8 Fishman Pickup Problems And Their Best Fixes

Fishman Pickup Problems
Fishman Pickup Problems

The guitars need pickups to make sure the audio signals are registered and others are able to hear whatever you are playing. The pickups are responsible for the guitar’s sound and directly impact the type of sound. Fishman pickups are the most popular as they have been helping musicians refine their music.

They have a variety of pickups available for acoustic guitars and electric guitars. However, there are some problems with Fishman pickups that you must know about!

Some Common Fishman Pickup Problems

  1. Distortion

The pickups are designed with the mic to improve the audio performance and enhance the acoustic guitar’s output. However, these pickups are known to create distortion in the music output. The most common reason behind distortion is the positioning of the mic.

Keep in mind that the mic shouldn’t be in contact with the guitar’s body as it causes vibration of the mic, which creates distortion in the music. So, check the mic’s position and put it slightly above the guitar body to prevent distortion. Secondly, you must check the distance of strings to the mic.

In particular, the strings must not touch the mic while picking because it results in colliding of the strings, which results in distortion. So, always place your mic away from the strings to prevent this collision of strings and mic. Thirdly, if you are using the under-saddle pickup, you must check that the saddle is fitted on the slot.

In simpler words, the saddle should not be leaning far away or hanging on the slot’s edge. If that’s the case, you have to get the saddle installed properly by a professional. Last but not least, you must check the string’s output because weaker output will lead to distortion.

a jack socket of Tele style guitar

To prevent distortion, you must ensure that the string is placed at a good angle over the saddle as the sound is clean when there is downward pressure from strings.

  1. Pickup Not Working

If you don’t get any output from the pickup, the first step is to check the connecting cables. That’s because improperly connected and/or damaged cables can result in functionality issues of the pickup. If the connecting cables are loose, just tighten them up.

On the other hand, if the cables are damaged or broken, you must replace them to ensure the pickup’s signals are transmitted properly. In case there is nothing wrong with the connecting cables, you must check the battery.

The Fishman pickups are designed with a 9V battery, and when the battery is exhausted/discharged, the pickup will stop working. For this problem, you have to charge the battery for a few hours to make sure the pickup is powered up properly.

However, if charging doesn’t turn on the battery, you have to replace the battery and make sure you opt for a 9V battery. Thirdly, you have to check the installation. The Fishman pickups are relatively easier to install when they are compared to other pickups in the market.

However, since Fishman pickups have an under-saddle design, the beginners make installation errors. The incorrect installation prevents the pickups from working properly. The solution is to get the pickup installed by a professional guitarist or a music technician.

Last but not least, you have to check the battery terminal contacts because the bent or corroded terminal contacts lead to improper connection, which prevents the pickup from turning on.

In case the terminals are corroded, you can use a contact cleaner to clean the corrosion or rust. Once the terminals are clean, reconnect the battery and turn on the pickup.

  1. Unable To Reverse The Phase

It’s common for guitarists to reverse the phase when using electric guitars and pickups. However, if you are unable to reverse the phase, it’s likely that you are using the wrong lead. The wrong lead not only makes it impossible to reverse the phase but also causes installation issues.

Commonly, people purchase a single pickup with irreversible lead, hence the problem. The only solution is to change the lead and opt for a two-conductor lead to have better control over the phase reversal. The best thing about using two-conductor lead is that it has insulation, which means the shielding won’t cause a short circuit in the guitar.

  1. Muffled Sound

Miniature Workers Fixing The Electric Guitar Pickups

If you have connected the Fishman pickup to the guitar and the sound is muffled, it’s likely that you have chosen the incorrect pot value. That’s because the tone pots and volume are the two most important components of the guitars. In most cases, the muffled sound is produced when the pickup is put through the 250K pot.

This pot value is recommended only for Telecaster guitars with single-coil pickup. In addition, you should use 25K pots with active pickups as they promise better control over tone and volume. Secondly, you must check the pickup height because if the pickup is too low, it leads to underwhelming and weaker tones.

It’s recommended that you take the guitar and pickup to the guitar shop to get the pickup optimized according to the guitar you are using.

  1. Incorrect Sound Output

When you connect the Fishman pickup to the guitar and the sound output is opposite to what you played, it’s likely that you have selected incorrect string spacing. This is because string spacing directly impacts the reception of string vibrations. In case you are using the bridge pickup, it’s recommended to opt for wider spacing (52mm).

In addition, the string spacing varies with the guitar bridges. The Gibson-style bridges should have 50mm spacing while the Fender-style bridges should have 52mm to 55mm spacing.

Acoustic guitar

  1. Unwanted Noise In The Music

If you are getting unwanted noise in the music, it’s likely that you have set the pickups too high. That’s because the high pickup positioning creates a magnetic field as magnets pull and push the strings, which leads to an unwanted tone.

To determine the correct height for the pickup, you have to press the lower E string on the high fret and measure the pickup’s bass side from the string’s bottom. As a result, you will get proper string clearance. Ideally, you should opt for 4/64 inches on the neck and 5/64 inches on the bridge.

  1. Out Of Phase

In case the Fishman pickups are out of phase it’s easy to fix the problem. The solution is to reverse the direction of the coil. For this purpose, follow the below-mentioned steps;

    1. Loosen up the screws of the polepiece to clear the baseplate. Then, loosen up the bobbin screws to make sure the magnets slide out.
    2. Now, just roll over the magnet by flipping it 180 degrees and the polarity will be switched. As a result, the pickups will be in phase.
  1. Crackling Controls

In case you are trying to turn the knobs on the pickup but they are making popping or crackling noises, there are chances that there is dust or debris buildup in the knobs. This buildup will not only cause crackling sounds but pose a threat to the electric connections.

Cleaning the strings and deck of the guitar

To clear the dust and dirt buildup, it’s recommended that you turn the knobs vigorously to work out the dust. In addition, you can use a blow dryer at the high setting as it helps blow off the dust. In case you use the blow dryer, it’s recommended that you use the “cool” setting because hot air can damage the delicate connections.

Secondly, corrosion on the knobs can also lead to crackling sounds. So, if you see some rust, you should use a contact cleaner to clear off the rust and corrosion. However, you must dry up the knobs after cleaning with the contact cleaner.

On the other hand, if this doesn’t work, it’s recommended that you take it to the repairperson to get the pots thoroughly cleaned.

The Bottom Line

The pickups are essential to optimize the audio output as they are responsible for converting the guitar strings’ vibrations into electric signals. However, it’s important to be aware of common pickup problems to make sure you can fix them quickly and resume the jamming session.

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