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Variax 300 Transplant Using Ghost Bridge Problems


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#1 tim1953

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 07:03 PM

So My Variax 300 has been transplanted into my Pro Jet.

I'm using a Ghost Resomax Gibson style bridge and here's what's happening.

If I have the strings in the saddle slots the signal is weak and has some weird over tones happening.

But if I lift the strings out of the saddle slots and rest them on the saddles to either side of the slots the tone gets pure and loud.

This is a brand new bridge - has anyone had this problem or did I possibly get a defective bridge.

Everything is wired correctly and grounded properly so this is puzzling me since everyone has said these Ghost bridges are better made than the LR Baggs bridges.


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#2 arislaf

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 06:31 AM

That is my problem bout 3 months now...


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#3 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 06:57 AM

Sounds like something is preventing good string contact with the piezo's.  They should be in good contact with the strings.  I retrofitted the strat type ghost pickups to my Variax 500 and they are great.  Way more output and better sounding than the originals - and they are all grounded!  I had to dial the string volumes down to 50% in Workbench to keep the electronics from saturating.


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#4 arislaf

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 10:52 AM

Sounds like cracking sound...I have the Variax 700 replace the piezos with the 8000 something graphteck...I really don't know how to fix this one, but I want it to work, since I love my 700 more than my JTV .


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#5 tim1953

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 03:55 PM

The nice people at Graphtech are sending me some replacement saddles.

My problem is the opposite of the usual piezo problem.

Since the slots were precut at the factory and haven't been filed it appears that the saddles could be defective.

The guy at Graphtech asked if I would do a test to see if they work properly as an acoustic pickup so I will be testing things before I send them back.

It's just weird that when the strings are in the slots the output is weak and the Variax glitches but as soon as I move the string out and to the side of the slot the signal gets loud and the Variax sounds great.

Hopefully it's just a defective set of piezo saddles.


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#6 hurghanico

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 04:18 PM

..It's just weird that when the strings are in the slots the output is weak and the Variax glitches but as soon as I move the string out and to the side of the slot the signal gets loud and the Variax sounds great...

 

very strange.... does it happen with all 6 strings the same way?

 

I noted that the standard variax bridge saddles have a rounded slot contour, while the tune o'matic bridge saddles have a very sharp v shaped slot contour..

could be that the reason?.. who knows?


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#7 hurghanico

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 04:31 PM

...Sounds like cracking sound...I have the Variax 700 replace the piezos with the 8000 something graphteck...I really don't know how to fix this one...

 

from what I know when you start hearing a crackling noise from a variax it's a sign that some bridge saddles need replacement..

 

I don't know what it is supposed that the GraphTech should last, but I imagine that even those will have a limit


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#8 tim1953

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 06:17 PM

very strange.... does it happen with all 6 strings the same way?

 

I noted that the standard variax bridge saddles have a rounded slot contour, while the tune o'matic bridge saddles have a very sharp v shaped slot contour..

could be that the reason?.. who knows?

Very strange indeed.

All strings have the problem but some to a lesser degree.

The small E is the closest to being normal.

I'm using the hybrid set of strings from Ernie Ball - 46 - 36  - 26 - 16 - 11 -  09

When they're out of the slots it sounds so pure - much better than it ever did on the 300 with the original LR Baggs bridge.

I'm hoping it's just a defect and the replacement saddles fix the problem.


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#9 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 07:01 PM

The strings should be only contacting the Piezo elements.  If they touch the bridge the bridge will keep the vibrations from getting to the piezo elements.  Something is wrong because these things are usually trouble free. 


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#10 tim1953

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 07:08 PM

The strings should be only contacting the Piezo elements.  If they touch the bridge the bridge will keep the vibrations from getting to the piezo elements.  Something is wrong because these things are usually trouble free. 

Yep they are only touching the saddles - plenty of clearance over the back of the bridge to the stop tail peice.

Yeah that's why I think I got a defective batch of saddles.

I've had several piezo bridges over the years on my electrics (Fishman Power bridge on my Telly, LR Baggs on my 300) and this is the first time I've had this kind of problem.


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#11 Jstimers

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 12:54 PM

Hey guys, just had the Ghosts installed on my Variax 500 with the non tem bridge. Here are some issues I have had so far.

Brought all models down 8db. Re-configured using the workbench I tested all the sounds through my PODxt and through the L6 footswithc with the TRS cable.

1. It seems as though the overall tone on all models is good. Strings 5 & 6 seem to have a trebely nasal tone to them. Strings 3&4 sound fine on all models.String 5&6 sound the same on the Les Paul model and the Strat model. String 1&2 seems mufflued and bassy. Makes me think that strings 1&2, 5&6 are reversed. I know graphtech says the saddles can be positioned anyware which makes me think it's a wiring issue or circuit issue. When I used to alternate tuning function on the workbench like I said earlier, strings 1&2 are where 5&6 should be. But even in drop D if I drop the 1st string to change the 6th to D it sounds lollipop up, hearing polytones or something.

2. The previous issues is really obvious on the sitar model. Strings 3&4 sound fine but 1&2, 5&6 sound lollipop up.

3. Palm muting on the 6th string on high gain settings I'm getting a nasaly sound. It improved a bit with lower the db but is still audible.

Any advice related to solving these issues would be greatly received. Thanks


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#12 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 01:23 PM

Move the string volumes up and down to verify which string is going into the input.  Make sure they match.  For example turn string 6 to zero and make sure that string 6 turns off.  I installed these on my 500 myself and it works perfectly!  Very much improved over the stock piezos.  I used the flex circuit so it was easy to tell that they were hooked up correctly. 


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#13 tim1953

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 07:45 PM

Update-

Installed new saddles today - a-5 & e-6 are still weak while strings 1 through 4 are better.

I did notice if I push down on the strings directly behind the bridge the volume gets louder and the tone cleans up and is very pure.

I lowered the stop tail piece all the way down so it's touching the guitar body - it got better but the sound is still not where it should be.

Even after lowering the stop tail piece there is still plenty of clearance so the strings are not touching the back of the bridge.

I guess I will call Graph Tech and report back to them.

They have been very nice through all of this but I really need to find a fix soon.

Everything else is working great other than the on going problem of not being able to get work bench to see the Variax.

I never had this problem until I upgraded the software.

 

Edit - New bridge on the way.

Work bench is working.

It appears you have to click on the HD 500 (not 300/600) before the software can find the Variax.

Will report back when new bridge arrives.


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#14 arislaf

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 09:39 PM

As for my problem, I didn;t solder the grounding wire correct, the crackling sounds came from the grounding that was moving when I was playing (tremolo bridge)


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#15 clay-man

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 11:38 PM

where is the grounding on an unmodded variax?


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For a minute there, I lost myself.

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#16 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 06:44 AM

My 500 relied on grounding the piezos through the strings to the fixed bridge.  Sucked.  I like to use Elixir coated strings and they did not make good contact all the time. 


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#17 amx05462

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 09:56 AM

what you may want to do  is get a small round  file  and  make the v  cut  a round cut in the  saddle  to the diameter  of your  strings. as mentioned  above  the  fender  style  saddle pickups  have a rounded  contact  area. so naturally  you would  have a larger  contact  area  vs  the  two point contact  onthe v  cut saddles.


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