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Thread: Gibson J45 amplication problems

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  1. #1
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    Gibson J45 amplication problems

    I have recently bought a Gibson J45 (about 3 - 4 years old). It's a lovely guitar and sounds wonderful acoustically.

    The Element Active (factory fitted) works nicely but I detest the quack... so I took the UST out and fitted a Takamine Tri-Ax (basically an M1-Active) taken off my '60s Martin 00-18 (upon which it sounds wonderful).

    The Tri-Ax didn't sound any good on the J45 either - boxy and very electronic! (Very frustrating as the house-guitar of the session I play at is a new Martin with fitted electrics that sounds just wonderful through the PA whoever strums it!)

    Anybody got a J45 and having similar problems? And anyone got any suggestions as to where I should go from here?

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    I just installed an M1A in a 1956 J-45. It sounds AMAZING.....absolutely AMAZING.....but it took a couple of hours of tweaking the pole pieces to get there. Out of the box, the body sounds were overwhelming. Raising the E-A-D-G pole pieces fixed that issue and produced a clean, clear, bright sound that cuts thru the mix of our 5 piece group.

    Previously, I had a passive p/u that I ran thru a Fishman ProEQII. I've tried the M1A thru the Fishman and can't find any EQ combination that equals the M1A straight into the system with the pole pieces carefully tweaked.

  3. #3
    Hi Flatback,

    Because guitars are made of organic materials and, like fingerprints, no two are exactly alike, you may encounter situations in which a certain guitar doesn't interact well with a type or selection of pickup options. The fact that the Triax sounded great on the 00-18 is a very good sign, not so much for the J-45. It may take some trial and error to find the pickup or system that interacts better with that guitar.

    If you're looking for the most natural and and accurate reproduction of a given acoustic guitar, it would be great if our Anthem system worked well in that J-45. It's provides the truest response to a guitar of any system we've ever made and would be worth considering.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your responses. I submit to Bryan's reply; a highly-respected local music shop owner said exactly the same thing. Sadly my Gibson may have to remain un-gigged and wholly acoustic for quite some time while I save up for this top-of-the-range system! Prices in the UK are much higher than those Stateside. If the dual-system works as well as I believe it will, it may be a huge step forward for many people like me in the same boat. I know my J45 is a particularly good guitar, even by Gibson standards; perhaps this Baggs system may even be something for Gibson to take on board? I won't know until I've tried it, but I'll let you know (eventually!)


    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan McManus View Post
    Hi Flatback,

    Because guitars are made of organic materials and, like fingerprints, no two are exactly alike, you may encounter situations in which a certain guitar doesn't interact well with a type or selection of pickup options. The fact that the Triax sounded great on the 00-18 is a very good sign, not so much for the J-45. It may take some trial and error to find the pickup or system that interacts better with that guitar.

    If you're looking for the most natural and and accurate reproduction of a given acoustic guitar, it would be great if our Anthem system worked well in that J-45. It's provides the truest response to a guitar of any system we've ever made and would be worth considering.

  5. #5
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    Just reading further about the Anthem; suggestions that the output is much lower than some other pick-up systems. I am at present saving up for the (expensive) Anthem .. but do I now need to plan a purchase for a pre-amp too? The price will rocket if I have to do that .. and may push the Anthem totally out of my budget!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by flatback View Post
    Just reading further about the Anthem; suggestions that the output is much lower than some other pick-up systems. I am at present saving up for the (expensive) Anthem .. but do I now need to plan a purchase for a pre-amp too? The price will rocket if I have to do that .. and may push the Anthem totally out of my budget!
    Hi flatback,

    L.R. Baggs is aware and acknowledges that the Anthem pickup systems, when compared to the wide range of active pickup systems available for acoustic guitar, are of "low-ish" output. A vast majority of Anthem users, however, are very happy with the output level and sound quality.

    A few have expressed concern over the output but it's fairly likely they are comparing it to something they've gotten used to and may have been using for years. One example is a gentleman who started using an Anthem after a long time using a competitor's system which happens to have a hot output relative to a lot of other systems. To him, at first, it seemed unusable when connected to a signal path dialed in for the system with hotter output. Once he understood why the system behaves like it does, he was able to adjust his signal path to suit the Anthem signal. The trick is to set the signal path for the system as opposed to expecting the system to conform to settings determined by a different system.

    The reason for the lower overall output is the specially-designed high- and low-cut filters required to achieve the crossover mixing circuit. They are responsible for the Anthem's ability to accurately amplify the guitar with high feedback resistance at high performance volumes. To adjust the circuit for higher output would have lowered the signal-to-noise ratio.

    All that said, it is not necessary to use a preamp between the Anthem and an amp or PA system. That doesn't mean one can't be used to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio or for any other useful features such as EQ, FX Loop or D.I. output(see Venue DI and Para Acoustic DI).
    Last edited by Bryan McManus; 10-18-2011 at 09:27 AM. Reason: additional info

  7. #7
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    Thanks Bryan

    I have ordered the Anthem from a local supplier!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan McManus View Post
    Hi flatback,

    L.R. Baggs is aware and acknowledges that the Anthem pickup systems, when compared to the wide range of active pickup systems available for acoustic guitar, are of "low-ish" output. A vast majority of Anthem users, however, are very happy with the output level and sound quality.

    A few have expressed concern over the output but it's fairly likely they are comparing it to something they've gotten used to and may have been using for years. One example is a gentleman who started using an Anthem after a long time using a competitor's system which happens to have a hot output relative to a lot of other systems. To him, at first, it seemed unusable when connected to a signal path dialed in for the system with hotter output. Once he understood why the system behaves like it does, he was able to adjust his signal path to suit the Anthem signal. The trick is to set the signal path for the system as opposed to expecting the system to conform to settings determined by a different system.

    The reason for the lower overall output is the specially-designed high- and low-cut filters required to achieve the crossover mixing circuit. They are responsible for the Anthem's ability to accurately amplify the guitar with high feedback resistance at high performance volumes. To adjust the circuit for higher output would have lowered the signal-to-noise ratio.

    All that said, it is not necessary to use a preamp between the Anthem and an amp or PA system. That doesn't mean one can't be used to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio or for any other useful features such as EQ, FX Loop or D.I. output(see Venue DI and Para Acoustic DI).

  8. #8
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    I'm in a similar position to flatback. I've purchased a used J-45 (from Elderly Instruments in Lansing) with an installed Element Active, which sounds pretty good for fingerstyle but quacks obviously when I strum. Switching to an Anthem sounds like one way to approach this, and is probably what I will do at some point. Are there other approaches, such as combining an M1 with the Element Active, that will yield good results? (don't like the M1 look, but love the sounds I've heard from it.)

    BTW, I use a Marshall amp that sounds great but lacks a mid-range control. I'm hoping not to have to adjust both bass and treble as I move between styles. (Yeah, I can see a DI down the road, too.)

  9. #9
    I have a 1956 J-45 with an M1A installed in the soundhole. I think the sound is absolutely fabulous!! I had to tweak the pole pieces over several rehearsals to get the balance between the body and strings I wanted, but now I'm EXTREMELY happy with the sound. It was WAY too body-sensitive and I was quite disappointed before I adjusted the pole pieces. I'm a BIG fan of the M1A.

  10. #10
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    Any issues with the M1A?

    Thanks, Dakota (very cool handle, BTW) and duly noted. My only magnetic pickup (an original equipment NonoMag) sounds great, but gets a lot of RF interference. Don't know whether it's the Mag or my house! Any interference issues with the M1?

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