LR Baggs Five-0 VS Classical Element - Pickup Comparison

Brad Bordessa

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In the interest of better plugged in tone, I thought I'd share this report from the trenches with you folks.

I recently replaced the Five-0 in my Moore Bettah with the Baggs Element. Nothing wrong with the Five-0, but I needed to know what the difference is. Spoiler alert: it wasn't profound. But it was enough that I'm glad I did it.

This is probably a rabbit hole only worth going down if you're performing a lot and/or not happy with the Five-0: https://liveukulele.com/lessons/plug-in/pickups/lr-baggs-five-0-vs-element/.

Kekani has been talking for years about how he still installs (or did) the Element instead of the Five-0. I get it now. Got an update for us, Kekani?
 

aremick

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I wonder: could you just run the Five-0 with a double better to get more headroom?

I've seen some preamps that can run off 9 or 18 volts ...
 

Brad Bordessa

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Possibly. It would only make sense to me if you could run it on a 9V. Those watch batteries are part of the problem to me. If you're really curious, LR Baggs is pretty responsive if you ask them something like this.

But I'm also really appreciating the flatter response in addition to the headroom.
 

Kekani

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Brad, I agree with you. One of the issues initially was the battery, for me. Of course, now the Five.O is pretty much THE ukulele pickup as far as I’m concerned, and the battery becomes a concession. Coupled with a ParaAcoustic or Venue, I think there’s very few players that would not be happy with that setup, IF they take their time and get past the learning curve.

That said, I actually do prefer the Element, but haven’t installed them in years. I ordered my Elements “off the menu”, specific to what I was doing, so I no longer have to do special orders. Prior to that, I used to remove the element from the pre, shorten them, then reinstall. NOT for the meek, and pretty much voids any warranty (prior to my special orders) but removes the need to wrap.

When it comes down to it for me, the end doesn’t justify the means, anymore. Maybe if I built more than I currently do, but I don’t.

Of course, I have a discontinued Element waiting to be installed, with body controls and the battery in that box. Haven’t done the right project for it, yet.
 
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Ukecaster

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Is that Classical Element you're mentioning designed for classical guitar? I've seen some talk here where folks felt the need to shorten the Element to use in a uke.

Also, are they both low on the arm noise scale? That's my pet peeve with many acoustic pickups; I'd want a pickup with the lowest possible arm noise.
 

Brad Bordessa

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Howzit Kekani! Thanks for checking in. I like the sound of shortening the leads. Don't like the idea of doing it. Maybe we'll get a pre-shortened uke version with the 9v one of these days.

Ukecaster, yes, it's the classical guitar one. Kinda long, but I just coiled it up and zip tied it. Chuck had to do the same with the Five-0 I took out. They've got to give you more than you need, I guess.

Both are USTs so they don't make much, if any, arm noise.
 

bacchettadavid

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Mahalo, Brad, for the excellent write-up. A quality UST with a 9V neutral preamp is going to be very appealing to a lot of plugged-in ukers.