Thursday, May 30, 2013

L.R. Baggs Violin Pickup: Installation 101

Okay, I have seen the installation instructions that come with these and they aren't very informational.  For myself (to remind myself later on down the road) and for anyone else out there who is handy, here are some better instructions to get the job done right!

First of all, you will need a soldering iron, solder and flux.  It also helps trememdously if you have an extra set of hands to help hold everything together while you do the soldering.  The biggest part of the job is not actually the soldering, but fitting the bridge to the fiddle.  If you haven't done this before, I strongly recommend that you let a professional do this.  Since the pickup is embedded in the bridge, if you mess up the bridge, you are done.  My instructions here are going to focus on the soldering part of the job.

Make sure that you do the soldering part away from the fiddle.  You don't want to accidentally drop hot solder on the instrument! 

Start by putting the "cap" from the 1/4" jack onto the wire.  Make sure the threads are facing towards the jack and away from the bridge.


Take a look at the three metal prongs that are sticking up from the jack.  They are three different heights.  You will not be using the middle one for this regular installation.  It will look like there is only one wire that comes out from the bridge.  It is a single wire in the center covered by a plastic shield, and then that is covered with a fine, metal braiding.  You will start by soldering the metal braiding to the largest and tallest of the prongs.  Be sure to use flux and only a small amount of solder.  You will then solder the single, center wire to the shortest prong.  Make sure that all of your soldering is done on the INSIDE of the three prongs.  Any wires or solder that are on the outside of the prongs will cause the cap not to fit back onto the jack.

The following picture shows how there is no solder or wires on the outside of the prongs.

When you are done with all the soldering, you can install the bridge with the wire facing the tailpiece.  Install the jack on the same side as the chinrest.  Screw the cap back onto the jack.  It may look like the cap is not screwed on all the way because there are more threads on the jack than are on the cap.


You are now done and can plug the jack directly into your amplifier and check it out! 


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this information online! I'm really looking forward to finally having a decent pickup on my fiddle. Thanks again!

-Sierra, Northern California

Tiffany, Florida Panhandle said...

Thanks for the detailed instructions. They confirmed a few things for me that were nowhere to be found in the factory instructions. Pretty excited to get a quality pickup on my violin.

Steve in San Jose, CA said...

thank you. Thank You! THANK YOU! for posting these instructions. A year or two ago I had the LR Baggs pickup installed on my violin but the jack didn't work right. I could only get signal if the instrument cable was 90% in. When 100% in the jack there was no signal. This sometimes caused buzzing and ground problems but I lived with it for a while.

Now with your post I was able to fix it. Apparently the wire connected to the "small tip" was barely touching the "medium tip" causing the jack to not work right with a standard instrument cable. All I had to do is move the wire so that it wasn't touching the medium tip and presto! it works perfectly now while plugged in 100%. I probably would have never have figured it out without your detailed instructions and pictures. Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

thanks a lot, apparently this is the only existing guide on the web on installing this -actually quite widespread- violin pickup

don said...

Hi - this is good. I am surprised that LRBaggs thinks it's OK to just say 'pro-install only' on such a basic piece of gear and not provide support. The issue I have is the carpenter jack and cap. What is up with the extra thread?

On my fiddle, beyond the unsightly 'looks like a home job' aspect - the jack cap lightly touches the body and vibrates like an angry carpenter bee... completely lame if you ask me. The only solutions I can think of are - raise the entire jack assembly to provide clearance, replace the threaded part (the main body) of the jack or find a cap that WILL thread all the way down.

Perhaps, if more 'amateur home enthusiasts' were installing these they would have advised LRBaggs how poor this looks with the cap not screwing down completely ...truly a WTF?

thanks for the info!