Soldering a piezo in place, bone elements, some of this & some of that!

It’s raining Cort guitars, here! This is the third one in as many weeks!

This MR500E OP from Cort made me smile while also making me raise an eyebrow.

The owner was a schoolkid, and like all ‘good’ boys, (seemingly) loves to tinker with things. His guitar was no exception. More on that story later, but let’s introduce you to the guitar.

The MR500E has a solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides, Ovangkol fingerboard and bridge. The dreadnought body has a cutaway and is equipped with Cort CE304T electronics.

The electronics must have developed problems and true to his nature, Babloo (let’s call him that) decided to get to the bottom of it, and, if possible, solve it too (I daresay). He took off the EQ unit, opened it up, traced the problem to the piezo element under the saddle, and broke a bridgepin trying to remove the strings.

He found out that to solve the problem, he needed to replace the entire piezo connecting wire and all, and then proceeded to buy it off an e-commerce site.

That was not the end of Babloo’s adventures. The piezo he ordered came with the mandatory double channel jack, only on his EQ, there was no provision for a jack input, the lead of the piezo being directly soldered into the EQ circuit.

So, Babloo, having come this far, took the next logical step and knocked off the jack, exposing the wire and its ground, which needed to be soldered exactly where the kaput piezo’s wire was sitting right now.

And it was at this point that Babloo got in touch with me. I don’t know whether to feel sad that the laddie couldn’t lay his hands on a soldering iron, or happy that he did, but the guitar is well now and Babloo is very happy. 

What’s more, he brought me all parts kept properly in a plastic box, screws and all! 

Did the story bring a smile to your face? Thank God for boys!

Anyway, the job was simple enough: remove the existing wire and  solder on the new one. I pulled out my USB soldering iron and the job was done before you could say ‘piezo’!

However, the piezo element proper was one of those which are housed in a rubber sheath for protection. Nothing wrong in that except it increases the girth of the piezo element, making it impossible to thread through the hole in the bridge.

So, I had to enlarge the hole in the bridge through which I could thread it. 

The EQ was assembled and screwed back into the body. Once everything was secure, I went about testing the connection. Immediately, the EQ sprang to life, the indicator light beeping life.

Besides, he wanted a bone nut and saddle, new strings. A pair of bone saddle and nut coming up.

And once you get the measurements right, there is little that can go wrong there. 

The only real problem Babloo pointed out was that often while changing strings, the ‘B’ and ‘e’ strings would break.

I filed edges of both machine head holes smooth and last heard, they are behaving themselves.

Then just because the strings were off, I cleaned up the fretboard and the fretwires, and gave the fretboard a much-needed drink of oil. Here are the before and after shots.

While I was admiring my handiwork, just on a whim I checked for neck straightness.

There was just a tad extra relief than I would like to see on an instrument. I dialled that out by tightening the truss rod and then proceeded to throw on the set of strings Babloo had chosen. He chose these silver-plated strings.

But before I put on new strings, there were new bridgepins needed. No point putting one new one with five old ones and have it stand out like a giraffe among zebras! So, I changed the entire set. But there was one little job to be done first before I put them into the guitar.

Here’s the job finished

When I checked on Babloo, everything was working just fine, but he was most happy with the new saddle and nut and acknowledged what a great change to the sound of the instrument they had brought. 


Amit Newton

An experienced guitar tech with over 10 years of experience working on acoustic Gibsons and Martins in the Gulf region. There is nothing that cannot be repaired; the only consideration is the price at which it comes. And yet, if there is sentiment attached, no price is too high! WhatsApp/Call me: 7080475556 email me:

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