Parker Fly guitar

Dave Martone


The development of the PZ-Select is an amalgamation of ideas that were brought together to form a single pedal. Dig a little deeper and you will discover that it is actually a by-product that follows the natural evolution of the electric guitar.

Since the beginning, electric guitars have pretty much employed the same magnetic pickups as they did when they were invented. We still rave about the tone of a Gibson 1959 PAF Humbucker or a coveted pre-CBS single coil bolted into a Stratocaster. A few years ago, a new alternative began to take shape that combined a traditional magnetic pickup with an under-saddle piezo transducer. This new 'hybrid' design gained notoriety with companies like Parker, Godin and MusicMan leading the way. Combining a piezo with a magnetic allows the guitarist to switch from an electric tone to something that approximates an acoustic with the push of a button! Or almost...

The problem with hybrid guitars is not so much that you cannot select between the electric and acoustic sources; but switching between sources requires fiddling around with a myriad of controls and switches. Simply stated - it is not very efficient. Even more challenging is trying to break out the two signals so that they can feed the electric guitar amp, the acoustic amp and the PA system. This required a complex set of break out boxes, DIs and Y-jacks... that is until now.

Simplifying the process with the PZ-Select

One of today's most exciting players is a fellow named Dave Martone. Dave is not only a very gifted, but he is extremely innovative in his approach to his on-stage performances. Dave uses a Parker Fly and constantly switches between electric and acoustic elements. Early on, we began working with David to develop a solution that would enable him to use a footswitch to select between the two types of pickups. The idea was to enable him to instantly switch between tones so that both elements could be used to perform his complex compositions live.

The first prototype we made for Dave was a passive device. Although it worked, when you switched inputs, like other true-bypass pedals it would make a pop in his amp. The second prototype added a high performance Class-A buffer to solve the popping problems and this was fitted with Drag Control load correction. We also added an XLR output so that the piezo could feed the PA. At this point, we were able to get a pretty good 'acoustic' sound through the PA and still have all the electric tone going to the guitar amp on stage. The next prototype incorporated a separate buffer for the tuner so that it could always be on. This way, no matter what mode you are in, you can check your tuner for a quick adjustment. Finally, we added filters to tame the 'squawk' from the piezo pickups and this helped make the acoustic sound more natural.

As the development plodded along, we realized that adding a second input would enable multi-instrumentalists to also use the PZ-Select to switch between two instruments. This would enable you to switch between electric and acoustic upright; between mandolin and violin, between electric and acoustic cello and of course between electric and acoustic guitar. To round things off, we added a few filters to help control resonance and warm up the tone, and incorporated a 10 meg-ohm input to optimize piezo-equipped instruments. Now that bass guitar manufacturers have also joined the hybrid revolution, the need for quick switching between sources has never been timelier.

Thanks to Dave Martone for working with us on the development. We think you will enjoy it.

Dave Martone and the PZ-Select

Dave Martone here. I'm going to tell you about life before the PZ-Select for me. I use Parker guitars which have 2 channels coming out: one for magnetic and the other for piezo sounds. To connect to my amp, I had a big fat stereo cable that had a ¼" TRS on one end and a Y-jack on the other that broke out to two ¼" mono connectors. The cable was always bulky and expensive! It seemed that I was constantly running into buzz and hum problems due to grounding issues.

I always wanted to be able to turn these guitar sounds on and off with my feet, because my hands would always be doing something and could not get to the switches on the guitar fast enough. Frustration set in until Peter Janis at Radial contacted me and work began on the PZ-Select. There were approx 4 prototypes made as we went through the necessary changes and then BAM!!! An amazing unit was born! No longer do I need that clunky cable. I use a regular TRS cable and that's it! No more grounding issues or phase issues!!! The PZ-Select gives me full switching capability with lights to tell what channel is active! Tuner out! Piezo FX loop! Drag Control! XLR balanced Piezo out and the list goes on!

Thanks Radial for making the MartoneBone! IT ROCKS!