Ask a Luthier Codabows Instruments Links Pi Guitar String Band Contact
Return to questions listing:

Acoustic Bridge Pickup

Good Evening
I have a Yamaha FGX720SCA and my acoustic bridge pickup seems a lot more sensitive on the high end of the string. The bass end doesn't really give a lot of output but when I tap the pickup without the saddle it seems evenly

You have the old style pickup with six individual piezos wired together. Every piezo is a slightly different height. The bottom of the saddle has to be filed to compensate for the differences. The strings that are loud are in contact with their piezo. The strings that are soft are not. If all the treble strings are loud and all the bass strings are soft, check to see if the saddle comes out easily. If it fits too tight, on the bass side, it won't be free to move and transfer vibrations to the pickup. Thin the saddle, with a file or sanding block, until it slides easily (but does not noticeably tilt in the slot).

If the saddle slides easily, then you must file under the loud strings until the saddle grips all the different height piezos evenly. All under the saddle pickups are wired as a unit. They either work or they don't. There is no such thing as a pickup that works on one end but not the other. The old "six rocks" style pickups may even sound better than the
newer styles, but they have fallen out of favor because of the problem you are now having. A trick that can work, if you are lucky is to put a
basswood shim under the saddle. The, very soft, basswood compresses to fill the gaps. It will hurt your acoustic tone, but it might fix your electrical problem.

Steve Mason