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How to test an undersaddle pickup?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by K-frog, May 19, 2011.

  1. K-frog

    K-frog Member

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    May 19, 2011
    Hey guys, first post here. I did search first for an answer and haven't found anything yet on the subject.

    I am looking at a friends Ibanez AW20CE with the AEQ preamp, and presumably Fishman undersaddle transducer.

    The guitar has extremely low output, a good battery (9.17V) and a known good cable.

    Can anyone help me trouble shoot the pickup or preamp?

    Thanks, K
     
  2. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    is the under-saddle element really thin, like business card thin, with a red or blue coating on it? if so, you've got a b-band system, not a fishman.

    is that coating worn through in spots? if so, you've got a dead b-band pickup element, which just needs to be replaced.

    (i don't like b-band stuff for this very reason; the coating is part of the signal generation, and it wears off with any saddle movement over time, killing the output of the pickup.)
     
  3. K-frog

    K-frog Member

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    May 19, 2011
    It's a braided animal if I'm not mistaken
    Sonicore I believe is the model
     
  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    OK, the round braided one is not B-band.

    you can unplug it from the preamp, hook test leads (tip and sleeve = hot and ground), and run it straight to an amp. if it makes sound, it's good, and the problem is likely in the preamp.
     
  5. K-frog

    K-frog Member

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    May 19, 2011
    well it won't be quite that easy as it doesn't have the very common 1/8" plug, but a square plastic connector instead, but I'll make a cord and connect it onto that connector and see what's happening. I actually hope it's the pickup because I don't think the pre is available any longer.
     
  6. K-frog

    K-frog Member

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    May 19, 2011
    I managed to take the plug off a guitar cable, tin the leads and shove them into the back of the connector and found the pickup to be working quite well as best I can tell. When it's all hooked together (with the pre) I get hardly any output. I am getting 9V to the preamp board, but I have no idea what's happening past that point. I don't know where we'll find another preamp that fits the hole, or close enough to enlarge the hole slightly.

    Suggestions?
     
  7. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    ugh. those things go obsolete and get changed every year it seems (which is why i won't put a "barn door" preamp in my acoustic).

    bizarrely enough, try ebay. i found an "out-of-print" fishman preamp for a guy that way, and for pretty cheap.
     
  8. K-frog

    K-frog Member

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    May 19, 2011
    Been there already, found the pickup there (didn't buy and doesn't seem to be needed at this point), but no pre yet. I'll keep looking.

    Thanks for the quick responses WW
     

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