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Ibanez J Custom Ctrl X piezo blend problem

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  • Ibanez J Custom Ctrl X piezo blend problem


    I recently bought 1998 Ibanez J custom that came with piezo system. The preamp used is Ctrl X 23B.
    The guitar has two outputs, piezo only or combined, but there was only two-way switch toggling between piezo or magnetic. I wanted a blend of the two, so I gave guitar to local guitar tech to upgrade it with 3 way toggle switch. He followed the instruction provided but there are two problems:

    1.) in the middle-MIX position, there are always both signals present, magnetic as well as piezo, I would say around 90-10% ratio of each in positions of the mix pot where I would expect only magnetics or only piezo.

    2.) When I get near the middle, about 50-50% of both signals, half of strings seems to be out of phase. I tried flipping the switch and what happens is really interesting. I am choosing between strings 1,3,5 out of phase or strings 2,4,6 out of phase?! Any idea what could have gone wrong??

    Please help!!
    Last edited by Weed_; 07-11-2015, 11:47 AM.

  • #2
    Hi Weed,
    Actually, it sounds to me like your system is working perfectly fine. The Ibanez Ctrl-X is a modified version of our retail Control-X. He probably just rewired it to the stock settings.

    On the toggle, the mix-position on the Control-X will never fully isolate one signal from the other. It comes close, but in order to full isolate one pickup or the other, you need to change the toggle switch position.

    Regarding the out-of-phase sound that you are hearing, it sounds like that because those strings are actually out of phase with each other. This was an Ibanez-only design that was implemented to cut down on the low-end thump that was very audible with the Ibanez bridge. Altering the phase of the strings removed the thump, without changing the response of the pickups. The phase relationship (+ or-) is built into each insert, so they cannot be modified back into phase with each other.

    I know it's probably not what you wanted to hear, but that is how the Ibanez system was designed.


    • #3
      Thank you very much for effort and respond! You are right, it is not what I wanted to hear specially after paying for upgrade :/, but still, thanks for clearance, now I know how and why.
      It makes sense now, why Ibanez didn't ship the guitar with 3 way toggle but with 2 way only.
      Looks like I'm taking it back to shop tomorrow to undo the upgrade.

      One more question though. If I were to use the Y stereo to mono cable running both pickup types to one amp, one input, would I get the same problem? I know, I should try, but I would avoid buying another cable to get disappinted again.

      Thanks, best regards,


      • #4
        The phase issues will occur any time you blend the two signals, whether its on the guitar, or from an amp or mixing board.

        Since half of the Piezo signal is out of phase with the magnetics, even inverting the phase on a DI or amp will only reverse the strings that are out of phase. As you can see, it's a pretty odd system.


        • #5
          Would it make sense to change the pickup saddles? Is it worth of trouble? Since Ibanez designed it that way
          maybe the mod wouldn't be succesul?
          There are many other Ibanez without such problems as well as musicmans,...
          I am also totally into piezo/mag mix a friend of mine gets from his PRS P22. I keep considering selling this guitar to get a PRS but that would mean selling another guitar but I keep changing my mind everytime I pick it up.


          • #6
            You could change out some of the sensors so that all of the strings are in-phase. That might make the Piezo sound a little thumpy, but it would fix the phase issues.

            The PRS P22 is a pretty astounding system/guitar. I personally think that it is the best sounding Piezo system out there. Not even our after-market bridges sound as good as what we designed for PRS.


            • #7
              Thank you! Looks like Ibby will hit the Ebay and I'm after my dream guitar.