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Tacoma Thunderchief Pickup/Preamp problem

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Russell Decker, Mar 1, 2017.


  1. Russell Decker

    Russell Decker

    Mar 1, 2017
    I recently bought a used Tacoma CB10 Thunderchief Acoustic Electric Bass Guitar and noticed that there is a lot of distortion on some notes when I 'plug in'. Does anyone know if I can just bypass the on board LR Baggs pre-amp by going directly from the pickup underneath the bridge saddle into 1/4" end plug input? I have two other off-board preamps that I would like to use. I think the LR Baggs preamp on the guitar is bad, but have no idea how to test it.

    One other thing....the string height toward the bridge is quite high. It seems to me that the bridge saddle could be shaved down to bring the action of the strings down to a more comfortable playing experience, but I am not sure how high (or low) the strings should be above the fretboard.

    Thanks,

    Russell Decker
     
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Piezos need a preamp to properly eq things or you get that harsh "quackey" sound.
     
  3. Russell Decker

    Russell Decker

    Mar 1, 2017
    Thanks. I was thinking about bypassing the on board LR Baggs preamp that came installed on the bass, and routing the piezo pickup leads directly to the plug in making it a 'passive' system. I have two preamps, one, a ParaAcoustic D.I. made by LR Baggs, and a EDB-2 Pre-amp made by Headway. Will this power up the piezo okay, so I will not be using the onboard LR Baggs?
     
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I can't really say either way, are either of those external preamps tuned for piezos? Probably couldn't hurt to try (though it takes some effort, everything should be reversible, I would think.)

    How sure are you that the preamp is the problem? Maybe it's the pickup itself, I'm not sure how do to problem isolation other than to give it a try and see if bypassing avoids the noise (useful experiment even if the resulting sound isn't good, at least tells you which piece has gone bad).
     
  5. Russell Decker

    Russell Decker

    Mar 1, 2017
    I wish I knew how to troubleshoot this sort of thing.
     
  6. mysteryclock

    mysteryclock Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    I'm going to ask a dumb question - have you changed the battery in the preamp?
     
  7. Russell Decker

    Russell Decker

    Mar 1, 2017
    Yes, that was the first thing I did after buying this instrument!
     
  8. mysteryclock

    mysteryclock Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    Well...dang. The way those preamps are installed on the pop-out it could be difficult to swap one unless it was a matching model, and even that may not be it if the pickup itself is wonky. Have you tried reaching out to LR Baggs themselves, to see if they have any troubleshooting steps you could attempt? Worth a phone call.

    Good luck, and let us know what you come up with for a solution. I have a CB10 too, so I'm always watching out for info like this, considering there's no manufacturer to back them up any more....sadly.
     
  9. Russell Decker

    Russell Decker

    Mar 1, 2017

    Well, after removing the on board pre-amp, then trying to connect the piezo pickup wires directly to the end plug.....lots of hum. So, It looks like all of that is going to be removed, then the quest of a replacement begins. I am hoping I can find something that can replace the existing system, or cover it so it doesn't look like an 8 yr old did the work.
     
  10. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    uh, i'd just stop right there and take it all in to somebody that knows what they're doing; this could all be something that's easily fixed.

    that person should also know how to get the action right as well.

    those tacoma basses were amazing sounding, i've never heard an acoustically louder ABG. it would really be worth getting fixed by a pro.
     
  11. Russell Decker

    Russell Decker

    Mar 1, 2017

    Well, I have been back and forth from the guys at LR Baggs. There is not much that can be done at this point with the existing LR Baggs electronics. So, my plan is to put a new piezo pick up in as a replacement to the original, but instead of making it an 'active' system, I will explore a 'passive' one like the passive system I installed on my Gibson SJ-200 taht works pretty well. So, on to Monday, and hoping to hear back from the folks at LR Baggs.
     
  12. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    no, i meant take it to somebody who knows how to fix this kind of stuff!
     

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