Hey GB&C, need some help here. I'm going crazy trying to work out how I'd blend a piezo system with a normal magnetic pickup system, and all of the contradicting information on the interwebs is not helping.

Here's the back story. I've recently gotten into Martin Taylor, and he blends his magnetic pickup with a piezo system, and it sounds AMAZING. After looking at the Vanden website (his signature guitar company), they said they used a Fishman Archtop Piezo unit. I found that easily enough. The bit that I got stuck on was the preamp and the whole blending business. They said they made their own PCB for it, so I went to the pricing page. Now, I spend a lot on guitars for my age (15), but hell if I'm gonna splash out 500GBP on that! That's like 1500NZD! I've just spent the past 3 hours trying to find out information on preamps and mixing of piezo and magnetic pickups, but I'm getting nowhere fast.

Does anyone know how to blend piezos and magnetic pickups? I'd want it to be onboard, with a mono out jack, so all of the mixing would be through pots and whatnot that I'd be able to access with ease, rather than having a stereo output which would utterly confuse me.

The Fishman pickup is just the piezo by itself, so I'm guessing I'd need a preamp to boost the signal to the same volume as the magnetic ones, but then I'd be mixing active and passive? I'm reeeeeeally lost on this one.

Oh and I'm thinking of doing this to my Ibanez AF95. It's got two humbuckers, fully acoustic. I was thinking of mounting the whole system (if I could) underneath the pickguard, and have the controls on that, as it's a floating pickguard. If everything works to plan, I'll be getting the Fishman pickup, it looks the best compared to the L.R. Baggs system and the Ghost system as well.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance to anyone that can help me in this mess
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The wiring thread can help, there is a simple J201 booster made for homemade piezo pickups that is floating around somewhere, I'll link you to it in a sec.

The reason piezo pickups don't blend well with magnetic pickups well is the same reason that passive pickups can't blend as well with active. A piezo pickup has an extremely high output impedance, a regular passive pickup has a moderately high output impedance, and an active pickup has a low output impedance. The lower impedance will cut through the mix much easier. So change the output impedance of the higher impedance source, and you've solved the problem. Piezo pickups typically also have a low output power, so you've got to not only buffer the signal, but boost it.


Here's an article about impedance if you wanna understand it better: http://sound.westhost.com/impedanc.htm

In the wiring thread, look for incorporating an effect in a guitar, as well as blend pots. Should be within the first 6 posts.

edit: the stereo jack is just to save battery life, you don't have a stereo sound coming from the guitar.
Last edited by blandguitar at Aug 20, 2010,