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Technical questions re: Control-X system

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  • Technical questions re: Control-X system

    OK, long story short: I have a Gretsch Electromatic that is currently the closest thing that I have to a playable acoustic. I like the sound it makes when played acoustically and I wanted to add a piezo system to capture that tone; additionally, a lot of what I want to play involves changing between the acoustic and electric tones in real time.
    I've already confirmed that the T-Bridge will directly replace the existing TOM bridge, so that's no problem. Control-wise, from a feature standpoint the Control-X system checks all the boxes: manual selection of mags, piezo, or both; mono-stereo switching to separate the signal types; mag pickups are unaffected by the system should the battery go dead, etc. I want to be able to send the two signals to different amps, a tube amp for the mags and an acoustic or DI box for the piezo so each is mixed properly and correctly impedance-matched.
    The problem with the Control-X though is that it is designed specifically to mount in a Strat pickgaurd, so making it work with a semi-hollow will be difficult at best. I want to make this installation as clean as possible. Ideally, I'd like to be able to mount the whole thing hidden under the suspended pickgaurd with just the very ends of the volume knob and switches sticking out if at all to minimize the changes to the guitar and avoid drilling, but there isn't enough room there. That brings me to my questions:
    1. Is there an alternative to the Control-X, perhaps designed for guitars using the T-Bridge (hollowbodies, Les Pauls, etc.) that provides the same functionality? My google-fu may just be weak, but I haven't really seen anything, except for something your competitor offers that just seems finicky.
    2. Were I to simply wire the T-Bridge up to the ring of a stereo output jack, is there a wiring scheme that would allow me to mount the Control-X externally in a belt-clip style enclosure while retaining all functionality?
    3. What is the value of the dual-gang volume pot on the Control-X? Knowing that I'd void the warranty by modifying it, I'm curious to see if I can't install the volume control remotely using a thumbwheel pot tucked under the edge of the pickguard.
    4. How long can the 9V battery be expected to last?


    Thank you for your feedback and expertise. I apologize that that really didn't turn out to be very short...
    Last edited by Mr. Lumbergh; 06-04-2017, 01:24 PM.

  • #2
    Hey Mr. Lumbergh,
    Thanks for posting!

    I'm sorry to say that LR Baggs really doesn't have an alternative to the CTRL-X for non-pickguard installations. And since the dual-pot is a custom part, we haven't had any luck finding an off-the-shelf version with a longer shaft or in a thumb wheel either.

    I've never heard of anyone mounting the CTRL-X in an external housing, but I suppose that it could be done with the right setup. I don't have any wiring details that would be helpful for that though.

    The battery on the CTRL-X should last about 1000 hours. I hope that helps.

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    • #3
      I downloaded the destructions for the T-Bridge. There is a crude diagram that looks like a Les Paul wiring, and it looks like installing the Control-X in a belt clip enclosure will work. The Control-X diagram assumes a Strat, and the wiring of the magnetics and piezo appear to be integrated, but on the Lester diagram it's easier to see where the separation of the two circuits and looks like it'll be pretty simple to wire up to a stereo output jack and handle the electronics externally.

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      • #4
        Sounds like a fun project. If you get the CTRL-X in an external enclosure, I'm sure people would love to see some pictures.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Caleb_Elling View Post
          Sounds like a fun project. If you get the CTRL-X in an external enclosure, I'm sure people would love to see some pictures.
          You got it!
          I detailed the build over on Strat-Talk; check out the link.
          Long story short though, the Control-X will mount in an external enclosure.
          I studied the destructions included for the T-Bridge, this schematic in particular:

          and realized that by wiring the magnetic pickups to the tip of a stereo jack on the guitar and the T-Bridge to the ring, you can shift the connection point between the pickups and the Control-X off the guitar completely. The diagram just has the single connection from the pickup switch, and the Control-X can't tell if this is happening in the guitar or not. Here's the Control-X in an enclosure; when I get a chance I plan on putting it a smaller enclosure with a more professional-looking layout, but here's the Mark I:

          As per the destructions, the white wire is connected to the ring of a stereo jack that's being used as the input into the box, and from there everything is the same as per the Strat installation, plus the changes detailed on the T-Bridge. The jack that's included with the Control-X functions as the output, same as if it were mounted in the guitar directly.
          Everything works perfectly with the exception of volume control of the piezo; the "blend" knob doesn't function as a volume in piezo-only mode as I'd hoped it would, so my next experiment will be to add the 50k pot that came with the T-Bridge in between the input jack in the box and the white magnetic-in wire of the Control-X.
          So far though, the piezo/magnetic selector is working perfectly, the blend control is doing its job when I'm running both, and the Control-X does a great job of volume-leveling the two types. It also gets the output impedance closer to what a standard guitar amp needs, so it doesn't sound quacky as a lot of piezo systems tend to. It just does a great sound of amplifying the unplugged voice of the guitar, which is exactly what I was hoping for, and it sounds huge through a PA.
          I haven't been able to verify stereo operation yet, that mutes the piezo currently as I don't have a stereo splitter yet, but I have no reason to think that it won't function correctly given that everything else works. I'll update if you'd like.
          Last edited by Mr. Lumbergh; 08-04-2017, 10:36 AM.

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          • #6
            The pictures aren't showing up for me, but thanks for sharing your results. I'm that it worked so well for you.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Caleb_Elling View Post
              The pictures aren't showing up for me, but thanks for sharing your results. I'm that it worked so well for you.
              Odd, I can see them...

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              • #8
                Here are the photos that wouldn't show in my post above.

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                • #9
                  Great, thanks!

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