What if the world ended tomorrow? What would you do? Would you be able to survive? The Zombie Plagues books follow a small group of men and women as they struggle to survive on a vastly changed earth, where the dead sometimes do not remain dead. Follow along as they try to rebuild their own lives as they rebuild their world.A great change was coming to the Earth. Catastrophe was about to change
Book Two picks up the tale of Mike Collins, Candace Loi, Patty Johnson, Ronnie Vincent, Robert Dove and the other Survivors as they make their way across the country and into the Heartland, Looking for Robert Dove’s promised land. A place where they can live their lives in peace, rebuild their worlds and those of the people they meet along the way. But the world is not done with them yet…The
The Zombie Plagues Three Is Here! The struggle to stay alive has leveled out. The Survivors have found their place in the wilderness and The Nation is growing. Life is good for those who are lucky enough to be there. But out in the real world it’s a different story. The dead are taking over. The cities, the countryside, small towns and villages, everywhere the living go the dead are there. And
The Fifth Book picks up the Story of Billy and Beth and their flight out of the ruins of L. A.L.A: Billy Jingo: March 9thHe came up from sleep fast, Jamie’s face above him, her voice a low, panicked whisper.“Wha… What… What?”“Downstairs… It’s downstairs,” she didn’t finish, but she didn’t need to. A crash came to his ears, but he could not tell if it was from the downstairs hallway. At least
Books One through five were published, book six was not published for the series and the epilogue was also withheld. It would have come at a much later date in the series.Bear and Beth. Billy and Pearl. Donita, Mike and Candace, and all the other characters are here. The saga begins and continues until the Outrunners face off against the dead and those that raise them in one final battle. They
He came awake in the darkness, but awake wasn’t precisely the term. Alive was precisely the term. He knew alive was precisely the term, because he could remember dying. He remembered that his heart had stopped in his chest. He had remembered wishing that it would start again. That bright moment or two of panic, and then he remembered beginning not to care. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. And
A look at cell phones from Geo Dell
I spent today updating websites and working on interior files and covers for the ES series, so you are going to end up with a partially recycled blog from a few million years ago when Jesus and I were in grade school together. I mean, of course, Jesus, Wanda and Pedro’s son. So don’t write me and tell me I picked on religion, I picked on Spanish friends instead.
The cold here in New York is relentless. Winter can’t be found lately. The cats are growing thicker fur instead of shedding fur… Sheesh.
Today the topic is Cell Phones…
Cell Phones: Tin cans and string: This Cell phone thing is my generations fault. I’ll fess up right here. We tied string to tin cans, pretended they were loud and clear radios, and dreamed of networks of tin cans and string. Okay, I dreamed of networks of tin cans and string. I think a few of my friends did too, but I won’t put them on the spot. But, someone must have besides me, because we grew up looking for that tin can.
We spawned children with that tin can thing embedded in their DNA. That and the Communicator from Star Trek. If that wasn’t a glimpse into the future and cell phones, I don’t know what it was. It was inevitable, and we should have known it as soon as some fool back in the fifties gave us Walki Talkies.
It was almost a reality right there. Probably good enough for some of us, but no, not for all of us. Some said…
“Hey, Bob. What if I could talk to Tim, Ellie and even my sister Sherry with these things?”
“Well, Bob says. “Why would you want to talk to your sister Sherry? She’s a girl.”
“Oh… Right… Never mind.”
But, then some other guy went… “Hey, Bob. What if I could talk to anyone I wanted to with this thing? I mean like anywhere?”
“Well,” Bob said. “We’d have to make them affordable… Put them in the hands of people everywhere.. We’d have to build relay stations… We’d… We could do it! We could!”
And so Marketing and the Cell Phone industry was born right there. And Bob probably headed it. Now we all have Cell Phones and we might as well be welded to them, or they to us.
Last week I remembered I had a cell phone for a reason. To make calls to people, or so that people could reach me. I was watching a really stupid movie at the time. Four young people stranded in the desert. The moron dude (There is always a moron dude who does the dumb thing that puts them all in the bad situation), so, the Moron Dude wrecks the truck and they’re stranded in the desert. So what does he do first? Tries his cell phone. And does it work? Of course not. And, I thought, hmm, I have a cell phone, what if I paid all this money for minutes, and, and (I tend to get excited when I think of stupid things that just might be possible) I get stranded in the desert, and I flip open my Cell phone, and I have, like, 300 minutes, so I sigh, relieved, I will not die in the desert and the young woman med student won’t have to pound a hole in my head to relieve the fluid buildup so I will live! That was what she (The med student) had just finished doing to one of the people in the movie, pounding a hole in her head to relieve the pressure buildup. Hmm. It didn’t work too well. The person still died. Now, my characters do things too. But I have yet to write a scene where one actually pounds a hole into another characters head with a frickin’ rock.
I’ll tell you, I was relieved. I have enough holes in my head (Some say). Then I remembered the scenario. Minutes don’t matter. Reception matters. So, in my head, in my little world in the desert with the Moron Guy, and the Med Student woman, I look down at my phone again. Damn. 300 minutes and no bars. But, like the Moron Dude I try it anyway. Doesn’t work. The young Med Student woman is looking at me funny. Like she can’t wait to pound that hole in my head. Son of a bitch, I think. This really sucks. Then I remember, it’s not real. I am relieved again, except I am still watching this pathetic movie, and I am looking at my cell phone and wondering why I welded myself to it.
Anyway, dumb movies aside, it really did get me thinking about my cell phone. I have this many friends. (I’m holding up fingers on one of my hands). Let’s just say it’s a small amount, I have fingers left over. Now, all of those friends never call me on my cell phone. If they need to reach me they send an email or call me on my land line. Yes, I have a land line. I know how pathetic that sounds. And I rarely ever use it either. But that’s another blog. So, my friends know my email address, and my home phone and my cell phone number, and they never call me on the cell phone. Yet every month I buy minutes and put them on the damn phone. So I must have thousands of minutes on the phone. Just then the phone rang.
“Hello?” I’m cautious. No one calls me here. “No one calls me here,” I say.
Turns out it is a new-old friend. IE: One I knew years before who just reconnected and does not realize no one calls me on my Cell Phone.
“Hey,” I say. What else can I say? “No, you’re not bothering me,” I lie. Then, the phone goes dead.
“Hello? Hello?” I take the phone away from my ear and stare at it as though that can fix it or at least tell me what is wrong. Nope. five bars. Hey, wait a minute, no minutes! How can that be? I just ran out of minutes on my cell phone. But I just put minutes on it. Hmm, a conundrum.
That lead right into the stupid movie, and I realized, if it was me, my luck would be that I would find I had a signal, and then discover that I had no minutes. And so, I asked myself, why is that? And that is the crux of the problem. Because, as I mentioned, no one calls me on my cell phone. So, where do all the minutes go to? They go to all the other calls. The ones I didn’t ask for. The Cell Phone Spammers. Yes. Those guys/gals/machines. They call all of the time.
“Hi! did you know that for just three hundred dollars a month you can get an unlimited number of minutes,” the voice asks?
“Really,” I ask?
The voice just keeps yacking. It’s not a real voice. It’s a machine. But I’m lonely, they know it, and they know I am stupid enough to listen to a machine… At least for a little while.
“Press One now for the Budget Plan. Press Two for the Super Business Package. Press three for the…”
I hang up. Cell Phone Hooker, I think. I think some other unkind things too, even though I know it is a machine. An hour later the phone rings. I think, ‘I shouldn’t answer that. They probably just want to sell me something.’ But I am stupid, or I have a defective gene, or both.
“Hello? Is this a machine,”I ask right off the bat.
“No sir,” a female voice. Heavy accent. “I am calling regarding your account.”
“Oh… Oh, sorry… I get these machine generated phone calls you see…” I shut up, because of course it’s the Cell Phone. Yakking is money. “My account?”
“Yes sir… My records show that you have the Thrifty Budget plan. And I wanted to make you aware of the Super Business Travelers plan..”
“Your Cell phone plan,” she explains.
“I don’t have the Thrifty Budget plan,” I say.
“Are you sure,” she asks?
“Mm, yes,” I decide.
“Hold on sir.” She sounds upset, leaves the line, and like the idiot I am, I wait for her to come back. Ten minutes later she does. “Sir?”
Probably she is checking only to see if I was stupid enough to hang on. But, no, I answer. “Yes… Ma’am.” I’m even polite. What an idiot.
“My records show that you do not have the Thrifty Budget plan. Please forgive me.”
And I am ready and willing to forgive her. It’s hot over there in New Delhi, I watch Big Bang Theory. I saw Slum Dog Millionaire. I know it’s got to be a hard job working half way around the worl… She interrupts me.
So, Sir?” She waits until I answer. The minute monster is eating my phone alive.
“So, wouldn’t this be a great time to get the Super Business plan?”
Finally it dawns on me. “Hey, are you from **** & ****?”(My phone provider)
“Well, no. I’m from **** *****.”
I hang up. I feel used. Dirty. ‘Damn,’ I think. I am even cussing. ‘Damn Dirty Ape. Frig!’ It is the most severe cussing I can come up with on short notice.
Okay, so I’m sitting there, and slow as I am, it finally dawns on me where all of my minutes go, they go to answering the phone so these guys can sell me more minutes so I can answer the phone, so they can sell me more minutes, so I can answer the phone IF one of my friends ever call, and, as evidenced, if one of my friends do call, I’ll have no minutes to talk to them. Boy am I dumb. Hmm… Then I think, well, I could just let the medical student woman in the movie pound the hole in my head. Might be quicker, smarter too…
Hey! Take a look at the new Earth’s Survivors book Alabama Island…
He had come to hours later; the vehicles’ nothing but twisted husks, still burning in the black night. He could feel the heat from the fires. He had lain for what seemed like a long time trying to orient himself, make sense of what he last remembered, and what he now saw. Time did nothing to sort it out.
It still made no sense some time later when he had first tried to sit up. Pain had flared everywhere and the black curtain had descended once more.
The second time the fires had been out. Heat still came from the blackened shells, but the fires were dead. The moon was high in the sky, bloated, bright silver.
He had moved slower, and while it had been close he had managed to fight past the first pain when he had moved.
His left leg was bad. Not broken, but cut badly, maybe sprung, after all he had lain with it twisted to one side for what he assumed was a very long time. He used part of his shirt to wrap his leg as he let his head clear.
His head was worse. Pain inside every time he tried to move too fast. It felt like liquid sloshing around inside his head, his brain shifting with it, slamming into the bone cage of his skull, and he wondered if it were true, or just something his mind provided in explanation of the pain. As he sat the pain eased enough for him to stand. Standing helped to ease it even more and he began to search for the others…
Get it from these booksellers right now…
Okay, that’s my week. I hope your week was good, Geo…
Book One: Apocalypse, free eBook. The end comes swiftly. Few will live, fewer still will survive
Book Two: Rising From The Ashes: I-Tunes From L.A. To Manhattan lawlessness is the rule, eBook… https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-rising-from/id595453162?mt=11
Book Three: The Nation #iTunes
The Nation takes shape and the people who will build it #eBook #horror https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-the-nation/id602902809?mt=11
Book Four: Home In The Valley. Building the first and most important settlement #Apocalypse https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-home-in-valley/id1015548804?mt=11
Book Five: Plague #Undead Plague outlines the sudden rise of the dead across the country #eBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-plague/id1015630497?mt=11
Book Six: Watertown. A virus capable of raising the dead comes up missing at a top secret lab. #PAW
Book Seven: World Order. The final book. Will the Nation crumble or rise…? #Dystopian https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-world-order/id1086393733?mt=11
Earth’s Survivors box set contains the entire Earth’s Survivors series in one volume. Get a FREE Preview right now!
Dell Sweet on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/dell-sweet/id722382569?mt=11
List Price: $18.99
Earth’s Survivors: Collection One by Dell Sweet, Geo Dell
CreateSpace Store / BOOK
Earth’s Survivors Collection One contains the complete text from the first two Earth’s Survivors books, Apocalypse and Rising From The Ashes. It also includes bonus material, a complete major character bibliography, plus information from the series and the future plans for the series. Save when you buy both…
Publication Date: August 7, 2015
Earth’s Survivors Box Set
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
Earth’s Survivors box set contains the entire Earth’s Survivors series in one volume.
Book One: Apocalypse.
Earth’s Survivors Apocalypse follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in a desperate struggle to survive. Small groups band together for safety, leaving the ravaged cities behind in search of a new future…
Book Two: Rising From The Ashes.
Earth’s Survivors Rising From The Ashes continues to follow the survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The small groups are growing, branching out in search of a new future. It chronicles their day to day struggles as well as their dreams as they search out new hope in their shattered world…
Book Three: The Nation.
This part of the story really concentrates on the formation of The Nation and the people who will build it and carry it forward, but it also brings along the side story of The Fold and the people who will build that haven. It gives a more complete picture of Adam and Cammy, and picks up the Tale of Billy and Beth, Mike and Candace, Conner and Katie as they work to sort out their lives.
Book Four: Home The Valley.
Home in the valley concentrates on the building of the first and most important settlement of The Nation. The valley settlement is where the people that run the Nation will come from. They will rise to leadership positions across the former United States. The first supply trip out for the Nation nearly turns to disaster, and more of the separate parties join and become one under the Nation Flag.
Book Five: Plague.
Plague outlines the sudden rise of the dead, chronicling the spread across the country. It follows Adam, Beth, Billy and Pearl as they head north looking for an antidote that can bring the plagues to end. It also sees the first babies born to the Nation, the formation of both the Fold and Alabama Island, and the loss of one of the founders of The Nation without whom the Nation may dissolve…
Book Six: Watertown.
Major Weston read the report twice and then carefully set it back on his desk. Johns or Kohlson: One of the two had stolen samples of SS-V2765. It was not a question. No one else had the access, no one else the proximity or knowledge of where it was stored. Two of the virus, one each of the REX agents were missing. Enough to infect several million people, and that was just the initial infection…
Book Seven: World Order.
This book steps back to the beginning to bring you the story of the Fold. Jessie Stone, why and how Snoqualmie settlement came to be. It begins in present day and then falls back in time to the beginning of the Apocalypse. The Fold becomes the biggest challenger to the Nations power. The community that can force the Nation into compromise, or bring a war that may destroy both societies…
All seven books in one collection. Follow the survivors as they struggle to survive in a vastly changed world, where the living are just as likely to kill you as the dead are.
The release of this box set puts the series to an end. I have enjoyed writing it, I hope you have enjoyed reading it, Dell Sweet.
Burned at the steak or how the Salem witch trials might have happened…
All of what follows was painstakingly researched for about three minutes at my own expense and it bore out to be completely true, at least from my own perspective of wanting it to be true. So, there is that to read which I will cite as a positive.
In 1028, long before we assumed that anyone was burned at the stake, John Tarbarrow, a judge in Kessington township, a now defunct township that at the time was situated at 17nsw of the former township of Kessington, the true location of which has been lost to time and faulty record keeping which was a mistake common to most Judges at that time, Windows Archaic 11 having not yet been invented yet.
In any case on this date Judge Tarbarrow was grilling beaver at his outside open pit situated at or near the west bank of the river Black on the south branch when happened by the widow Smythe and the local sheriff Hobert Hawsley. They were out and about searching for the good witch Wilasah who had been missing for three nights at that point, having gone missing at a campfire witch outing three nights prior in the good farmer Tarbarrow’s field, Robert by name, the brother of the good judge.
“When,” inquired the sheriff “Would you say was the last time you might have seen the good witch Wilasah?”
The judge who never listened to anyone, mainly because he was deaf in both ears, thought the sheriff had questioned him about the chunk of beaver he had been grilling, which had now been burned in the fire because of inattention.
“Burned ‘at steak, I did,” replied the judge, speaking of course of the beaver steak. ‘at’ being the local pronunciation of ‘that’.
“I say,” said the widow Smythe, “You burned the good witch at the stake?”
“Aye,” the judge agreed. “Have to do another, I will.”
The sheriff, who was no slouch and depended on the judge for his job immediately set out to round up the other witches in the township and this began what we came to know of as Burning Witches at the Stake, or the Salem Witch Trials, which were a few centuries later, but country folk were slower to catch on and Al Gore had not yet invented the Internet so it took some time to get the news out. Once it was out Salem embraced it and rounded up their own witches and followed what they thought was the good Judges example.
I hope this has clarified this whole area of history for you and I am always glad to help, Geo Dell
Check out my Zombie Plagues books on Apple…
Bits and pieces of stuff I might have thrown away. Humor
I had a nightmare last night. It was so bad it lurched upright from the dream and stumbled from the bed… What could be so bad you ask?
Well, I was in Vegas where myself and my new bride had just gotten married at some little out of the way chapel. Elvis was there, the best man. Of course it was a pretend Elvis, but still. My new bride was worth millions, she only told me after the ceremony.
The thing is she wore a veil and even with the veil there was something about her I recognized but I couldn’t get it.
Then I noticed there was this authoritative black gentleman following us both around and hopping to it when she said anything. He even barked at me a few times; scared me too.
We got in the limo… I was still sleeping peacefully, and then she turned to the man and said “Bird, bring in the litigants for the next case,” and she lifted the veil… My new bride, Judge Judy… I have got to stop letting mom control the TV so much…
And when God came back to gather his people he was surprised to see that Geo was not ready. Still formatting his hard drive…
Me today, formatting an old hard drive. I forgot how much time we used to put into that stuff in the old days…
Me with the tornado warning a few nights back…
Wooooeeee… The tornado warning is upon us and the skies are flashing, the thunder crashing… Whoops, almost re-wrote a Garth Brooks song right there….
Me commenting on the presidential eclipse…
Waited at my desk for three hours never saw a damn thing. No Google updates on the eclipse… No Presidential Tweets like “Ohhh Ohhh here it comes…” nothing… Guess I should’ve gone outside… You don’t suppose the Russians hacked the eclipse do you? Oh well, next time
A little television knowledge…
Well I just learned this from television: Sixty percent of all American women are wearing the wrong size pad… Yes, I learned that on TV. But, the maker of the Always pad says that women can check the top of their box and find the right size for them… Honest, I just learned that. I am assuming they are talking about bunion pads. So, ladies hop to it and protect those feet. This is my first and only public service announcement on this subject… You are welcome…
And the week moved by me. Lucky for me because I was running out of handy sarcasm. I hope you mad it to the end of the week in one piece. I am looking for the weekend and the aliens to come down, suck that whole week right out of my head and fill it with better stuff… If aliens do that, we’ll need to check with a conspiracy expert to be sure…
A new release that is also free today for the Kindle. Go get it!
New Release! The Original Survivors: Bluechip. The story of how the apocalypse began: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074YH3ZRG
A free book link for you iTunes fans… Earth’s Survivors: Apocalypse… The end of the world is here… https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-apocalypse/id963866999?mt=11
For those who like Nook, another free book… The Zombie Killers Origins: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/earths-survivors-the-zombie-killers-dell-sweet/1123356143
That is it for me this Friday. It is a beautiful cool day here in New York. I hope the weather is cooperating where you are. Enjoy your weekend and I’ll see you soon, Geo…
Blogging humor, Med warnings I have seen…
Things I have seen on my meds that befuddle me. I take meds four times a day. Back in the 70’s people who did that were called hippies.
My meds control all the things that I did not control and therefore had to have a doctor take control of to control… Got that? Good.
I listed a few of the things I have seen on the six mile long pages of warnings that seem to come with every med I take…
1: May cause periods to stop or become erratic. Hmm, that better not happen…
2: Do not take if you are allergic to this medication or any of its ingredients. I haven’t taken it yet so I don’t know if I will be or am allergic…
3: (On my heart medication) May cause your heart to form abnormal rhythm. Also may cause excessive bleeding without warning. What???
4: (On my other heart medication) May not work well with other heart medications. And there goes my heartbeat speeding up all on its own.
5: Do not ride a bike or operate machinery. Really? I had absolutely no plans to ride a bike this evening. None at all…
6: May cause some unspecified problems that this medication has not been studied for. Whoa. That is some secret squirrel stuff right there. Are they just hedging their bets…?
7: Do not use alcohol in excess when taking this medication. Hmm, I wonder what exactly excess is? Is that when you fall down and can’t get up or is that just before you fall down and can’t get up?
8: Do not toss small children into the air when taking this medication. Dang it…
9: You may become dizzy when taking this medication. That is not true. My friend takes the same medication and he was dizzy already…
10: Do not mix with other drugs or medical emergencies may occur. I usually read that one as I have the handful of pills transferred to my mouth and I am trying to swallow them, so I know what the medical emergency is, choking!
Take a look at these new releases…
New Release! The Original Survivors: Bluechip.
The story of how the apocalypse began #Apocalypse #Undead #Crime https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074YH3ZRG
A story of addiction and recovery
#Addiction #Recovery #DrugAbuse https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074YHHTF6
The Nation Chronicles Zero. It might be the end for Earth as greed sets death in motion
#Paperback #Crime #Horror https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521911215
The Walmart lessons…
Let’s see what I have learned…
Occasionally I will venture out to Walmart. Rarely does this turn out well. I am almost always in a situation where I have to go, not want to go. I look at Walmart like a foreign entity occupying american soil. You should get a visa, passport and shots before you go. Lately I have been keeping track of my visits so that I can have a filter in place to let me know when I should or shouldn’t go…
Late Afternoon: So far I have learned that late afternoon Walmart shopping excursions are a bad idea. Too many families shopping with small children. Too much shoving and pushing and just an overall feeling of WHY AM I HERE! Even my mom and aunt on that trip were actively taking the electric carts they were using and in the case of my aunt trying to run people down. Mom was just wide open on the throttle and get the hell out of my way. I was trying to keep up, save small children and laugh at the tough guys who just almost got run over by little old ladies. Also young women wearing spandex… And grandmas wearing spandex and yes, a grandpa wearing spandex and gym shorts. Why grandpa, why! My friend Andrea says the women wearing spandex is payback for the men wearing it. I understand, but it seems to be a vicious cycle… Late afternoons are not good shopping days, I was mentally shot and probably traumatized by the time we got out of there.
Early Monday mornings: No. No. No. Employees and vendors restocking and blocking pretty much every aisle. Half naked women and men in night clothes. I don’t understand… Is it okay to dress in night clothes because it is early? Also lack of caffeine allows me to be extra nervy and impolite and if I am nothing I am polite… Sorry, nearly choked there. So early Monday is a bad idea. Might as well schedule a lobotomy, it would have been the same to me.
Holidays: Oh God. I hope you are coming back before the next holiday trip to Walmart. All I can say is that if you need something that bad pay someone to go there for you. If, as is my case all your nephews, sons, daughters and nieces are too smart to let you hire them, consider adoption. Screaming children. Nasty floors, picked over merchandise. Impolite &^%#’s. Yes, that was a bad word right there, sorry. It made me wish I had gone holiday shopping at Walmart with Mad Max or the Outlaw Josey Wales. No, no, that’s fine Mister Wales… You can shoot the next one too. Maybe Max’s little dog too. That dog was hardcore. So, no Walmart holiday shopping at all.
Late morning Wednesday shopping:Today was the late morning shopping test. Apparently Wednesday mornings are screaming child day, multiple screaming children as a matter of fact with grandparents or people my age who should not be having children at all. I had two boys running up and down aisles screaming and taunting each other… “I’ll get you!” … Slow down!” “Aiiii”
Little $#^&’s. I felt like tripping one and then yelling to the other “Here he is! Caught the little #$@%^&# for you.” Wonder what they would have made of that. But I was good. The second group was a boy beside a cart with grandpa or the worlds oldest father and a kid in the basket screaming. I mean SCREAMING. And the grandpa/father smiling and ignoring them and the boy beside the cart screamed at the screaming kid telling him to shut up. Thankfully they sell things in other areas of the store and so several times I managed to get away from the little kids. That was when I noticed that many of the shoppers were smiling and nodding. Look right at you, through you, smile and nod and whisk right by you and the screaming children and never lose the smile. Hmmm, I thought, which aisle is the Prozac in. I looked but I didn’t find it.
I also noticed that the produce area was inundated with alternate types. I saw a man with a pink Mohawk. A woman with a brush cut and her sleeves rolled up to biceps almost as big as mine. Another man picking over loose vegetables. I always wondered who in hell bought those loose potatoes, beets, carrots, now I know. Really picky guys in too tight designer jeans. It was weird in the produce area, but it was also heaven. The screaming children were not present, apparently all of these folks had been spayed or neutered.
I hung out there for awhile until I realized I had to travel to the other end of the store for soy milk and so, reluctantly I left. As for Wednesday shopping at Walmart in mid morning? Yes if it is produce, no on the rest. Hey, that is my strongest and only Walmart endorsement ever… Enjoy the balance of the week…
Check out my latest release The Nation Chronicles: Death…
Piezo Disc Elements
I chose to use two Piezo discs in a recent guitar build project to blend with one Humbucker pickup. The sound will be unique because of that blend, but very often I mention these elements and I don’t fully explain them, so I thought that I would do that. The first thing I will do is give a basic explanation of what a Piezo disc is and what it does.
The Piezo element consists of a thin metal disc bonded to a thin ceramic disc. Wire leads are attached to the separate discs and when current is passed through the discs it stimulates them in one of two ways, either to produce sound or to transmit sound dependent upon the way you wire the disc. You may not realize it but there are Piezos discs in everyday items you have contact with. Smoke Detectors use them as a speaker to transmit that blaring beeping sound. Your Cell Phone probably has one in it to use as a speaker or microphone or both, and there are plans for practical application of the Piezo as a charging unit using the vibrations of the Piezo and converting it to current. The Piezo is a versatile device.
The Piezo element can do an equally good job at picking up vibrations in the soundboard of your guitar and turning those vibrations into sound. Preserving the Acoustic quality of those sounds as well. You have probably had experience or at least heard of under saddle Piezo elements that pick up vibration through the Acoustic Saddle and change that into sound. The Piezo disc works in exactly the same way except that the placement can be whatever you choose.
Placement of the Piezo Disc
Most of the string energy transfer will come directly through the bridge saddle on an acoustic guitar and radiate out into the soundboard from that point. There will also be energy transfer at the nut on the headstock and at the string mounting points on the bridge, whether that be pegs or a pegless attachment at the bridge or elsewhere, but that will be a very small amount compared to what will occur at the saddle. The saddle is where the majority of the string energy transfer occurs. That energy is transferred into the soundboard and then causes the soundboard to vibrate. That vibration produces sound which is then reflected off the back and sides of the guitar and out the sound hole. Acoustics in its most simple direct form. It’s the same thing that happens when you hold a glass to a wall and the press your ear to the glass. You will clearly hear the sounds from the room on the opposite side of that wall. That is sound energy transferred into the wall and then traveling through that wall via vibration and once again becoming sound as you place the glass against the wall. So, the closer to the source the better the vibration will be, the more your Piezo will pick up and convert to sound.
For that reason the best placement is usually the bridge. There are other placement options directly on the soundboard, either on top via a two sided tape or underneath via a bonding agent of some sort. Behind the bridge, sandwiched into the bridge if you are building a custom application, or attached directly under the bridge and cushioned in some way to defect the harsher sounds of the traditional Piezo. There are other ways as well, probably as varied as any builder can make them.
I have not seen a great many Piezo discs used in the way I am going to use them unless they are in a cigar box application. But I wanted the ability to have that acoustic sound and since I have converted the guitar they will be installed in to an adjustable bridge my options were limited.
A word on the harshness of the Piezo disc or even the Under Saddle Piezo. It is part of the design of the Piezo, they pick up sound very well. Fingers tapped against the top of your guitar, or accidentally tapping the soundboard as you play and so when Piezo discs are mounted directly to the wood they are much harsher because they are picking up all of that string energy transfer. The under saddle Piezo has a coating in most cases that reduces the effectiveness of the Piezo and so cuts down on that hardness/harshness in the sound produced. The disc has no coating at all and so a direct to wood mounting would pick up all the sounds in that top/soundboard, string zings, finger taps, maybe even slight buzzes from string changes. Because of that it is usually recommended to coat or shield the Piezo disc from the wood or mounting point. Recommendations include rubber, leather, plastic, silicone or epoxy. The harder the product the more energy transfer, the harder/harsher the sound will be.
Most of the discs you can buy are about 1 1/2” in diameter and you can cut them down to suit your tastes. As long as you make sure the areas that are wire attachment points are not disturbed they will still act as a pickup. Because of that you can fit them nearly anywhere at all. Still, the close to the bridge they are the more the energy transfer will be and the clearer the notes will be.
I used the silicone method of mounting the Piezo discs. I used two discs, one directly under the bridge the other one back a few inches where the vibrato mounts. Very close to the screw mounts for the vibrato in fact. I drilled about a 1/4” deep 1 1/2” hole in both spots and then over drilled the holes so that the Piezos could fit in them loosely. Next I filled each hole with pure silicone to the tops, making sure I left no voids within the silicone. I then pressed the discs into the hole with finger pressure and set them so they were about 1/8” deep, so there was the recommended 1/8” of silicone between the Piezo and the wood to act as a cushion and reduce the harshness of the Piezo discs. The one under the bridge will receive the most string energy the one further back will pick up the sustained energy through the tremolo mounting points. In the past that has produced a prolonged ghosting sound that seems to seep into sustains, almost seeming like a second wind in the sustain. Subtle but I really like it. I did this on one of the first guitars I built from scratch and the sound it produced has always stayed with me. I liked it that much. It may not be for everyone though, so you might consider a few other things as far as mounting goes.
First, you may want to consider doing the actual mounting of the Piezo discs at the very end of your build, that is if you have access to the area you wish to mount them in and you are in no danger of damaging the guitar as you mount them. This way you can use tape to temporarily mount them and check the sounds as you change materials and positions until you find something you like. I have done this a few times and I know what sound I am after so I don’t have as much of a concern in that area. The way I mount them, with the hole only slightly over drilled, the edges of the Piezo discs are bound to contact the sides of the wood. They will pick up sound in theses contact areas more easily, even so this is not a large or thick area, but the very thin profile of the disc itself. The rest of the sound will be cushioned by that silicon and it will produce a mellower sound, without the sharpness or harshness, the two should blend well and sound good as they have in the past. Blended with the Humbucker and the on-board EQ I should get just about any kind of repeatable sound I want. This is about the fourth or fifth build where I have done them this way and the sound reproduction has been the same to my ear each time.
Wiring the Discs
I wire these discs parallel; in other words one disc per circuit. You can wire these in series the same as any other electrical project, lights, speakers, etc. But wiring in a series changes or lowers the over all impedance of the circuit. You would end up getting less sound from the paired units. If you were wiring the Piezo as speakers that might be desirable to achieve a certain impedance coming out of an amp/driver. But as a sound pickup it isn’t all that desirable.
Here is the nice part for me. You can wire the Piezo directly into a 500 k or 250 k Volume potentiometer control or Pot as we call them. In other words the standard pot that came with the Strat donor wiring harness I am going to use. Humbucker into one, Piezo, Piezo. That output goes to an EQ/Preamp I could run it directly to the amp as a matter of fact. It doesn’t need the EQ/Preamp, but I want that to be able to tailor the sound to what I want so it will run into the EQ/Preamp and from there to the amp.