Where should I attach a pick-up on my violin
March 18, 2005 12:30 AM   Subscribe

Where is the best place on a violin to attach a DiMarzio Acoustic Model Pickup? The band's got a gig tonight, the pick-up is new and we want the best sound possible from the fiddle.

Googling only gets me people trying to sell me pickups or instruments.(and if it makes a difference, last night the tail piece loop exploded when there was a power surge)
posted by bunglin jones to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
OK, it is probably one of those little round buttons with sticky stuff, right? Two things to know: it will fall off, so secure it with extra tape or elastic bands.... and do you have a pre-amp? If not, you probabably will not sound that good anyway, so go get or borrow one with a long phone-phone cable.

Probably the best place for these things is stuck right on the back face of your bridge, maybe secured by a few wraps of thread. Or else stick it on the body of your fiddle just behind the bridge, moving it around to try and capture a balance both bass and treble vibrations (between bass bar and sound post.) I don't like to stick it on the body - it leaves sticky gunk on my precious forty dollar fiddles.

I use a fishman piezo - simple, clean sound, no sticky stuff. Also fishman pre-amp.
posted by zaelic at 1:44 AM on March 18, 2005

The DiMarzio's not really intended for violins (though it should work). I'd place it on the back of the instrument, right where the soundpost hits the back. The piezo picks up the vibration of the soundboard, but it less affected by finger squeaks, etc.

Be careful of feedback with a piezo on a violin, particularly in highly amplified situations - the soundboard will vibrate in tune with the PA, and...
posted by benzo8 at 1:48 AM on March 18, 2005

I don't know if it's different for fiddles, but on guitars, mandolins, etc., a piezo generally goes somewhere between the bridge and tailpiece (and usually towards the treble side) on the top side of the instrument. No one can tell you the exact place, though; you'll have to play around with it. You will want a preamp.
posted by transient at 7:46 AM on March 18, 2005

(Not a fiddler, but I've played with them at high volume for years.)

Fiddles are tough to amplify. zaelic and transient are correct - you have to use a preamp. The Baggs ParaAcoustic DI is great. For EQ, look into a narrow but deep cut at 1.6 kHz - that's where a lot of the scratchy sound lives.
posted by omnidrew at 9:22 AM on March 18, 2005

Fishmans are great. Use a preamp. What zaelic said.

You'll probably want to take all the mids out in the EQ.

And have a dry run where you figure out what placement is best for not interfering with your bow, and practise not stepping on the lead.

If you can grab a very directional mike and feedback isn't a problem on stage, you might be better off with that - you want it coming down from a high boom, about a foot away.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:30 PM on March 18, 2005

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