View Full Version : bouzouki magnetic pickup

Dec-29-2003, 12:54pm
Hello friends,

as you may known I'm playing greek bouzouki and beside that, I'm still studying at the technical univerzity..

these two facts made me to start thinking about "my own" custom made pickup.. I've also contacted RM.Pickups Company(the best pickup making company in the Czech Rep.) and they agreed to build a custom-pickup according to my ideas/plans..

Also I'd like to discuss, what "type sound" do you expect, when you buy some single-coil magnetic pickup for your bouzouki/octave mand? (Note: that pickup should be used on irish bouzouki/OM as well)

I think, that pickup for bouzouki/OM should provide clear, almost acoustic sound with extra mid tones and high output voltage. The pickup also should be "easy to mount", preferably to the neck, to avoid to making changes at the instrument's body..

I'm looking forward to your comments
Happy new year to all musicians!!

Dec-29-2003, 1:29pm
I would be most interested in such a pickup, particularly one that mounts at the neck.

Currently, I am using a Fishman Rare Earth magnetic pickup mounted in the oval hole of my Old Wave Octave and my Weber Bridger mandola with an endpin jack. I am quite happy with the sound, even the acoustic sound (despite the fact that the pickup extends pretty deep into the body).

I play it direct into a mixer or through a PA. Recently, I've been enjoying it best through my Victoria 5 watt tube amp (similar to an old Fender Champ).

I also have a Schertler (or however it's spelled) contact pickup/mic, but it's a pain to remove it every time I play another instrument. It's too expensive to have more than one and I don't really like the XLR wiring.

Any way, good luck with your pickup design and let us know if you get it built. If you can figure out a way to float it from the neck or from the inside of an oval hole, I'd give it try.

But, please hurry -- I'm getting old.

Good luck. Hoyt

Dec-30-2003, 8:59am
Alekos - My Freshwater Mandocello was purchased without any kind of pickup installed, it has the "celtic knot hole" so getting inside the instrument would be a chore, I have mixed feelings about a bridge pickup and drilling ect,
any suggestions for pickup placement without damaging the body would be appreciated, the ringing overtones on that box are incredible I'd hate to loose that over the ability to plug in.

Dec-30-2003, 9:45am
I understand to you your problem halfdeadhippie - in this case, I'd recommend you to look for some piezo-bridge pickup, for example by FISHMAN.. in case you want single coil - the company RM Pickups produces also special mandolin single coil, that can be used for mandolin or mandola/mandocello, look at attached scheme:

Dec-30-2003, 5:12pm
Not the D word!
Thanks so much for your technical advice, I'm too chicken to take a drill to that mandocello, but I might let a luthier do it, other wise I 'll just have to mic her.
But it is fun to get down and rock out on the thing, where a plug might come in handy.

Jan-03-2004, 6:23am
Good golly. I tell ya...whenever I read these lines here in the classical section......by gorky....

I don't know what to think...

Jan-03-2004, 6:25am
(whoops...I guess I'm not in the "classical" section right now...)

But you catch my drift...

Jan-03-2004, 11:35am
Half dead - what about a McIntyre Feather or a Schertler ... both of these are rated fairly highly and are non destructive to the finish or the soundhole ... but they cost more. I seem to recall a company who was offering a tiny conderser mike which was on a gooseneck - and it was fitted via the strap peg ... just a thought. I think Alekos may be onto something with his Magnetic pick up.

Will that require steel strings in order to work?

Jan-03-2004, 11:43am
you know I picked up Mcintyre and had it fitted on my washburn, even had a luthier drill out the strap peg, but for all that I wasn't crazy about the sound ( a preamp helps alot but for recording ( I should just get real mandolin) I still prefera mic.
So I guess I'm a little skiddish about Mcintyre.

Jan-13-2004, 3:20pm
Hello again, the new custom bouzouki pickup is finally here! The cover has standard dark-wood finish, as you can see from the picture. The sound is almost acoustic, very good-tempered. The coils have cores from AlNiCo(alloy: aluminum+nickel+cobalt), that have very good parametres), the coils are winded manualy (to achieve better results) from low-ohmic wire. The spacing of coils is suitable for all 8string instruments (mandolin, mandola, mandocello, bouzouki, etc..)

I will try to record some sound examples soon, but I have now problems with my soundcard, also it will take some time.

Jan-29-2004, 6:02pm
Very good work Alekos. How did you decide what changes to make to provide the tone you were looking for while you were developing it?

Jan-30-2004, 11:26am
Well, the main objective was, to achieve the most realistic - almost acoustic - sound, that is a little bit plastic and mainly "warm" .. here comes the picture of mounted pickup with a small stick on the top..

Jan-30-2004, 12:41pm
now THAT'S what I call a bouzouki! Tell us more about Alekos. Nice!

Feb-21-2004, 3:15pm
Hello friends, I've finally recorded some AudioSamples; here they comes(all is in WAVE file, mpeg3 layer comprimed) - Frangkosyriani (http://web.dkm.cz/mandoweb/mp3/Frangkosyriani.wav) ; Mikros aravoniastika (http://web.dkm.cz/mandoweb/mp3/Mikros_aravoniastika.wav) ; Stalia stalia (http://web.dkm.cz/mandoweb/mp3/Stalia_stalia.wav).. please be tolerant; I'm bouzouki-beginner