Pickups, Uneven String Balance

Thursday, January 5, 2012
By: jonathan.forstot

When your guitar is plugged in, each string should be relatively the same volume. Expect a slight variance as you would hear when the guitar is played acoustically. If there seems to be a serious balance issue, test the guitar through multiple amps or systems. Some amps accentuate certain frequencies which can make a particular string seem louder or quieter than the others. If the problem persists, acoustic guitars and T5s will require service by the Taylor factory or other qualified repair professionals. Electric guitars have exposed pickups that are easily adjustable.

Here are a few things you can try at home.

  • Expression System-equipped guitars: Make sure the strings are fresh and the recommended gauge.
  • EST and ESN equipped guitars: These guitars use an under saddle piezo pickup. A precision fit is required between the saddle, pickup and bridge. An uneven fit means uneven pressure and uneven output. You can try to loosen all the strings and tighten or retune each string a few turns at a time, gradually putting even pressure on the pickup as you tune to pitch. Start with the middle (D an G) strings and work your way out. When changing strings remove and replace them one at a time.  This will help hold the saddle in place, maintaining the string balance.
  • T5 models: While you can use any string you like on the T5, you’ll get the best string balance with electric guitar strings.
  • SolidBody models: These electric guitars have adjustable magnetic pickups. The closer the pickup is to the strings, the louder the output will be. You can adjust each end of the pickup independently to affect the output level. Note that the magnetic field of these pickups is very strong. Adjusting the pickups too close to the strings will cause the magnets to pull the string out of tune. For more information, review Taylor Tech Sheet “SolidBody Bridge Adjustment.”