EBMM JP Piezo - Piezo distorts only on 7th string. Any ideas?

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by Ryan-ZenGtr-, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. Ryan-ZenGtr-

    Ryan-ZenGtr- SS.org Regular

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    Someone just brought round a JP 7 for me to have a look at, claiming piezo error. I setup my acoustic amp, replaced the battery in the guitar, set the mix, bass and treble to their lowest settings and had a strum.

    On the 7th string (B), there is an unwanted distortion, which is not on the other strings. Definitely not a good sound, making the 7th string unplayable on the piezo output.

    Having tried all output combinations, guitar preamp settings, checked the wiring (which looks good from the bridge, control cavity and to the preamp), I wondering if the preamp is faulty.

    Has anyone heard of quality control problems with the EBMM piezo preamp?

    My assumption is based on the fact that everything works, but the sound on the 7th string is distorted to overdrive levels, sounds like a metal zone but broken. My feeling is that there is something going on in the preamp to distort the sound.

    Obviously, I'd rather not have to order a replacement preamp, as the guitar is out of warranty and I'm sure they charge a lot for these things. If anyone has any experience with these preamps and would care to offer any ideas I would appreciate it.

    I gave the circuit board on the preamp a thorough investigation, but nothing is visibly wrong with it (wiring errors etc.).

    The soldering on this guitar isn't great from factory, and the tone capacitor was almost earthing against the control cavity shielding, a problem I've seen on other EBMM JP's. Although well designed, I'm not the biggest fan of these guitars, having owned 3 and worked on 2 more, although can't get enough of birdseye maple! :)
     
  2. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    In the preamp EBMM uses are their adjustable trims for each string? EBMMs policy is also often send us the guitar, not we send you a preamp. A good reason I steer clear of them.
     
  3. Rook

    Rook Electrifying

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    I had this once and it turned out it wasn't distortion but the whole saddle was rattling, maybe look into this?

    EDIT: The rest of this post is basically a frustrated rant

    I've never heard of technical issues with the piezo preamp, however EBMM are incredibly irritating about stuff like this and they will ask that you send it to them.


    They never want anyone to ever do any work on their guitars, ever, nor will they give any help or advice to techs and they'll start nagging you to send it to them.

    Try the EBMM forums, but they'll just tell you to call customer service, who'll tell you to send them the guitar.

    /rant
     
  4. Sikor

    Sikor Freshman

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    I had exactly such an effect, when battery was low.

    Have You double checked, that replecement battery was really good?
     
  5. yellowv

    yellowv Turd Ferguson Contributor

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    I've had really good luck with EBMM CS. When I first got my JPX the fret ends were sticking out a bit, as it made it's way from the frozen North to me in Florida. They said if the problem didn't end up fixing itself once acclimated (which it did) that I could send it in if I wanted to, but they actually recommended I take it to a trusted local tech rather than shipping it cross country. Also I found that Schaller did a crappy job painting a couple of the tuner buttons black (the edges were rough like sandpaper) so I called CS and actually spoke with Scott Ball and he asked for a pic of what I was talking about. He then sent me two complete Schaller tuners. Also any time I have had any questions by email I have gotten a response literally in minutes.
     
  6. Rook

    Rook Electrifying

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    I can imagine their CS works great in the states, haha.
     
  7. Ryan-ZenGtr-

    Ryan-ZenGtr- SS.org Regular

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    Fixed it...

    lol, you guys won't believe this!!!

    The 7 piezo saddles leave the bridge combined into 1 cable, containing live and and earth. The bridge acts as earth and there is a small PCB board mounted on the bridge to combine the piezo outputs. Nothing fancy, just a little board.

    So, I get out my soldering gun, notice all the factory soldering looks like the work of a "1st day on the job" type and start redoing it. I get to this bridge mounted PCB, tidy it up.... Then I realised the problem. The "distortion" was the sound of the piezo earthing out on the bridge, the cable coming off the 7th saddle was soldered so high from the PCB that is was shorting against the bridge, despite the designs efforts to be discrete.

    Solution: repair all crap soldering, INSULATING TAPE on piezo PCB so it does not TOUCH the bridge.

    It was such a noob factory install that I completely overlooked such things and went straight into more complex things. It is signed by "ROHS".... = Noob.

    I've seen this before on JP's from EBMM, bad soldering throughout and instruments released WHICH do NOT work, due to this soldering ONLY.

    As I mentioned before, I've had a few of my own and customers JP's recently. Here is a list of the problems which were fixed:
    1. Capacitor on tone pot touching cavity shielding FROM FACTORY!
    2. BFR with broken piezo toggle (stringsandthings, UK distributor were excellent and helpful) must be user, but turns out the heavy BFR case closes randomly and must've clipped the toggle switch when being removed and broke it!
    3. Piezo fail due to lack of insulation and bad factory soldering, above.

    What is sad is that the guy who brought it in for repair paid 1700 USD for it, and it has never worked properly, from factory. He also took it to several repair shops in London who refused to tackle such a supposedly diifficult job.

    To be honest, I really like the design elements of the JP guitar, It should theoretically be quite well made. Shame these little errors in the OLD models which I've seen make them unreliable for people sometimes.

    I hope this fix helps someone. Also, interesting to hear your views guys, thanks for the input.

    -1 rosewood fingerboards, at that price, why not ebony!!! and all the grain filler in the necks!!! ... *sigh* And no fancy finishes until BFR model prices, only automotive paint!!! grrrrrrrr.....

    Finally, on the customer service, UK EMBB distributor StringsandThings were excellent, helpful and strangely, quite fun to talk to. But I think American customer service reps have to be polite at all times....

    Here is a guess at the reason, these websites will explain all.... :)

    AR-15 Builder - Build and Customize your own AR15 | Brownells

    PoliceStore Law Enforcement: Tactical Gear & Police Officer Equipment on Sale - PoliceStore

    I went to Guitar Center in Chicago in 2003, those sales reps jump on you, man! "Hi, my name is Fillipe, here's my card!"... I asked them if I could just pick up anything in the store and that I would be buying a few guitars, and they left me in peace. Lot's of fun!



    Also, anyone know how to edit the thread title in case anyone searches for this "fix" to SOLVED ???
     
  8. Ryan-ZenGtr-

    Ryan-ZenGtr- SS.org Regular

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    Lol, didn't fix it yet!

    So now I'm going to replace the piezo saddle. I think it's shorting inside the saddle. Will get 1 in soon and update to let any one else who has this problem know what happens.

    Piezo is tamper proof, stuck in with glue, so I'm reluctant to heat it up to possibly rejoin an failed connections.

    If I have to dismantle it all again, I might do pictures. Any info I come across will be added here.
     
  9. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    Good luck, as frustrating as it is, I can't help but think it would be a fun project
     
  10. Ryan-ZenGtr-

    Ryan-ZenGtr- SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the support, SirMyghin, it's appreciated! :) I'm sure this will be fixed eventually and hopefully this thread should show others how to fix it, in the end.

    [​IMG]

    Note: small metal part, it's the PCB all saddles connect to then go onto 2 wires into piezo preamp. I've insulated this one so it cannot earth against the bridge block. Soldering was checked and improved/retouched for neat solders. Also, radius is original (lol) maybe tampered with by previous owner! :scratch:

    [​IMG]

    The connections from pcb piezo to piezo preamp.

    BONUS PIC!

    The best way to remove trem springs or replace.... With another spring! :)

    [​IMG]

    ;idea;

    I'm ordering the saddle soon, will have the guitar back for completion at the end of the month, so will let you all know how I get on.
     
  11. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    Neat trick with the spring, I have a neat little tool from stew-mac, a long hook, lets you use the butt of the guitar as a brace with your hand.

    STEWMAC.COM : Tremolo Spring Installer

    I like it
     
  12. Ryan-ZenGtr-

    Ryan-ZenGtr- SS.org Regular

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    Neat tool, SirMyghin!

    I thought it might be worthwhile emailing Musicman. Here is the result:

    ^^^^^^^^

    :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

    Musicman:
    "We are not responsible for improperly performed repairs...."

    But they are responsible for sending out broken guitars to the customer!!!

    I'm going back to my new favourite way to relieve the stress my enemy's cause:
    AR-15 Builder - Build and Customize your own AR15 | Brownells
    http://www.ar15builder.com/

    Try it! It's almost better than the virtual RG builder!
     
  13. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    That email is exactly why, even though music man makes a very good guitar exterior (neck frets, body shape, etc), I will never buy one.
     
  14. yellowv

    yellowv Turd Ferguson Contributor

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    Really what do you want them to do? They can't tell you whats wrong without seeing it and obviously they aren't going to cover it if someone not authorized to work on it under warranty messes it up. Really all they can do is tell you to have an authorized tech fix it. Clearly shipping it to the US from the UK is not an option, but that is really what you encounter when you have an issue with an imported guitar with no support system in your country. Same would likely happen if a customer was to have an issue with say a Caparison. They are likely going to tell you to ship it to Japan or fix it yourself. On top of that, that is an older JP that you said yourself is out of warranty. I highly doubt it left the factory with the issue.
    Oh and screw that virtual AR builder. I do it for real :hbang:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Rook

    Rook Electrifying

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    ^^^ Musicman do have UK support, MusicMan UK. They're generally very good too, no need to ship to the states.

    They don't like people touching their stuff though, they seem quite secretive about some things too in an unusual way.

    I dunno, their UK support network's decent if you buy new and it's in warranty though.
     
  16. ST3MOCON

    ST3MOCON SS.org Regular

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    Nice AR I'm diggin the magpul furniture.
     
  17. Rook

    Rook Electrifying

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    That's an SA80 isn't it?

    British Army standard issue...?

    EDIT: Nope. Shows what I know about guns.
     
  18. Ryan-ZenGtr-

    Ryan-ZenGtr- SS.org Regular

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    yellowv, thanks for putting the counter argument to my post. I can totally understand their (EBMM) rhetoric, it was what I expected.

    I mean, if I could tell you valuable advice that might save you time and money why would I do that, you might screw it up and I'd be responsible.

    :rofl:

    /jk :D

    In America's ever litigious society, perhaps they're afraid of a law suit...

    It's interesting that the warranty comes up in your post, yellowv. You're clearly much more intelligent and on the ball *sorry* than EBMM. They did not ask me for any further correspondance.


    I only emailed them to add balance to this thread and for the lulz. :rofl:

    Nice gun, you may enjoy Nutnfancy on youtube, he does excellent gun reviews, for free, advice and a courteous approach... with no concern that an irresponsible person would be harmed from his efforts at sharing his informed opinion. :D


    Currently serving ranking military family man (nutnfancy) tells you guns = You're an adult.

    EBMM tells you not to fix their product without their minions = You're a child.

    That's why the CE sticker is on the back of the guitar, not the gun.


    I'm having fun with this "semi rant / will turn into how to fix the problem eventually" thread. :D

    Just to recap, I will be ordering the part soon, I foresee no problems and I expect it will be due to movement/earthing/unknown error in the individual saddle that is under the tamper ressistant/permanent installation glue that adheres the piezo element/saddle/signal cable sandwich in the saddle. It's very small! Simple strip down and switch 1 saddle.

    No progress will be made for a while, but when I get the guitar back at the end of the month I will fix it, pic story it, maybe in a new thread to purge the rantings and then have it lacquered by my spray guy to preserve JP's signature on the front.

    Any questions? Feel free. There's nothing clever in the JP design, it is well executed. Quite basic when you pull it apart *sorry* carefully dismantle it for inspection, carefully noting the way it all went back together.... BS, you guys are man enough to deal with pull it apart, right? RIGHT?

    :)

    Please type +1 if I should email EBMM again and any suggested messages would be appreciated. Might be good for lulz, maybe I'll troll them.


    *edit* Last time I emailed UK distributor, they sent me the phone number to their head guy who was great. I have nothing against EBMM, just making a point for the lulz.

    Would it be interesting to email UK same email and say I was from S.Florida (sorry yellowv, ty 4 :idea:) and see what they say? Post it up as a comparison?
     
  19. Ryan-ZenGtr-

    Ryan-ZenGtr- SS.org Regular

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    After discussing my opinion on rosewood with some JP BFR fans, I've received a lot of abuse for defending ebony fingerboards on the BFR model. Just to clarify a few things, as those people have looked here, here is the post I wanted to put in the now locked thread.

    I'll make a new thread when I have the pics and details to do the repair and mark it as solved. This one seems interesting at the moment but will be irrelevant at the end of the month, when I have the guitar back to finish it. If there's any fun left in it, let's have it now.

    Make a new thread to discuss rosewood boards, maybe I'll do it. Don't reply here.

    Also, there was accusations that the guitar I'm repairing is "some beat up old, out of warranty...". The guitar is in flawless, investment grade condition. It was the top of the line model when new, has JP's autograph on the front and it's owner is not a good player, more of a collector who occasionally plays at home due to work time constraints. All of his guitars spend most of their time in the cases. I'm repairing it for him as a favour. I've owned hundreds of guitars and have worked on every one, large and small jobs. I've also made guitars... *sigh*

    It shows no sign of damage or hard use. That's why I suggest it has been faulty for a long, perhaps from new and may have been sold at a discount.

    If the fact it's out of warranty makes it a piece of shit, as inferred by some, what does that say about the guitars?

    Finally, the quick unanswered ones:
    rosewood is not a tightly grained wood and has cracks and pores which are filled with grain filler and planed. This leaves a white residue in the pores of the wood. Sometimes there is no grain filler, leaving just open pores. Sometimes this is stained or "ebonized" to hide the fillers colour. If I were buying a guitar, I would choose the one with the least pores (i.e. the densest piece of wood) if there were many to choose from.

    A neck is a neck, a fingerboard is a fingerboard. It's obvious really... Rose wood necks = rosewood fingerboard + maple (or mohagony which is better tonally, but more brittle/fragile to heavy impacts) neck.

    Rosewood neck = lol

    So much is lost in translation... Sorry Americans who don't have a clue what I'm talking about and take offence.
     
  20. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    ^^

    Rosewood neck = RW board + other neck wood is a rather dated piece of terminology. The only folks I have seen use it are the not custom shop crowd (and typically the 50+ crowd :lol:), otherwise rosewood neck has come to actually be a proper descriptor, a neck made entirely of rosewood. Besides your definition is not a rosewood neck, it is a neck with a rosewood fingerboard, it doesn't even make english. Blame places like PRS for using necks made entirely of rosewood if you want, but your terminology, is obselete. Some people seem to like it, to each their own.
     

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