Ongoing Bridge Piezo issues with a J-45 - L.R. Baggs Element

seratone

Member
Messages
184
I have an 2008 Gibson J-45 that has always had a problem with the high 'E' not being properly picked up by the L.R. Baggs Element peizo pickup. I have brought it to three different repair people - they have tried shims, re-routing the cavity - even an entirely new UTS pickup strip provided by Bagg's free of charge. I'm no stranger to the trail and error of fixing these things - (I've fixed a couple of split saddle Takamine's.) I have gone to L.R. Bagg's site and followed their installation instructions - No go. Sub cheers. Dead high E. I have taken the strings off doing minor adjustments under the saddle about 25 times, 12 tusq saddles. There's something elementally wrong - where that string (which sounds fine acoustically) is cancelled out. It's baffled all the technicians that have looked at it.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated - I have heard of using putty. I'm thinking of just considering it an opportunity to try a magnetic sound hole pickup like a Bagg's M1 or Dimarzio...
 
Messages
6,605
I think UST's sound crappy anyway. Remove it out, get a new nut cut, and install the LR Baggs Lyric acoustic microphone, which sounds really good.
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
Messages
16,486
Is it possible that the string is just not putting enough downward pressure on the bridge?
 

tech21nyc

Member
Messages
1,951
The Element sounds great when installed properly. You might be better off trying a different system like a K&K or a soundhole pickup. The M1 is nice. I have the Rare Earth Blend in one of my guitars and that sounds really good but may not be the best for loud playing situations.

What system are you using to amplify the guitar?
 

seratone

Member
Messages
184
I forgot about the Lyric - I pre-ordered one when they first came out about 4 years ago for a 68 Slope Shoulder J-45.... And I had to swap it out for an element. The boxy mids were WAY out of control. I could have tamed it with EQ, but I felt I'd have to carry around an EQ until with the guitar.... Then again, I recall a lot of that had to do with the guitar.

I hate to say it - but I don't like the way M-1's look, Takamine has a licensed black one called the Tri-Axe but they're hard to find.

Someone asked what I'm using for amplification - I currently use a Mackie Freeplay monitor - I recently swapped out an Aura Sixteen, Bodyrez, EQ and reverbs for a Boss AD-2. I actually use the pickups in all my guitars.

I know it has something to to with the amount of pressure on the high e string is placing on the piezo. I do recall in coming back from the luthier and it worked ( the e string volume was a little higher ) but didn't last after a string change.
 
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Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,481
I have an 2008 Gibson J-45 that has always had a problem with the high 'E' not being properly picked up by the L.R. Baggs Element peizo pickup. I have brought it to three different repair people - they have tried shims, re-routing the cavity - even an entirely new UTS pickup strip provided by Bagg's free of charge.
seratone said:
I'm no stranger to the trail and error of fixing these things - (I've fixed a couple of split saddle Takamine's.) I have gone to L.R. Bagg's site and followed their installation instructions - No go. Sub cheers. Dead high E. I have taken the strings off doing minor adjustments under the saddle about 25 times, 12 tusq saddles. There's something elementally wrong - where that string (which sounds fine acoustically) is cancelled out. It's baffled all the technicians that have looked at it.

A conundrum. Yeah, string-to-string volume balance issues almost always come down to contact issues between UST & saddle. It sounds like you've been through it there.

I most recently had the problem about eight years back with my Michael Kelly mandolin, and the online vendor from whom I'd purchased had me send it back to fix, and there have been no problems since.

Another issue was with my Larrivee D-03, which I purchased new in the 90's. This guitar had an aftermarket, early Fishman Matrix. There were string-to-string volume balance issues at gigs; my tech guy went through the usual motions and after no success, he finally wound up splitting the saddle, and all was good. Just to be absolutely clear, is this what you mean in your text that I bolded?

seratone said:
I forgot about the Lyric - I pre-ordered one when they first came out about 4 years ago for a 68 Slope Shoulder J-45.... And I had to swap it out for an element. The boxy mids were WAY out of control. I could have tamed it with EQ, but I felt I'd have to carry around an EQ until with the guitar....

I have an Element in my Larrivee LV-03E and am very happy with it. I've no personal experience with the Lyric, but I do have a Baggs Dual Source in a Fender acoustic 12 string; I don't use any portion of the mic' in a blend, I use the piezo signal exclusively. I had feedback issues at gigs at real world volumes (duo, no rhythm section) with the mic', and the only way to tame it was to set EQ in a way that didn't please the ears, which made it pointless, at least for me.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
41,018
I've no personal experience with the Lyric, but I do have a Baggs Dual Source in a Fender acoustic 12 string; I don't use any portion of the mic' in a blend, I use the piezo signal exclusively. I had feedback issues at gigs at real world volumes (duo, no rhythm section) with the mic
the newer anthem/lyric mic is way better than the old dual source, much more stable at volume.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
41,018
I have taken the strings off doing minor adjustments under the saddle about 25 times, 12 tusq saddles. There's something elementally wrong - where that string (which sounds fine acoustically) is cancelled out. It's baffled all the technicians that have looked at it.
ugh.

i've run into this before too, it'll drive you insane. sometimes more pressure under a string makes it louder, sometimes it'll do the opposite, sometimes it'll do nothing at all :bkw

have you tried just getting a bone saddle instead of the tusq? also, what's the neck angle like, meaning how much saddle is sticking out over the bridge? are there string ramps cut behind the saddle to increase the down-angle over it?

the hi E will be the lowest to the bridge, so if there isn't enough string pressure over the saddle that can cause this sort of weirdness.

you (or your tech) could try re-installing the ribbon from the other side of the saddle slot, and/or extending the end of the ribbon into the wood a little more, in order to get the little dead zone at the tip of the ribbon further away from the hi E.

usually the problem i run into is not so much a dead hi E but a loud B, maybe from the different pressure angle created by typical compensated saddles. that can make the G and hi E seem dead by comparison.

for a while now i've been fixing it by cutting away a significant arch in the bottom of the saddle under the B, like a 1/2" wide semicircle, and that's been just enough to tame the B. i don't love the idea of this sort of subtractive, irreversible mod to the saddle, but it's usually worked.

the new trick i've discovered that i like much better is to use superglue to paint little patches on the back of the saddle behind the hot strings (letting it dry of course) in order to make the saddle fit tighter under the hot strings. that's working pretty well to quieten those strings, and is reversible.
 

sbpark

Member
Messages
378
I detest UST'a and thought they were an insult to the couple of J45 Standards I've previously owned and immediately removed them. Installed an LR Bagga Lyric in one of gen and after some work it sounded amazing, but very feedback prone if played in louder settings, and not appropriate for playing with a loud band. Also used an LR Baggs M80 and although it was nice, it wasn't the sound I was looking for.

Recently had a K&K installed in my J45 True Vintage and run that into a Radial PZ Pre and it sounds incredible.
 




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