Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 70

COLUMN Dan's Guitar

RX
Chris had to retire the guitar after the
bridge split between the pins and the plate
could no longer keep the ball ends from
pulling through the top. When he brought
it to my shop, I noticed that not only was
the plate made of spruce - a poor choice
for a steel-string guitar - but the pin holes
were blown out from years of the ball-end
wraps sawing through the wood. It needed
a new bridge, and one look told me it would
be a tough job.

Chris Ridgway,
back in action with
the Takamine.

A BRIDGE (NEARLY) TOO FAR
Mending the Palathetic pickup
on an '80s Takamine
By Dan Erlewine

M

y friend, Chris Ridgway, has played in
the Free Range Pickers for 23 years, doing gigs everywhere from his home in
Ohio to the small town of Texas, Queensland
(Australia), and everywhere in-between.
In the mid '90s, he bought a used Takamine

EF-340 SD and has always loved its Palathetic
pickup system. Ricky Skaggs has been known
to buy Taks just to remove the system and put
it in other guitars like his '47 Martin D-28.
Ry Cooder and Steve Wariner are also fans
of the Palathetic.

2

Photos: Kate Erlewine.

1

1) The pickup consists of cylindrical,
metal-capped ceramic piezo elements cast
into a rubber bar that fits into an aluminum
frame. It's mounted from inside and emerges
through a 31/ 8" x 3/ 8" slot in the top and bridge
plate. The frame has threaded holes at each
end and is raised through the slot by machine
screws that enter from the top. The piezo
elements enter six flat-bottomed holes under
the saddle, and the slot in the bridge is cut
deep, so the bottom of the saddle contacts the
elements but rests on a thin layer of rosewood
that makes up the bottom of the saddle slot.
Between the saddle and the elements is an
aluminum strip I assume helps balance output
for all six elements.
2) The pickup's frame (and the slot it fits) is
similar in shape to the adjustable top-loading
saddles on Gibson acoustics like the J-45,
J-50, B-25, and others with height-adjust
screws and a thick saddle made of ceramic,
rosewood, or ebony (like this B-25-12). The
saddles on those, however, aren't pickups.
And, the Takamine frame is not visible from
outside because it's not slotted into the bridge.
Rather, it hangs below.
3) The toughest part of this repair was

VINTAGE GUITAR

70

September 2018


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 3
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 4
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 5
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 8
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - Contents
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 11
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