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  • Matteo 2:25AM

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Anyone know what peizo element is inside a bigtone?

Does anyone know what kind of peizo element that Dell Arte or Dupont is using in their bigtone bridges? I tried contacting these makers, but got no response. I'm sure it's just a basic undersaddle element that's imbedded in epoxy just under the surface, but there are many makers of these elements and there are some slight variations in design and quality.

This site shows the element exposed and he claims the element itself is called a bigtone (I've only ever heard the bridge/element combo called bigtone). I could find no manufacturer of peizo elements called "bigtone". Can anyone help me with my search?


  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    I have made a few but ended up ordering from Ged. The guy that makes them for him he will not name. I have tried to get the info but he seems to want to keep that info to him self. That is fine as the elements I get from him are the best I have found. As for what other people use... I'm not sure. I have pulled apart plenty of "Bigtones" and they all look about the same but as you might know not all sound the same.

  • guit_boxguit_box New
    Posts: 113
    I'm not convinced there's much difference between them, probably the quality of the shielding is the most important factor, but I can't say I've tried a lot of them. I'd bet there are only a few manufactures of them and every vendor buys them from the same place. Listening to some of Stochelo's live videos where he's clearly only using the bigtone, I think the sound is as quacky as every cheap steel string fitted with with an undersaddle that I've ever heard. Of course the playing is superb, but the sound is not good.

    I tried some film type piezo sensors that fit under the bridge feet, or can be taped to the soundboard. They were less quacky than the traditional element, but I wasn't happy with the sound and the acoustic sound was dampened. Maybe these could be buried inside the bridge to get a more realistic sound.

    What has been your experience in the difference between different elements, and what did you see inside the bigtones? Were they all the bar type ceramic piezos? I've read that some people are using a piezo coax cable for undersaddle pickups and was considering trying this.
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    The bridge pickups I build are not quacky when run through the correct amp and pre. The problem with all piezo pickup is that they need to be set up correctly when it comes to amplification. The best piezo will sounds like crap through a small tube amp. I know because I have tried just about every combo I can think of. You can get a good sound through an AER or like amp but the pre and EQ plays allot in the tone you get. You will never get a supper pure acoustical tone with a bridge pickup no matter what you do. That is not what they are made for. However you can get a very nice tone but it just takes some work. It's hard if you don't have the cash to spring for a Schertler amp because that is the best amp for bridge pickups I have ever heard. The other issue is the bridge its self. The major problem I have with "Bigtones" is that they kill the un amplified tone most of the time. The way I have seen them made is they over build the bridge, split it, insert the element and glue is back together. That does not make for the best tone transferring interface. Too many variations. The bridge is an amazingly technical part of the tone. The smallest change is thickness, material, foot placement and many other things effect the tone. If all you care about is getting an amplified tone then the bridge really does not matter too much. It's just there to hold the strings over the element. But if you want your guitar to sound good all the time then every thing needs to be taken into consideration. I build my pickups with the un amplified tone as the driving factor. I want the guitar to sound good unplugged first. This is only going to give you a better amplified tone in the end.

    When it comes to the pickup its self it has more to do with how the element is installed in the bridge then the element it self. I have seen a few variations on the element but they all are basically the same. There is a piezo under each string and then each of those are wired in series in the bar. They are not easy to make. I have made a few. I have experimented with the coax as well. It works but there is not enough gain. You basically need to top out a pre and amp gain just to hear it. They are not sensitive enough. I have not tried running the string right over the coax but again that is going to effect your un amplified tone.

    If you want to make a pickup just to know how it's done that is great! But if you are trying to make one to save money... it's better to just buy one because in the end you might save $25 if you don't take your time into consideration.

  • guit_boxguit_box New
    Posts: 113
    Have you heard anything about the new aer piezo/condenser combo? There's a pdf of the manual online, but so far I haven't seen it sold anywhere.
  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 887
    I tried my Dupont Bigtone with an AER and it sounds much fuller through my Schertler and so I prefer using the Schertler with my bigtone. The DYN-g pickup tone is pretty good but I get get a little bit more on the low end with the bigtone. I think the reason is that the AER just doesn't have the power of the Schertler amp. I havent tried the David amp. I don't know anything about the bigtone piezo element.
    "I want to party like its 1939!"
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