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Newb Question on Removing Pickup from J45


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I’ve removed 5 pickups from 5 Gibson’s I haven’t had to do anything . It just made the action a little bit better. Other than that you might want to replace the saddle if you prefer something other than Tusq. I didn’t do anything. That’s just me.

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   I use soundhole pickups, so have dispensed with the undersaddles in every Gibson I've owned over the last few years. I find that unless the action is super slinky-low already, more often than not it simply makes the guitar slightly easier to play. I would strongly advise against shimming a saddle as anything other than a temporary fix, in my experience shims interrupt the resonant connection between saddle and top, and hinder tone and sustain.

I have found that removing a UST pickup is one of the best things you can do for a guitar to improve tone, sustain and depth of soundstage (to use a nerdy audiophile term!). In every guitar I've removed them from its been an improvement, for some (Dove and L-00) a mild upgrade in tone, and for others (J180, SJ200, Maple AJ) a huge quantum leap in volume and response. 

I personally like to install a bone saddle during the process as it is sort of a "finishing touch" that I like to apply, but the stock Tusq unit is more than good enough. Enjoy your upgrade!

If you choose to employ a pickup for gigging in the future, I'd heartily recommend the Sunrise, it's pickup which I was very kindly gifted by a forum member here a few years ago, I installed it in my Maple AJ and have never been more impressed with a pickup in all the 22yrs I've spent earning my crust with a guitar. I now have them fitted in all of my acoustics bar one, and love them. They're a simple magnetic passive soundhole pickup (so need a preamp) but somehow manage to create a tone which is acoustic but bigger and wider, with remarkable player response and feel. Plus, if you get the long wire version, you can fit it for a gig, then remove it quickly and easily and stash it in your case. 

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Had the UST removed from my J-35 last year and haven't regretted it one bit. The guitar just sounds better without it. Feels lighter and more responsive.

Before that, I had replaced the stock (and ill-fitting) Tusq saddle with a Bob Colosi offering and that was a great improvement, too.

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  • 10 months later...

 

Quote

I have found that removing a UST pickup is one of the best things you can do for a guitar to improve tone, sustain and depth of soundstage (to use a nerdy audiophile term!). In every guitar I've removed them from its been an improvement, for some (Dove and L-00) a mild upgrade in tone, and for others (J180, SJ200, Maple AJ) a huge quantum leap in volume and response. 

Hi all - new forum member.

I have a new Gibson j-185 which looks fabulous, have a great neck and is super-comfortable - but I'm very underwhelmed with the acoustic tone.

It seems so 'stiff' and lacking in resonance. All I hear and sense are the strings, rather than the body of the guitar. It's sounds like a laminate rather than a 3 grand plus instrument.

I thought about removing the under-saddle pick-up to improve tone - and noticed you (Jinder) have posted on this, mentioning the big improvement on a not dissimilar maple  SJ00.

I am never going to gig it so I am not too bothered about losing the PU, other than in possible resale value.

Can you add any more about your experience? Would you say go for it if you knew it was a keeper? 

Thanks, Steven

 

Edited by stevegarside
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I’d suggest not doing anything to it, except playing it regularly, during its break in period.  Gibsons often have a break in period until they really start opening up sound and volume wise.  Ie.  My 2006 J-45 started off as a relatively quiet guitar until it considerably opened up after regularly and playing it awhile.   I might also suggest, before doing anything else, trying medium strings on it if it has light gauge strings on it, to give it a bit more volume and tension on its top, to help it open up.  Just my two cents.

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

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I have removed the under saddle pickup from eight Gibson acoustics so far. If I get another one I'll do the same. 

In some cases, it made a tremendous difference to the sound of the guitar. My J-45 is one... it opened right up. On other guitars, it didn't make barely any difference at all. I make no prediction what will happen with yours just because it's a J-45. 

The action will get lower, and if this is still the stock Gibson setup then you'll probably be happier. 

If the action is already lowered, you can get a wooden shim from any arts and crafts store for next to nothing, and put that in. Better yet, now would be the time to get a new bone saddle and do it all right. 

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Cheers Larry - it's good to know you have had a positive experience!

It seems that everyone who has done the same has said the impact on the tone is either positive - or neutral. Not heard anyone say it made the tone worse.  And the lower action sounds like a nice bonus.

I'm certainly keeping this open as a long-term option if the guitar doesn't  lose it's stiffness, as I really want to keep this guitar.  It's so comfortable and pleasurable to play - I was worried it might be too large but it's fabulous with the narrow waist. All the best.

 

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