Pickup suggestions for Epi Chet Atkins SST?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by trumpus, Feb 11, 2006.


  1. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    Hey all,

    Well I've had this Epiphone Chet Atkins since I was 16 (10 years now). I got it for my birthday back when i was really into Dave Matthews (obviously). I haven't played this guitar in about 4 years, as a friend had it, and when i got it back the pickup wasn't working, and the pots are scratchy.

    [​IMG]

    It's got some dings in the finish, but for a 10 year old guitar, it looks pretty good. Because of the sentimental value associated with this (i had to beg my mom to buy it for me, and it was a graduation gift) i don't want to sell or trade it. A while back, I had the frets ground and polished and theh action lowered, and it really does (no, really) play like a Gibson model, but it just doesn't sound as good.

    I'd love to drop a new pickup in this little guy. Does anyone have any recommendations?

    Thanks!

    Brian
     
  2. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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  3. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    I don't believe there's enough room - but i hadn't really even thought about contacting Gibson.

    The volume and tone pots are scratchy too and the knobs need to be replaced, so maybe this is the way to go - just get a whole new setup.

    THe pickup now is under the bridge - are there any other under bridge pickups available? I have been mainly an electric player, so i am not tremendously familiar with acoustic pickup options...

    Brian
     
  4. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    OK,

    So i just talked to Gibson Customer Service (rock on for 24 hours service BTW) and they said it is just a standard under saddle piezo pickup. (Epi 6?) What other companies make comparable or better quality piezos?

    What about tone/volume pots. Is this something that i could potentially do by myself with my beginner soldering skills and no previous wiring experience?

    Brian
     
  5. Evan Gluck

    Evan Gluck Member

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    Fishman Matrix is a very common undersaddle transducer it is also marketed as the Martin thinline 332, it is really rare for a pickup to just die, make sure it is not something else first.
    Evan
     
  6. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions - i was browsing the Fishman site earlier tonight, as it's the only acoustic pickup company i really know. How do those under the saddle pickups work (i mean connect with) the tone/volume controls. I'm assuming i have a pramp in the guitar too, right - hidden behind the panel on the back?

    I should also say that the pickup hasn't completely crapped out - but between the crackle from the tone/volume pots, and the less than great soundidng stock pickup, i figured i'd just upgrade the whole setup.
    I've had this guitar since highschool (got it as a graduation gift from Mom, so i couldn't sell it, even if i COULD get something for it, which i couldn't!). I already had some fretwork done to make it more playable, so now i'm at the point that i might as well upgrade the electronics so i can actually use it, rather than having it sit in the closet and collect dust!

    Brian
     
  7. Evan Gluck

    Evan Gluck Member

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    sounds like it is everything except the pickup, you really just need to have the electronics thoroughly cleaned out.
    Evan
     
  8. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    True - like i said in the last post, the pots crackle, but even when everything worked fine, the pickup still sounded pretty crappy (tone wise). So if i am going to have the rest of the electronics fixed up, i might as well put in a quality pickup, right?

    Brian
     
  9. dave251

    dave251 Member

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    Does the guitar require a battery? If not, then the lack of a preamp is the big problem with tone. An "add on" buffering preamp will be required, unless you have the skill to build it in to the guitar. There are several varieties available.

    You can choose from several saddle transducers...I heartily recommend the any of the modern "poly" type flexible pickups...much more "natural" sounding than the standard six-crystal types such as the Fishman recommended earlier.

    With any of these options...you REALLY need a pro install.

    And regarding the "crackly" pots....spray pot cleaner(radio shack) does wonders.....

    Good luck...
     
  10. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    The guitar does require a battery, which i sawpped oiut yesterday just to make sure it wasnt that. It has tone and volume controls, so i assume it has a premap. Even with the new battery, the tone control pot is crackly, the pickup crackles when i strike the strings really hard (which i tend to do to acoustics) and the input jack is crackly too.

    Any recommendations for the "poly" type pickups?

    Brian
     
  11. dave251

    dave251 Member

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    I've had most experience installing and adjusting the Baggs. There are several other makers though. Tone quality will be similar between all of them.

    You may be overdriving either the onboard preamp, or the first gain stage in whatever amplifier you are using. First though...CLEAN THE POTS.

    Then try backing off on the volume while still hitting the strings with your regular style...if you're still getting the distortion, well, that's pretty common for a UST style pickup.

    A piezo reacts exponentially to the amount of force applied. In other words if "X" amount of force results in "Y voltage" output....then "2X" will result in "4Y voltage" output...It's crazy, but that's how it works. Now, you're not really getting any more POWER from the pickup, just more VOLTAGE, and that's what the preamp sees, consequently, it overdrives and "crackle"....to many players, this is the bane of piezos. There are ways to overcome this....usually learning and understanding the gain structure of your amplification chain.
     
  12. losvarmits

    losvarmits Member

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    Call Fishman 1-800 Fishman tell them you want the same mod that Dave Matthews used in ALL his Gibson Chet SST's....they can use exitisting pot's & install a Matrix p/u & it sounds WAY better than the stock p/u...WAY better
     

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