I decided to start learning playing on a 8 strings guitar and decided to go after a headless fanned fret model, for the weight and because I have small hands. After searching for a reasonably priced guitar, I decided to buy a Legator Ghost G8FP, in black color : headless, fan frets, and a not so flat radius that can help with small hands. This guitar is actually great : the neck is amazing and the playability is really very good, IMHO.
This Ghost version comes with Legator Hive 8 pickups : while these pickups are not bad, they are very low output and their tonal range is a little bit limited. If you boost them with a booster plus an overdrive, you can start getting some interesting tone…. (for example a TC Spark + an overdrive) … but I finally decided to swap them and to install Fishman Fluence Modern 8.
The very good news if you own this Legator G8FP model is that the Hive and the Fishman have the exact same dimensions : no extra routing is required and the original screws are just the same as the ones needed for the Fishman : they can be re-screwed at the very same place. So it is just an easy drop-in replacement for the pickup installation : you will simply need some additional foam to raise the Fishman a little bit.
The Legator Hive is a passive pickup : the original electronic does not have a battery and uses a 500 K volume pot. But the other good news is that if you stick to a single pot setup, there is enough space in the cavity to accommodate for a 9V battery and that the installed jack is already a stereo jack (it has 3 pins : one is available to connect the negative wire of the battery). The G8FP is quite thin but the push-pull pot will fit : so I went for the Fishman install with a single volume pot with the voicing switching option, via push-pull. The Fishman pickups kit comes with all the wiring, screws, and the 25K pots needed (2 push-pull and 2 standard pots).
The picture below shows the pickup cavity with the pot removed and with the first install of the battery clip :
The original 3-ways blade switch is good : I just kept it and connected as well the bridge ground wire.
The next picture show the final installation :
If you are interested, you can find the Fishman Fluence Modern wiring diagram here : https://www.fishman.com/portfolio/fluence-modern-humbucker-pickup/ (go to the support tab).
These pickups are just …. amazing : extreme clarity and note separation, even with heavy distorsion. The output level is high but very useable and the pickups are extremely well isolated against noise. The two voicing options are really great. I will post samples soon, either in this article or in the « soundcheck » page.