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Author Topic: Help Needed on Possible Preamp/Pickup Replacement  (Read 774 times)
Bruise
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« on: February 09, 2017, 06:18:31 PM »

This is somewhat of a resurrection of a thread I started 6 years ago: http://www.larriveeforum.com/smf/index.php?topic=35963.0

I have a Larrivee OM-10 that I bought off Ebay back around 2006.  The guy who had it before me had installed an under saddle pickup with a Fishman Prefix Pro Blend Onboard Preamp.  I had never had an issue with the electronics on the guitar until six or so years ago.  When I plugged into a sound system I noticed I was getting a muffled/distorted/static type sound.  That's when I created the thread listed above and someone recommended I take the preamp and clean it with Contact cleaner as well as the endpin jack.  I did both and that seemed to clear up the issue.  Fast forward to today and the problem seems to be back. Once again I cleaned the preamp with contact cleaner as well as the endpin jack but still seem to have the issue.

I took it to my local luthier/tech yesterday and had him check it out.  He seems to think it's an issue with the preamp itself.  One thing to note is that when I flip the Phase switch back and forth on the preamp, I have to make sure the switch isn't all the way over to one side or the other or it doesn't give me any sound at all. If I move the switch just slightly back towards the middle I then get sound.  Also one side of the phase seems to work while the other doesn't.  So it definitely seems something is up with the preamp which I guess is understandable considering it's at least 11 years old at this point.  At this point I'm kind of trying to decide what to do.

I discussed the options with the guy yesterday.  Keep in mind I don't know a ton about pickups/preamps, only what I've found through online research to this point:

1) Buy another onboard preamp and use it with the existing under saddle pickup.  I'm limited in this regard because the current hole in the side of the guitar is sized for the Fishman Prefix Pro Blend.  I don't want to have anymore cutting done on the guitar so I wouldn't want to buy a preamp that doesn't drop into the existing hole.  Another concern for me on this is cost vs. how long the next one would last.  I see these things new online going for $350.  I don't really want to spend that much on something that could fail at any given moment.  I don't know how long these things usually last but that is a concern for me.  I've looked on Reverb.com and Ebay to see if there are any used ones cheaper.  To this point I think the best I found was around $200.   

2) Disconnect the existing pickup from the preamp, wire it to a new endpin jack (my guy yesterday indicated he thought I'd have to use a different endpin jack. Something to do with stereo or ground or something like that. Again, I'm no expert on this stuff) and buy an external preamp/DI to run the guitar through.  He said in his opinion he thought I would be the least satisfied with this route due to the type of sound going out from the US pickup to the preamp.  Essentially I'd be trying to boost a sound that wouldn't be as good as one of the other options.  Part of the appeal to me on this option would be utilizing the existing pickup with an external preamp. With an external preamp I'm not limited to the kind I can get like I am with the onboard style.  I also wonder if an external preamp would have a longer lifespan than an onboard?  I would also have the option to use it with other guitars if I needed too.  However, if the sound going from the US pickup to the external preamp wouldn't be as good then is it even worth it? 

3)Buy a K&K Pure Mini pickup.  This could be used without a preamp and according to my guy provides a nice sound.  However I wonder if an external preamp/DI would still be needed for this option or if the sound would be good enough without it.  In this scenario I'm thinking I would just leave the unused onboard preamp in the guitar to fill the hole and leave the US pickup in to keep the current action. From what I see these pickups cost about $100 so not too bad. I would pay for him to install it for me as I'm not experienced in that so that would be an extra cost. One concern I do have with this option is that the three heads have to be glued to the bridge plate.  The thought of that kind of bothers me.  I'd also be concerned if I ever needed it removed that it could damage the bridge plate, as well as not being able to salvage the pickup itself. 

So those are the options I have at this point from what I can tell.  I'm just looking for any feedback/advice that any of you may have on what you think would be the better of the options.  Am I missing anything or thinking about any of this wrong?  I appreciate any help. 
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eded
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2017, 07:53:46 PM »

Can't your tech remove the switch and replace it?  From your troubleshooting, it seems like that is likely the problem... 


Other than that, I'm a K&K fan.  Once it's in, there's no need to ever remove it, but if for some odd reason you wanted it removed, it's a simple job to take them out without damage.  It would require a preamp for use in a mixing board.

Ed
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jpmist
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2017, 10:55:12 PM »

3)Buy a K&K Pure Mini pickup.  This could be used without a preamp and according to my guy provides a nice sound.  However I wonder if an external preamp/DI would still be needed for this option or if the sound would be good enough without it.  In this scenario I'm thinking I would just leave the unused onboard preamp in the guitar to fill the hole and leave the US pickup in to keep the current action. From what I see these pickups cost about $100 so not too bad. I would pay for him to install it for me as I'm not experienced in that so that would be an extra cost. One concern I do have with this option is that the three heads have to be glued to the bridge plate.  The thought of that kind of bothers me.  I'd also be concerned if I ever needed it removed that it could damage the bridge plate, as well as not being able to salvage the pickup itself.

I have two K & K Pure Mini's and am also a big fan. So much less piezo quack than the undersaddle pickups, but they will brighten your tone a bit. They're a bit touchy as far as self install cause you're working blind to position them but I managed to do both installs without issue.

The superglue is really only going to saturate into the wood surface just a small amount, I can't imagine it removing much if any wood if you had to razor blade them off, certainly not enough to damage the bridge plate. PM me if you'd like to hear a stereo track I recorded with mic on one channel and Mini on the other if you'd like to hear the difference between the two.
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2017, 05:24:26 PM »

3)Buy a K&K Pure Mini pickup.  This could be used without a preamp and according to my guy provides a nice sound.  However I wonder if an external preamp/DI would still be needed for this option or if the sound would be good enough without it.  In this scenario I'm thinking I would just leave the unused onboard preamp in the guitar to fill the hole and leave the US pickup in to keep the current action. From what I see these pickups cost about $100 so not too bad. I would pay for him to install it for me as I'm not experienced in that so that would be an extra cost. One concern I do have with this option is that the three heads have to be glued to the bridge plate.  The thought of that kind of bothers me.  I'd also be concerned if I ever needed it removed that it could damage the bridge plate, as well as not being able to salvage the pickup itself.

I have two K & K Pure Mini's and am also a big fan. So much less piezo quack than the undersaddle pickups, but they will brighten your tone a bit. They're a bit touchy as far as self install cause you're working blind to position them but I managed to do both installs without issue.

The superglue is really only going to saturate into the wood surface just a small amount, I can't imagine it removing much if any wood if you had to razor blade them off, certainly not enough to damage the bridge plate. PM me if you'd like to hear a stereo track I recorded with mic on one channel and Mini on the other if you'd like to hear the difference between the two.
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jpmist
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2017, 08:13:05 PM »

Here's a sound clip of me on my OOV-03 mahogany that I put on my Google Drive for those who asked.

It's a flat recording with no EQ adjustments, or reverb. The K&K Mini is on the right channel, a mic about 10" from the 12th fret on the treble side on on the left channel. Hope that helps sell anyone on a K&K Mini which I'm very happy with.

On a OO mahogany guitar there's very little piezo quack that I can hear. Those with better ears than me might find it a bit boomy, but it cleans up pretty well with a bit of EQ adjustment.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BymYXVHsaiLvU2paeGp3UV9zVkE/view?usp=sharing


Edit: currently trouble with that Google link, here it is on Soundclick: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13528660

Should probably download it to do the left right channel comparisons. . .
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2017, 08:24:39 AM »

I fail to see how using an external preamp with your US pickup could sound worse than a built in one, assuming it's hooked up correctly.  After all, it's just wires connecting the signal to the preamp in both cases.  To me there's a good chance you would get even better sound going through an external preamp because you can pick and choose which preamp to get and I bet many will have more versatile and useful controls than the built-in one.  I like your idea that with an external preamp, you have portability from one guitar to the next and it will work with any other piezo system or pickup should you choose to change what you have in the guitar now.

I am also a K&K fan.  It's true you might be able to use the K&K straight into an amp; especially an acoustic amp which usually has many of the same controls you will find on an external preamp.  I find that to be the case in my two Larrivees that have K&K's in them.  I don't need a preamp when I plug into my powered mixer either, because it was good EQ and feedback control options.

However, if I want to use a standard electric guitar amp I use an external preamp (LR Baggs Paracoustic) to dial in a more realistic acoustic sound.  I think it depends on the amp you are using.

It also depends on where and how you are playing.  If you are just playing at home and don't play gigs or worship, etc., you might get an acceptable sound without a preamp with the K&K.  If you are playing in different venues through different sound systems, an external preamp is almost a must because every venue has it's own EQ requirements.

I would go with your option 3 and install the K&K system.  Then try playing it straight to your amp/sound system to see if it sounds to your liking.  If it doesn't, then go ahead and add an external preamp.  In any case, removing the K&K later will not do any harm to your bridge plate, like jpmist said.

Hope this helps.
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2017, 02:41:35 AM »

This sounds exactly like the issue I had with my factory installed Fishman system in my L-03 below, except no phase switch issue.  But the static sound - yes, thanks for nothing Fishman.

After hearing the demos of the IK Multimedia iRig Acoustic Stage, that's where I'll spend money on a pickup system for any of my acoustic instruments. 
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