Bass Uke pickup volume not balanced fix.

KohanMike

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Not sure if I posted this here before, but if not, here is a fix for unbalanced volume on bass uke pickups I discovered on the Talk Bass forum that I've used a few times that works perfectly.

The pickup assembly has an inherent design flaw; the ceramic saddle (beige part) is solid even though there are slots cut in it. The metal tray it sits in has four individual pickup elements that the saddle is supposed to press against, but because the saddle is solid, it does not always put even pressure on the four pickups.

First undo the strings, then disconnect the pickup cable from the preamp by unscrewing the preamp to get to the where it's plugged in, or if you have a solid body bass, open the back plate to get to the pickup cable plug. Remove the assembly from the bridge. If you can't get to the plug, see if you can pull up the pickup assembly out of the bridge.

Next pull off the two black caps, they can be tight, and slide out the saddle. Next, I used an Xacto thin saw blade to cut apart the four sections of the saddle, you can also not cut all the way through, just be sure the cut is deep enough to be very flexible. If you cut apart the pieces, use a bit of tape on top of each cut to make it easier to put back in the metal tray. Carefully place the saddle assembly in the metal tray,. Slide in the black caps and put the assembly back in the bridge, plug it into the preamp and reset the strings, then remove the bits of tape of you used them.
Pickup Assembly.jpg

Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
8 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 36)
•Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
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Mickeyj4j

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How is this supposed to work I dont understand. How would cutting the bridge into seperate pieces fix any pressure on the Piezo element underneath. If the piezo and the bridge are both flat then the pressure and contact should be spread evenly over the pickup by the strings.
 
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KohanMike

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How is this supposed to work I dont understand. How would cutting the bridge into seperate pieces fit any pressure on the Piezo element underneath. If the piezo and the bridge are both flat then the pressure and contact should be spread evenly over the pickup by the strings.
It's not the bridge that gets cut, it's the saddle that's in a metal tray that presses on four separate pickup elements in the tray. Because the saddle is solid, it sometimes does not make contact with the four pickups evenly. By cutting apart the saddle, each piece makes direct contact with the one element under it via pressure from the corresponding string. The entire pickup assembly sits in the bridge. Do you have a bass uke with this kind of pickup assembly?
 

Mickeyj4j

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It's not the bridge that gets cut, it's the saddle that's in a metal tray that presses on four separate pickup elements in the tray.
Yes That is what I meant "why does the saddle get cut"
Because the saddle is solid, it sometimes does not make contact with the four pickups evenly. By cutting apart the saddle, each piece makes direct contact with the one element under it via pressure from the corresponding string.
I can only see this being a problem if the saddle Is not totally evenly flat, or if the strings are not made with even pressure to put even pressure on the pickup.
The entire pickup assembly sits in the bridge.
yes this is how piezo rod pickups, solid or seperated ones, work on all instruments that use them. Bass/uBass, Acoustic guitar, ukulele etc.
Do you have a bass uke with this kind of pickup assembly?
I have been playing musical instruments Guitar, Ukulele Bass for over 20 years. I have a custom 5 string uBass in the process of being shipped to me at the time of writing this reply. I believe it has a single rod piezo or at least 2 4 string ones cut to make a 5 string.
 

KohanMike

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I have been playing musical instruments Guitar, Ukulele Bass for over 20 years. I have a custom 5 string uBass in the process of being shipped to me at the time of writing this reply. I believe it has a single rod piezo or at least 2 4 string ones cut to make a 5 string.
Unless you have this particular pickup, you will not understand how this fix works, it's not a standard saddle. I have done this fix on six of my bass ukes, as have a number of other people. The proof is in the pudding.
 
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