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Author Topic: onboard Fishman is crapping out  (Read 2660 times)
rockstar_not
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« on: September 12, 2006, 03:32:09 AM »

I've contacted Brian Trepanier at Larrivee about the Fishman UST and Pre-amp that was installed in my L-03-E at the factory about the 'thunder/static' noise that the system is making.

Brian says that these are only warranted by Fishman and that I need to contact Fishman directly.

The guitar is almost 6 years old.  I should have never bought it with the big square hole in the side from the factory.  I remember the dealer that I bought the guitar from advising against it and that they could retrofit the guitar with an LR Baggs or something else should I decide I want to electrify it after receiving it.  I should have listened to them.  Specifically, it was Dennis Lake who warned me against it.  Dennis has since retired and now makes ukuleles on the Big Island.  Dennis was the guitar repairman at my local shop.  Here's his site:
http://www.konaweb.com/mahina/

What would be a better replacement pre-amp than the same from Fishman?

I think it's a prefix pro pre-amp, with a Larrivee logo on it.  It's also possible that the UST is failing, I don't know.

I can't get any response from Fishman for guidance or help, so I'm giving up on them if I can. 

Right now, I'm feeling let-down by Larrivee to be quite honest.  My warranty card states that any hardware not manufactured by Larrivee is covered only by the manufacturer's warranty and not Larrivee.  Well, there's a big old Larrivee logo on the pre-amp.  I naively assumed that would mean it was covered.  I went ahead with the 'E' model so that I wouldn't void Larrivee's warranty about modifying the guitar with a milled out end-pin jack done locally in the first place, and now I'm left over a barrel.

Does anyone know of a different pre-amp that would fit the hole and screw hole locations directly?

This really makes me sick to my stomach.  I should have known better.  But then again, I thought I was doing the right thing by buying the electronics directly from Larrivee and having it installed at the factory.  I would have gotten a K+K if I knew then what I know now, and no ugly hole in the side of the guitar.

Let this be a warning to anyone considering an 'E' model from Larrivee.  DON'T DO IT.

-Scott
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ronmac
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2006, 11:03:38 AM »

Scott, that's too bad about your preamp problems. If you haven't had this looked at by a tech, I would advise that you do so. It could just as easily be a problem with the UST or perhaps even a simple loose connection or solder joint that would be a minor fix.

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Ron

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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2006, 11:27:57 AM »

Ron,

Thanks for the advice.  The problem is, if it takes the tech more than an hour or so to look into it, I could have purchased a K+K already for the same price.  I've never really cared for the sound of the Fishman, but again, I bought it to be 'factory spec' from Larrivee.

On my 'campfire' guitar, which is an Applause, I repaired the UST cable which had broken due to the top coming loose from the bracing.  Very thin wires to solder, but I did it.

I guess if Larrivee isn't going to stand behind this, I could take a look at it myself.  I guess I really don't have anything to lose other than faith in the guitar company I have so positively supported for the last 5-6 years; including making a visit to the Oxnard facility and getting a tour from none other than Jean Larrivee himself.

-Scott
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2006, 03:14:56 PM »

Even if Larrivee did warranty the electronics you can be sure it wouldn't be for more than a year.

Also, I'm pretty sure that drilling out a hole for the jack does not void the warranty of the guitar.

If you remove the pre-amp from the side of the guitar, have a luthier finish the edges and you will have a nice soundport. You'll love the sound.

Now for a little perspective. A small inexpensive, easily replaceable piece of electronics stops working after six years - that's a  fairly common experience. At least it's not like an iPod. Many people get barely a year out them before they start to act up.
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2006, 03:42:18 PM »

Install a K&K Pure Western mini and wire it to the on-board preamp.  Contact Dieter at K&K he'll wallk you through the process, or provide guidance for your guitar tech. 

www.KKSound.com

David
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ronmac
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2006, 03:48:02 PM »

David, there is no guarantee that the problem is in the PU, it could very well be in the preamp section.
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2006, 08:59:47 PM »

David, there is no guarantee that the problem is in the PU, it could very well be in the preamp section.
Huh Oh.  Duh.   Never mind   :GRN>
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2006, 09:02:36 PM »

That's Ok David. It's Friday here, too. 

Congrats awarded in advance of your next post. You will join the 1K club!!!
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Ron

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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2006, 02:40:36 AM »

I believe that the problem is in the pre-amp most likely.

I did get an e-mail from Fishman.  $45 one time service charge and $59 additional to replace the pre-amp, if I understand the e-mail correctly.

K+K here I come, most likely.  I've heard John Standefer's K+K pickup directly out to his Ultrasound amplifier.  Amazingly acoustic, non-amplified sound.  It doesn't hurt that he is a wizard on the strings.

-Scott

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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2006, 06:02:09 PM »

There really isn't a one stop solution.  Just because you use the same pickup and amp doens't mean you can achieve the same sound as someone, so many factors like eq, playing style, guitars they are in...

I think the new LR Baggs barn doors are smaller than the fishman ones.  Hmm Hard to say, I'd go with something else with a barn door preamp that can fit themselves in there, there must be lots stock systems ppl switched out for sale online.
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2006, 12:11:21 PM »

There really isn't a one stop solution.  Just because you use the same pickup and amp doens't mean you can achieve the same sound as someone, so many factors like eq, playing style, guitars they are in...

I think the new LR Baggs barn doors are smaller than the fishman ones.  Hmm Hard to say, I'd go with something else with a barn door preamp that can fit themselves in there, there must be lots stock systems ppl switched out for sale online.

Calvin,

I am quite aware of that.  John Standefer is a guitarist extraordinaire - but I've also heard him play my guitar through his ultra-sound amplifier, and also unplugged, blind, right after he played his fancy L-body that he won several years ago.  It was very difficult to tell the difference between the two guitars completely acoustic.  Certainly alot of this is due to his incredible talent.  However....

Plugged in, it was night and day.  Mine sounded more like an Ovation plugged in while his had a very natural acoustic tone.  Two factors changed - the guitar as well as the pickup/preamp.  By themselves, the guitars sounded remarkably similar considering the price difference (but also a testament to Larrivee making their 03 models in the same was as their custom models).  Perhaps he can instantly adjust to a different guitar to get the same tone as what he is used to - there is probably some of that in play.

But he swears by the K+K / Ultrasound combination.  He is a dealer for Ultrasonic, but as you will see on his website, his prices are no higher than anyone else selling those products.

-Scott
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2006, 05:41:56 PM »

I had a Lowden S25J that came with a Fishman UST, and it made all sorts of static/thunder sounds when I bought it used.  I took it into my tech, and he showed me that there was this foil type covering that was prone to deterioration or damage from removing and reinstalling the saddle (some previous owner had swapped out the saddle), and that once the integrity of the foil was compromised, the pickup needed to be replaced.  I swapped it out for a K+K and haven't looked back.
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whiskeyjack
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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2006, 01:41:47 PM »

If you're still following your thread rockstarnot. . .

Quote
Right now, I'm feeling let-down by Larrivee to be quite honest.
 
I wouldn't be too hard on the Larrivee family.  As has been mentioned, it's probably a good thing that the Prefix failed - I know I've never been impressed with most of their products.  So now you get something better.   
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« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2006, 12:14:15 PM »

If you're still following your thread rockstarnot. . .
 
I wouldn't be too hard on the Larrivee family.  As has been mentioned, it's probably a good thing that the Prefix failed - I know I've never been impressed with most of their products.  So now you get something better.   

Well,

I'd rather not have the big hole in the side of the guitar to be honest.

-Scott
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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2006, 02:17:42 PM »

This is an older post from the AGF regarding LR Baggs systems:

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Look at the iMix Onboard or the Element Active Onboard. I replaced the Fishman in my 2002 514ce with an Element Active Onboard. These Baggs retrofits drop right into the Barn door opening and even use the same scewholes. I love my Element and am seriously thjinking of switching to the iMix just to have a dual source setup again.

You might look into the LR Baggs Active IBeam:  they're about a hundred dollars cheaper than the IMIX.  Contact LRBaggs with your problem.  I'm pretty sure they have a way to retrofit one of their units into the hole in the side of your guitar.
http://www.lrbaggs.com/html/products/systems_ibeamonboard.shtml
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