I have a beautiful Ibanez EW20ASE Acoustic Electric Guitar

I love both the look and sound of it and I especially love the sound of the mic pickup from the XLR as opposed to the electric 1/4. Maybe they both share a pickup but diverge later. I don't know much about this guitar since I haven't found much online but I'd be interested to know more how this works.

Anyway like the subject says, the mic pickup suddenly stopped working, or so I thought. Turns out it works when the 1/4 is plugged in, even when it is not plugged into an external device like an interface or amp. It just needs to be inserted for the mic to work. Would this mean it has to be an electrical circuit or grounding type issue? That's what I'm guessing. I unscrewed the connection black unit where the battery and connections are located and had a look. I didn't see anything unsual but there probably wouldn't have been much for me to do anyway.

What's even more interesting is that if you plug in a 1/4 adapter for 3.5 mm cord instead of the regular patch cable, it works and sounds when it's pulled out a little bit but not all the way inserted. I'm sure it's because the adapter is stereo and has 2 divisions whereas the patch is mono with one division, so it gives it more play. That's telling me it probably is a grounding thing.

Anything you guys know about this and can share, from experience in the field, or ideas would be very helpful. I'm in a workable usable state, but I want to know out of curiosity and also this is a little less convenient and who knows if it will get worse. I also plan to take it in next time I go to the shop and get a professional assessment.

Btw before I figured out it worked with the 1/4 cable in, I didn't know it was working at all and I tried all types of diagnostics. Found out the same XLR cable works on other equipment, the patch works on this guitar, changed batteries, messed with levels and knobs so I tried all that stuff. It needs a patch cable inserted whether or not it is actually used. Has anybody encountered this? If anyone could give a kind of detailed physical explanation even if it's just a hunch, I'd be very appreciative.


1 Answer 1


Sounds like intended behaviour.

Most active electronics guitars have a switch in the socket - otherwise the battery will go flat even when not in use.

Check your owner's manual.

From an Ibanez pre-amp manual chosen pretty much at random…

To prevent the battery from being consumed needlessly, disconnect the plug from the output jack when you’re not using the guitar.

Alternative explanation: There should also be a switch in the XLR socket which is failing. Take it to a competent guitar tech.

  • Thanks for the response. I found the Ibanez Acoustic Preamp manual. "This is a standard 1/4” output jack. (The unit turns on when a plug is inserted into either the Input jack or Output jack.)" XLR is called balanced output. Not much said of its requirements. Don't remember if I always had TRD plugged in w/ it. Probably the case if that's what's going on. Basically just failed to power it up. Still going to see what they say in the shop for further enlightenment. There's room for improvement in the users manual and possibly design. They could have external switch instead, but all's well
    – gcr
    Mar 21, 2020 at 17:05
  • External switches get forgotten. That idea was used & abandoned 50 years ago. idk of any switched XLR socket type, only plugs, but they don't fit your use-case, eg thomann.de/gb/neutrik_nc3fxs.htm
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 21, 2020 at 17:15
  • Thanks for your input. It definitely answers my question. I ordered a mono quarter inch jack. That can be my custom switch!
    – gcr
    Mar 23, 2020 at 0:29

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