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Help needed with hummingbird


phoenixCCS

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I seem to be having some trouble with my hummingbird. I recently bought it new from a store in the UK, in the hope to use it live and also admire!

Anyway, I took it home, played it and fell in love with the tone even more. It wasn't until a week or so later that I took it to rehersal, plugged it in through a tuner pedal and into my Marshall acoustic amp and something felt strange. My tuner struggled to pick up the G, B, and high E strings. I tuned it through a mic'd tuner and it was fine, but not when I plugged it into my pedal. ( I tried 2 different tuner pedals and another inputted tuner ) all struggling to pick up the G,B and high E strings.

Then when I played through my amp, the tone was horrible! The bass was ridiculously strong and the treble almost non existant! I fiddled with the mid levels, bas and treble levels, the gain switch on my amp but I still couldn't capture that crisp tone that the 'bird has when not amp'ed up.

I'm sure my amp isn't to blame as I constantly play one of those gibson dsr-ce's through it aswel as a martin d(rx?). Both those acoustics have controlled pre-amps where as my 2010 hummingbird obviously only has a volume control.

 

Could my pre-amp inside my 'bird need adjusting? If so, how? Are there any 'tricks of the trade' I could use on my amp controls that would balance the treble and bass? I figured that it must be the pick-up as my tuning pedals couldn't quite grasp the treble end'ed strings and the amp wouldn't 'amplify' the treble but seemed to go crazy on the bass!

Chords and rhythm licks would blend into one and the lead solo playing was pretty much non existant when playing with drums, double bass and another guitar.

 

What is wrong with my pick up?! How do I fix it?!

 

Help deeply appreciated!

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If you bought it new, you can take it back to the shop and have them check it - should be under warranty.

 

Or, a couple easy things to check - If it's an active pup, is the batttery good? Also, if it's an under-saddle pup, make sure the pup transducer is laying flat and seated down properly in the saddle channel. And make sure the bottom of the saddle is flat so it is making good contact with the transducer all the way along it's width.

 

Loosen the stings so you can remove the saddle. Now you can check the pup transducer strip in the bottom of the saddle channel to make sure is seated down properly. Next check the bottom of the saddle - it should be as flat as possible to make good contact with the transducer. You can lay it on very flat surface (marble, steel or glass), shine a light source (flashlight etc) from behind it and look at the bottom edge of the saddle - where ever it's not flat against the surface, significant amount of light with shine through under it. If it's not flat, tape some fine sandpaper down on your flat surface and carefully sand the bottom of the saddle flat by moving it back and forth on the taped down sandpaper.

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My tuner struggled to pick up the G, B, and high E strings. ...

What is wrong with my pick up?! How do I fix it?!

 

This isn't all that uncommon, although three weak strings is extreme. There are quite a few possible causes, including broken undersaddle (or bridge, depending on the pickup) transducer, misplaced undersaddle (or misplaced or loose bridge) transducer, bottom of saddle not flat (if undersaddle), bottom of saddle slot not flat (if undersaddle). You need to get it back to the dealer to diagnose and fix, as they either sold you a broken guitar or (likelier) broke it when they set it up.

 

No matter what the problem, it's a quick and easy fix for a skilled repair tech.

 

-- Bob R

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you can also contact one of our authorized service centers in the UK !

 

Joe White

“Singora”

Carrington Lane

Ash Vale

Nr. Aldershot

GU12 5PG

Hampshire

UK

0044-1252520911

Fax: 0044-1252520911

www.jwhite-guitarworkshops.co.uk

 

12th Fret Ltd

Unit 10 Sutton Ind Park

Sea Road

Winchelsea Beach

East Sussex

TN36 4LZ

UK

01797 22 22 88

www.12thfret.co.uk

james@12thfret.co.uk

 

The Guitar Repair Workshop (Steve Curtis)

c/o Professional Music Technology

Red Rose Retail Park,

Regent Road,

Salford

Manchester

M5 3GR

t: 0161 877 4962

w: www.theguitarrepairworkshop.com

theguitarrepairworkshop@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Manson's Guitar Shop

McCoys Arcade

Fore Street

Exeter EX4 3AN

United Kingdom

Tel 01392496379

www.mansons.co.uk

sales@mansons.co.uk

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the input guys. I had a little look at the saddle but my pessemistic mind decided to leave it alone rather than risk jeopardising the tone.

I took it to my guitar tech guy and explained the problem. He sorted it out pretty easily, telling me that either the factory screwed up the set up or the shop did, as the saddle wasn't flat at all. It was a pretty minor job, but with the saddle now sitting flat the tone through my amp is much better.

 

Just felt a little concerned that Gibson had let this guitar out with a dodgy saddle? Even with all the handwritten check notes that came with the guitar somehow the saddle/treble side of the pick up wasn't set up correctly.

 

'JD' from Bozeman, montanna, I'm looking at you!

 

Seriously though, really glad it was only a minor issue and my bird lived to tell the tale!

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Thanks for the input guys. I had a little look at the saddle but my pessemistic mind decided to leave it alone rather than risk jeopardising the tone.

I took it to my guitar tech guy and explained the problem. He sorted it out pretty easily, telling me that either the factory screwed up the set up or the shop did, as the saddle wasn't flat at all. It was a pretty minor job, but with the saddle now sitting flat the tone through my amp is much better.

 

Just felt a little concerned that Gibson had let this guitar out with a dodgy saddle? Even with all the handwritten check notes that came with the guitar somehow the saddle/treble side of the pick up wasn't set up correctly.

 

'JD' from Bozeman, montanna, I'm looking at you!

 

Seriously though, really glad it was only a minor issue and my bird lived to tell the tale!

 

 

I don't want to attempt to answer for "JD", but if I were you, I wouldn't be concerned about this defect getting out of the factory.

 

Poop happens, and NOTHING manmade is perfect in this world.

 

Enjoy your new guitar, I'm envious!

 

Photos?

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It's a common problem with a lot of guitars with "non-invasive" pickups. Whereas a guitar with an onbody preamp etc like the ones you mentioned tend to be somewhat "built around the electronics", a guitar like a Hummingbird is built and assembled, then has the pickup and all its attendant gubbins fitted towards the end of the process, almost as an afterthought.

 

I've owned two Hummingbirds and a Dove from new that have all had the same problem, to differing degrees. One Hummingbird had no bottom E sound whatsoever when DI'd, the other had a quiet top E and B. The Dove was all kinds of unbalanced, but with all of them, a couple of mins with a piece of emery paper to make sure the bottom of the saddle is flat and the saddle isn't sticking in the slot, and all was sorted.

 

As DanvillRob said, anything made by humans is subject to a bit of variability, and isn't that glorious Bird tone worth it?

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Yea Of course I don't hold anything against 'JD', I'm more than happy I got my hands on this bird!

 

I can't believe the tone of it! Absolutely perfect to my taste, allthough I still love the tone of the bottom end martin, even if it has HPL back n' sides, I keep it tuned open D and it works wonders for me.

But the bird is out of this world, bright but thumpy.

 

Will get some pics up soon

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I love 'em...I've owned two, my last one in particular was stellar. I ended up very reluctantly parting with it to get my L00. I don't regret it (my move to the smaller bodied L00 was motivated by a shoulder problem due to playing my SJ200 5 nights a week for seven yrs, and gigging with the L00 has all but eliminated any shoulder pain) but I do still yearn for that lovely 'Bird.

 

Enjoy yours! Have you played a Dove, incidentally? My favourite of the 'Bird family by a nose, but only because I'm a Maple nut.

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I have played a dove, i was at the Gibson shop in Nashville last year, playing anything I could get my hands on!

It was there that I was playing a dove, comparing it to a hummingbird actually! And I was talking to the assistant about the difference maple makes, when he showed me a firebird custom acoustic.......

Oh my god........what an instrument! I fell in love with it straight away and kicked myself when I got back to the uk for not buying this firebird thing that I'd never heard of. When I looked into importing a firebird I realised that it would probably bankrupt me! So I eventually settled for a hummingbird.

If I ever find a firebird custom acoustic here in the uk I will have to get it, even if it means selling my left kidney.....

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