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Need help removing a fishman sonitone from a Martin guitar
Old 2nd August 2020
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Need help removing a fishman sonitone from a Martin guitar

Sorry for the dumb questions but I know very little about pickups.

How do I remove the control part? Seems like it's stuck with glue... Can I use a sharp blade to cut it out?
I want to replace it with a LR Baggs anthem sl. Will I have to adjust anything or should that fit in as a direct replacement?
Old 2nd August 2020
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedfingaz View Post
Sorry for the dumb questions but I know very little about pickups.

How do I remove the control part? Seems like it's stuck with glue... Can I use a sharp blade to cut it out?
I want to replace it with a LR Baggs anthem sl. Will I have to adjust anything or should that fit in as a direct replacement?
If you do not have the Baggs installed by a professional it will void your warranty. (It says so in the manual.)

I have one in my J-200, btw. They're great.

The undersaddle part of the Baggs is not the same size as other undersaddles (it's thicker and round, not thin and flat) and probably will require a bit of woodworking for a proper fit.
Old 3rd August 2020
  #3
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Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedfingaz View Post
Sorry for the dumb questions but I know very little about pickups.

How do I remove the control part? Seems like it's stuck with glue... Can I use a sharp blade to cut it out?
I want to replace it with a LR Baggs anthem sl. Will I have to adjust anything or should that fit in as a direct replacement?
You can use something a little less sharp, but it depends if its the original doublesided tape, but IF someone has used clue, then it may be a little tricky. If its like the crap B-Band uses it should fall off mine always did, on an Martin D15 until I replaced it with the LR Baggs anthem. I used isopropyl alcohol to clean that area for the LR Baggs to have a clean surface.

The only thing you may notice will be saddle height with the new pickup element. You can lay them, the new and old one side by side and that will give you a prospective. Other than that, Should be a go. Don't drill a hole for the jack though. I don't know what you already have, but hopefully its an strap jack.
Old 3rd August 2020
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Dalton View Post
You can use something a little less sharp, but it depends if its the original doublesided tape, but IF someone has used clue, then it may be a little tricky. If its like the crap B-Band uses it should fall off mine always did, on an Martin D15 until I replaced it with the LR Baggs anthem. I used isopropyl alcohol to clean that area for the LR Baggs to have a clean surface.

The only thing you may notice will be saddle height with the new pickup element. You can lay them, the new and old one side by side and that will give you a prospective. Other than that, Should be a go. Don't drill a hole for the jack though. I don't know what you already have, but hopefully its an strap jack.
You still need to have the Baggs installed professionally if you want your warranty.

Let's put it this way - I was a working guitar and amp tech for several decades. When I got my '59 J-200 I took it to Gary Brawer, the best guitar guy in San Francisco, to install my pickup. The quote was $75, but it ended up being $100 because there were problems with the installation that required additional surgery. Gary (as usual) did a great job, probably better than I could have done, and the work came with a guarantee, which I would not have had if I did it myself.

Cheap insurance.
Old 4th August 2020
  #5
Here for the gear
 

thanks for the replies.

Turns out it was just double sided tape. I used a stanley blade to get between the tape and the pickup just enough so i could pull it out without too much force.

Some further info for anyone who stumbles on this thread.
My fishman's battery was intalled in a little box that could be accessed from outside the guitar. This same bit of plastic had the jack port (probably not the correct term..) also. I cut a bit of the internal battery section so that i could put the anthem SL battery pack into the same section. It doesn't fit perfectly but some batteries are ok (ones with no protruding edges at the bottom). I plan to cut out some plastic from the battery "door" so that all 9v batteries will fit.

The mic installation is very straightforward and replacing the piezo was too. My bridge is a little lower than it was though, as the fishman piezo was about twice as thick as the anthem. I considered doubling over the anthem one (it is long enough) but it seems to work just fine as is so i've left that for now.

Getting started with the pickup was frustrating. Problems ranged from batteries not giving enough power (same battery was fine on another pickup) to an imperfect jack connection - probably because i had installed it into the existing fishman jack hole, it needs to be pushed right up into it. Also, some cables get really stuck into the jack port. I have to be very careful plugging out the guitar as there is a good chance of me ripping out the battery back and jack every time i do.

Finding a decent balance on the controls has been tough, and I'm still not quite there yet but I have had some promising results so far.

One big issue is that I am getting a lot more noise than i would have expected for something in this price range. The volume is very low (lr baggs are very open about it being "low-ish") and connecting to a behringer umc404hd (i've also tried connecting to a cheap preamp) requires a lot of input gain, therefor creating a lot of extra noise. I'm guessing a decent pickup will solve this problem but anyone looking to buy one of these should be aware of this!

Another complaint is that I had never heard of a "jewelers scredriver" before I had installed this. Now I need to carry one everywhere I take my guitar as it is required for tweaking the mic level, and the mic level balance is very hard to get right and I think it will take me a few days before I am completely happy with the settings on that.

The guitar is a Martin 000rs1
Old 4th August 2020
  #6
Gear Addict
 

Sounds like a considerable hassle. I think JE's $100 was well spent. I have the LR Baggs professionally-dealer fitted in my Lowden's and have had no problems of low levels or noise with Headway or a Gracie pre-amp, or direct into my Fishman Loudbox.
Just wondering if you might get it better balanced or tweaked?
Old 4th August 2020
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedfingaz View Post
thanks for the replies.

Turns out it was just double sided tape. I used a stanley blade to get between the tape and the pickup just enough so i could pull it out without too much force.

Some further info for anyone who stumbles on this thread.
My fishman's battery was intalled in a little box that could be accessed from outside the guitar. This same bit of plastic had the jack port (probably not the correct term..) also. I cut a bit of the internal battery section so that i could put the anthem SL battery pack into the same section. It doesn't fit perfectly but some batteries are ok (ones with no protruding edges at the bottom). I plan to cut out some plastic from the battery "door" so that all 9v batteries will fit.

The mic installation is very straightforward and replacing the piezo was too. My bridge is a little lower than it was though, as the fishman piezo was about twice as thick as the anthem. I considered doubling over the anthem one (it is long enough) but it seems to work just fine as is so i've left that for now.

Getting started with the pickup was frustrating. Problems ranged from batteries not giving enough power (same battery was fine on another pickup) to an imperfect jack connection - probably because i had installed it into the existing fishman jack hole, it needs to be pushed right up into it. Also, some cables get really stuck into the jack port. I have to be very careful plugging out the guitar as there is a good chance of me ripping out the battery back and jack every time i do.

Finding a decent balance on the controls has been tough, and I'm still not quite there yet but I have had some promising results so far.

One big issue is that I am getting a lot more noise than i would have expected for something in this price range. The volume is very low (lr baggs are very open about it being "low-ish") and connecting to a behringer umc404hd (i've also tried connecting to a cheap preamp) requires a lot of input gain, therefor creating a lot of extra noise. I'm guessing a decent pickup will solve this problem but anyone looking to buy one of these should be aware of this!

Another complaint is that I had never heard of a "jewelers scredriver" before I had installed this. Now I need to carry one everywhere I take my guitar as it is required for tweaking the mic level, and the mic level balance is very hard to get right and I think it will take me a few days before I am completely happy with the settings on that.

The guitar is a Martin 000rs1
One thing you should do, is look at at guitar cable end, it could be bent or got crushed enough to not fit.
Old 6th August 2020
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedfingaz View Post
thanks for the replies.

Turns out it was just double sided tape. I used a stanley blade to get between the tape and the pickup just enough so i could pull it out without too much force.

Some further info for anyone who stumbles on this thread.
My fishman's battery was intalled in a little box that could be accessed from outside the guitar. This same bit of plastic had the jack port (probably not the correct term..) also. I cut a bit of the internal battery section so that i could put the anthem SL battery pack into the same section. It doesn't fit perfectly but some batteries are ok (ones with no protruding edges at the bottom). I plan to cut out some plastic from the battery "door" so that all 9v batteries will fit.

The mic installation is very straightforward and replacing the piezo was too. My bridge is a little lower than it was though, as the fishman piezo was about twice as thick as the anthem. I considered doubling over the anthem one (it is long enough) but it seems to work just fine as is so i've left that for now.

Getting started with the pickup was frustrating. Problems ranged from batteries not giving enough power (same battery was fine on another pickup) to an imperfect jack connection - probably because i had installed it into the existing fishman jack hole, it needs to be pushed right up into it. Also, some cables get really stuck into the jack port. I have to be very careful plugging out the guitar as there is a good chance of me ripping out the battery back and jack every time i do.

Finding a decent balance on the controls has been tough, and I'm still not quite there yet but I have had some promising results so far.

One big issue is that I am getting a lot more noise than i would have expected for something in this price range. The volume is very low (lr baggs are very open about it being "low-ish") and connecting to a behringer umc404hd (i've also tried connecting to a cheap preamp) requires a lot of input gain, therefor creating a lot of extra noise. I'm guessing a decent pickup will solve this problem but anyone looking to buy one of these should be aware of this!

Another complaint is that I had never heard of a "jewelers scredriver" before I had installed this. Now I need to carry one everywhere I take my guitar as it is required for tweaking the mic level, and the mic level balance is very hard to get right and I think it will take me a few days before I am completely happy with the settings on that.

The guitar is a Martin 000rs1
Please pardon me for being a bit harsh, but it sounds to me like you really screwed it up. And NO, DO NOT "double over" the undersaddle pickup, you could ruin it permanently.

The fact that the volume is low is another potential indicator - I can't quite say because I don't know what the relative levels of the two pickups are supposed to be, but it's a possible indication.

Next time you have something that requires professional installation TAKE IT TO A DAMN PROFESSIONAL!!! Somebody who doesn't even know what a jeweler's screwdriver is has no business dealing with something like this. Maybe it SEEMS like a simple installation, but there are unobvious things that can go wrong - which is why I had somebody else do my guitar despite my several decades of working on other peoples gear.

And before you mess it up any more, TAKE IT TO A GODDAM TECH. A good one.
Old 6th August 2020
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedfingaz View Post
thanks for the replies.

Turns out it was just double sided tape. I used a stanley blade to get between the tape and the pickup just enough so i could pull it out without too much force.

Some further info for anyone who stumbles on this thread.
My fishman's battery was intalled in a little box that could be accessed from outside the guitar. This same bit of plastic had the jack port (probably not the correct term..) also. I cut a bit of the internal battery section so that i could put the anthem SL battery pack into the same section. It doesn't fit perfectly but some batteries are ok (ones with no protruding edges at the bottom). I plan to cut out some plastic from the battery "door" so that all 9v batteries will fit.

The mic installation is very straightforward and replacing the piezo was too. My bridge is a little lower than it was though, as the fishman piezo was about twice as thick as the anthem. I considered doubling over the anthem one (it is long enough) but it seems to work just fine as is so i've left that for now.

Getting started with the pickup was frustrating. Problems ranged from batteries not giving enough power (same battery was fine on another pickup) to an imperfect jack connection - probably because i had installed it into the existing fishman jack hole, it needs to be pushed right up into it. Also, some cables get really stuck into the jack port. I have to be very careful plugging out the guitar as there is a good chance of me ripping out the battery back and jack every time i do.

Finding a decent balance on the controls has been tough, and I'm still not quite there yet but I have had some promising results so far.

One big issue is that I am getting a lot more noise than i would have expected for something in this price range. The volume is very low (lr baggs are very open about it being "low-ish") and connecting to a behringer umc404hd (i've also tried connecting to a cheap preamp) requires a lot of input gain, therefor creating a lot of extra noise. I'm guessing a decent pickup will solve this problem but anyone looking to buy one of these should be aware of this!

Another complaint is that I had never heard of a "jewelers scredriver" before I had installed this. Now I need to carry one everywhere I take my guitar as it is required for tweaking the mic level, and the mic level balance is very hard to get right and I think it will take me a few days before I am completely happy with the settings on that.

The guitar is a Martin 000rs1
theres a couple thing you can do. For one, take a sharp pencil and scribe your saddle along the top of the bridge plate, then unstring and remove the saddle and check that the bottom of the saddle is evenly flat, then lift the element and take a small thin narrow piece of cardboard,(something for a gauge) insert it in the saddle slot at one end and mark it, then move it across the slot to make sure you get the same height with that mark across the bridge, as their could be inconsistency's with the slot, inturn not allowing the element to make complete contact (same with the saddle) if its not flat and has a bow to it. Now this will have a bunch telling you other wise, but to get that action/height back up, take a couple of the flat toothpicks and cut them to fit in the slot, as one wont work because theyre taper off and you want that width, then soak them in water for ten or so minutes, wipe them off, replace the element, the lay the toothpicks on top of the element, then the the saddle, restring. The toothpicks will swell and conform and eliminate any inconsistency's/air gaps.

You might fix that jack issue also, while you have it unstrung.
Old 6th August 2020
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Please pardon me for being a bit harsh, but it sounds to me like you really screwed it up. And NO, DO NOT "double over" the undersaddle pickup, you could ruin it permanently.

The fact that the volume is low is another potential indicator - I can't quite say because I don't know what the relative levels of the two pickups are supposed to be, but it's a possible indication.

Next time you have something that requires professional installation TAKE IT TO A DAMN PROFESSIONAL!!! Somebody who doesn't even know what a jeweler's screwdriver is has no business dealing with something like this. Maybe it SEEMS like a simple installation, but there are unobvious things that can go wrong - which is why I had somebody else do my guitar despite my several decades of working on other peoples gear.

And before you mess it up any more, TAKE IT TO A GODDAM TECH. A good one.
Nah, I did a pretty great job. The volume being low is something acknowledged by LR Baggs. It's just the nature of this type of pickup. Running it through a low-end interface is not ideal for this pickup and I just think its something that other people looking to get one should know.
Doubling over would have been done with some research and testing. Rick Dalton's advice has been spot on. The cable itself is a bit dodgy and the original fishman battery section is not the most well built. The combination of those is a problem but it is cosmetic and very fixable. There is no fear of ruining the guitar on account of those issues.
I had tried reach out to professionals to get this done but it was harder to find one in my area than i would have expected due to the covid etc... I did eventually get a quote for 50 euro and I am glad I installed it myself and saved the money. Installing it also helped me learn how to trouble shoot it if something does go wrong so it has added benefit.
My own advice for someone replacing an undersaddle pickup like this would be to give it a shot but be very careful not to damage the pickup or the guitar. If you find it tricky then contact a pro.
Old 6th August 2020
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedfingaz View Post
... I know very little about pickups.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedfingaz View Post

Getting started with the pickup was frustrating. Problems ranged from batteries not giving enough power (same battery was fine on another pickup) to an imperfect jack connection - probably because i had installed it into the existing fishman jack hole, it needs to be pushed right up into it. Also, some cables get really stuck into the jack port. I have to be very careful plugging out the guitar as there is a good chance of me ripping out the battery back and jack every time i do.

One big issue is that I am getting a lot more noise than i would have expected for something in this price range. The volume is very low (lr baggs are very open about it being "low-ish") and connecting to a behringer umc404hd (i've also tried connecting to a cheap preamp) requires a lot of input gain, therefor creating a lot of extra noise.
How do the quotes above lead you to the quote below? Seriously, how?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedfingaz View Post
Nah, I did a pretty great job.
Old 7th August 2020
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by littleeden View Post
How do the quotes above lead you to the quote below? Seriously, how?
That was then, this is now.

If you are ever looking for someone to install a pickup on your guitar hit me up
Old 7th August 2020
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedfingaz View Post
That was then, this is now.

If you are ever looking for someone to install a pickup on your guitar hit me up
Old 7th August 2020
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedfingaz View Post
That was then, this is now.

If you are ever looking for someone to install a pickup on your guitar hit me up
Think I'll pass, thanks.
Old 8th August 2020
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedfingaz View Post
That was then, this is now.

If you are ever looking for someone to install a pickup on your guitar hit me up
Not in a million years.
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