GHOST Hexpander FAQ
How is the tracking/latency of the Hexpander?
The ghost Hexpander is the fastest tracking MIDI system on the market and is renowned for being very accurate. It offers the Traktion tracking adjustment to match it perfectly to Axon or Roland MIDI converters.
How should I set the Traktion switch to optimize tracking?
The Traktion switch is a tiny slider switch that has two positions, left and right. Left is for Roland converters, and right is for Axon converters. If you have a brand other than these two, try both settings and use the one that tracks best.
Are the switches available in a different finish?
We only stock our switches in chrome finish, but the switch is a regular on/off/on SPDT mini toggle, available at most guitar parts retailers. You can special-order the QuickSwitch harness-only by phone (for half the price), but you may find it easier to order the whole switch assembly and just move the wires over to your gold switch one at a time.
How big is the Hexpander?
The PC board measures 1-5/8" x 1-1/8". With the connectors on, it's about 3/8" high. Piggybacked with the Acousti-Phonic, they are 1/2" high.
What is the value of the Hexpander Volume Pot? Can I use a regular guitar volume pot?
Our Hexpander Volume Pot is a 250K linear (type-B) pot. A 250K audio-taper pot will also work, but mid-volume will not be at mid-scale. You may choose to do this, especially if you are putting the MIDI volume on a stacked pot, because mixed linear/audio taper stacked pots are nearly impossible to find.
Can I install just the Hexpander without the Acousti-phonic? Will I still have the option of a direct acoustic sound?
Yes, you can install only the Hexpander, and you will get MIDI out on a 13-pin jack (hex output, a filtered analog signal). With the addition of the BE-0182-G0 Mag to Pin-7 harness, your mag signal gets delivered to pin 7 of the 13-pin connector. Most MIDI converters have two 1/4" outputs on the back -- one for the MIDI signal, and the other for this pin 7 signal. You can process these signals separately at this point.
How does my magnetic signal get to pin 7 if there's no connection between the mags and the Hexpander?
You will need a little accessory, the Mag to Pin-7 Harness to connect the mags to the Hexpander. (you do not need this if you are also installing the Acousti-Phonic; it delivers the mag signal to the Hexpander) Solder the green wire on the Mag to Pin-7 Harness to the tip lug your 1/4" jack, the same point where your mag wire comes from the pots. Note that in Hexpander-only installations, the acoustic signal on pin-7 is the raw sound of the piezos, and is not equalized to compensate for the crystal's characteristics. The Acousti-Phonic provides this option, as well as the ability to blend mag and EQ'd piezo.
Can the Hexpander be installed in a guitar with more than six strings?
Currently, the Hexpander and all MIDI converters are limited to six strings. There are two popular workarounds for more than six strings:
1) have two of everything: two Hexpanders, two MIDI controllers, two cords coming from your guitar, and split the systems. Each system can have a maximum of six strings.
2) Install the Hexpander and the Acousti-phonic and have six strings on MIDI, and the others on piezo-only. Depending on the music you\'re playing, it may work to have the bass strings as straight acoustic, and the rest as MIDI.
What is the correct order for plugging in the saddle pickups for a four string bass?
G D A E = 2 3 4 5 and adjust the instrument input setting in your MIDI converter
What is the correct order for plugging in the saddle pickups for a five string bass?
B G D A E = 1 2 3 4 5 or G D A E B = 2 3 4 5 6 and adjust the instrument input setting in your MIDI converter
What is the correct order for plugging in the saddle pickups for a six string bass?
B G D A E B = 1 2 3 4 5 6 or E B G D A E = 1 2 3 4 5 6 and adjust the instrument input setting in your MIDI converter
Can I use my active pickups with the Hexpander?
Yes. In the standard Hexpander-only installation, the magnetic and acoustic/MIDI systems exist parallel to each other, but are not connected, so there's no interaction between them.
If there's no connection between the magnetic pickups and the Hexpander, how does the QuickSwitch mute the mag signal?
Add the Mag-to-Pin-7 harness, and connect the green wire to the tip lug of your 1/4" jack. This is where the mag and MIDI systems interface.
Do you make a MIDI bridge for 7 string guitars?
Many of our saddles that are made for 6 string bridges will also fit on 7-string bridges. If you do not find a 7-saddle set on our Web site, but see a saddle that looks like it would fit your guitar, contact us and we will put together a custom set of seven saddles for you.
What if I am installing the ghost system into an instrument that does not have any magnetic pickups?
If you have an instrument with a metal bridge plate, it would be good practice to ground that plate rather than leave it floating. Because the bridge is a big chunk of metal near the pickups and their wires, which are high-impedance and thus prone to pickup. If the bridge is floating it will tend to help to couple the ambient 60Hz field to the pickups and wires. On the other hand, if it is grounded it will tend to act as a screen, shielding the pickups and their wires from the ambient 60Hz field.
Can the ghost system be used with other manufacturer's components?
Yes, many piezo technologies are similar enough that they will interface successfully. Often the biggest difficulty is getting parts from different manufacturers physically hooked up together. Other companies don't use the nifty plug-in connectors like the ghost system so there will be more work.
An inexpensive way to interface another manufacturer's piezo bridge with the ghost system is to order the Extension Harness and solder wires from the bridge to the pins on the harness. That way the other manufacture's bridge will plug in to the ghost system.