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Thinking of changing pickup

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  • Thinking of changing pickup

    I have been experiencing an unevenness in volume across the strings lately with an LR Baggs element pickup. I have had the saddle out and the bottom of it filed nice and flat, then I noticed a slight forward lean to the saddle and address that situation as well as snugging up the fit in the slot. No more lean but no significant improvement in string volume differences. Mostly, its the low E string that is noticeably weaker than the rest but the high E is a bit low as well. I play quite hard, aggressive rhythm, lots of percussive damping as well as some flat picked leads... medium strings, dreadnaught acoustic. I'm uncertain if I should try something like the Anthem or maybe just a new element, assuming there is something defective about it.

  • #2
    Has the string balanced changed over time? Or do you think you're just noticing the balance issues now?

    It's VERY uncommon for the Element itself to actually cause balance issues, so replacing the Element with a new one or upgrading to the Anthem will probably not help the issue. If the outer strings are quiet, I would check to make sure that the saddle isn't too snug in the slot lengthwise. If the saddle is binding up on the ends, it could keep the pickup from making even contact all the way across.


    • #3
      Hi Caleb, thanks for your suggestions. I feel the balance has changed over time. I noticed the change fairly recently, especially when I drop the low E to D it's not as loud as it was just a few months ago. I have had the saddle out and checked for flat and it's good... if anything, the saddle was too loose and would fall out if I turned the guitar upside down without strings, and leaned forward slightly when strung up. I fixed the slack with a micro shim on the front side, which took care of the lean problem. I wouldn't say the saddle is too tight with the shim in place. One thing that I haven't checked is to see if the hole for the element was drilled on an angle. I have read that if it was not, that it can cause trouble.


      • #4
        The angle of the hole doesn't typically influence the string balance. It could If the hole is drilled too far from the end of the slot, but that's about it. That also wouldn't account for any changes over time. If the balance has changed, it could be weather-related, causing the wood to stretch or shrink. It's hard to say. I've seen a lot of weird and unexplainable things like that.

        One of the ways to troubleshoot this kind of issue would be to drill a hole on the other end of the slot and put the pickup in from the other side. If the balance stays the same, it has to do with the saddle or bridge. If the balance reverses, it would indicate an issue with the pickup.


        • #5
          Good plan... thanks, Caleb!