“You mean you want a piezo installed on the nut? What for?”
Here at Manne we are used to receiving strange unusual requests, but this, I admit, was the strangest of them all.
Marco Moscatelli repeated it once again explaining his very special bass setup. “I installed on my jazz bass a piezo button on the headstock to get the resonances of the neck and with it I drive a midi converter, so I mix the bass signal with the midi output sounds. The fact is that the resonances should not be really associated with the bass output.”
I told him: “Sorry but this time I am like Tommaso the apostle; If I will not see, I will not believe.”
So Marco visited the Manne shop with all of his devices. And it was working!
My main doubts were considering that the part of the string that goes from the fretted point to the nut, does not produce a sound wave consistent with the note being played, as it is a “reversed scale”. So mixing an “in-tune” tone coming from the bass’ magnetic pickup with a tone from an offset scale should sound very unmusical. But Marco used the midi converter to take the “resonance” sound to be converted into the chromatic range, so it is the converter that set the notes into the chromatic scale. “So, OK, it works. So, OK, we can build a bass with a piezo ON the nut. How? Well I have no idea……but I will find a way to do it… “
We defined with Marco all the other features and we started to design it.
The most difficult aspect was how to define spaces on the nut location for the nut, holder of nut, piezo and preamp! We placed an aluminum pipe near the truss rod to take the piezo output to the body. Marco then requested the body to be inspired by Salvator Dalì’s Mae West work.
We found the solution to make it in the top half of the body. We used solid Pear wood for the body to get enough body mass and consistency. The outputs from the bass include the magnetic pickup as the primary output, the piezo pickup at nut (audio) and a midi output for the nut signal.
This is surely the most incredible and unusual bass we have ever built, challenging to design as it offered many problems to solve. But it is written in our DNA to deal with challenges. We will let you hear how it sounds as soon as Marco will provide us some material.
the bass is visible in the gallery