Strings at different volumes

So today I finally plugged my acoustic in to an amp, and had an issue immediately, both outloud and with headphones (so guessing not the amp)

The E string comes through intensely loud, the G string sounds how I was expecting, but the D string is reaaaally quiet.
Moreso, the A string comes through so quietly that turning the amp up loud enough to hear them means the other strings are too loud by comparison.

A quick Google suggests it’s the piezo pickup not having uniform contact eith the bridge, but the Aria (model is the snappily named FEB-F2M) has F-Holes rather than a soundhole, so it’s not like I can even take a good look or adjust it…

Using my phone I can’t even see the pickup, just wood with a cable coming out of it.

Any thoughts?


@John_E probably is our resident piezo pickup expert, albeit a reluctant one…


Welcome to the wonderful(ly frustrating) world of piezos @mikeyjayjay

The piezo is under the bone saddle at the bridge.
You can’t see it without taking things apart a bit.
Piezos need to see the same amount of pressure from each string in order to sound close in volume.
This is tricky for two reasons…

  1. Each string has differing tensions (unless you but a matched tension set).
  2. The slot where the piezo is is often not perfectly flat, and therefore needs shiming to get it ‘just right’.

You can do a trial and error approach on your own with shims (wood only), or, you can have a luthier do it right once (recommended). There is a bit of an art to this and its very frustrating having to take the strings off and on and off an on and off (by this point you should have just taken it in for adjustment).

In some cases, it can be a bad piezo, but this is not the most common problem. This is generally the case if the piezo is broken somewhere. Don’t the the repair shop tell you off the bat its bad, that’s BS. That’s if all else fails. But if you have sound out of all strings, then it is probably fine.


@mikeyjayjay yes @John_E is right.
I have fixed an underbridge piezo volume disparity by ‘packing’ under the bone saddle with 20mm long slithers of aluminium can positioned under the quiet strings. Costs nothing and you can always take them out if it doesn’t give you what you want.


Alternatively just accept that eventually you’ll end up here and buy a P Bass :slight_smile:


He’s right, you know


They joke because they don’t know the beaty of your acoustic radiance. :sunglasses::+1:


Thanks for the responses, will take the saddle out later and investigate.

Thanks in particular @John_E for the detail there.

I’ve had a quick look online for luthiers and it seems there are potentially 2 within the vicinity of where I live, though one of the options would involve being without the guitar for several weeks, and potentially spending quite a bit in the process (the other one’s website is a bit light on details and seems to focus on brass instruments but can do guitars too).
Based on this if I can’t resolve it myself I’ll just stick to playing fully acoustic and accept I made a bad call.

In hindsight I’m not even 100% sure why I suddenly felt the need to get an amp when there’s so little opportunity to actually play with any volume.

Cheers @jonathanhaynes43 will bear that method in mind.

@Barney and @howard I can’t see that happening, though if we’re talking about a Jaguar rather than a Precision, that’s a different story…


Is there any chance at all it coud relate to the amp?

Just plugged in my Brunswick acoustic bass (as it hasn’t sold yet) and it’s got more sound coming through, though those 2 middle stings are definitely a touch quieter.

Makes me wonder if it’s the amp or the guitar…?

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Unfortunately, I still think it’s the piezo. If it was the amp you wouldn’t see inconsistency from one string to next. The problem would be across all of the strings.


It’s not the amp


Thanks gents, I presumed that would be the case.
Just my inner sceptic creeping in, having bought a second hand budget-amp.

Will be having a play with the guitars later, see if I can get them sounding more consistent.

Failing that, sell them both and get an Affinity Series Jag Bass…?
(I jest, I like acoustics for now)

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Looking for a Jag Bass? Great choice and at that price it’s practically free :sunglasses:


Exceptionally well priced indeed, I’d be torn between the Orange and Charcoal colourways (is colourways even the right term…? I think I’m using bike lingo inadvertently)

Definitely one to consider for future :sunglasses:

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Right, so I’ve made some positive progress.

Removed the saddle and underneath was a weird lopsided shim of sorts, that presumably was there for action reasons (seems to play fine since, so no drama). Took that out and got everything back together…

Loads of volume from the A and D strings, but much less from the G and E strings!! It’s inverted!

BUT I think I know why - I put the saddle on the table when checking it out and I could rock it ever so slightly end to end, so it certainly isn’t perfectly flat on the bottom.

Tomorrow’s job - sourcing some suitable sandpaper (the only stuff I’ve got in the shed is nowhere near fine enough for this sort of job)


If I didn’t already own a pbass I’d definitely get one of those! I’m trying to not buy the Strat… I’ve managed to go just over a year without buying any instruments :laughing:


Did some mild sanding of the saddle today, and much improvement has been made - now have solid and level sound on 3 out of 4 strings.

The low E is a little quieter but not as drastically as before, so I’m going to take this as a win, not to mention a rather useful learning experience.

Thanks for the prior guidance folks


Yes low E seems to be the trickiest. Glad you got somewhere. I didn’t have the patience. Lol


I’m glad that you are on the right path. Also a big shout out to @PamPurrs for disparaging Dr Piezo @John_E.

My experience with piezo is a bit different because all of my equipped basses come with individual string adjustment 2 ibanez, Musicman bongo, Godin, not to mention the optical pickups combo with piezo.

I’ll add this. If you ave one string imbalance, check the string first. You may just have a dead string. It’s more common than you think. When I for got my music man caprice, I didn’t know that I have a dying G string. First I thought it was fret level/dead spot. So I pleked the neck. $200 later it’s still there. I called the shop and asked why this exists, they said probably a dead string. Changed the string and low and behold the problem is gone.

It’s a much cheaper fix than a fret work so go there first if you find yourself in this situation.


Had a go at adjusting the Brunswick too this evening and it appears (via unreliable headphones - I’ll double check tomorrow when kids are awake) that sanding the very uneven saddle has resulted in a fairly even sound across the strings.

Unintentionally improved the action and made it play nicer in the process too.
Shame it’s likely going next week.