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Big volume difference between Gibson J-15 and Gibson J-45

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  • Big volume difference between Gibson J-15 and Gibson J-45

    I was on stage recently with my Gibson J-15 (Element) and the guy before me had a Gibson J-45 (VTC). His guitar sounded great - and mine did too - but my guitar was not nearly has loud as his. Quite surprising and unsettling as someone had to rush to the mixer to turn my guitar up. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

  • #2
    Hey dstrong1,
    Thanks for posting.

    The Element (volume only) is probably the loudest pickup that LR Baggs makes. The VTC is close, but it's typically a few dB quieter, even in the same guitar.

    The more significant factor is usually the guitars themselves. The differences in the tonewoods alone can make the Element pickup louder or quieter, not to mention the bracing and saddle material in each guitar. I've done installations with the same pickup on guitars with consecutive serial numbers and had different output levels. Swapping pickups didn't make nearly as much difference as subtle changes in the guitars.

    My guess is that both systems are functioning correctly, as long as they both sound balanced and clean.


    • #3
      Hey Caleb - thank you so much for your thorough response. I hadn't considered that the tone woods might be a cause... very interesting! Thanks so much for your reply


      • #4
        I'm happy to help.

        This isn't always the case. The nature of organic materials like wood and bone saddles can make things a little unpredictable sometimes.