has anyone put an acoustic pickup in their Les Paul?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jrm, Jan 18, 2008.


  1. jrm

    jrm Member

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    How is this done? What is the general concensus on this type of mod? Is it worth the time/effort/money? How invasive is it? I'm looking to add some more versatility to my LP for some new band songs. Thanks!
     
  2. Rotten

    Rotten Silver Supporting Member

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    Alex Lifeson did for the last tour. You might want to check out what he did; I'm sure it's described somewhere.
     
  3. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Doesn't LR Baggs make a Les Paul styled bridge with peizo in each saddle? Install it and then run the output to a stero jack on the guitar. You can then split the signal if you so choose. Use a concentric volume to adjust peizo level to avoid butchering the top or assign one of the 4 LP pots to the peizo and have either a master tone or master volume.

    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Bridges...aggs_T-Bridge,_Piezo_Loaded_Tune-o-matic.html
     
  4. jrm

    jrm Member

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    That looks prett neat. Any idea how they sound? I imagine I'd have to drill a hole through the top for the pickup wire?
     
  5. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    I've installed a few Baggs T-bridges, and gotten around drilling a hole in the top by shrink-wrapping the pickup wires in to a discreet bundle in the center, then feeding them through a "mouse hole" cut in to the bridge pickup ring. The wire is then visible for that short distance from the bridge to the pickup ring, but sometimes can be obscured a bit more with your choice of shrink wrap color. I prefer this way because it's fully reversible - you can even use a new pickup ring and save the old one in case you ever want to pull it out.
     
  6. jrm

    jrm Member

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    thanks fellas. This is great info. I've been a Fishman user for quite some time and see that they have something similar. I like the idea of finding a creme shrinkwrap... then I could just run the wire next to my creme pickguard.

    So, how would I run this Baggs pickup? Could I install a push pull pot that allows it to be activated? How is it generally done? Thanks guys!
     
  7. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    I own a singlecut with stock LR Baggs piezos. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  8. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    I would either replace one of the Lester vol pots with a concentric pot and run let's say the neck to the outer and the piezo to the inner. The output would be the supplied stereo jack. You use a Y connector that runs one leg of the Y to your electric amp and the other to your acoustic amp or P/A. Or just remove one vol pot and replace it with the supplied 5meg pot and use the other stock lester pot as a master volume for the magnetic pups. You wouldn't need to switch it, just turn the piezo up or down.

    As far as cable routing, follow Dave Collin's plan.
    http://www.stewmac.com/cgi-bin/hazel.cgi?action=SERVE&sku=3758&ITEM=catalog/sku.html
     
  9. jrm

    jrm Member

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    So, essentialy I woudl wire it so oen of my volume knobs is a master volume for the magnetic pickups, and then the other volume knob is a master volume for the piezo? I guess that could be a cool way to blend tones too. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you are saying though.

    I wouldn't have a seperate rig to run it though, so the y cable wouldn't be used. It would just be for a cool tonal variation through my current rig.
     
  10. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Then LR Baggs has a wiring diagram for you that is mono and gives you those piezo sounds into your one amp. But it involves a mini switch.
     
  11. pipedwho

    pipedwho Member

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    I've used the Graphtech Ghost TOM bridge in my Schecter, which has a similar setup to the Les Paul. Take a look a this link on Harmony Central for what I've done: http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1033226

    [​IMG]

    Also, here is one installed on an Edwards Les Paul:
    http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1747431

    When using it, make sure you bring out a Y-cable so your magnetics can go to your regular guitar amp, and the piezo signal can be sent to an acoustic amp for stereo operation. This is the BEST sound.

    The piezo pickups also sound fantastic through the D-Tar Mama Bear for an even more realistic acoustic tone.

    :AOK
     
  12. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    I've never really thought of the goal of the solidbody piezo as being to emulate an acoustic guitar. I look at it as just another color on your palette to dip in to. It can be tough to get them to sound anything like an true acoustic (that's what acoustic guitars are usually for ;)), but run it through something like a dual rectifier and it can open up all sorts of unforeseen possibilities.

    Actually, with new preamps like Turner's stuff it's quite impressive what acoustic-like tones you can get. Still, if you limit it's use to that, there will be a lot you may miss out on.
     
  13. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    Layering acoustic-like tones from a piezo bridge with normal electric tones is DA BOMB!

    I no longer EVER play without such a rig. BUT... you MUST run the electric and acoustic through separate rigs or processing to really get something out of it.

    If you don't mind using a volume pedal, you can do this without adding or changing ANY of the electric circuitry (which is what I'd do with a Les Paul, myself). The Fishman Powerbridge works great with no battery or preamp, provided you have an outboard preamp (the Boss units are good, there are others). I installed one on my US Masters strat and made NO changes to the guitar at all, except for drilling a hole for the wire from the trem cavity to the control cavity, which is totally invisible because it's inside the guitar. When I plug in just as an electric guitar, it's just the same as it always has been, and when I use the stereo cord, I get all that extra possibility.
     
  14. Rock Johnson

    Rock Johnson Member

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    My Slash LP has a Fishman unit, with one hole drilled beneath the TOM. Only one wire - not six like the LR Baggs unit.

    The only visible change is the mini-toggle that goes from magnetic only to mag + piezo to piezo only.

    The trade off is that you now have a master tone instead of a tone for each magnetic pup. You could fix that with a concentric pot, though.
     
  15. jrm

    jrm Member

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    Hmm... all these things really have me considering making the change! I really don't want to put in a miniswitch though since I don't want to drill into my goldtop. what is a concentric pot?
     
  16. pipedwho

    pipedwho Member

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    If you're not prepared to drill a hole in the top of your guitar, I don't think you'll be too impressed with the result. I've tried the method of running the wire(s) into the bridge pickup ring, and it looked untidy. (I did that first to see if I was going to like the sound, and ended up installing it properly once I'd decided that I was going to keep it.)

    As for the mini switch, it's particularly useful if you also install a preamp, in which case you need to make sure there'll be room for both it and the battery. I ran without the mini switch for six months, and then, after installing it, wished I'd done that much earlier. IMO, it's very worthwhile for quickly turning on/off the acoustic / electric outputs directly from the guitar without stuffing around with the individual volume controls.
     
  17. pipedwho

    pipedwho Member

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    These came from Stewmac a couple of years ago, but anything similar would work well. (This photo was taken before I had installed the mini-switch.)

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Rock Johnson

    Rock Johnson Member

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    A concentric pot is basically two pots that fit in one control space. It's kinda like a push-pull pot, but you can control each pot separately.
     
  19. _pete_

    _pete_ Supporting Member

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    Thanks for linking that.
    The Edwards LP is mine. The Graph-Tech sounds wonderful in it and does a very convincing acoustic guitar impression.
    I ran the wires into 2 holes drilled under the bridge that exit inside the bridge pup cavity and then go into the control cavity.
    I bought the mini switch for mine but never installed it. I don't need it the way I have my rig set up.
    I wired 2 jacks on the guitar. The piezo only jack is a mono jack and sends it's signal via a wireless to a Boss AB switch. I can turn the piezo on or off with that so I don't have to fumble for the switch when playing live. I like the Boss because it has different color LED's for each channel. I can tell at a glance if the piezo is on or not. I can kill the mag signal with my volume pedal to go "acoustic" only.
    I used a stereo jack for the mag pups. The power to the piezo preamp is switched with this jack so I can keep the piezo wireless permanently attached to the strap and plugged in without draining the battery. When I use this guitar, I plug in the mag wireless that I keep on my belt and everything is active.
    The only onboard control for the piezo is a volume control. It's in the spot normally occupied by the neck tone pot. The bridge tone pot is now a master tone.
    Other than the 2 jacks, the guitar still looks completely stock.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. pipedwho

    pipedwho Member

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    It was a too perfect and well executed example answering the OP's question to let it go! :AOK
     

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