undersaddle piezo output

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by offbeat, May 2, 2019.

  1. offbeat

    offbeat Member

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    I'm troubleshooting low output on a piezo-equipped guitar. Trying to figure out if the problem lies with the under-saddle piezo pickup, or the on-board preamp. If I hook up a meter to the piezo directly and strum, I'm getting around 30 mv. Is this what I should be seeing, or is it low?
    Thanks!
     
  2. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    what brand guitar? is it a stock or aftermarket system?
     
  3. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    Following...I have an Epiphone Chet Atkins with some weird level and dynamic anomalies and the pickup (An OEM Shadow I think) is NLA. Considering replacing with something else if I can't resolve this, but that might mean a new bridge or routing out the existing one...FOLLOWING
     
  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    "NLA"?

    if it's still working, pickup string balance unevenness is usually all about the saddle slot fit. under-saddle piezos are weird and unpredictable that way, sometimes more string pressure over a piezo element makes it louder, sometimes it makes it quieter :bonk

    that said, shadow is frankly not that great, even though they're sure proud of themselves when you go to buy replacements :eek:

    an upgrade to something like fishman or lr baggs would be worthwhile if this is a guitar that gets used a lot. it might take some creativity to rig up something into the epi chet body and have useful controls but it is doable.
     
  5. offbeat

    offbeat Member

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    It's an after-market install. I got it used off ebay, so i may have bought someone else's problem. It worked well until recently, when the output dropped significantly. All the preamp controls work and it sounds clear but anemic. Battery tests at 8.95 volts. String balance is good. I'm trying to figure out if the problem is the pickup or the preamp, or if i should scrap it all and buy new.
     
  6. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    I've been living with it. My band does one set a night (opening set) acoustic (although electrified), so it's not in heavy use. It's more a personal quest to get it straightened out at some point. I like the guitar. It plays well, good neck and setup, and gets the job done. I'll eventually sort things out.
     
  7. m-m-m

    m-m-m Member

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    Are you drop tuned or have you put on lighter strings lately. I’ve seen both have an affect in piezo output. If you tune up a half-step or two does the problem get better? If so, then you either have to get heavier strings, live with the issues, or replace the inferior hardware. If raising the pitch (which raises the tension) doesn’t help then you’re left with live with it or upgrade.
     
  8. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    Certainly things to check. Appreciated !
     

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