustics/main.html

That's why I mounted the transducers In five of the club ukes (2 painted dolphin Makala's, 1 Ohana 10, 2 Kima Music Product Nene's) with double sided Scotch foam mounting tape. I noticed when I was testing the transducer on the surface of my instruments, there was rattle and buzz if I did not press it firmly to the surface of the instrument. When I did it with the foam tape stuck to the bottom of the transducer (leaving the protective backing on the other side of the tape) I could move it around the top of the ukes without having to firmly hold it down. All work fine without buzz.


2. The frequency resposnse curve of the piezo electric transducer is a little shrill without a preamp. On my amps I turn down the treble and midrange and boost the bass and it mellows out the sound. It's similar to the sound I get from my Ovation Applause UAE20 acoustic electric soprano uke. The sound is "electric" and different from the acoustic or mic'd sound of the ukulele. I like both voices. Ric

UkEdman90
01-17-2009, 08:42 AM
My guess is one of two things, Don:

1. M.I.T. recommends mounting the disk with a small piece of foam:

http://web.mit.edu/kumpf/www/Acoustics/main.html

That's why I mounted the transducers In five of the club ukes (2 painted dolphin Makala's, 1 Ohana 10, 2 Kima Music Product Nene's) with double sided Scotch foam mounting tape. I noticed when I was testing the transducer on the surface of my instruments, there was rattle and buzz if I did not press it firmly to the surface of the instrument. When I did it with the foam tape stuck to the bottom of the transducer (leaving the protective backing on the other side of the tape) I could move it around the top of the ukes without having to firmly hold it down. All work fine without buzz.


2. The frequency resposnse curve of the piezo electric transducer is a little shrill without a preamp. On my amps I turn down the treble and midrange and boost the bass and it mellows out the sound. It's similar to the sound I get from my Ovation Applause UAE20 acoustic electric soprano uke. The sound is "electric" and different from the acoustic or mic'd sound of the ukulele. I like both voices. Ric


thx ricdoug but i also used the double sided foam tape you used! maybee i should try to press it down harder... but i only get the buzz when im not plugged in when im just jammin good old acoustic style! what could this b? hmmmmmmm... time to tinker

ricdoug
01-17-2009, 11:38 AM
In that case, it's probably one or more of the following:

1. Loose wires (tape them up and away from any sound board).

2. Installation of the endpin jack (ake sure it's tight, but not so tight as to break the wood in your uke). I chose the corner position on the 5 I modded to stay away from bracing. The endpin jack is popular, but raises the cost.

3. The piezoelectric transducer needs to be firmly applied (not so firmly as to break the uke, but so the double sided tape is well planted).

UkEdman90
01-17-2009, 12:56 PM
In that case, it's probably one or more of the following:

1. Loose wires (tape them up and away from any sound board).

2. Installation of the endpin jack (ake sure it's tight, but not so tight as to break the wood in your uke). I chose the corner position on the 5 I modded to stay away from bracing. The endpin jack is popular, but raises the cost.

3. The piezoelectric transducer needs to be firmly applied (not so firmly as to break the uke, but so the double sided tape is well planted).

it ended up being my endpin! it was loose so now its fixed :)

ricdoug
01-17-2009, 01:31 PM
That's great, Don! Looking forward to your video next week. Ric

UkEdman90
01-17-2009, 01:40 PM
That's great, Don! Looking forward to your video next week. Ric

yeah i would make it today but my family would look at me like i was a jack ass or something haha plus i need batteries! but it will be extremely detailed! trust me! extremely! plus cool effects just bought sony vegas movie studio so should b good.

jkevinwolfe
01-17-2009, 05:34 PM
A few points on piezos:

The volume is very hot coming off these. If you're getting distortion you might need to rig a volume control coming off it.
Piezos work off changes in pressure instead of vibration. Putting the pickup on either side of the soundboard can give you a loud sound but little presence, since there's no pressure against it. This is why the discs don't sound as present as the undersaddle peizo strips. The undersaddles may also pick up less body noise.
Soldering a .005 or .01 microfarad non-polarized capacitor across the leads at the pickup can give you a cheap buffer that reduces some of the blistering treble.

ricdoug
01-18-2009, 10:10 AM
I'll try the capacitor on the jack end of the circuit, Kevin. The transducers are firmly planted. Ric

UkEdman90
01-18-2009, 10:22 AM
A few points on piezos:

The volume is very hot coming off these. If you're getting distortion you might need to rig a volume control coming off it.
Piezos work off changes in pressure instead of vibration. Putting the pickup on either side of the soundboard can give you a loud sound but little presence, since there's no pressure against it. This is why the discs don't sound as present as the undersaddle peizo strips. The undersaddles may also pick up less body noise.
Soldering a .005 or .01 microfarad non-polarized capacitor across the leads at the pickup can give you a cheap buffer that reduces some of the blistering treble.


hmmmmmmmmm. i like the capacitor idea! ALOT!

beeejums
01-19-2009, 05:06 AM
Nice, Beeejums! How much more did you have to extend the wires for your tenor? At last night's kanikapila with Moonlight Beach Ukulele Strummers, I ran into a few that already added this simple pickup to their soprano and concert ukes. What amp are you playing yours through? Ric

(Sorry for the late reply!)

I extended them about 6 inches... which turned out to be too long, actually, and I had to tape some of the wires down to the bottom of the instrument... but it worked out alright.

And for those other DIY'ers on a budget, I couldn't find any cable and literally could not afford to buy a spool of 30-some gauge wire (is this really how we're paying our teachers?) so I took apart some old Ethernet cable and used the individual wires. It was shielded satisfactorily, at least I suppose it was because it sounds fine.

As for the amp question, I have a crummy old Peavey 15-watt amp (not even sure what it's called) that I've had since I was 12, a 60 watt bass amp that does absolutely no good with the ukulele, a headphone amp my brother made me in an Altoids tin, and a Smokey amp. None of those work great, so that's my next project.

When I used to play guitar (it never really caught on), I used the Smokey amp almost exclusively unless I was playing with other people... I love the sound of it, but since there's no volume control on my ukulele and no volume control on the Smokey, it feeds back like mad... my next project is going to be an external volume control in an Altoids tin that I can tape to my strap or something... I'll post pictures when I'm done collecting parts.

I was actually just about to hit up the forums looking for amp suggestions...

UkEdman90
01-19-2009, 01:25 PM
alrighty so ran into a little problem today after finishing the filming. the last two clips were deleted on the grounds of me being a DUMBASS! but will try to get the vid up tonight!

edit:
ight so sony vegas movie studio is now rendering the .mov file shall b up later

UkuleleHill
01-29-2009, 04:59 PM
So which works best? double sided foam or 5 min apoxy? Also UkEdman90 have you postes a video of this yet?

kalmario
01-29-2009, 05:27 PM
hi guys

done this a few times

should try mounting it in a series and encasing it with mousepad foam if its thin enough, the last time i did this (mounted a guitar to a beer crate-don't ask) i used the pads used to stop vases shifting around on shelves, and the piezos were from door alarms as tehy were cheaper.

its lots of fun

Cliff

gotrice415510
02-16-2009, 09:55 AM
does anyone kno how good these external pickups are?

http://cgi.ebay.com/PICKUP-TRANSDUCER-FOR-BANJO-VIOLIN-MANDOLIN-UKULELE-etc_W0QQitemZ360131831728QQcmdZViewItemQQptZString _Instrument_Parts_Accessories?hash=item36013183172 8&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C 240%3A1318%7C301%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50

ricdoug
02-16-2009, 03:10 PM
For $23 bucks including shipping it would certainly be worth a try. Ric

gotrice415510
02-16-2009, 06:06 PM
For $23 bucks including shipping it would certainly be worth a try. Rici was thinking that i could turn this into an internal pickup if i really wanted to without any soldering:D.

mmanalo
03-15-2009, 01:28 PM
The lady at the counter at the Oceanside Radio Shack laughed when I told her what the components were for, Bugoy. Where do they get these employees fro anyway? Ric

Yeah I just got back from Radio Shack and there was this turd who worked there that didn't know the difference between the transducer and buzzer! Why even have people work at radio shack if they don't know one thing about what they are selling!

Also, Im a lil confused...should I get the buzzer or transducer???

UkEdman90
03-15-2009, 01:44 PM
Yeah I just got back from Radio Shack and there was this turd who worked there that didn't know the difference between the transducer and buzzer! Why even have people work at radio shack if they don't know one thing about what they are selling!

Also, Im a lil confused...should I get the buzzer or transducer???

yes they are all jack asses!!!




also i am so sorry guys i have not forgotten about the video! i ran into many problems with my video editing software :(

i will try this week to get one up! also ppl dont expect this to be ZOMG AWESOME! you can get some pretty mean feedback!!!!

ricdoug
03-15-2009, 02:10 PM
Also, Im a lil confused...should I get the buzzer or transducer???

They are basically the same thing. I just picked up a few more, today:

Piezo Buzzer Radio Shack Part # 273-0073 :

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062402

1/4" phone jack Radio Shack Part # 274-0252 :

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103454

mmanalo
03-15-2009, 03:01 PM
They are basically the same thing. I just picked up a few more, today:

Piezo Buzzer Radio Shack Part # 273-0073 :

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062402

1/4" phone jack Radio Shack Part # 274-0252 :

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103454

well I went back to Stupid Shack and returned the buzzers for da transducers...it was actually cheaper and got some double sided sticky thangs and other!

Now I will try and make my first home made pick up...lol! Wish me luck!

ricdoug
03-15-2009, 04:22 PM
After you solder the wires of the transducer/buzzer to the 1/4" jack, plug a guitar cable into it and your amp, before attempting to mount it. Hold the transducer/buzzer to the top of your uke and then strum your uke. If it works, go ahead and mount it. Ric

mmanalo
03-15-2009, 06:48 PM
I pressed the pickup firmly underneath the bridge between the G and
C string, as I had determined this the best position while testing.
Slowly pulled the wooden dowell through the hole and tightened the
jack with its bolt while leaving the dowell inserted for restance to the
tightening:

Ric...I hooked up my tenor today with a home made pick up! And it was a success with no problems...but I'm wondering, when I have it hooked up to the amp. It's a bit sensitive cause you can hear my arm rubbing against the uke body! I put the transducer between the bridge and a bracing thing directly onto the inside of the body. Not sure if I was supposed to do that! But other than that....it rocks!

ricdoug
03-15-2009, 07:50 PM
you can get some pretty mean feedback!!!!

Put a soft foam sponge in the soundhole. That will help prevent feedback. Ric

ricdoug
03-16-2009, 08:57 AM
Ric...I hooked up my tenor today with a home made pick up! And it was a success with no problems...but I'm wondering, when I have it hooked up to the amp. It's a bit sensitive cause you can hear my arm rubbing against the uke body! I put the transducer between the bridge and a bracing thing directly onto the inside of the body. Not sure if I was supposed to do that! But other than that....it rocks!

Glad to hear it worked out for you. That's normal for piezo pickups. Some add an external preamp, like the LR Baggs DI, to tame that. Ric

UkEdman90
03-16-2009, 01:57 PM
Put a soft foam sponge in the soundhole. That will help prevent feedback. Ric

of the uke???? orly???

SuperSecretBETA
03-16-2009, 03:09 PM
of the uke???? orly???

yarly, if you plug up the soundhole, you don't get feedback. There's a video somewhere on YouTube of Jake playing in his earlier days with newspaper stuffed inside the soundhole--same concept. I think seeso also has a video with a piece of cardboard covering up the hole.

UkEdman90
03-16-2009, 04:47 PM
yarly, if you plug up the soundhole, you don't get feedback. There's a video somewhere on YouTube of Jake playing in his earlier days with newspaper stuffed inside the soundhole--same concept. I think seeso also has a video with a piece of cardboard covering up the hole.

oh man do i feel dump! haha looks like im going to raid my couch :eek:

mmanalo
03-16-2009, 08:00 PM
Glad to hear it worked out for you. That's normal for piezo pickups. Some add an external preamp, like the LR Baggs DI, to tame that. Ric

Sweet..yea, I took my uke to work today to show off my craftsman ship..lol and now all da boyz was asking if I could hook there ukes up! But I'm thinking about ordering the pick ups and things from Kala ukulele...since they use the ribbon kine!

UkuleleHill
06-18-2009, 04:12 PM
Can we get this stickied or something? It seems to be poping up more and more...

Captain_Lovehandles
07-05-2009, 08:00 AM
Dave, from Waverly Street ukes has an easier method.

I went by the Waverly Street tutorial and 'lectri-fried my Oscar OU5 yesterday. All I had handy to try it out was an old scratchy Squier 15w practice amp, and it sounded decent, so once I try it out with my good acoustic amp (Genz Benz Shen 60 Stereo), which I keep at the church, I expect it should sound pretty good. Thanks for the info.

ricdoug
07-21-2009, 11:45 PM
ric, do you have a LRBaggs para-acoustic DI? i would like to see how this preamp works with this setup. it does WONDERS for every passive system ive run through it.

I picked one up a month ago Arvin. I agree. It really cleans up passive pickups. I use it with my Traveler guitar a lot. Ric

ricdoug
08-24-2009, 07:22 PM
this is awesome. cheap and effective passive pickup system. cant wait to try it out. ive been wanting to plug my makala in for some time now.

ric, do you have a LRBaggs para-acoustic DI? i would like to see how this preamp works with this setup. it does WONDERS for every passive system ive run through it.

Arvin, I picked up an L.R. Baggs D.I. box up a few months ago and it definately cleans up the sound through an electric guitar amp or P.A.. It's not needed through an acoustic guitar amp, though. As a matter of fact, I kinda' like the sound without it through an electric guitar amp. It adds warmth when I'm playing blues tunes.

Thanks for hosting Aldrine in San Diego for the workshop and concert, braddah! I almost did not recognize ya' wit' yo' hippie hair! LOL! Dem Anchors have gone long away (pun intended). Ric (No trumpets here!)

cornfedgroove
08-25-2009, 04:46 AM
you dont even need some of that stuff...just get the piezo and jack. You can always borrow a soldering iron and some cheap wire from a buddy. Solder it and superglue it on.

you can try different positions if you want, but no matter what you plug it into, your going to have equalizer controls. I always attach mine on the bass side of the bridge. I had an uke that was just too much treble (for my tastes) when I attached it at the high end. I think treble is easier to come by than good bass.

ricdoug
08-25-2009, 04:45 PM
I don't even buy extra lead wire. The way Dave does it with just the leads on the piezo buzzer works just fine:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8560

I played several through an amp directly under flourescent lights and they have plenty of output to overcome any induced noise. Ric

cornfedgroove
08-25-2009, 06:10 PM
right on ric...I forgot that the Radio Shack piezos come wired! makes life easy...wrap em around and stick the piezo, BAM!

I've been using bulk piezos that I gotta solder myself.

ricdoug
08-25-2009, 07:09 PM
Where do you get your bulk piezoelectric transducers/buzzers from and how much do they cost? The ones I get from Radio Shack are only $1.99 bucks each. I find them a bit treble balanced like you do, too. Mounting them center and a little towards the C string on a soprano seems to produce the most balanced sound for me. Ric

cornfedgroove
08-26-2009, 03:17 AM
ric, you can find all kinds of bulk piezo deals off ebay...

I bought mine off this guy
http://shop.ebay.com/randccom/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=25
but they are wired for something different and caulked in the case...kind of annoying to break it out, desolder the wires and razor the caulk off (not hard or time consuming...just annoying)

I bought a lot of 50, and paid about $.30 each for them, but you dont even have to get that many. there are great lots of 10 that you can get for a comparable price.

This is a good stack here...something like this
http://cgi.ebay.com/50-pcs-35mm-Piezo-Discs-Element-Transducer-DIY_W0QQitemZ270406050058QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_Def aultDomain_2?hash=item3ef574e10a&_trksid=p3286.m20.l1116

This is your best bet right now on ebay...you'll notice that its the same guy with different amounts. I'd just email him straight up and tell him how many you want. He may even charge less if you skirt around ebay. Remember your Radio Shack piezo is is like 27mm so that will give you a size comparison. I've even used very tiny ones about the size of a dime and had good results, but I've found that the bigger it is, the louder it will be on it own. Hope that helps

theukuleleman
01-17-2010, 02:29 PM
im definatley doing this on my upcoming cigar box uke

dancergirlm&m
07-18-2011, 09:25 AM
Can anyone please post a pic. showing where the best place to put it on a uke? I would like it to sound as good as possible.

ricdoug
11-26-2011, 05:53 AM
dancergirlm&m, sorry I missed your question here from 5 months ago. July was a busy month of musical performance for me.

I try the pickup on several areas on the top of the ukulele and play to hear the tones. I hold the pickup down with light pressure with my strumming hand pinky finger, to keep it from buzzing. When I find the spot on the top of the ukulele where it sounds best to me, I mount it under the soundboard (inside the ukulele) on the same spot. Ric

ukulefty
11-26-2011, 07:27 AM
Wow. :D This thread is pure awesome!

This may just make a good project for the Christmas holidays! Electrify the el-cheapo uke!

ricdoug
11-27-2011, 08:51 AM
Here's more in depth info on the different piezo systems, ukelefty:

http://liutaiomottola.com/PrevPubs/Piezo/CoaxTransducer.htm

As you can see from responses on these forums, there's several schools of thought as to what works best. Have fun with the el cheapo hot rod mod! Ric

strumsilly
11-28-2011, 04:33 AM
I made one using the radio shack parts, but had trouble finding an endpin jack, my lms had only a gold one and wanted $10 for it. found this AXL pickup on Amazon for $15. it works great and is already soldered and ready to go. the trickiest part for me was what to do with the xtra wire to keep it from contacting the body and rattling. I twisted it up and secured it with a thumbtack to the top bracing. I know they make a little clamp with sticky on one side, but the tack worked.
http://www.amazon.com/AXL-Acoustic-Guitar-Transducer-Pickup/dp/B002C741BI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1322493970&sr=8-2

AC Baltimore
11-28-2011, 11:53 AM
As many have mentioned, it can be done yes. But this really is a case of you get what you pay for. Will it amplify the uke? yup, will it be well placed to amplify the full spectrum and organic qualities of your uke? no. I have done it to a few uukes and guitars, it works but I would not do it on a quality instrument. My acacia and monkeypod will get a under saddle fishman.

kissing
11-29-2011, 12:46 AM
And here's an option under $5 which works almost/just as well, but is cheaper AND so much easier to install :)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Profession-Violin-Cello-Clip-Piezo-Pickup-Transducer-/260846219042?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item3cbba56f22#ht_2776wt_1037


Works surprisingly well.
The output is of the same loudness of the typical undersaddle pickup, the signal is quite clean.
No installation needed, use it on multiple instruments.

vickersdc
11-29-2011, 05:13 AM
For those of you in the UK, it might be worth checking out Maplin... http://www.maplin.co.uk/piezo-transducers-3202 - their piezo-electric transducers are available in a number of different options. It seems that the differences are in the resonant frequency of the device, what would I go for? 1.8 / 2.0 / 2.8 / 4.2 kHz? My guess would be the 1.8kHz, but I'm not sure.

Might go and check them out tonight, with a view to electrocuting the Makala Dolphin...

David.

vickersdc
11-29-2011, 10:50 AM
So I've been and picked up a couple of transducers - a 27mm diameter and a 41mm diameter; guess I'll try the larger one first and see what happens!

ukuhippo
11-29-2011, 11:37 AM
Acitve under saddle pickup with endpin for $12.99.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Active-jack-EQ-Series-Acoustic-Guitar-endpin-pickup-/150708483977?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item2316ecf789

vickersdc
11-30-2011, 05:31 AM
I tried the 41mm transducer last night, fitted it under the bridge using double-sided carpet tape... sounded awful ;0)

I'll try the 27mm one tonight...

ukulefty
11-30-2011, 06:18 AM
I tried the 41mm transducer last night, fitted it under the bridge using double-sided carpet tape... sounded awful ;0)

I'll try the 27mm one tonight...


Did you get the endpin jack from Maplin as well? If your setup works well, post some pics! :D

vickersdc
11-30-2011, 08:11 AM
Yes, I got everything from Maplin... cost about a fiver for the two transducers and the mono 6.35mm jack. Here it is fitted to the uke...

30497

I had to use a 6mm knitting needle to get it in position, and it required a 9mm drill bit.

Trinimon
11-30-2011, 08:13 AM
Acitve under saddle pickup with endpin for $12.99.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Active-jack-EQ-Series-Acoustic-Guitar-endpin-pickup-/150708483977?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item2316ecf789

That's pretty cheap! Wonder if it's any good.

spookefoote
11-30-2011, 08:36 AM
Did the 27mm transducer work better?

vickersdc
11-30-2011, 08:40 AM
Haven't tried it yet - been making the dinner! Got the other one out though, and I'll solder ir up straight after dinner (and right before syphoning the home-made beer).

spookefoote
11-30-2011, 08:42 AM
Bitter, stout or lager? Don't drink lager myself.

vickersdc
11-30-2011, 09:53 AM
Bavarian weissbier :0)

Just about to upload some pictures about how i electricuted my uke...

vickersdc
11-30-2011, 10:05 AM
I've ended up using the 27mm transducer from Maplin (code YU87U, cost 99p), plus a 6.35mm mono chassis socket in shiny chrome :0)

Drill 9mm hole in Makala - don't think it really matters where as I can't see any bracing inside it and it's a plastic body anyway...

30502

Next step is to loosen all the strings so that you can gain some sort of access in through the soundhole. I loosened them off enough so that I could remove the strings from the nut and lay them down the side of the fret board.

30503

vickersdc
11-30-2011, 10:09 AM
Here's the transducer, I just extended the existing cables a couple of inches just to make sure it all worked...

30504

With it wired up, put a 6mm knitting needle through the you drilled and make sure that you put the nut and washer on the needle BEFORE you push it through - see image...

30505

vickersdc
11-30-2011, 10:16 AM
Cut some double-sided tape (I used carpet tape) to fit on the metal side of the transducer, and stick it on. I only covered half the transducer (see end picture).

Now gently push the (6mm) knitting needle into the chassis socket and pull the socket through the body and out the hole. As the washer and nut are already on the knitting needle, go ahead and tighten the socket up (gently).

30506

30507

Remove the covering from the tape, and hold the transducer at the end of your fingers, then stick it to the underside of the bridge. It's not easy and not terribly precise as there's barely enough room to get your fingers in.

30508

Tighten up strings, retune and plug in...

ukuhippo
11-30-2011, 10:20 AM
Nice pics and explanation, but how about sound?

vickersdc
11-30-2011, 10:31 AM
Nice pics and explanation, but how about sound?

Thought someone might ask that! I have just recorded a quick bit of playing (don't expect to much, I'm still a beginner!)... I'll upload it somewhere and try and link to it from here. It was recorded through a Behringer Xenyx 1202 mixer, then out through the headphone socket to a Zoom H1. Give me a while to get it uploaded and I'll post it here - it's definitely better than the 41mm transducer, but really hot on the F# as I guess that's where it ended up (it could really do with a notch filter to reduce it a bit, or a capacitor across the transducer?). Anyway, what I will upload will be an unadulterated version ;0)

ricdoug
11-30-2011, 10:41 AM
Very nice, vickersdc. Once you've done one, the rest become easy. Looking forward to hearing yours. Ric

vickersdc
11-30-2011, 11:34 AM
Right, let's see if this works... I was going to load it up to my podbean account, but they're doing system maintenance so I put it on my website.

Ukulele test (http://davidvickers.com/ukulele/ZOOM0001.mp3)

Cheers,
David.

ricdoug
11-30-2011, 12:19 PM
Success, David! An http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/lr-baggs-para-acoustic-di/ would help you get a more natural tone, but you could make 5 more Electric Dolphin's for the same price. LOL! Putting a pickup like this in an ukulele is a nice Christmas gift for a friend/family member. No need to carry around spare batteries. Now, get yourself a http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/vox-mini-3-3w-battery-powered-guitar-combo-amp amd a http://www.frys.com/product/6460952 and you're ready to busk the streets of the United Kingdom! Ric

ukulefty
12-01-2011, 12:56 AM
Champion! Thanks for the photos and explanations. I might have to make the trip to Maplins this weekend and pick up some supplies. Now, where did I leave my soldering iron......

vickersdc
12-01-2011, 01:28 AM
It's probably worth mentioning that on my Dolphin the screws that secure the bridge on are just fractionally longer than required - watch your fingertips on the sharp ends whilst you're fishing around trying to affix the transducer ;0)

ejnovinsky
12-04-2011, 08:48 AM
Done...already had 1/4 phono jacks lying around...so this cost a total of 2.19 plus tax, and maybe 15 minutes of time, and its brilliant! The sound quality isnt great but what do you want for your 2 bucks? Totally awesome idea!!!30659

vickersdc
12-04-2011, 09:42 AM
Done...already had 1/4 phono jacks lying around...so this cost a total of 2.19 plus tax, and maybe 15 minutes of time, and its brilliant! The sound quality isnt great but what do you want for your 2 bucks? Totally awesome idea!!!

Congratulations ejnovinsky! - Are you able to stick some sort of a recording of your electro-uke on here?

David.

ejnovinsky
12-04-2011, 09:48 AM
Yeah I was going to add a quick vid but the million year old 9 volt in my pocket amp croaked, when I get up the gumption to go out in the rain again Ill grab one and do a video...If I was to describe the sound I would call it "Tinny" :)

ukuhippo
12-04-2011, 09:52 AM
Done...already had 1/4 phono jacks lying around...so this cost a total of 2.19 plus tax, and maybe 15 minutes of time, and its brilliant! The sound quality isnt great but what do you want for your 2 bucks? Totally awesome idea!!!30659

Is that a Marshall MS-2? How do you like it? I'm thinking about buying the full stack version of that amp (the MS-4).

vickersdc
12-04-2011, 09:53 AM
Good question ukuhippo - I'm interested in the MS-4 Marshall 'stack' too!

ejnovinsky
12-04-2011, 01:31 PM
Is that a Marshall MS-2? How do you like it? I'm thinking about buying the full stack version of that amp (the MS-4).

It is the MS-2. I got it many years ago as an Xmas gift,for guitar use and never really used it...It may have had still had the original battery in it! The sound is pretty awful, and using the tone, and overdrive channel is a no go especially in this setup it just creates too much feedback. Though a weak battery could be a contributor here. I would say youd be better off with a small cheap combo amp. I used to have its big brother a marshall valvestate 4x12 halfstack, but it was sold due to non-use. I wish I could have tried the uke through that, it would have been fun. I ran the uke through my small Peavey 110 audition combo, and it was like night and day the sound was very crisp very much like an electric guitar, but still very cold and electronic with about zero warmth, but that is about what I expected, and regardless Im very happy with the pickup. Not so much with the pocket amp, but it does its job. what does the ms-4 cost? 50 or 60 bucks? For that Id buy a cheapo brand new no name combo amp, or a decent named used one....

ricdoug
12-04-2011, 06:20 PM
Cheap combo:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/rogue-g10-10w-1x3.5-guitar-combo-amp/430834000001000

http://static.musiciansfriend.com/derivates/18/001/422/368/DV016_Jpg_Large_430834.001_black_V.jpg

For $19 bucks including free shipping.


A compact amp perfect for beginners or practicing.


The new Rogue G-10 guitar amp produces a variety of tones in a compact size.

The Rogue G-10 preamp section has a master volume and overdrive switch to go between clean and overdriven sounds. The 2-band EQ is simple and allows for adjusting the amp to match the player's style and guitar. The headphone jack automatically switches off the internal speaker.

The Rogue G-10 is a great starter amp and will continue to serve as a practice tool for those that graduate to a larger amp.


Features
Compact size
Switch for clean or overdriven sound
Master volume
2-band tone control
1/4" Headphone out
Lighted on/off switch

ejnovinsky
12-04-2011, 11:33 PM
there ya go, that looks like a good buy to me........for 20 bucks how can you go wrong?

ukuhippo
12-05-2011, 09:37 AM
It is the MS-2. I got it many years ago as an Xmas gift,for guitar use and never really used it...It may have had still had the original battery in it! The sound is pretty awful, and using the tone, and overdrive channel is a no go especially in this setup it just creates too much feedback. Though a weak battery could be a contributor here. I would say youd be better off with a small cheap combo amp. I used to have its big brother a marshall valvestate 4x12 halfstack, but it was sold due to non-use. I wish I could have tried the uke through that, it would have been fun. I ran the uke through my small Peavey 110 audition combo, and it was like night and day the sound was very crisp very much like an electric guitar, but still very cold and electronic with about zero warmth, but that is about what I expected, and regardless Im very happy with the pickup. Not so much with the pocket amp, but it does its job. what does the ms-4 cost? 50 or 60 bucks? For that Id buy a cheapo brand new no name combo amp, or a decent named used one....

I'm a bit clueless about amps, I thought any amp with a speaker build in was a combo amp, so the ms-2 was a combo amp to. Now I understand I'm wrong about this? Anyway, I'm looking for a cheap amp with variable gain and volume controls, that's why I want the MS-4 instead of the MS-2.

ejnovinsky
12-05-2011, 02:26 PM
From a technical standpoint yes the Ms-2 is a "combo" amp. with controls and speaker as one. Amp is a pretty loose term though. If you are looking for battery powered portability then I suppose its fine. I would consider the Pignose portable amp for a little more cash http://www.guitarcenter.com/Pignose-Legendary-7-100-Portable-Amp-100217461-i1146143.gc I think its of a much better quality, and closer to a real amp, where as the Marshall is more of a toy. If you dont care about it being battery powered though I would definitely go for something like the rogue amp above. You will get much more bang for much less buck, and you wont have to constantly replace batteries, or deal with degrading sound quality due to weakening ones..

ejnovinsky
12-05-2011, 02:48 PM
Also Im not sure a gain knob is going to do much good in an amp this small...

spookefoote
12-12-2011, 08:33 AM
Nice one vic. Did you ever put a capcitor in and did it make any great difference?

vickersdc
12-13-2011, 05:30 AM
I never put a capacitor in, although I did change the transducer for the smaller [27mm] one. I had the uke running direct into a Marshall amp last Friday during 'band' practice - the guys found it most amusing having this little uke belting out :)

spookefoote
12-13-2011, 05:42 AM
I'm doing mine tonight

spookefoote
12-13-2011, 06:38 AM
Done it. It sounds mental! Nice one!

spookefoote
12-13-2011, 08:09 AM
Can you fit a volume control and if so what rating and how?

vickersdc
12-13-2011, 10:08 AM
Although it went through the amp, I normally connect it through the Behringer 1202 mixer, then into a recorder - that way I can set the gain to suit and play a little with the EQ settings.

I'm not sure that you could just install a volume control (variable resistor) as you'd really need a pre-amp circuit... although I could always find a simple circuit for you if you wanted, powered by a 9v battery...

spookefoote
12-14-2011, 05:57 AM
No worries Vic, but I reckon it should be able to be done without a pre-amp. Just a note. I put some quater inch neoprene foam, cut to the diameter of the piezo on the back of the transducer. It cuts out a lot of background noise and treble allowing more tonal control. Sounds great.

vickersdc
12-15-2011, 06:01 AM
Love the idea about the foam - might have to try that next time I have the strings off...

spookefoote
12-15-2011, 06:30 AM
Vic, I couldn't recommend the neoprene more, it's an unbelievable mod.

Here's a link to a piezo with 250k pot attached. I thought 5meg would be better. Any thoughts

http://www.cigarboxnation.com/forum/topics/volume-knobs-on-transducer?commentId=2592684%3AComment%3A143210

spookefoote
12-16-2011, 04:20 AM
Just fitted a 1meg pot to my piezo using the linked wiring diagram. It works well with no noise in operation. I'm only getting volume control from 75% - 100% turn so this could be that the pot is too high a rating. If anyone has any thoughts on the subject then let me know. Total cost 5.60 or $8.70 U.S approx.

vickersdc
12-16-2011, 04:54 AM
Is it a linear, or logarithmic, pot? That might account for the limited operation...

spookefoote
12-16-2011, 05:06 AM
I think it's linear. Aha....... having read a little more I should have put on a logarithmic (audio) pot. Still, you live and learn and it still cost buttons.

spookefoote
12-17-2011, 08:16 AM
OK I fitted a 4k7 log pot today and it's a lot smoother all round. I'm contemplating a tone pot also. So watch this space. I'm still aiming to do it all for under the equivalent of $10 U.S.

ricdoug
03-03-2012, 01:34 PM
I stopped by a local Radio Shack today to pick up a bunch of Piezo Buzzers. They only had one of the ones I use in the parts drawer. I asked the sales rep if they had any more an the back and he said they were all in the parts drawers. He also said he calls them "Ukulele Pickups", as that's what customers come in asking for. It looks like we ukulele players are hoarding the piezo buzzers. Who would have known? I'll stop by a different Radio Shack tomorrow on my way to kanikapila to see if they have any in stock...

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/UkulelePickup.jpg

kirc
03-04-2012, 10:29 PM
I know this doesn't quite fit the DIY nature of this thread, but you can get these UK-2000 pickups with equaliser really cheap http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Acoustic-Guitar-2-Band-EQ-Ukulele-Equalize-Pickup-UK-2000-/280829636875?pt=UK_Guitar_Accessories&hash=item4162c0310b#ht_3268wt_1037

komedy
03-15-2012, 01:22 AM
would this work on a solid body uku??

jop
03-15-2012, 09:45 AM
would this work on a solid body uku??

It would. If you're talking about the UK-2000, the piezo-wire goes under the saddle in either case. Using piezo discs, you would need to find a way to have the bridge resting on one or more discs.

komedy
03-15-2012, 01:38 PM
opps i mean the radio shack piezo on a solid body, but i guess the piezo under saddle is the only way to go for solid body.

Caddy65
11-25-2012, 11:23 AM
Now this will be a fun project to try. I have had a Shadow Piezo stick on instrument pickup for a long time and a Fishman under saddle on one of my acoustic guitars, but this should be fun (and cheap) to try. I already have a bunch of jacks in my guitar parts drawer and plenty of guitar cable wire. I also have a Danelectro EQ pedal that will come in handy for this. Can't wait to try it. Radio Shack here I come!

ricdoug
11-26-2012, 06:40 AM
Let us know how this goes for you, Caddy65. Ric

redpaul1
02-18-2017, 09:31 PM
Just discovered that Adam Kumpf, the fellow that wrote the original 2003 MIT instructions that kicked off this thread, re-posted them a few years later in Instructables.com: Acoustic Guitar Pickup (https://www.instructables.com/id/Acoustic-Guitar-Pickup/?ALLSTEPS). No new information, but the presentation is a little easier on the eye.