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Gibson j-100 unbalanced pickup

#1 User is offline   bclaire 

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 11:29 AM

Hello everyone - first post.

I have a 2004 Gibson j-100 xtra that I have had a problem with since new. It plays and sounds awesome, but, when plugged in, the high E string cannot be heard as loud as any of the other strings. I have a 99 J-100 as well that doesn't have this problem and sounds fabulous.

What I've done so far:

1. went to a Gibson authorized repair person who leveled the saddle bottom and reinstalled the piezo pickup. Still unbalanced.

2. sent it to Fishman who installed their newest pickup system at the time, the Fishman Matrix.

Still unbalanced.

I bought the guitar to use live, but when you can't hear the high E string, it's pretty useless.

Any suggestions?

thanks
Billy Claire
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#2 User is offline   bclaire 

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 11:53 AM

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#3 User is offline   clayville 

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 03:16 PM

Hmmm.... assuming it sounds balanced unplugged, then it's likely an issue with saddle contact on the piezo. Levelling the bottom of the saddle would be my first guess, but since you've done that without luck it's possible the saddle leans forward under string tension, causing it to only make contact with the piezo along the soundhole-side edge, or to bind within the slot preventing solid contact. If that's not the case, it's possible that your saddle slot isn't level where the saddle is trying to make contact.

You might try shimming between the slot and the piezo ribbon with something as simple as a folded piece of paper to see if that helps. It may solve your problem - or get you closer to a diagnosis.

This might help too:
Dan Erlewine at Stew-Mac discussing these issues
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#4 User is offline   bclaire 

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 06:10 PM

View Postclayville, on 03 May 2017 - 03:16 PM, said:

Hmmm.... assuming it sounds balanced unplugged, then it's likely an issue with saddle contact on the piezo. Levelling the bottom of the saddle would be my first guess, but since you've done that without luck it's possible the saddle leans forward under string tension, causing it to only make contact with the piezo along the soundhole-side edge, or to bind within the slot preventing solid contact. If that's not the case, it's possible that your saddle slot isn't level where the saddle is trying to make contact.

You might try shimming between the slot and the piezo ribbon with something as simple as a folded piece of paper to see if that helps. It may solve your problem - or get you closer to a diagnosis.

This might help too:
Dan Erlewine at Stew-Mac discussing these issues


Thanks for the suggestions. I'll give them a try - maybe cut a new saddle altogether. Since the warranty is up, there's no harm in giving it a go myself. I was lucky that the Gibson authorized repair guy took pity on my out of warranty issue and did it for free (although he didn't fix it), and I have a friend at Fishman who had the Matrix installed for free....
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#5 User is offline   clayville 

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 03:38 PM

You might get more suggestions asking in the pinned "Saddles, Nuts, bridge pins...." thread within the Acoustic forum here. Those folks can be very helpful.
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