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Baggs Element VTC low volume of high E string

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  • Baggs Element VTC low volume of high E string

    Hi. I am new to the forum, but not to Baggs. I have a Venue DI, and two guitars - one with a Baggs M1 passive, and a new J45-Studio with an Element VTC.

    The volume on the high string on the J45 - Studio with Element VTC is much lower than the other strings. I have had a few Gibsons with Elements in the past without issue. I know I could take it back to where I bought it, but I'd have to leave it for at least two weeks. And I have a gig next week. Any pointers are quick fixes? Original tusk saddle etc. I have not upgraded or done anything to the guitar.

    Thanks Sal

  • #2
    Hey Sal,
    Welcome to the forum.

    That kind of issue is usually related to how the saddle and saddle slot are interacting with the pickup. If you loosen the strings and remove the bridge pins, you can pull the saddle out and examine it. If you lift up the braided pickup wire under the saddle you can check under it to make sure that there is no debris in the saddle slot. The pickup itself should lay flat and cover the entire bottom of the slot from end to end. The bottom of the saddle should also be completely flat.

    If all of that checks out and you still have trouble, you would want to talk to your local shop about taking a look at it.

    I hope this helps.


    • #3
      I just bought a J-45 Studio and have a similar issue - both e strings are very quiet compared to the other 4 strings.

      Did removing the saddle and adjustment fix your problem Sal?


      • #4
        Originally posted by Mattlaw View Post
        I just bought a J-45 Studio and have a similar issue - both e strings are very quiet compared to the other 4 strings.

        Did removing the saddle and adjustment fix your problem Sal?
        I didn't hear back from Sal about this. If your outer strings are quiet, then I would recommend the same thing to start. Check the saddle, slot, etc. You would also want to make sure that the saddle isn't too tight in the slot, which could cause the saddle to bind in the slot, preventing even contact.

        Whatever the case, most issues like this come down to getting even contact between the saddle, pickup and saddle slot.


        • #5
          Thank you Caleb.


          • #6
            Stewmac has some file for truing up the saddle slot.

            I use these a lot...and then make sure the saddle is flat on the bottom as well.


            • #7
              One "quick fix" you can try is putting a small piece of scotch tape on the bottom of the saddle from the weak E string out to the edge of the saddle. If the saddle has a low spot at the end, or the saddle slot is low on the two ends it could help even out the pressure. Sometimes this can help. It is completely reversible, so if it doesn't work, you haven't made any alterations to the guitar or saddle.

              Like Caleb mentioned, it's important for the saddle to be perfectly flat on the bottom. You can set the bottom of the saddle on a straight edge and hold it up to light. If you see light between the saddle bottom and the straight edge, then the saddle isn't flat and should be dressed properly.



              • #8
                Hi... checking back in. On the J45 Studio, I fixed the problem. I finnagled the ribbon a little closer to treble (high E), and made sure the saddle was flat on the bottom. Great improvement.

                The issue today? I bought a new Gibson LG-2 50s Reissue with the Element VTC, and this time, the higher strings have such thin low volume, and the low E is like thunder.

                I suppose I have to trial and error again... Wish me luck. I really like the utility of these pickups; they deliver a very usable live sound that's easy to work with my pedals in the bars. But I do wish Gibson checked this stuff out before the guitars left the factory. My last two... oooooh nellie.

                Anyone have the issue with the Low E like my latest?


                • #9
                  Well, This morning I took a tusq saddle that I had in my stash (which are supposedly normally used with UST pickups), and replaced the bone saddle in my LG-2. Sacrilege I know. I did have to sand the tusq saddle on the bottom to get the height about the same as the bone saddle it replaces.

                  Bottom line... the strings are even sounding now. It is likely the saddle switch that should be credited, but it also could be the bridge slot, which I sprayed compressed keyboard air into to make sure there was no dust. Maybe after work I will try to put the bone saddle back, after making sure its bottom is even, and that the sides are not binding in the bridge slot.

                  Thanks for the help guys, and sorry I had not checked back. Pandemic you know.... Besafe


                  • #10
                    Glad to hear that you've continued to figure out the issues you've run into. Every guitar is different, and troubleshooting those things is almost always the best way to get things sounding the way that they should. Well done!