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Unread 03-05-2006, 09:18 PM   #1
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Post [Tech] RG7321 Piezo Install

For those that were wondering about the install of the Ghost piezo saddle pickups in a non-pickguard, hardtail Ibanez RG7321, here's some installation pics. There were a couple of stages where I didn't bother taking a shot, but you get the basic jist of whats involved.

First, set your intonation perfectly on the old saddles. Then remove the strings and bridge pickup. (If you find even this task daunting, get it done by a tech) Now using a fine marker, mark a dot on the bridgeplate 1/8" directly in front and center of each saddle. These will be the piezo wire exit holes through the bridge and into the guitar. If you feel that you might need more intonation travel in the future, go 3/16", you'l just see more wire protruding from the piezo saddle. I like it to be as hidden as possible.
Next, measure and write down the distance between the back end of each saddle and the inside edge of the bridgeplate. This will give you a quick reference for a rough, but close intonation setting with the new saddles. You can fine tune it later.
Now remove the original saddles. Now you're at this stage:



Center punch each marker dot. You now have two choices at this point. Remove the bridgeplate, drill the holes, put the bridge back, and mark the hole placement on the guitar body through the plate holes. Or you can take the faster, lazier approach, and just mask off the body around the plate, and drill directly, but not too far, through the plate and directly into the body. Wanting to avoid possble drift of the drill bit, and to have perfect body/plate hole alignment - I chose the second method.

Always drill at slow speeds, and unless you're using a drillpress with a proper depth adjustment, mark the hole depth on the bit using some tape wrapped around thickly at the desired level. In this case I chose 3/8" - 1/8 for the plate thickness plus 1/4" into the body is sufficient. Make sure you drill straight and square to the body, keep steady, and don't dare let the bit grab and take off downward into the body. Oh, the hole size necessary to get the tiny piezo connectors through comfortably is a 3/16" bit. I pre-drilled 9/64" pilot holes first (shown below). I used a 4", 3/16 stainless bit, as well as for the next angled holes down into the bridge pickup cavity.



After drilling the bridge, it should look like this:



Remove the bridgeplate.
Each saddle wire is colour coded, and must be re-attached to the 7in/2out contact block after drilling the holes through the body. They MUST go back in order. Write this order down before you disconnect them from the contact block.
Next install the new saddles, using the same measurements as the old ones.
Use a black marker on the wires right by the holes to help make them less noticeable. Now you should have this:



Now for another tricky part with careful drilling. With the same long 3/16" bit, carefully determine your tunnel angles downward into the bottom of the open pickup cavity. You don't want to come out too far up, as the wires will interfere with the side of the bridge pickup. You want the wires coming out under the pickup.
After drilling the holes, clean all the dust and debris. String each wire through it's respective hole, and screw the bridgeplate back onto the body. Then reconnect the 7in/2out contact block, as stated earlier. Any pale colored, exposed wood from chipping can now be touched-up with paint, or a good permanent black marker works wonders in certain cases.
It should look something like this: (note the contact block on the right, and the small master output connector on the left)



Now string the output wire through the pickup wire hole into the control cavity, and coil the rest - along with the contact block - up into a small bundle and as flat as possible. Then tape it to the floor of the pickup cavity, preferably using black electrical tape. Reinstall the bridge pickup. It'll look like this:







Flip the guitar over and you'll see how much room you have to work with. Important - Determine everything in advance!



The output jack hole from the control cavity is too small to fit the connector and four wires through, and must be drilled out to 1/4". It can be done with a long bit, at a sharp angle, through the output jack hole. This is also the time to drill a 1/4" in the face of the guitar, and install the 3-way mini switch.





Now wire everything up! Yes, read the directions.

Compact the wiring neatly as possible, ready for the preamp PCB and battery.



Hook up connectors to their place on the preamp, and wrap the battery with a piece of sponge, or other such padding, to prevent it rattling around. Make sure you can compress the wiring enough to close the cavity cover, and don't place any pressure on the pcb board itself.



String er up, and set it up as normal. Follow the tweaking instructions....then jangle away...

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Unread 03-05-2006, 09:25 PM   #2
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damn! nice job! looks righteously clean man!
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Unread 03-05-2006, 09:33 PM   #3
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nice write up, this deserves a sticky.
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Unread 03-05-2006, 09:51 PM   #4
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Unread 03-05-2006, 09:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Elysian
nice write up, this deserves a sticky.


er, should go in the "how-to" forum

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Unread 03-05-2006, 10:10 PM   #6
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kinda off subject but where did you get those knobs??

this gives me an idea about emgs..if you just put the battery in the control cavity hmm....

smokey the bear is way more intense in person
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Unread 03-05-2006, 10:53 PM   #7
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Great job! I'm impressed that it all actually FIT!
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Unread 03-05-2006, 11:08 PM   #8
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Very nice, man, that guitar is slick as hell, I want it...lol.

Nice job, man.

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Unread 03-05-2006, 11:13 PM   #9
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Wow, thanks for writing this up! After seeing your original post about your new mods I got the bug and I'm thinking about how to wire up my ol' fixed-bridge for piezos.
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Unread 03-06-2006, 12:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giannifive
Wow, thanks for writing this up! After seeing your original post about your new mods I got the bug and I'm thinking about how to wire up my ol' fixed-bridge for piezos.
ditto!

my girlfriend says i'm totally METAL!
balls.
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Unread 03-06-2006, 05:08 AM   #11
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Thanks guys,
After reading so much about both piezos and how many people here were wanting to have them on their axes, I just decided to do it. It was my intent to show people that anyone with a few simple tools and wiring knowledge can install these, but many find it a very daunting task. I've worked on many guitars, but this was my first piezo job, and it came out pretty well, I'm happy enough. If you can install pickups yourself, you can do this.

Sorry that in the last few stages I started getting a bit vague, I was getting tired of writing by that point. If there's anyway I can help, just ask.
If anyone in the Toronto area still finds this a pain, I would be more than happy to do the job for a reasonable price.
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Unread 03-06-2006, 07:06 AM   #12
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That is very very very very cool. Definately deserves a sticky, or, dar i say it, a page all of it's own like some of the jemsite tech areas, as this is really usefull.

So is there a volume control for the piezo's or is it just on/off?

Nice one

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Unread 03-06-2006, 07:31 AM   #13
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Very nice. I've been considering doing this for a while, thanks for the how to!
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Unread 03-06-2006, 04:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7 Dying Trees
That is very very very very cool. Definately deserves a sticky, or, dar i say it, a page all of it's own like some of the jemsite tech areas, as this is really usefull.

So is there a volume control for the piezo's or is it just on/off?

Nice one
I opted to go without one, for now anyways. I just wanted a straight 3-way mag/mix/piezo setup, with matching the output of the piezos to the mags onboard via the tiny trim pot. The wires that go to a 5 Mohm pot were taped off. I just didn't feel like putting another knob to fiddle with.
I'm glad you liked it, and hope you'll find it helpful.
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Unread 03-06-2006, 05:13 PM   #15
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Awesome work, mate.

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Unread 03-06-2006, 05:45 PM   #16
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Wow,, indeed,,,nice neat job bro! You have more patience than I do. By the way the white pickups look great. I actually ordered Blaze and blaze custom for my 7321 last week white with black polls. Simple and classy!

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Unread 03-08-2006, 01:53 AM   #17
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link for the actul system?
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Unread 03-08-2006, 04:58 AM   #18
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http://www.graphtech.com
Lotsa cool goodies. Top notch quality, excellent service. Go nuts (pun intended)
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Unread 03-08-2006, 05:03 AM   #19
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Just a note, the boards short circuit terminally fairly easily. You've got to be real careful not to accidentally bridge anything - I found out the hard way on a tight installation. Always, always, remove the battery before positioning the pcb, or plugging and unplugging the components, and be very careful not to slip when adjusting the trim pot with a metal screwdriver.

I'm currently catching up with emails, please be patient
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Unread 03-08-2006, 05:15 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpm
Just a note, the boards short circuit terminally fairly easily. You've got to be real careful not to accidentally bridge anything - I found out the hard way on a tight installation. Always, always, remove the battery before positioning the pcb, or plugging and unplugging the components, and be very careful not to slip when adjusting the trim pot with a metal screwdriver.
Absolutely! Thanks Dpm, right you are, I should have said something along those lines, hard to remember everything when trying to explain something.

sidenote- I can't wait to see your work man, strychnine tells me he's collaborating on a cool sounding 8 with you. What picku...arg..so many questions when luthiers/techs get gabbing.
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Unread 03-09-2006, 01:49 PM   #21
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thsi really does diserve ato be stickied it's a great thing for people like me who cant do anything without a piture! lol.
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Unread 03-09-2006, 03:03 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dendroaspis
so many questions when luthiers/techs get gabbing.
Best to email or pm me! I'm extremely busy atm so it might be a few days before I can reply

I'm currently catching up with emails, please be patient
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Unread 05-08-2006, 12:00 PM   #23
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I WASN'T AWARE THAT IT WAS AVAILABLE IN A 7 STRING VERSION. IS THERE A MODEL NUMBER THAT I CAN LOOK IT UP UNDER?

CAN IT BE DONE WITH TUNOMATIC SADDLES, ALA MY H207?
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Unread 05-08-2006, 12:28 PM   #24
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If you call or email GraphTech, they are VERY helpful with getting you the parts you need. They can even pre-load a TonePros Tune-o-Matic with their saddles for you, since the underside of the bridge needs to be drilled out.
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Unread 05-08-2006, 01:08 PM   #25
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COOL, THANKS.
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