Ultra High Performance Upright Bass
Pickups - State of the Art Upright Bass Transducer System
For Acoustic and Electric Upright Bass
The Barbera Multi-Transducer Upright
Bass Pickup Bridge is a unique, high performance bridge pickup system.
Barbera upright bass pickups feature two, dual piezo transducers for each
string. The sensors are mounted within a precision fabricated maple graft
which is integrated into the bridge beneath the strings. The bridges are
made custom to match each basses particular setup.
The system senses from three perspectives
simultaneously. Each strings vertical and horizontal vibrations are sensed
individually, as well as the overall lateral twisting motion of the bridge
(on acoustic style bridges). Vertical sensitivity to each string provides
clarity, balance and sustain for pizzicato. Horizontal sensitivity to
each string provides for precise articulation of attack for pizzicato
and a rich, natural arco response which is dynamically in balance with
the pizzicato. Sensitivity to lateral-twisting bridge motion, provides
depth and tonal interaction with the instrument top. This multi-dimensional
sensitivity provides exceptional clarity, tone and power.
Barbera multi-transducers for the upright
electric bass and double bass are not mass produced. They are custom made
for each instrument. In the process of their being crafted, each bridge
receives considerable individual attention. Performance characteristics
of upright bass pickups are carefully brought out and optimized, through
a voicing process similar in some respects to the way a luthier develops
a musical instruments voice.
Model for Electric Upright
Some advantages of an integrated into the bridge,
all maple pickup system include:
All maple construction provides integrated tonal
compatibility with the bridge and the instrument.
fast, dynamic responsiveness in piz and arco
Warm, open quality of sound with incredible clarity
and focused power which projects a clear, focused tone even in the
most difficult musical situations.
Balanced response across the strings.
Non-microphonic sensitivity. This provides a
natural, high resistance to feedback without fingerboard noise or
distant ringy edge to the sound, and without sound bleed from drums
or other nearby noise sources.
Non-microphonic sensitivity is a focused, selective
coupling to the energy source which rejects undesirable noise and
provides a clean, clear signal.
Microphonic sensitivity (as occurs in surface
contact transducers) is on the other hand, an unfocused, nonselective,
surface contact type of sensitivity, which include undesirable noise
such as body noise, finger noise etc. in the signal to be amplified.
No hardware clamped, stuck or wedged into or
under the bridge.
Clean, uncluttered appearance on the instrument.
High gain, passive output.
Multi dimensional reproduction of the instruments
sound, with full, clear fundamental and overtone response at flat
Methods for generating a new custom bridge:
New, custom upright bass pickups can be made from
tracing the existing fitted bridge. If the original bridge has adjusters,
the new bridge can be prepared to utilize the existing fitted feet and
adjusters. Installation is a matter of minutes.
The system can also be installed into a new, pre-fitted
bridge blank. The process involves having a local luthier set up a new
bridge for the instrument (fit feet, shape top arc, make string notches,
install adjusters) but leaving the bridge at full blank thickness. We
can then install the multi-transducer graft into the pre-fitted blank
and thin the bridge down in the normal fashion. (A detailed information
sheet on ordering options and instructions is available).
In June '96 Bass Player Magazine ran a feature article
entitled "Top Ten Upright Bass Transducers" by Bob Mckaskey.
The article evaluated the field of upright bass pickups. Below is the
section of the article evaluating the Barbera Multi Transducer Bridge,
through the end of the article, which sums up the conclusions for the
BARBERA CUSTOM BRIDGE REPLACEMENT SYSTEM ($500)
"Installation of this pickup is really special.
You send an exact tracing of your bridge to Rich Barbera (In my case,
only the top half of my adjustable bridge was necessary), and in a week
or so he sends you a high-quality maple replacement bridge with eight
piezo transducers hidden inside. The only signs of the pickup are a thin
wire coming from the bottom of the bridge and a small graft along the
top. The unit installs in minutes-but don't drop your sound post!
Barbera included a demo tape with his unit, and while
I was installing the bridge on my bass I played the tape on a high-end
audio system. The demo, which consisted of pieces performed by Rufus Reid
and Anthony Falanga, had the Barbera unit on the left channel and a studio
mike on the right-and it knocked me over. I was very impressed with the
bass reproduction, and wanted to know more about the basses on the tape.
Well, when I disconnected the tape deck and inserted the jack for the
Barbera system, the great sound I had just heard was now coming from my
This unit is the best transducer on the market.
It reproduces both pizz and arco playing in a simply amazing fashion,
with startling volume available and great sonic reproduction in all playing
modes. It needs no improvement. But don't take my word for it-call Rich
and get the tape for yourself."
"Which unit gets the job done best? As always,
you must consider your instrument and your performance needs. My
favorite bass, the german flatback, will never part with the Barbera Transducer;
it's by far the best for volume, balance, and true acoustic-bass sound
enhancement. For the juzek, I'll go with the Shertler electrostatic
system-but this was a close call, with the Wilson coming in just behind.
The Kay, used strictly for combat-zone rock gigs, will be outfitted with
the combination of a Pierre Josephs String Charger and an Underwood. A
Fishman Pocket Blender will become part of my gig bag's inventory, for
use with all of my basses.
Once I had completed my test, I realized that a full-range
amplifier is now an additional requirement for my gigs. A simple 1X15
combo just can't reproduce the harmonics, color, and voicing now available
from my acoustic uprights. And so, perhaps, another quest has begun .
By Bob McCaskey copyright 1996 Miller Freeman,
Inc. Reprinted from the June 1996 issue of BASS PLAYER Magazine. Reprinted
with permission from BASS PLAYER Magazine. BASS PLAYER subscription
information (800)234-1831 or (303)678-0439
Some users of note are:
Charnette Moffet who is currently working with
Tony Falanga who is currently working with Ornette
Coleman as a featured soloist
Nashville studio musicians Dave Pomeroy and Dave
Hear the Barbera Bridge on Ron Carter's "Mr