All PiezoBarrel pickups are designed to be simple, reliable, effects friendly and require no batteries or external power while providing exceptional sound quality. There are currently four main PiezoBarrel pickup models. These provide differences in the sound characteristics to provide choice, and to cater for the differences in the Woodwind, Brass and Saxophone families of instruments as well as a variety of folk and experimental instruments. For more information, see the different models below.
To ease the barriers to entry, a variety of accessories are available for PiezoBarrel pickups. These include low cost clarinet barrels, sax mouthpieces, trumpet mouthpieces and trombone mouthpieces, all with adapters pre-installed and ready to play so no installation is required. The threaded brass adapters that are used to attach the PiezoBarrel pickups to a variety of instruments are supplied with the pickups. See the PiezoBarrel manual for more details.
For some instruments there is a choice of adapters as some require more effort to install than others. The supplied clarinet barrels, for instance, have a Type C adapter fitted as this installation as only a small hole is visible inside the clarinet barrel, but it is much easier just to drill an 8mm hole in the clarinet barrel and glue in a Type A brass adapter for a Do-It-Yourself install. For saxophone, a Type E adapter is available to fit the sax neck and this adapter can be soldered onto the neck and a small hole drilled through into the bore. For trumpet a similar adapter can be soldered onto the mouthpiece shank just above the receiver socket and a small hole drilled into the backbore. All adapters are supplied with spare stanless steel thumbscrews fitted with an O ring to block the hole so the instrument can be played when the pickup is not required.
All current PiezoBarrel pickups are the same size and shape and the have the same M6 metric thread so any pickup model will fit any PiezoBarrel adapter and a single pickup can be easily moved from one instrument to another.
The PiezoBarrel 'Wood' is currently the most popular PiezoBarrel pickup for clarinet. It was designed initially for clarinet, but is also popular for a variety of other instruments and popular with experimenters. Generally this pickup is also popular for sax and bass clarinet as an alternative to the P7 when a dark sound is desired. The 'Wood' can also be used for trombone and low brass instruments.
The PiezoBarrel P7 is a bright sounding pickup that is intended for the saxophone family or for clarinet where a bright airy sound is preferred. The P7 has plenty of upper partials and provides a natural sax sound. If you want a darker sound then the PiezoBarrel 'Wood' can be used. The P7 can be mounted on the sax mouthpiece or sax neck and brass adapters are available for both these options. The neck installation is convenient and has the advantage of allowing different mouthpieces to be used and does not restrict the choice of ligature, while a mouthpiece installation means you do not need to make a permanent change to the sax neck.
The PiezoBarrel P9 was developed in collaboration with Master Trumpeter, Schilke Artist and Grammy Award Winning jazz musician Darren Barrett. Darren won the 1997 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, and is a professor at Berklee College of Music. As a trumpet player, his knowledge of the trumpet is extraordinary, and as a professional working and recording artist, his knowledge of the sound and ability to live test pickups in actual performance environments allowed the design to be altered to fit the ideal frequency characteristics of the trumpet.
Ben Thomas & Lucy Muse Perform BRING ME HOME. Ben and Lucy can be found at Ben Thomas Trumpet.
The PiezoBarrel R1 is similar to the PiezoBarrel 'Wood' but designed for the recorder. The recorder usually only produces a weak signal in the low register and any attempt to produce a stronger note results in the sound becoming unstable as it starts to overblow. For this reason, the R1 was designed to have a non-linear frequency response that increases the bass frequencies and thus strenghens the low register.