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Author Topic: Piezo works but D and G strings are about half volume  (Read 1111 times)

Offline Rocknessmonster

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Piezo works but D and G strings are about half volume
« on: January 14, 2018, 06:49:10 PM »
Wondering if anyone has any experience with this same type problem. This was a purchase from Reverb, so I am new to trouble shooting these guitars. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
"You can do ANYTHING, but you can't do EVERYTHING".............choose 2  ROCK !
the NESS

Re: Piezo works but D and G strings are about half volume

Offline vjmanzo

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Re: Piezo works but D and G strings are about half volume
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2018, 07:35:59 PM »
Sounds like the end of the life of some of those piezo saddles, sorry to say. It’s possible that the issue is the piezo pre-amplifier, but it’s more likely the saddles (in my experience). Reviving them has been discussed on the forum (checking the saddle connections, gently), but since it’s happening to two of them sounds like it might not be an easy fix.

The good news is that there are replacement options (search here for Graphtec and RMC saddles) for both the saddles and the pre-amplifier.
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 || More Info

Re: Piezo works but D and G strings are about half volume

Offline Mossman

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Re: Piezo works but D and G strings are about half volume
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2018, 09:53:09 PM »
Yes I just had this problem - a guitar I bought over the internet had two dead saddles.  They don't sound completely dead because the adjacent saddles pickup the dead string's vibration but as you say, sounds half volume.  Like VJ manso says, it might be an easy fix if it's just a connectivity issue.  Check the soldering on the underside of the bridge, and depending on you model and year, check to see that each saddle is properly grounded.  Because piezos are a mechanical pickup, tapping each saddle at the breakover point with something should reveal if there's any output at all.

You don't actually say what model or year of guitar you have.  Sometimes you can find individual NOS replacement saddles for your particular model (both Fly and NiteFly went through several iterations of bridge saddles), but this can be an issue as piezos vary a little in output and so manufacturers tend to group them in 'matched sets'.

I opted to replace all six saddles with the "Ghost" saddles from Graph Tech.  They will retrofit any fly or nitefly piezo bridge and they will work with any of the old electronics right back to 1994.  They sell for about $100 on ebay or reverb (I bought mine on Ebay from Sporthitech, who accepted an offer of $95 and shipped very promptly).  If you ONLY want to replace the saddles and use the rest of your existing kit, you'll have to a bit of finicky soldering and a bit of wire-splitting with a razor blade, but for me, a relative hack, it took maybe two hours.  You don't have to disconnect the bridge or anything so it's pretty straightforward.  I tossed out the two dead saddles and kept the remaining four to use in case one of my other guitars develops the same problem.

The plus side is that, in my view, the Graph Tech saddles improve the sound of the guitar.  I was worried they wouldn't - I once tried Graph Tech saddles on a Paul Reed Smith and the killed it's upper mid tone and seemed to deaden the sustain.  On my Parker, the opposite seems true: the guitar as retrofitted (a 2004 Refined Fly) seems livelier and more organic than before.

One time-saving tip whatever route you take: take a photo of the bridge saddle positions before you take them off - when you put the new ones on, put them in the same alignment and you'll at least be in the ballpark for intonation (regardless of the saddles they're replacing, the Graph Techs have the same 'breakover' point so this actually works).

So... what model do you have?

1994 Fly Deluxe (Black)
1998 Fly Deluxe (Plum)
1999 Fly Deluxe (Green)
2006 Refined Fly Classic (Natural)
2008 Refined Fly Deluxe (Heather Grey)
1998 NiteFly NVF4 (White)
1999 NiteFly NVF7 (Black)
2000 NiteFly SA (Transparent Blue)
2006 NiteFly M (Oil & Wax)
2006 NiteFly SA (Sunburst)

Re: Piezo works but D and G strings are about half volume

Offline Rocknessmonster

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Re: Piezo works but D and G strings are about half volume
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2018, 10:29:29 PM »
Thanks. It is a Maxxfly. I should try to upload some pics. The bolt on neck is finished and has no graphics to indicate the model. It is fitted like a PDF 105 but it is DB. That doesn’t seem to be an option in any of the catalogs I have seen. It was advertised as a 2015. It has the abs hardshell case. The plastic is still on the truss rod cover. I had to replace the tremolo bushing, and I may have gotten the saddles messed up myself. The cavity was pretty full with wiring. I’ll try to add some pics soon.
"You can do ANYTHING, but you can't do EVERYTHING".............choose 2  ROCK !
the NESS

Re: Piezo works but D and G strings are about half volume

Offline Rocknessmonster

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Re: Piezo works but D and G strings are about half volume
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2018, 11:27:36 PM »
One of the reasons that I jumped on this guitar, was because of the (DB- Black) finished neck. My 1995 White hardtail Fly Deluxe had a great neck. It was much more rounded and (I think) more narrow than this radial neck, but this is very very nice. Just really flat feeling with 9’s. Sounds great! I just can’t use it until I can get the midi interface installed. However, my Ghost System on my BC Rich Eagle, doesn’t track near as well as my GK-3 installed on my Ric 620.
"You can do ANYTHING, but you can't do EVERYTHING".............choose 2  ROCK !
the NESS

Re: Piezo works but D and G strings are about half volume

Offline Mossman

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Re: Piezo works but D and G strings are about half volume
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2018, 07:11:18 AM »
Yeah the easy answer is that accidentally dislodged the saddles' wiring, so I guess that's the first thing to check.  I'm not familiar with your model (or with Maxxflies in general): are the saddles steel, or are they made of the dark grey Graph Tech composite?  If they're steel, they ground through the block and so have only one wire coming through from each saddle to the summing board; if they're composite, they'll have a second wire for each saddle to go to ground, another thing to check...
1994 Fly Deluxe (Black)
1998 Fly Deluxe (Plum)
1999 Fly Deluxe (Green)
2006 Refined Fly Classic (Natural)
2008 Refined Fly Deluxe (Heather Grey)
1998 NiteFly NVF4 (White)
1999 NiteFly NVF7 (Black)
2000 NiteFly SA (Transparent Blue)
2006 NiteFly M (Oil & Wax)
2006 NiteFly SA (Sunburst)