Pickup Height and it's Effects on Tone ???

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by BOBBO, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. Tom99SS

    Tom99SS Senior Member

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    I found at the stock height the BB Pros sounded thin and bright/harsh especially at pick attack for the bridge pickup. I lowered them until I got a fuller/warmer sound (of course the RS Pots and Luxe BB caps help) to me. The pickups are about even with the pickup rings (I have historics installed) and then measured them so I can keep a record. They are radiused and between 3/32 and 4/32 when depressed at last fret.

    Neck was then adjusted to equal volume.

    Just an FYI
     
  2. richedie

    richedie Senior Member

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    You know I used to set the height of my LP bridge pickups at about 3/32 but I tried 1/16 for rehearsal tonight and I think my tone was harsh and bright compared to normal.
     
  3. gmacdonnell

    gmacdonnell V.I.P. Member

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    The best solution for a bright, or harsh bridge pickup, I've found, is keeping the polepieces as close to the top as possible, radius them accurately, and keep the whole pickup a bit lower than usual. Good luck!
     
  4. Tom99SS

    Tom99SS Senior Member

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    Yep, pretty much how I have mine setup. Great point about the polepiece height and this also effects the tone.
     
  5. richedie

    richedie Senior Member

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    Thanks, but what do you mean, keep them close to the top and radius? I would think if you keep em close they would all be flush? What I did was lower the outer poles to below cover and then radius. However, keeping all poles flush can help warm up the tone.
     
  6. Tom99SS

    Tom99SS Senior Member

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    I think this is what he was referring to. I have mine like you mentioned. My outer E polepieces are a little below the pickup cover (the tip of the polepiece maybe flush with the pickup cover). Then the rest are raised accordingly to reflect radius.
     
  7. richedie

    richedie Senior Member

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    I think mine are even lower than your poles because I try to get the outer poles down close to the pickup itself. However, I think for the warmest tone. you want all poles flush to line up with the slug coils. After all, radiusing will emphasize the coil closest to the bridge, hence the brighter tone.
     
  8. Tom99SS

    Tom99SS Senior Member

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    I do not know about that. I know if the polepieces are above the PU cover a good amount and the pickup lowered that this will mostly get a clearer tone with a bit more treble. Lowering the polepieces and raising the whole pickup is suppose t produce a warmer tone. At least that has been my experience. I think it depends how it is radiused, #1 - D/G are flush with cover and the others radiused down, #2 - E/E flush with with cover other raised higher.

    I would think #1 would be warmer sounding than #2 even with overall pickup at the same height. What do I know, I just know what I have I like. :)
     
  9. richedie

    richedie Senior Member

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    I ended up puting all poles back flush and I think it sounds more even and warmer. Radiusing the poles seems more strident to me.
     
  10. uOpt

    uOpt Senior Member

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    The real deal is experimenting with polepiece height.

    There is a huge difference when you bring out the polepieces a little and lower the pickup so that the distance is the same same or something in between again.

    Polepieces-out, pickup lower gets a P90 like quality, gets sharper, a little single-coilish (hardly surprising).

    I like it in bridge humbuckers but not in the neck.
     
  11. richedie

    richedie Senior Member

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    I played around all night with the poles up and down, radiused, etc and could tell little to no difference so I may just stick em flush. Bigger differences are from rasiing and lowering the pickup itseld, not the poles to my ear.
     
  12. guitarcase

    guitarcase Senior Member

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    Watched a peter green doc the other day, and his pickups were like a ski slope from low to high e. Anyway, if you have a highr output pup, will this create a stronger magnetic effect, and therefore have an effect on the strings other than just a stronger output?
     
  13. vortexx

    vortexx Senior Member

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    A stronger magnet and higher polepieces would have an effect on the strings but not a hotter (overwound) pickup
     
  14. guitarcase

    guitarcase Senior Member

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    Ah, I see. So more windings do not increase magnet effect?
     
  15. guitarstan

    guitarstan Senior Member

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    What is the thinking on P-90's for distance to string? Treat it like a humbucker or a single coil?
     
  16. Goldtop75

    Goldtop75 Senior Member

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    No, it would not increase the field, but it would increase the output voltage. It's a transducer, after all.
     
  17. mudfinger

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

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    I set the screws to a 12" radius, and lower the pickups almost flush to the rings. Not the usual methodology, I know...
     
  18. MesaDCLP

    MesaDCLP Senior Member

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    I've tried a bunch of different combinations between flat and 12" radius, and this is what I've currently come up with:

    e 1 full turn out from B
    B tip of pole piece flush, just sticking out of cover.
    G 1/4 turn out from B
    D 1 3/4 turns out from B
    A 1 1/4 turns out from B
    E 3/4 turn out from B

    B is raise up from the cover to the first 1/4 turn that the pole-piece is touching a feeler gauge, so that it is just above the cover.

    Then I've got my bridge set at 7/64" and the neck at 1/8".

    The pickup height affects the overall response of the pickup and how much the guitar contributes to the sound. Closer and you get more of the pickup's response characteristics. Further away and the guitar contributes more to the tone and the pickup has less influence. Typically closer is brighter, punchier, with less dynamics. Further away is quite the opposite. The best height depends on too many things to easily quantify, not to mention player preference! HAHA!!!

    I'm sure most of you have seen this, but here's a great link worth posting:
    Articles: Setting Electric Guitar Pickup Heights - Paul Bothner Music - The Musical Instrument Specialists
     
  19. ryanougrad

    ryanougrad Senior Member

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    great post. I have to go tweak my pups now.
     
  20. ratiug

    ratiug Junior Member

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    I use the kalamazoo method of following the neck radius and pole screws at 45 degrees,then for pup height i fret at the last fret and use a penny for spacing between the strings (both E's) and the pole piece for the bridge pup and a nickel for the neck pup . Its simple and sounds great
     

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