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  • Getting Hex in acoustic

    Hi,

    I once had the Taylor DDSM with the LR Baggs Hexaphonic pickup:

    DDSM09.0908.120c.jpg

    This is an actual picture of my old guitar! I had to sell it. Now I have the Ibanez AES20BK:

    AES20EBK-ab6fa34d11df3813eaf0aa810fb1684d.jpg

    It's a decent fingerstyle guitar with 2 and 1/4 spacing at the saddle. I love the pre-amp in it because it has a balanced XLR out and sounds great through the mic input on my amp. I want to put the same hexaphonic pickups I had in the DDSM in this guitar, run it into the pre-amp and out the XLR. I don't want to compromise when I upgrade hardware. It looks like LR Baggs has discontinued this product, so I am wondering about my options, and have several questions: 1) Would I be compromising at all by installing the LB6X instead? 2) I set my action very low, how could I do this with the LB6X when it's all one piece? Do I order custom? Where can I find specs on the height of this thing? 3) Could I use this product http://www.musiciansfriend.com/acces...ge-pickup-gold and take out the pickups to place them in the saddle slot? Remember..2.25'' spacing. 4) Is the Hex system used in the DDSM available anywhere? Everywhere I looked is sold out and it rarely appears on eBay. 5) I don't know anything about why the saddle is orientated like it is. On the Ibanez, is is slanted with the 'B' string set back. On the DDSM it achieves this by having individual spots carved out for each pickup. It appears to be the same on the image used on this old product page: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/acces...ckups-set-of-6 But if I installed them, I'd have to just stick them in the saddle slot in a straight line with some kind of shims in between. Would this ruin the intonation of my guitar? I have no idea how this works.

    Doyle's new signature Guild is using the LB6X and it sounds well-balanced but I really just loved the sound that came out of the Hex in the Taylor (I think the Hex sounded much better, somehow more balanced and hot? Maybe it was the tone. I am very particular about my tone and don't like sounding like an acoustic guitar (scratchy, thin) at all, instead I aim to sound like a piano: smooth, full, brilliant, balanced) and don't want anything less. What should I do?
    Last edited by ca1987; 09-19-2014, 07:42 AM.

  • #2
    Hey there, ca1987!
    That's a pretty intensive set of questions, but I'll try to help you out as much as I can.

    First off, the Hex pickups were completely discontinued over a year ago, and we no longer have any available for retail sale. So if you cannot find a set online, then it is likely that you will not find them anywhere. On the same note, the T-Bridge saddles (linked above in your questions) are not comparable to the Hex pickups in their intended use or their design. So they would not be a compatible option for your Ibanez.

    The LB pickups are absolutely the closest sounding pickups to the Hex that we still make, although they're definitely not the most natural sounding pickups in our product line. Doyle uses the LB on 3 of his guitars because that sound works for his style. The attack response of the LB and Hex pickups isn't necessarily natural or "acoustic" sounding (like any undersaddle pickup), but in the hands of the right player, the LB/Hex have a certain quality that works really well. So if you want to get as close as possible to the sound of the Hex pickups, the LB6-X would be the way to go.

    With that said, I cannot guarantee that the LB6-X will work with the preamp that you have in your Ibanez. The LB could likely overdrive the stock preamp in that guitar, causing distortion at any playing level. Because it is a stock preamp, there isn't enough information available for me to tell you for sure. It could work just fine. So it would be your choice entirely on whether or not to attempt it.

    The LB pickups themselves measure at 3/8" tall, 1/8" wide, and 2-7/8" long. The height can be filed down from the top in order to lower the action (to a certain point) and to adjust the intonation. If your Ibanez saddle slot doesn't meet the width and length specs, then the bridge would possibly need to be filled and then re-routed entirely in order to fit the pickup. The LB pickups are difficult to install, so I would only recommend having it done by an experienced LB installer.

    I hope that gives you a good idea of what would be involved. If you have any more questions, just let me know.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for your reply.

      After listening to both pickups more, I'm convinced there is just no match for the Hex as far as what I'm looking for. I'll wait for a set to show up online. What did the Hex pickup come with and what will I need? Because I've seen them with just the pickups and wires, and I've seen them with more hardware (see embedded image).



      Is there a tutorial available for installation into a pre-amp, or does the system come with an instruction book?

      Comment


      • #4
        The picture definitely includes everything that you would get with a new Hex set. The box usually includes a routing template as well.

        If you are not able to get a complete system from an online source, let me know what your kit is missing. We should have parts for the kit (summing board, etc), if nothing else.

        Comment


        • #5
          What is the height of a pickup in the hexaphonic system? Meaning minimum - without the allen screws sticking out at all. And if you can get this dimension, is it from the base to where the string sits or base to the highest point? Thanks in advance.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ca1987 View Post
            What is the height of a pickup in the hexaphonic system? Meaning minimum - without the allen screws sticking out at all. And if you can get this dimension, is it from the base to where the string sits or base to the highest point? Thanks in advance.
            The Hex pickups are 1/4" tall with the height adjustment screws removed. So that would be the minimum height.

            All the best!

            Comment


            • #7
              Are these the same pickups? http://www.ebay.com/itm/LR-Baggs-T-B...item566c416d1e

              If they are the same it looks like I could just take them out of the T-bridge and save $120. Yes or no?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ca1987 View Post
                Are these the same pickups? http://www.ebay.com/itm/LR-Baggs-T-B...item566c416d1e

                If they are the same it looks like I could just take them out of the T-bridge and save $120. Yes or no?
                Those are NOT the same as the Hex pickups. Those are our T-Bridge saddles, and they are designed very specifically to fit into a Tune-O-Matic bridge. They will not fit into a traditional acoustic guitar saddle slot.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Caleb_Elling View Post
                  Those are NOT the same as the Hex pickups. Those are our T-Bridge saddles, and they are designed very specifically to fit into a Tune-O-Matic bridge. They will not fit into a traditional acoustic guitar saddle slot.
                  I could make custom slots in the bridge. Are they the same pickups besides their shape?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It may be possible to make a custom bridge or saddle for those sensors, but it would be very difficult. You can try it, but if it did not work out, there's really not anything I would be able to help you with, since it is a non-warranty use of the product.

                    I know that the saddles would technically work, but I couldn't say how different they would sound from the Hex pickups.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Caleb_Elling View Post
                      It may be possible to make a custom bridge or saddle for those sensors, but it would be very difficult. You can try it, but if it did not work out, there's really not anything I would be able to help you with, since it is a non-warranty use of the product.

                      I know that the saddles would technically work, but I couldn't say how different they would sound from the Hex pickups.
                      They have to be routed and shimmed for intonation anyway, so it's not a big deal.

                      Are you saying you know that they are different? I can't really figure it out from your reply. If they're made the same..same parts, put together the same way..I don't see why they would sound different, you know? Maybe we can talk to someone who had a part in designing or manufacturing them to find out what the differences are, if any?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I was saying I don't know what the difference in sound would be. From the people I've talked to, the sound difference is pretty subjective. The design differences between the T-saddles and the Hex pickups are actually fairly substantial, considering that they are the same "type" of pickup.

                        I can't go into too much detail (most of our designs are very proprietary), but although the two pickups use a similar Piezo sensor, the Piezo itself will react differently to the strings depending on how it is mounted in the pickup housing. Since the two pickups are housed differently, and made from different parts and a different design, the systems sound similar, but they are not identical.

                        That's what I was trying to say. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

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