[Tech] RG7321 Piezo Install

Discussion in 'The Sevenstring.org Workbench' started by AVH, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. AVH

    AVH avhguitarrepair.com Forum MVP

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    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:

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    After drilling the bridge, it should look like this:

    [​IMG]

    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:

    [​IMG]

    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)

    [​IMG]

    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:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now wire everything up! Yes, read the directions. :lol:

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

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]
     
    s4tch, gs_waldemar, astm and 33 others like this.
  2. David

    David je t'aime Contributor

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    damn! nice job! looks righteously clean man!
     
  3. Elysian

    Elysian Banned

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    nice write up, this deserves a sticky.
     
  4. maskofduality

    maskofduality Brandeis Sophomore

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  5. Leon

    Leon {##[====:::. Contributor

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    :yesway:

    er, should go in the "how-to" forum :)
     
  6. that guy

    that guy SS.org Regular

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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....
     
  7. darren

    darren Decibel Guitars Forum MVP

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    Great job! I'm impressed that it all actually FIT!
     
  8. Shawn

    Shawn Ibanez Guitars Forum MVP

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    Very nice, man, that guitar is slick as hell, I want it...lol.

    Nice job, man. :agreed:
     
  9. giannifive

    giannifive Occasional Poster Contributor

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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.
     
  10. theunforgiven246

    theunforgiven246 BEHOLD KLUMPAMUS PRIME!

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    ditto!
     
  11. AVH

    AVH avhguitarrepair.com Forum MVP

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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.
     
  12. 7 Dying Trees

    7 Dying Trees Forum MVP

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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 :)
     
  13. metalfiend666

    metalfiend666 - Forum MVP

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    Very nice. I've been considering doing this for a while, thanks for the how to!
     
  14. AVH

    AVH avhguitarrepair.com Forum MVP

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    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.
     
  15. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Awesome work, mate. :yesway:
     
  16. Allen Garrow

    Allen Garrow Famous Beaver Hunter

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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!

    ~A
     
  17. Ibanez_fanboy

    Ibanez_fanboy I want a 1527!!

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    link for the actul system?
     
  18. AVH

    AVH avhguitarrepair.com Forum MVP

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  19. dpm

    dpm Oni Guitars Contributor

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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.
     
  20. AVH

    AVH avhguitarrepair.com Forum MVP

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    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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