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  #1  
Old 08-14-2014, 01:57 PM
Pheof Pheof is offline
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Default Any comments on the LR Baggs Element pickup system?

Only my Hummingbird has this and I haven't tried it live yet. Can anyone comment on the quality of the sound of that pickup, good, bad or indifferent? A lot of you seem to be relatively unhappy with most guitar pickup systems or so it seems, I was just wondering how this one stacks up to the rest. Here's what it looks like - it's the under saddle system:

LR Baggs Active Element
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Old 08-14-2014, 02:25 PM
DCannon DCannon is offline
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I've used many different pickups over the years and the Element is, well... let's just say not my favorite...or even close. My J-35 came with the Element system and I'm looking forward to getting it out and replaced with a K&K. I play in a Celtic band, do many gigs from small to very large venues with either our band's 1200W system or large FOH systems, and the Element is a pain to EQ. It's a very thin-sounding pickup that accents the high end, requiring some serious EQ to balance. To me and the band members, it just sounds tinny. To get it to sound usable, I have to run it through a preamp and literally turn the high EQ off on both the preamp and channel EQ, and cut the mids. This helps the balance but still doesn't sound good, with a noticeable piezo sound. I also don't like a volume wheel mounted at the sound hole. So, I don't use the J-35 for live performances until I can get the pickup changed out. On the flip-side, the K&Ks in my other guitars require very little EQ and the guitars sound incredibly natural and balanced. Prior to buying a J-35, I contacted Gibson to see if I could get one without the Element but was told I couldn't. But that's okay. It's a great guitar that will soon have a K&K.

Hey....you asked!

DC
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Old 08-14-2014, 03:19 PM
Mobilemike Mobilemike is offline
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I'll agree - the Element is a very "eh" pickup IMO. It's not terrible by any means - and in the hands of a competent sound man can sound very decent. But it won't ever be great sounding.

I used the one that came in my J35 for awhile before replacing it with a Lyric - I like the Lyric way better.

-Mike
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:46 AM
lmacmil lmacmil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pheof View Post
Only my Hummingbird has this and I haven't tried it live yet. Can anyone comment on the quality of the sound of that pickup, good, bad or indifferent? A lot of you seem to be relatively unhappy with most guitar pickup systems or so it seems, I was just wondering how this one stacks up to the rest. Here's what it looks like - it's the under saddle system:

For a dissenting opinion, I like the Element a lot. I just bought a second one to try in my Taylor. Two of the best sounding amplified acoustic sounds I've ever heard where factory installed Elements, one in a Larrivee and one in a Gibson (though not a Hummingbird).

Try it out and if possible, let someone else play your guitar so you can listen through the PA. Make up your own mind. Good luck.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:52 AM
pmarino pmarino is offline
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Both my Gibsons came with the Element system installed. I gigged with both guitars for a while with the Element, but eventually replaced the Baggs pickups with K&K Pure Minis. The Element was fine, and I know some people prefer them, but to my ears, the K&Ks just sound better.
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:00 AM
llew llew is offline
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I have it in my J-45 Standard. It works well enough but I prefer soundboard pickups. All of my guitars but the J-45 have either the active LR Baggs Lyric (soundboard mic) or McIntyre Feather (GF-30) passive soundboard transducers. Either of these two systems sound more "natural" to me? It's all about the plugged in sound you're looking for. I want my guitars to be a louder version of what I hear unplugged with as little coloration as possible. Both of the soundboard pickups I use give me that...to the extent that they can.
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:50 AM
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Woodstock School Of Music Woodstock School Of Music is offline
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I really like the sound of the element in my J45. I know people diss it but I get postive comments from players quite a bit about my plugged in sound
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:26 AM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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I have the Baggs Element VTC in my Breedlove Roots OM/SHR and it's a good under saddle pickup, as good as any on the market.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:49 AM
marty bradbury marty bradbury is offline
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I have just installed the Baggs Lyric and like it !!
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Old 08-15-2014, 09:28 AM
Willie Voltaire Willie Voltaire is offline
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I found the Element that came in my J-35 to exhibit the worst characteristics of UST pickups: it was quacky and plastic-sounding. I pulled it out and replaced it with a K&K mini, and the improvement was immediate and profound.
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:30 AM
Priority Four Priority Four is offline
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I like the one in my J45 fine. I gig with it all the time and it is reliable and I have not experienced any quack. I think it sounds pretty decent. Not too many feedback issues. If I have a gripe, it's the larger size of the endpin jack.
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:51 AM
247hoopsfan 247hoopsfan is offline
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I have the Element installed in my Yamaha LL500 and it sounds great. I also have a Baggs Imix in my Larrivee JCL Reissue which also sounds fine. I use both of these guitars in a worship band running through my Baggs Para DI to the house PA. I think the Para DI helps tame the quack others are talking about.
The K&K may be better for a solo gig, but doesn't handle a large stage band venue as well.
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Old 08-15-2014, 11:37 AM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 247hoopsfan View Post
... I think the Para DI helps tame the quack others are talking about.
The K&K may be better for a solo gig, but doesn't handle a large stage band venue as well.
I agree 100%. There is NO one perfect pickup for all guitars and situations. I have K&K in four guitars. I use them for solo/duo stuff. I have Baggs M1A for loud band work. I have the Baggs Element in the Breedlove, and it serves both purposes. I have a Baggs pickup in my Tacoma Thunderchief, and a JJB Prestige 220 in my Guild B-50. And my personal experiences with internal mini-condenser mics are quite negative, therefore I don't use them.
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Old 08-15-2014, 11:56 AM
Rmz76 Rmz76 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pheof View Post
Only my Hummingbird has this and I haven't tried it live yet. Can anyone comment on the quality of the sound of that pickup, good, bad or indifferent? A lot of you seem to be relatively unhappy with most guitar pickup systems or so it seems, I was just wondering how this one stacks up to the rest. Here's what it looks like - it's the under saddle system:

LR Baggs Active Element
My opinion: I don't think the Element is good enough for solo/vocal performances but is ok in a full band mix.

Gibson uses these stock in all their dreads (J-15, J-35, J-45, J-29, Hummingbird, etc...). These are a good under saddle transducer, but I'm one of those who think all USTs sound alike. The positives: Decent tone for a full band mix with focus on the mids and highs, easy on the sound man as USTs are pretty much immune to feedback (or at least much better at dealing with it than putting a instrument mic in front of the guitar or using some in-guitar mic.

If you're looking for an upgrade consider the LR Baggs Anthem. The LR Baggs Anthem is a combination of a UST Element (what you have now) combined with a bridge-plate mounted microphone. There's a crossover circuit with blend controls made available to the player though a control panel that's mounted in the sound hole. Blending the UST and the Athem's mic will give you a really great tone and since your guitar has an LR Baggs Element that was factory installed, this should be a very gentle operation on your guitar.

You can listen to samples here.
http://www.lrbaggs.com/pickups/anthe...and-microphone

Also Josh Ritter is using an LR Baggs Anthem in his Gibson J-45 TV in his tiny desk concert.

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  #15  
Old 08-15-2014, 04:23 PM
simondylan simondylan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pheof View Post
Only my Hummingbird has this and I haven't tried it live yet. Can anyone comment on the quality of the sound of that pickup, good, bad or indifferent? A lot of you seem to be relatively unhappy with most guitar pickup systems or so it seems, I was just wondering how this one stacks up to the rest. Here's what it looks like - it's the under saddle system:

LR Baggs Active Element
The thing you should keep in mind is the Element is an under-saddle pickup, (UST), and when you're talking about good acoustic tone, those 2 don't really go together. All UST's have the same quality with minor variations. I've heard the Matrix, Element, B-band, Highlander, all sound terrible at times and a few times I've heard them sound pretty decent. Everything from installation to post processing make significant differences. I believe this is why you hear so many differing opinions on this forum.
It isn't really a fair comparison to put any UST up against a sound-board Transducer (SBT) like the K&K. It's apples to oranges. So my opinion is if you already have it installed, try it out, get your EQ and stuff in order and see what you think. If you don't like it, just don't replace it with another UST. Go another direction.
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