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Graphtech Ghost Installation Questions


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Ok, I have a Fender Showmaster FAT HH flame maple topped guitar, I love it. It's a really nice axe, but I hate the bridge. I bought a Tremol-No and installed it so that basically now I just have a hard-tail. I've been writing a lot of stuff lately that incorporates acoustic guitar stuff and I'm working with a couple of people to try and get this out to a live show performance. Now, the problem is, my acoustic is a mint condition (playing mint) 1960's Gibson Hummingbird acoustic, #214. It was my grandfather's, and he knew I played guitar before he passed away and he left it to me. I'm not about to take that out to shows with me to play the few parts here and there of acoustic dabble. So after talking to a few people online, the suggestion I mostly got was a piezo system. Then after talking to some people online about piezo systems, the suggestion I mostly got was the Grahptech Ghost system.

So, I would be replacing the saddles on my Fender with the GT Ghost replacements. You have to run the wires down through the bridge, and into the control cavity where the pre-amp is going to be. Fender, luckily, has roomy control cavities and the pre-amp will fit. However, I believe it requires a 9v battery to operate. Where can I put that? Will I have to route anything? It's not a problem if I do, it's just I need to know beforehand. Also, I really don't want to route another hole and screw in a second output jack for the piezo system. I will have the mini-toggle switch already in there to switch between piezo and magnetic pickups, I can set the piezo volume on the pre-amp to match the magnetic pup's volume, so I don't need another volume pot or tone put put in. Someone told me to just get a stereo output jack and find a good length of stereo "y" cable. Anyone know where I could find a 20'-40' stereo "y" cable for this application?

~006

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You should be able to fit the 9V into the cavity, so I doubt any routing will be necessary. Make sure to buy the preamp and not just the saddles. It will come with a new jack and some instructions. For easy switching, I recommend the optional "quick switch," which lets you switch from magnetics to piezos to both. Without it, you're stuck with a two volume "blend" system, which works fine, but is probably too much hassle for stage use. With a mono cable plugged in, the piezos and magnetics will be blended into the output (dependent, of couse, on the "quick switch" setting). With a stereo cable, the piezo output is available on the ring terminal.

Edited by fookgub
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Yeah, the system Graphtech sells comes with the GHOST loaded saddles, the pre-amp, a jack, a battery clip, and the little toggle switch to go from mag-blend-piezo.

My main concern is making sure I don't have to put another output jack into the body. So what you're saying is, I can leave my mono jack, on there, and just flip the little toggle switch to go between the three options, right? I would really like to be able to split the signal completely though. As in, have the magnetic signal going to my regular amp, and then piezo signal going to another amp/PA. Or would it be easier to just leave it mono and use my footswitch for my amp (Peavey JSX) to go from distortion to the clean channel (set up for acoustic sounds)?

Again, I need a setup that is convenient and that makes sense for live use. So which way would be best for that? Thanks, by the way. :D

~006

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You'll replace the mono jack with a stereo jack and use a Y-cable to split the signals into your two separate amps. Easiest thing to do is just use a stereo cable from the guitar to a spot close to your amps, then use a Y-cable or box to separate the signals to two separate cables into your amps.

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You'll replace the mono jack with a stereo jack and use a Y-cable to split the signals into your two separate amps. Easiest thing to do is just use a stereo cable from the guitar to a spot close to your amps, then use a Y-cable or box to separate the signals to two separate cables into your amps.

Yup. Use the jack that's included with the Graphtech system, though. The battery switching on the Ghost preamp is a little funny. IIRC, the preamp is on when you break the switch connection to ground.

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Its always best to install a stereo jack with these kinds of applications. Just purely for if you decide to do it 'properly' and use a two amp split signal setup. Piezos can sound alright through normal guitar amps if you use some kind of buffer (but the preamp should act as this!). I mean you can always try it and see. Acoustic amps aren't too expensive, and you can always just get a DI box and run the acoustic signal through the PA at your live gigs.

The graphtech system is argueably the best out there, and has the advantage you can use it in almost any bridge (other systems like fishman's and baggs' are built into premade bridges). I've heard some people say they dont like it as it makes the bridge look 'odd' with the wires coming off the saddles. But with a bit of work that can be fixed :D

As for amps. Check out laney's acoustic series of amps. Nice and cheap :D the 65watt one is particually good.

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So is there no way to use a mono cable/jack with this?

~006

As crafty says, you could use a mono jack with a separate switch, but it's not advisable. You can use a mono cable with the switched stereo jack that comes with the Graphtech system, though. With the mono cable, you have to blend the magnetics and piezos to one signal. Using a stereo cable allows you to send the magnetics and piezos to two separate amps. I have to disagree with crafty's assessment on blending (I often blend a touch of piezo in my clean signal), but that's really just a matter of opinion. Having two separate signal chains allows you much greater flexibility, and may actually be easier to deal with on stage. Either way, it's seamless with the Graphtech system. For stereo operation, plug in a stereo cable, for mono, use a mono cable... simple as that. Just follow the instructions that come with the preamp.

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So I could just use a MONO cable, and use the switch that comes with the system to go from magnetics to piezos then? Sorry if I seem to be asking the same questions over and over, I just want to make sure before I buy it. Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it.

~006

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So I could just use a MONO cable, and use the switch that comes with the system to go from magnetics to piezos then? Sorry if I seem to be asking the same questions over and over, I just want to make sure before I buy it. Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it.

~006

Yeah, you could just use the mono cable and use the preamp with the system to blend the two signals or separate them on the fly. Piezos typically don't sound very good going through regular guitar amps, though.

On another note, I'm all for doing these kind of mods to guitars to get more versatility out of them, but have you weighed the option of just buying a cheap acoustic fitted with a piezo system? Ovation has some pretty nice thinline acoustics that are decent for playing live and may actually sound better than the GHOST system through a PA. Just a thought. If you do this right, though, it'll sound great.

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Well, here are my amp options for the live shows: Mesa Dual Rectifier 3 ch., Peavey JSX, Peavey 5150 mk1, Mesa Mark IV, Marshall JCM800 2203, and a Marshall JCM2000 TSL. I have two Marshall 1960 cabs, one with V30's one with G12T75's, and a Mesa (oversized) cab with V30's. Then for cleans I have a Fender Deluxe Reverb, and an old Ibanez acoustic amp, it's like 15watts with a 10" speaker. I also have a PODxt Live (the floorboard style one) with all the amp models, and there is a model on there that's suppose to be specific for piezo usage. With a regular guitar, it sounds pretty nice for acoustic simulation, although you can tell it's an electric it's a very nice clean sound.

I have to switch between distortion and acoustic sounds quite frequently with this project I'm doing, the distortion sounds are more for adding moods and such to the songs, like melodies and whatnot with effects like flange and chorus, heavy reverb, etc. But for the most part, the acoustic stuff is the main focus. I have a Morley ABY box, so I could just use two amps live, OR, I could just use my PODxt Live straight into a PA, which I've had great results with doing my other band which is heavy music.

If you're wondering how I'm getting the POD to sound good live, it's because I'm an audio engineer, so I take very special interest in making sure my tones and live sound is as good as possible for anything I'm using. Our other guitarist in my other band uses a real amp, a JCM900, and I've gotten more compliments on my live tone than he has when I am using my PODxt, and he's not too shabby on getting tones, so that gives you an idea of the possibilities I have.

I'm thinking the PODxt Live will be the best bet, especially since I won't have to lug around two amps and a cab to every show.

As far as sound quality (acoustic vs. electric with piezo) for live shows, let's be honest here...local band shows usually have crap sound in general. I really don't feel like having two seperate guitars, especially if I don't necessarily have to. All the shows I have played, we bring our own sound guy, he is very good and makes pretty much anything sound like a million bucks. I think the piezo system in this Fender will be a great tool to have.

~006

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Well, here are my amp options for the live shows: Mesa Dual Rectifier 3 ch., Peavey JSX, Peavey 5150 mk1, Mesa Mark IV, Marshall JCM800 2203, and a Marshall JCM2000 TSL. I have two Marshall 1960 cabs, one with V30's one with G12T75's, and a Mesa (oversized) cab with V30's. Then for cleans I have a Fender Deluxe Reverb

:D

Good Lord. You have been blessed and smiled upon by the guitar gods many times over. Good luck with your installation.

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