PDA

View Full Version : LR Baggs Element `Ukulele Pickup



Kekani
10-15-2009, 10:40 PM
Just got my new stash in of `Ukulele pickups from LR Baggs.

About a year (or so) ago, I started custom ordering the Element, Volume control and battery lengths (because I'd alter their length anyway). About that time, some guy in Kalihi sent them specs on an `ukulele body (or did he actually send them an instrument?), and based on that, the Nylon string Element can now be ordered with `ukulele specs.

What does this mean? Well, that means that the UST itself fits REALLY well, and the volume control and battery wire don't have to be shortened for a clean install.

Just thought I'd share. Maybe this should be in the builder's lounge? But this doesn't necessarily have to do with building, as much as availability? Mods?

-Aaron

Aldrine Guerrero
10-15-2009, 10:51 PM
I've recently got the chance to work with an ukulele installed with the LR Baggs pickup. I'm pretty sure it was the element. I wasn't too fond of it to be honest. It was unbalanced in my opinion and too sensitive. I had to do a lot of saddle work in order to balance out the volume of each individual strings. And since it was too sensitive, I got a lot of unwanted noise that I wasn't too happy about. Also because of the sensitivity, the attacks on the strings were more harsh than usual.

The volume is pretty loud, which might be a priority for some people. But it was just a little too much for me. I dunno if it was just the one that I had, but I wasn't too impressed. I never had these problems with the Fishman matrix.

Just putting it out there :D

Kekani
10-15-2009, 11:39 PM
I agree, and disagree about the sensitivity.

Personally, the Matrix is a WAY easier install than a Baggs. The Baggs Element is very specific about its installation - the saddle channel needs to be flat, and the saddle needs to be flat as well. Of course, this goes for all the other pickups that use the Element wire (some D-TAR and the MiSi).

Also, the entire Element wire itself is a "pickup", and its location inside the instrument needs to be specific. Which is why the `Ukulele length pickup wire works very well. Not saying that the instrument you played had the pickup installed incorrectly, but if it wasn't VERY correct, then you can have problems with the extra length wire, such as "unwanted noise".

Guess this is for the builders to figure out. And the sound man - depending on the instrument, tapping down the bass on the head helps, for my tenors anyway (and a Kanile`a Super Tenor that I've heard).

Of course, after all that, the Elements that I've done, compared to the Matrix's are more natural sounding, with the Matrix more sound sensitive and "easier" to get volume out of. The Matrix always has that familiar Fishman "quack", which I find present in the MiSi as well (not surprising - there is Fishman history in MiSi) - pretty much the opposite of what you've experienced.

I do have to add to the difficulty of installing a Baggs Element - not for the meek. I back angle the saddle on all my instruments now, about 7 degrees, which works when I set action, and is invaluable for pickup installations (learned that trick from Rick Turner). However, once all that work and fine tuning is done, its worth it.

My take? A good Matrix install will beat a good Element install anyday. Personally, its a hard to beat a great Element install. And now with the `Ukulele specs, fine tuning is 90% there because you don't have to mess with the wire.

ukecantdothat
10-16-2009, 07:13 AM
I'm expecting to get a Mainland concert with the MiSi installed. It's being set up today.
I wrote to Mike with my concerns based on this exchange and he assured me that his set ups are well tested before shipment. I have total confidence that it will be to my liking. I have to say that Mike has always responded quickly, sometimes within minutes, to my inquiries. It's good to know there are still people out there who genuinely care about their customers.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-16-2009, 07:20 AM
If only they could eliminate that damned battery!

ukecantdothat
10-16-2009, 07:28 AM
I tried to get it with a passive pickup, but there was a problem with the size of the saddle channel on the concert size. The honeybee is available with a passive, though. From what I understand, the MiSi has a battery charger that is plugged in for only one minute and holds a charge for 16 hours, so at least there's no hassle with accessing with screws and there's less intrusion into the uke with a bulky compartment.

hoosierhiver
10-16-2009, 07:35 AM
Grumpy did a review of the Mi-Si system.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17027

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-16-2009, 07:58 AM
Grumpy did a review of the Mi-Si system.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17027

Grumpy echoes my experience with the MiSi Trios. I've installed a couple of dozen without any trouble at all. (Except for the one in which I attempted to shorten the wire!) The battery recharge trick really does work.

hoosierhiver
10-16-2009, 08:08 AM
Grumpy echoes my experience with the MiSi Trios. I've installed a couple of dozen without any trouble at all. (Except for the one in which I attempted to shorten the wire!) The battery recharge trick really does work.

I've spoken with the owner before, he said if you cut the wire that there is about a 50% chance you will ruin the element. Something about the plastic sheath helping with the conductivity.

ukecantdothat
10-16-2009, 08:40 AM
I've spoken with the owner before, he said if you cut the wire that there is about a 50% chance you will ruin the element. Something about the plastic sheath helping with the conductivity.
Thanks for the info and the battery charge trick. I would be just like me to be without the cable when I need it most. I feel Mo' Bettah, now...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-16-2009, 09:21 AM
Regarding the battery recharge for the MiSi, this might help.

ukecantdothat
10-16-2009, 09:45 AM
Regarding the battery recharge for the MiSi, this might help.
Oh, good. I'm glad this points out it's a stereo plug, otherwise I would be going !#@%&!!! Now all I have to do is remember not to forget the charger AND the stereo cable... Thanks again.

Keonikapila
10-16-2009, 09:55 AM
I have a LR Baggs Element in my KoAloha, the guy that did my install didn't shorten the wire. The overly-long wire (along with the oversized battery bag) were my only things I didn't like about it.

The excess wire bundle eventually started causing some buzzing issues so I ended up wrapping the whole thing in electrical tape and then taping it to the side of the body. It's not too noticable, but the tape has to be changed every once in a while.

I wonder if I could trade in the old pickup for a new one with a shorter wire...haha...:rolleyes:

hoosierhiver
10-16-2009, 10:00 AM
I usually use a wall base mount with a zip tie to bundle up the extra wire inside.

Aldrine Guerrero
10-16-2009, 10:06 AM
with the Matrix more sound sensitive and "easier" to get volume out of. The Matrix always has that familiar Fishman "quack", which I find present in the MiSi as well (not surprising - there is Fishman history in MiSi) - pretty much the opposite of what you've experienced.


Yeah I agree with the "quack" sound. If it wasn't for that, fishman would be perfect haha. But the pickup itself for LR Baggs is hard to get consistent. Mainly, the E string was a lot softer than the rest. I had to add extra surface under the saddle to compensate for the E string. But even then it was still being a little itch in the butt because it threw everything else off and having to compensate everything else. :/

Keonikapila
10-16-2009, 10:47 AM
I usually use a wall base mount with a zip tie to bundle up the extra wire inside.

Yea that's basically how the guy originally did it, but eventually the bundle ended up shifting and touching something and causing a buzz. Reaching into the soundhole and moving the bundle around cleared up the buzz, but I was having to do that so often i just resorted to the electrical tape.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-16-2009, 02:06 PM
The wire for the Fishman UST can be shortened and resoldered without problem. I've done all my Fishman installations this way. Don't try to shorten the Baggs though. Doesn't work for me.
I don't angle the bottom of the saddles to compensate for any lean. First, if my saddle is sized properly and the slot is deep enough, there's not much of a lean anyway. What works for me is that I put a very slight radius on the bottom edge of the saddle itself and that seems to ensure positive and consistent contact with the UST.

Kekani
10-16-2009, 07:02 PM
Fishman makes the Matrix, Baggs makes the Element. . .

If your Fishman has a long wire, that can be fixed. Not so easy with the Baggs, as Chuck mentioned. I've fried an element shortening it - takes a very delicate touch. I'm glad they sell it shortened.

I'm like Chuck, I don't agree with Baggs instructions to angle the saddle on the bottom, so I just angle the saddle slot. Not an easy thing to do, but, like the benefits of a well installed Baggs, its worth the pain. Without the quack.

I guess a rule of thumb is this (following Aldrine's issues) - if the saddle slot isn't great, and the Saddle not fitting excellent, go with a Fishman. Although, I have installed an Element with a "loose" saddle, BUT, it was flat in the slot and on the bottom of the Saddle.

-Aaron

seeso
10-16-2009, 07:05 PM
All these crazy details can make my head swim sometimes. But I'm making sense of it, little by little. Thanks for all the great insight, guys.