Alternatives to bridge pickup
I have no idea what it costs to have a piezo bridge fit to a violin, but was also discouraged from attempting it myself. I have seen and heard other people using a variety of alternate piezo pickups with violin ranging from 'stick-on' disc piezo's (single, dual, or triple) to an elastic/Velcro wrap (Headway Electronics 'The Wrap'), which is actually pretty cool in that most people don't have any complaints about the pickup deadening or otherwise altering their sound, yet it does a good job of minimizing, if not preventing, feedback. The Wrap has three pickups in it, but that's all I know about. I've never been up close to one. It's not supposed to require a preamp, but would benefit, like nearly all piezo pickups.
Originally Posted by Charlie
In case you're wondering what this has to do with L.R.Baggs, I'm getting there. I made a homemade one that I assumed was like The Wrap, but I used one very large polymer piezo (ribbon?) that was given to me...it was made by Measurement Specialties but I have no idea what part number. It's apparently low enough in impedance it works directly into a guitar amp input, which I think The Wrap can do (since it doesn't 'need' a preamp). I built a couple preamps that worked worse than the guitar amp input, so I decided I didn't know what I was doing...back to the drawing board.
It's on someone else's fiddle. We used an L.R. Baggs Para Acoustic D.I. box somewhere this weekend, and I was hooked...sounds like everything I hoped it would, plus all the features you might ever need...I ordered one tonight!
A lot of people use the piezo bridges, but hard to say how much variation there is among them. They are less hassle to use, once installed, vs. the velcro.thing...
A couple months ago I saw Gaelic Storm and mistakenly thought their former fiddler (maternity leave) had a non-bridge pickup. I stole a pic from their website and brightened it up enough to show it IS a bridge type. The small piezos really need a compatible (very high impedance, low noise) preamp. The LR baggs Para Acoustic DI does this in addition to all the other features it has (I do not work for these people).Attachment 33
I suspect hacking one's own bridge notches is a bit like a guitar's...it's a very important function, and you can make it sound pretty bad without the right tools.
One more reason to not mess with your violin bridge is the sound post inside...if you take the tension off the bridge, the soundpost often falls out of the place it was painstakingly installed. Violin soundposts are not supposed to be glued in. The bridge applies the string force to the top of the violin and all the vibrations 'drive' the top of the violin to vibrate. The compression of the top is what hold the properly shaped and positioned soundpost between the top and back of the violin. It's supposed to be a pretty unpleasant experience to reinstall without knowing ho to get it right. An archtop guitar shares some similarity in the bridge, but no soundpost.