Replacing Piezo Saddles

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Wheresthedug
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Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by Wheresthedug » Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:41 pm

The B string piezo recently stopped working on my 97 deluxe.

I managed to source a replacement (and a couple of extra ones just in case I need them in future).

It looks like an easy soldering job to replace it but I presume it os safer to take the bridge off to do so.

How do I do this? Just keep loosening the two hex screws until it come out? Or is there more to it?

Any other tips or things O should look out for when replacing a piezo?

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Re: Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by vjmanzo » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:12 pm

Hi @Wheresthedug, and welcome to the forum!

Yes, removing the bridge is the easiest way to do this, and it can be done by loosening the hex screws you mentioned; just be careful because the ground wire is still connected to the bridge and preamp.

However – – before you do that: it’s possible that the piezo is (to quote “the Princess Bride“) “only mostly dead“ :P Have you tried spraying it with compressed air? The piezo element itself is really tiny and, as you may already know, is embedded in the saddle; sometimes, it just takes a little bit of air to get the piezo crystals in the element to make contact with the underside of the saddle again. I had a similar issue on my fly concert, and that fixed it for me.
Fly Mojo '05, Fly Deluxe '07 w/Sustainiac, Fly Mojo '08 w/Sustainiac, Fly Concert '97, Fly Classic '03, Fly Deluxe '97, Fly Artist '10, Fly Deluxe Redwood '93, Fly Bass FB-4 '03, NiteFly NFV3 '97, Fly Mojo 12-string ‘11, Fly Concert ' 98, Fly Maple Custom '01, Fly Nylon '99, Fly Stealth '00 info

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Re: Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by Wheresthedug » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:51 pm

That sounds quite plausible. As the B string can be made to work by tapping it. When it doesn't work there is a terrible buzzing sound too.

Here it is in action

https://youtu.be/erdr8V0tjEg

Where exactly do you spray with air? Under the saddle? Down on top of the saddle? from behind the bridge cavity?

Thanks

Alan

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Re: Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by vjmanzo » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:06 pm

Hi Alan,

Thanks for the video. Very helpful!

OK – – it seems, to me, to be less likely that the issue is the piezo element not working, and more like a ground issue. The fact that it stops when you touch certain components on the guitar leads me to think this way. I’ve encountered this issue before on my Fly Concert where the hum stopped when I touched the B string; I also encountered it on a friend’s Fly nylon.

For my Concert, I sprayed compressed air underneath the saddles (if that makes sense) with the idea that there might be dust or something underneath the saddles that needed to get out.

For my friend’s Nylon, the issue was, in fact, that the piezo element needed to be replaced; fwiw—the preamp did not need to be replaced.

The clicking sound with the knobs, if I’m interpreting that correct, is expected behavior when you’re working with just the piezo signal at a hot level; any sort of vibration that happens on the guitar can get translated into the string and, as such, the piezo.

Keep us posted! There are lots of people on this forum that have encountered similar issues before.
Fly Mojo '05, Fly Deluxe '07 w/Sustainiac, Fly Mojo '08 w/Sustainiac, Fly Concert '97, Fly Classic '03, Fly Deluxe '97, Fly Artist '10, Fly Deluxe Redwood '93, Fly Bass FB-4 '03, NiteFly NFV3 '97, Fly Mojo 12-string ‘11, Fly Concert ' 98, Fly Maple Custom '01, Fly Nylon '99, Fly Stealth '00 info

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Re: Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by vjmanzo » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:07 pm

For simplicity sake, I embedded the video you posted below (with the “media” tag), so others can see it:

Fly Mojo '05, Fly Deluxe '07 w/Sustainiac, Fly Mojo '08 w/Sustainiac, Fly Concert '97, Fly Classic '03, Fly Deluxe '97, Fly Artist '10, Fly Deluxe Redwood '93, Fly Bass FB-4 '03, NiteFly NFV3 '97, Fly Mojo 12-string ‘11, Fly Concert ' 98, Fly Maple Custom '01, Fly Nylon '99, Fly Stealth '00 info

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Re: Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by Wheresthedug » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:34 pm

Thanks.

Yes, my first thought was grounding too. I tried checking everything with the multi meter and the Fly schematic that was on the old forum. All the mag pickup grounding seems fine. Not sure how to even check the ground on a piezo though as there is only one wire coming from the transducer.

I read somewhere about someone having a grounding issue when using D'Addario XL strings as the painted ends didn't provide a ground contact. I happen to be using Xl's so that struck me a a possibility but it wouldn't explain the B string behaviour.

Also when rubbing my hand across the body I hear a static like noise when on the mag pickups which I also thought might be grounding related but as I already mentioned the grounding seems OK on the meter. Have you ever come across this before?

As for the clicking noise. No, it actually happens on the mag pickups even when the piezo is turned off. Although the mag pickups all seem incredibly lively and pickup any knocks to the guitar body the way I would expect a piezo to do.


I'll try compressed air tomorrow and see if that does anything.

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Re: Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by vjmanzo » Sat Feb 08, 2020 11:36 pm

Wheresthedug wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:34 pm
As for the clicking noise. No, it actually happens on the mag pickups even when the piezo is turned off. Although the mag pickups all seem incredibly lively and pickup any knocks to the guitar body the way I would expect a piezo to do.
Hmmm...that's a new one--ya know, I hate to say it, but maybe something's up with the pre-amp? If the mag signal is responding that way, it's possible that mixing system in the pre-amp is bleeding in the piezo signal even if the potentiometer is turned off. There's a potentiometer on the actual Fishman preamp that you can turn down to test this theory; if turn down the piezo signal on the preamp doesn't turn off the piezo signal completely and/or clean up the mag signal, then there could be an issue at the preamp.

Does the clicking persist even with the red button pushed in and a stereo jack connected? My other thought is that the switching system in the jack could be the culprit. So you have a way of testing the stereo functionality by sending the mag pickups to one amp and the piezo to another? You'll want to check for ground hum in either amp as well as bleed (from the signal you're not expecting) in either amp.
Fly Mojo '05, Fly Deluxe '07 w/Sustainiac, Fly Mojo '08 w/Sustainiac, Fly Concert '97, Fly Classic '03, Fly Deluxe '97, Fly Artist '10, Fly Deluxe Redwood '93, Fly Bass FB-4 '03, NiteFly NFV3 '97, Fly Mojo 12-string ‘11, Fly Concert ' 98, Fly Maple Custom '01, Fly Nylon '99, Fly Stealth '00 info

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Re: Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by Wheresthedug » Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:20 pm

I finally got a chance to wok on the Fly today. I changed the B String saddle as I managed to locate some spares. I also took the opportunity to fix the LED which had broken one of the legs so wasn't making contact anymore.

Everything is now working fine again :D

There is still a little bit of "static" clicking when touching the tone pot etc but nothing I can't live with.

Thanks for your help.

Alan

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Re: Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by vjmanzo » Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:42 pm

Fantastic news, @Wheresthedug! Glad you’re back in the saddle (pun intended)!!

So, did you change the saddle and transfer the piezo element that was in the saddle?
Fly Mojo '05, Fly Deluxe '07 w/Sustainiac, Fly Mojo '08 w/Sustainiac, Fly Concert '97, Fly Classic '03, Fly Deluxe '97, Fly Artist '10, Fly Deluxe Redwood '93, Fly Bass FB-4 '03, NiteFly NFV3 '97, Fly Mojo 12-string ‘11, Fly Concert ' 98, Fly Maple Custom '01, Fly Nylon '99, Fly Stealth '00 info

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Re: Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by Wheresthedug » Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:14 pm

No, i managed to track down a guy here in the UK the UK who used to specialise in Fly repairs. He now works for PRS Europe though. Anyway he was really helpful and told me had some pre-refined piezo saddles in his workshop. I bought 3 off him to replace the saddle (including piezo) and still have a couple of spares just incase any others go bad on me in future.

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Re: Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by vjmanzo » Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:50 pm

Great to hear! Really glad this worked out for you!

For posterity’s sake, does the technician you worked with have a website or contact information that you’d be able to share? There may be others in your area who would like to take their Fly to someone who is experienced working with our unique instruments .
Fly Mojo '05, Fly Deluxe '07 w/Sustainiac, Fly Mojo '08 w/Sustainiac, Fly Concert '97, Fly Classic '03, Fly Deluxe '97, Fly Artist '10, Fly Deluxe Redwood '93, Fly Bass FB-4 '03, NiteFly NFV3 '97, Fly Mojo 12-string ‘11, Fly Concert ' 98, Fly Maple Custom '01, Fly Nylon '99, Fly Stealth '00 info

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Re: Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by Wheresthedug » Fri Mar 13, 2020 1:25 pm

As far as I know he is no longer doing repair work etc as he works full time for PRS now. He said he has some Parker spares left over which he will be selling off at some point. I'll message him and see if he is OK with posting his details.

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Re: Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by Wheresthedug » Fri Mar 13, 2020 3:37 pm

Chris came back to me with the following

"Glad you sorted it.

Yes feel free to give my info@caguitarworks.co.uk email out.

I no longer have my website up but still have the Facebook page. I do/can do private work in my spare time for any brand of guitar"

I found him via Facebook as CA Guitarworks

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Re: Replacing Piezo Saddles

Post by vjmanzo » Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:34 pm

Great info! Thanks for sharing this!
Fly Mojo '05, Fly Deluxe '07 w/Sustainiac, Fly Mojo '08 w/Sustainiac, Fly Concert '97, Fly Classic '03, Fly Deluxe '97, Fly Artist '10, Fly Deluxe Redwood '93, Fly Bass FB-4 '03, NiteFly NFV3 '97, Fly Mojo 12-string ‘11, Fly Concert ' 98, Fly Maple Custom '01, Fly Nylon '99, Fly Stealth '00 info

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