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  #1  
Old 05-03-2018, 04:24 PM
Alex Hutchings Alex Hutchings is offline
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Question No volume with high e string. Gibson Songwriter

Hey guys, I have a Gibson Songwriter (Acoustic) that sounds pretty good when I plug it in, other than the high e string. It's at maybe a quarter volume. I removed the saddle to see if it was resting evenly against the under-the-saddle pickup, and it is. The plastic piece is underneath the metal pickup, and they both extend the full length of the saddle. I still can't figure out why the high e is having the volume problem.

And yes, I obviously know that I can take it to a shop. I have a steady hand and I enjoy fixing things myself. I've also seen other threads with similar problems but the answer is always "take it to the shop"

Does anybody know how I can fix this? Thank you!
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Old 05-03-2018, 05:02 PM
SKYHIGH SKYHIGH is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Hutchings View Post
Hey guys, I have a Gibson Songwriter (Acoustic) that sounds pretty good when I plug it in, other than the high e string. It's at maybe a quarter volume. I removed the saddle to see if it was resting evenly against the under-the-saddle pickup, and it is. The plastic piece is underneath the metal pickup, and they both extend the full length of the saddle. I still can't figure out why the high e is having the volume problem.

And yes, I obviously know that I can take it to a shop. I have a steady hand and I enjoy fixing things myself. I've also seen other threads with similar problems but the answer is always "take it to the shop"

Does anybody know how I can fix this? Thank you!


Take it to the shop.







Sorry had to say it.

What “plastic thing” under the metal? Only thing under the saddle pickup should be is your bridge. If you mean it’s shimmed. Get a new saddle for $15 and refit it. I think uour $2K plus Guitar deserves it.

Btw, I absolutely LOVE my Songwriter.
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Old 05-03-2018, 09:02 PM
BFD BFD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Hutchings View Post
...I still can't figure out why the high e is having the volume problem....Does anybody know how I can fix this? Thank you!
Sure the same way a shop would fix it, problem solving 101 - determine the problem. The volume loss is the symptom not the problem. Figure out what the problem is and fixing it will probably be pretty straightforward. How? Change or modify one thing at a time from one end of the 'signal chain' to the other.

Make sense? If not . . . well you know . . .
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:38 AM
Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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Is the nut slot to low? Is the action on the string lower than the rest of the strings?
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:19 AM
taylorman22 taylorman22 is offline
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Does the problem go away or at least improve if you fret the guitar on the first or second fret? I had a similar problem with my J-50 and cleaning out the high E nut slot fixed it. With mine, when fretted above the nut, the problem disappeared
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:02 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Originally Posted by taylorman22 View Post
Does the problem go away or at least improve if you fret the guitar on the first or second fret? I had a similar problem with my J-50 and cleaning out the high E nut slot fixed it. With mine, when fretted above the nut, the problem disappeared
That might be the problem, but the most common reason Iíve seen for one string dropping out like this when the guitar is played plugged in has been roughness or an irregularity on the bottom of the saddle slot. The wood might be gouged out a bit too much at that end of the saddle slot, which translates to uneven pressure on top of the undersaddle pickup right there.

Making certain that the saddle slot is the same depth all along its length might clear up the problem.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:25 AM
guitar george guitar george is offline
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It may be your strumming technique. You are not following through with your down strumming. Make sure you are hitting the string as hard as the others and not pulling up too soon.
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:45 AM
L20A L20A is offline
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Do you have the same problem when playing acoustically? If so it will be the guitar. If not it will be the pickup/saddle/bridge.
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:46 AM
taylorman22 taylorman22 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
That might be the problem, but the most common reason Iíve seen for one string dropping out like this when the guitar is played plugged in has been roughness or an irregularity on the bottom of the saddle slot. The wood might be gouged out a bit too much at that end of the saddle slot, which translates to uneven pressure on top of the undersaddle pickup right there.

Making certain that the saddle slot is the same depth all along its length might clear up the problem.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
I missed the fact that this is happening when plugged in. I thought it was happening acoustically.
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  #10  
Old 05-04-2018, 08:50 PM
Alex Hutchings Alex Hutchings is offline
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Hey guys, thanks for all your support and advice. I really appreciate it. I'll try to answer all these comments in order:

SKYHIGH: It is a shim. I bought the guitar used (still over 2k) so I wasn't (and still aren't) sure if that's from the factory or not. However, the saddle does seem to be a little low. It didn't have a problem (acoustically) when I bought the guitar but I eventually started getting some fret buzz on the 12th fret, most likely from moisture since I live near the beach, and I take my guitar everywhere. It could probably use a new saddle?
And I'm with you 100% on the quality of the songwriter. I've tried many, many guitars and I'm absolutely stuck on this one. The name is truly symbolic. It makes songwriting so much more inspiring, and just sounds great!

BFD: If I knew the problem I would fix it, and of course I would have to take it to a shop if the solution is beyond my ability. I have tried many things but I'm out of the options that I can think of.

Mr. Jelly: That's a good question. I think the nut is fine, but the high e slot on the saddle is a bit low, but it's also low on the B string, however I don't have any problems in regard to buzz or volume on that one. I get slight fret buzz on the 12th fret. Is the saddle being too shaved (still flat against the pickup) a problem for the pickup?

taylorman22: I'm not sure what you mean exactly by fretting the guitar on the second fret. Do you mean using a capo or a bar chord? If that what you mean then it doesn't matter where I play the string, the lack of volume still persists whether I play an the open e or somewhere else on the string.

Wade Hampton: That's a great point, and logically, that seems like a very likely situation. It looks very even but I'll go ahead and measure it with something more precise than a standard measuring stick and get back to you. I've always thought the whole point of the Gibson craftsmanship was to ensure that the guitars are perfect, but hey maybe mine's a dud.

guitar george: I don't mean to sound cocky or anything but it's certainly not that. There's a very obvious difference when playing the strings individually, and even when strumming where hitting the high e HARDER than the rest of the strings.

L20A: Nope. Sounds beautiful acoustically.

Guys thanks again for responding so thoroughly and quickly. I can't express my appreciation enough.
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  #11  
Old 05-04-2018, 09:48 PM
guitar george guitar george is offline
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Ok, how about:

1) saddle bottom not completely flat?
2) bottom of saddle slot not completely flat?
3) saddle sticking in the slot and not freely and completely pushing down on the pickup at the high end?
4) defective pickup?
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  #12  
Old 05-04-2018, 11:28 PM
Willie Voltaire Willie Voltaire is offline
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I don't know what UST you've got, but I've owned three Gibsons with the stock LR Baggs Element, and I've had uneven volume on the high B string (too quiet) and on the low A (way too loud). Between that and the quacky plastic piezo sound, removing it is always the first mod I make now.
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  #13  
Old 05-05-2018, 08:01 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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The usual cause for unevenness of Volume on an undersaddle piezo pickup is no uniform contact between bottom of saddle and piezo.

From a normal sheet of paper, cut a 1/4Ē long strip the width of the saddle. Place it between the bottom of the saddle and the top of the piezo strip directly beneath the offending string (ie e string). If need be stack a second sheet on top of the first.
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  #14  
Old 05-05-2018, 09:15 AM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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This a pretty common problem with the Baggs Element pickup and usually worse with lighter strings. The simplest solution is a few layers of paper under the saddle (and on top of the Element transducer) spanning from the midpoint between the B & E strings and the end of the saddle. There are three layers of thin paper under the high E of my gigging guitar right now. It had zero impact on the acoustic volume/tone and completely fixed the weak high-E plugged-in problem.
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