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Troubleshooting Element for Nylon

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  • Troubleshooting Element for Nylon

    Hi Folks,
    First post here. First off a big THANKS to LR Baggs for wonderful products and stellar customer service!

    I have the Element for Nylon in all of my stage guitars. I've got a thing for '60's nylon string guitars from Martin and Gibson. I just recently acquired a very sweet 1962 Martin 00-18C. It's my favorite acoustically of the guitars I own and I hope it can be my main gigging guitar.

    Despite my love of the Element for Nylon, curiosity got the best of my and I tried an Anthem SL Classical in this guitar first. The Anthem was nice but I missed the familiarity of the Element. So I had the Anthem removed and an Element installed.

    The reason I bring this up is that I'm noticing the same thing with the Element that I did with the Anthem. My low E string is not behaving. When I check the level using the input level meter on my digital mixer, the level is close to that of the other strings but it's slightly dull and lifeless compared to the rest of the strings.

    It doesn't have the depth of tone or the sustain of the rest of the strings and it seems to be a bit "thuddy" for lack of a better description. It is especially noticeable if I'm playing fingerstyle, play a G chord, walk down to an Em and then play say a C. The base note of the C chord is so much bigger, fuller, etc. than the G/Em. It really bugs me!

    The person that did the install works out of a wonderful guitar shop down in Minneapolis which is about 2.5 hours from me so I can't just pop in with the guitar and have him look at it so I thought I'd start here and see if there is a way I can avoid the drive down there!

    Just for some added info, this same tech installed the Element for Nylon in my 1963 Martin 00-16C and that one had some string balance trouble. When I had him work on the 18C I brought the 16C to see if we could fix the string balance in that guitar. He took a homemade wooden tool and pushed forward on the saddle on the base side of the guitar pushing from the sound hole side of the bridge toward the bottom of the guitar. That completely fixed the problem. I've tried doing this on my 18C but it hasn't helped. I don't have the same tool and perhaps I'm too chicken to push as hard as he did. I just wanted to throw that out there in case anyone thinks that might solve the problem.

    Any help and advice would be wonderful.


  • #2
    Hi Matt,
    In most cases, string balance issues stem from having a saddle or saddle slot that is not completely flat. I would definitely recommend checking the saddle's bottom for flatness. Also be sure that the saddle slot is completely flat and that it is free from debris/splinters. Splintering can sometimes occur when the pickup hole is drilled. Any of these things can cause the pickup to respond differently to certain areas of the saddle/saddle slot.