Humbucker height question...

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by kingswood127, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. kingswood127

    kingswood127 Junior Member

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    When adjusting the height of a humbucker, do you measure from the adjustable pole piece side or the fixed side?

    The adjustable side on my humbuckers are about 1/16" or so higher than the fixed poles.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. River

    River Senior Member

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    Mine usually have covers on them, so the adjustable poles.
     
  3. kingswood127

    kingswood127 Junior Member

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    I forgot to mention, the pole pieces on my humbuckers (both adjustable and fixed) are exposed...
     
  4. River

    River Senior Member

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    I assumed that. I'd still measure from the adjustable poles.
     
  5. gtr-tek

    gtr-tek Fumble Fingers Premium Member

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    I've found a good rule of thumb I got from Bill Lawrence's website where you use 2 nickels on top of the pup on the bass side while holding the string down on the last fret and adjusting until the nickels just touch the string and a single nickel on the treble side, same procedure. This gets them pretty close to start. I'll usually adjust the stronger one lower to achieve balance in the middle position. I've found having them too close causes intonation and sound problems. :cool:
     
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  6. Sinster

    Sinster Senior Member

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  7. onehippie

    onehippie Senior Member

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    after you get the 2 outer poles set on both pu's its also a good idea to adjust the remaining poles to the radius of fingerboard or bass side 3 all the same as the outer bass pole distance from bottom of string with last fret held
    and the 3 treb to the same as the outer treb pole distance from bottom of string
     
  8. TeleDog

    TeleDog V.I.P. Member

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    It's a good tip, but the strength of that magnet is not the same for all pickups, so I guess having a pre-set distance from the poles to the strings is just a guide, and not some absolute. You're setting up YOUR guitar and no two are alike.
     
  9. NYPV

    NYPV Senior Member

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    I like to set the neck first. Go by ear!! You'll probably find it sounds better a little lower then factory recommendations. Set high E side, while fretting on the last fret,and drop the low E string side a little more to lose the boomy bass. When you have good string to string balance raise or lower bridge pup to match volume. Hit high E with pup selector on neck, then switch to bridge and balance volume. Same with low E string. All this with all controls maxed, important. All strings, all pups should all be the same volume. Now you can tweak via the tone and volumes to your liking
     
  10. gtr-tek

    gtr-tek Fumble Fingers Premium Member

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    Very true. Like I said, a good place to start. It gets you in the ballpark and you tweak it from there. Bill Lawrence certainly knows his stuff! I've used this method to set up all of my guitars and others I've worked on and it works. Difference in pups are mere fractions of an inch, usually much less than 1/8". Balancing the middle position is the trick. :cool:
     
  11. sharptan

    sharptan Senior Member

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    Does changing the pickup height really make that much of a difference? It's maybe something I'd like to do on my LP...
     
  12. Rich

    Rich Non sequitur Premium Member

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  13. gtr-tek

    gtr-tek Fumble Fingers Premium Member

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    It certainly can. Too close and you can get odd tones and notes that don't ring true due to too much magnetic pull on the strings. Too far and the sound is weak and thin. There is a sweet spot in between and you need a place to start. :cool:
     
  14. River

    River Senior Member

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    Same here. I eyeball them to be like they were or like my other similar guitars, then sit down with a set of headphones and a screwdriver.

    Some pickups react so strongly to height changes that I've thought I broke a solder connection. Others don't seem to care much, unless they're almost touching.
     
  15. mudfinger

    mudfinger Thanks for the memories! V.I.P. Member

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    I like to keep the coils low, and the screws up high; but, I started off my career as a Fender man, and I do still love the sound of Leo's pups.


    Ginger, my #1, before she donated her bridge pup to the Monsterbucker:
    [​IMG]

    Flora, my #2, in her current configuration:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Coils are pretty much level with the rings, screws are way up high. It's not a sound you'd expect to hear from a humbucker, but it sure puts a smile on my face. :D
     
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  16. exactopposite

    exactopposite Member

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    How would you describe the difference? I'm curious.
     
  17. djlogan33

    djlogan33 Senior Member

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    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Hold down the strings on the last fret
    • Average neck Pickup height = 3/32" (little closer on the high-E string)
    • Average bridge Pickup height = 1/16" (little closer on ther high-E string)
     
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