Getting Hex in acoustic
I once had the Taylor DDSM with the LR Baggs Hexaphonic pickup:
This is an actual picture of my old guitar! I had to sell it. Now I have the Ibanez AES20BK:
It's a decent fingerstyle guitar with 2 and 1/4 spacing at the saddle. I love the pre-amp in it because it has a balanced XLR out and sounds great through the mic input on my amp. I want to put the same hexaphonic pickups I had in the DDSM in this guitar, run it into the pre-amp and out the XLR. I don't want to compromise when I upgrade hardware. It looks like LR Baggs has discontinued this product, so I am wondering about my options, and have several questions: 1) Would I be compromising at all by installing the LB6X instead? 2) I set my action very low, how could I do this with the LB6X when it's all one piece? Do I order custom? Where can I find specs on the height of this thing? 3) Could I use this product http://www.musiciansfriend.com/acces...ge-pickup-gold and take out the pickups to place them in the saddle slot? Remember..2.25'' spacing. 4) Is the Hex system used in the DDSM available anywhere? Everywhere I looked is sold out and it rarely appears on eBay. 5) I don't know anything about why the saddle is orientated like it is. On the Ibanez, is is slanted with the 'B' string set back. On the DDSM it achieves this by having individual spots carved out for each pickup. It appears to be the same on the image used on this old product page: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/acces...ckups-set-of-6 But if I installed them, I'd have to just stick them in the saddle slot in a straight line with some kind of shims in between. Would this ruin the intonation of my guitar? I have no idea how this works.
Doyle's new signature Guild is using the LB6X and it sounds well-balanced but I really just loved the sound that came out of the Hex in the Taylor (I think the Hex sounded much better, somehow more balanced and hot? Maybe it was the tone. I am very particular about my tone and don't like sounding like an acoustic guitar (scratchy, thin) at all, instead I aim to sound like a piano: smooth, full, brilliant, balanced) and don't want anything less. What should I do?
Last edited by ca1987; 09-19-2014 at 08:42 AM.
Hey there, ca1987!
That's a pretty intensive set of questions, but I'll try to help you out as much as I can.
First off, the Hex pickups were completely discontinued over a year ago, and we no longer have any available for retail sale. So if you cannot find a set online, then it is likely that you will not find them anywhere. On the same note, the T-Bridge saddles (linked above in your questions) are not comparable to the Hex pickups in their intended use or their design. So they would not be a compatible option for your Ibanez.
The LB pickups are absolutely the closest sounding pickups to the Hex that we still make, although they're definitely not the most natural sounding pickups in our product line. Doyle uses the LB on 3 of his guitars because that sound works for his style. The attack response of the LB and Hex pickups isn't necessarily natural or "acoustic" sounding (like any undersaddle pickup), but in the hands of the right player, the LB/Hex have a certain quality that works really well. So if you want to get as close as possible to the sound of the Hex pickups, the LB6-X would be the way to go.
With that said, I cannot guarantee that the LB6-X will work with the preamp that you have in your Ibanez. The LB could likely overdrive the stock preamp in that guitar, causing distortion at any playing level. Because it is a stock preamp, there isn't enough information available for me to tell you for sure. It could work just fine. So it would be your choice entirely on whether or not to attempt it.
The LB pickups themselves measure at 3/8" tall, 1/8" wide, and 2-7/8" long. The height can be filed down from the top in order to lower the action (to a certain point) and to adjust the intonation. If your Ibanez saddle slot doesn't meet the width and length specs, then the bridge would possibly need to be filled and then re-routed entirely in order to fit the pickup. The LB pickups are difficult to install, so I would only recommend having it done by an experienced LB installer.
I hope that gives you a good idea of what would be involved. If you have any more questions, just let me know.
Thanks for your reply.
After listening to both pickups more, I'm convinced there is just no match for the Hex as far as what I'm looking for. I'll wait for a set to show up online. What did the Hex pickup come with and what will I need? Because I've seen them with just the pickups and wires, and I've seen them with more hardware (see embedded image).
Is there a tutorial available for installation into a pre-amp, or does the system come with an instruction book?
The picture definitely includes everything that you would get with a new Hex set. The box usually includes a routing template as well.
If you are not able to get a complete system from an online source, let me know what your kit is missing. We should have parts for the kit (summing board, etc), if nothing else.