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Awagner 03-14-2020 05:01 PM

Pickup Advice
 
I have a vintage Guild 12-string that has a stock volume and tone knob. I upgraded the original pickup system with an LR Baggs Element that my guy was able to connect to the knobs so they function as intended. Consequently, the soundhole volume control was not installed. The problem is that although it works ok, the sound quality is not that great, and the output is weak.

I want to install a high quality system that will utilize the original knobs. Either volume and tone, or maybe even a blended system where one knob blends the mic and pickup and the other controls the volume.

Maintaining the use of the stock knobs is essential.

Any suggestions?

Thanks.

pieterh 03-15-2020 05:49 AM

Pickup Advice
 
Do you have onboard amplification connected to the knobs or are they passive? Ie is the tone knob similar to an electric guitar tone control in that it rolls off treble? Does the guitar require a battery? How are you amplifying, acoustic amp, powered speaker or direct to a mixer and PA?

I suspect the system is passive as you say the signal is weak, in which case you have two basic options if you want to retain the onboard knobs, depending on what you are using as amplification:

1. Invest in a good active (battery or phantom powered) direct box. This is a good option if you are connecting directly to a mixer and PA. By balancing and optimising the impedance of the signal it makes it much easier to gain up and eq at the mixing desk. Active is recommended as a passive direct box will give a good signal to a mixing desk at the expense of the line out to your own amplifier if using one.

2. Invest in a good floor- or even rackmount preamp. I have a 12-string with a passive Baggs iBeam pickup which is fairly useless without my Tonebone Pz-pre floor preamp. The signal is too weak and thin sounding on its own - itís no K&K Pure Mini! With the preamp I have control over signal level to a mixer, powered speaker or amplifier, plus it has built in direct out so sound engineers are happy.

Awagner 03-15-2020 10:05 AM

The Element system is active, and comes with a battery pack, which was installed.

When I say the output is weak, I mean that when I switch from any of my other guitars to this one, the volume is lower, and I need to increase it a bit to get it to the same level as it was before. Not a real problem, just an observation. The real issue for me is the quality of the amplified sound. It is muddy.

I plug into a Fishman Loudbox Artist or Fishman SA330X, and I just acquired a T-Rex Soulmate Acoustic.

The guitar is a Guild 12 string from 1983. I donít know how the tone knob functions. I donít really use it, and it does very little to modify the sound.

Here is a picture.

https://i.imgur.com/JAPXIJm.jpg


I think the issue is that the Element system was modified so that it works with the stock knobs, but I am looking for a better solution.

pieterh 03-15-2020 10:36 AM

I wonder if it is the controls that are getting in the way of the sound youíre after. It wouldnít surprise me if they were designed for a passive system and that they arenít the ideal controls for the Element.

Maybe new controls that fit the existing holes, or maybe just bypass them completely and use the Element with the sound hole controls it came with...

Awagner 03-15-2020 10:53 AM

I could have installed the Element or any other good system and bypassed the controls to achieve better sound, but I really prefer to use the original control knobs as intended.

Not sure there is a viable solution, but I hope so.

Thanks for your feedback.

jseth 03-15-2020 11:42 AM

I would be very surprised if those knobs are, indeed, "original"... don't recall any older Guild with something like that. Maybe they were there when you got the guitar, but are not factory-original?

Of course, if you have owned it since it was new, then I'm obviously way off base!

When you changed to the Element system, did your tech use the existing vol/tone pots are did he use the Baggs versions and just connect them to the knobs? If the pots are what were in the guitar, they may be a big part of the problem.

Sounds as though you are more committed to the knobs than the sound of the guitar....

Hope you find a solution that works for you...

SpruceTop 03-15-2020 11:59 AM

Here's Tim Gregg from Presley's Country Jubilee on RFD-TV. His Guild has the two knobs but they're arranged 90-degrees from the Guild in the OP's photo. If it's not a Guild-installed pickup/preamp, maybe Tim had the same or similar aftermarket system as the OP added to his Guild with the preamp knob orientation to his liking?


Awagner 03-15-2020 01:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jseth (Post 6318937)
I would be very surprised if those knobs are, indeed, "original"... don't recall any older Guild with something like that. Maybe they were there when you got the guitar, but are not factory-original?

Of course, if you have owned it since it was new, then I'm obviously way off base!

When you changed to the Element system, did your tech use the existing vol/tone pots are did he use the Baggs versions and just connect them to the knobs? If the pots are what were in the guitar, they may be a big part of the problem.

Sounds as though you are more committed to the knobs than the sound of the guitar....

Hope you find a solution that works for you...

It is a pretty rare model. A 1983 D70-12E. The E is for electronic (or electric), and I confirmed with Hans Moust that the knobs and the original system are original to the guitar.

The pots were replaced when my tech undertook the project, but I would have to find out from him exactly what he did.

I have no problem replacing the system with another that sounds better, if there is no other option, but my preference is not to make the knobs obsolete.

I just want to determine if what I want to do is possible, so that the guitar can be played as intended.

Thanks.


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