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Classical guitar: high e-string low on volume

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by Limuz, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Limuz

    Limuz Electromatic

    38
    Sep 8, 2012
    Netherlands
    I've had this classical guitar for quite a while and it sounds great. Unfortunately, when I plug it in, the high-e string stays behind on volume. When I ring out a chord or play a melody, that string just won't keep up with the rest of 'em.

    It has a piezo pickup, other than that, I don't know much about it. Any ideas?
     
  2. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Make sure the bottom of the saddle is perfectly flat.
     
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  3. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Wildeman is right. My Alhambra has a lot of volume with the low E, so it's not normal. What strings are you using?
     
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  4. Limuz

    Limuz Electromatic

    38
    Sep 8, 2012
    Netherlands
    Thanks for the tip! I put some pressure on the saddle with my thumb and it 'popped' down a bit. Volume is definitely a little higher now, it doesn't quite match with the rest but it makes a difference!

    I'm using D'Addario EJ34's on it. Bronze basses, black trebles and ball ends.
     
  5. GretschPraise

    GretschPraise Electromatic

    42
    Jun 26, 2017
    Tampa Bay
    high tension strings will get you more presence in the trebles IME. D'Addario makes some nice ones for much less than what the European brands go for.
     
  6. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Not sure if it matters for the Piezo, but if it's a classical guitar, it needs to have true classical strings on it.
     
  7. Limuz

    Limuz Electromatic

    38
    Sep 8, 2012
    Netherlands
    The strings work with the Piezo, the strings themselves don't seem to be the issue.
     
  8. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Right, I wasn't thinking they would matter. But if it's a true classical, tension can be an issue. I honestly don't know, but I suspect true classical strings have lower tension than the folk strings? Not sure.
     
  9. Limuz

    Limuz Electromatic

    38
    Sep 8, 2012
    Netherlands
    I've had the guitar for a couple of years, the current strings are about two years old now I guess. If memory serves, if anything the current folk strings might even be harder to bend than the originals. I also recall the e-string being a little softer back then.

    Considering pushing the saddle down hard helped a little, I might look into doing the same to the entire bridge. Might be some space under there.
     
  10. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    I've not put much time into piezo pickups on acoustic guitars, but there's not much to it. You might try peeling up that little strip and see if its degraded in some way. Any dirt or invasive corrosion can impact it.

    I'm only commenting that I don't know if folk strings would create too much tension for a regular classical from a structure standpoint. Or how you're getting away with ball ends unless it's really a folk guitar.
     
    Limuz likes this.
  11. Limuz

    Limuz Electromatic

    38
    Sep 8, 2012
    Netherlands
    I might indeed check that piezo strip, might be dirty like you said. I doubt there's muh difference in tension, the neck is still excellent, no warping.

    I'm pretty much pulling a Willie Nelson, uses folk nylons on Trigger as well.
    IMG_20180612_215530.jpg
     
  12. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Traditional classical stringing:

    http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/Classical/ClassicStr/classicstr1.html

    I wouldn't have thought the ball ends are good for the bridge, but if Willie gets away with it, what the heck!
     
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  13. section2

    section2 Electromatic

    65
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    How many sensors are on your piezo pickup, and where are they placed? You might try experimenting with moving the sensor(s) around for better sensitivity. If you still have trouble, a reasonable solution might be to replace the piezo setup with one from JJB Electronics. They make a four-piezo setup for classical guitars which they sell for $60. I have the three-piezo model on my dreadnought, and it's terrific. Their customer service is top-notch.

    http://www.jjb-electronics.com/prestige-430c.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018 at 9:52 AM
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  14. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Great tip - I'll have to look these guys up when I get my Martin D28 HD one day...
     
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  15. section2

    section2 Electromatic

    65
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Ah, I've just realized that you have an under-saddle piezo strip, like this:

    [​IMG]

    For some reason, I'd been thinking that you had a set of piezos mounted to the underside of your soundboard, like this:

    [​IMG]

    With the piezo strip, it makes sense that a poor fit between the saddle and the piezo might be the source of your problem. Truing up the bottom of the saddle might help. Or the piezo might be dirty or degraded.

    If you're looking for an easy upgrade, though, I'm a big fan of soundboard-mounted piezos like the JJBs. They pick up the vibration of the soundboard in addition to the strings, so they tend to produce a warmer and more natural acoustic sound.
     
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