Adjusting Your Pickups To The Amp

Classicplayer

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I like to ramble on now and then about my Orange Dark Terror and the sounds I can get from it, but this post is a question about Les Paul humbucker pickups and how you like to position them for your favorite amp.

Do you set your Lester's pickups to take “advantage“ of your favorite amp/speaker combination characteristics? Now that I have adjusted a few pole pieces to balance string to string volume, and adjusted the pickup's heights for the amp's tone. That tone is “warm” with not an abundance of highs. Lots of lows and mids (Orange is known for lower mids). As a result, my Les Paul's pickups ( Seths in one guitar. BB 1 and 2 in the other) look nearly identical in the comparative heights.

Do you set your pickups to a standard height that generally works with your amps, or do you adjust or re-adjust to suit the amp you use the most?


Classicplayer
 

Dilver

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I set the guitars pickups - overall height and polepiece heights - so that the guitar sounds good no matter what amp I play it through. Some amps reveal more nuances about the tone than others. But once I take the time to set it, I don’t really change it unless I hear something’s off.
 

Bobby Mahogany

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My amps are Fender brothers so what's good for one is good for the other.
I guess... because I've never felt the need to adjust my pups for each one
to hear the possible difference.

And when I plugged into a friend's JCM 800 or PLexi Marshall(s), it was "my guitar" into that Marshall.
And in practice studio I have used a Roland JC as well as some SS Marshall's
that were there. It was "my guitar" plugged into whatever.
Even in a Line6 Flextone II I could hear "my guitar".
My guitar sounds good. I know that much.
:fingersx:

That is all.
 

AJK1

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I just set and forget
Not very helpful to corksniffers but I sleep well at night and don’t let the little things play on my mind
 

dc007

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I set pickups up using a clean amp tone at a moderate volume and then forget it
 

akuster777

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I agree: sometimes I feel I need to adjust the pickups to whatever amp I'm playing. Humbucker neck in particular.

When I install new pickups, I'll alternate between my 5f1 and 5e3 clones straight in, just at the edge of breakup, and I'll adjust pickup heights and pole piece heights until the pickups sound good on either amp. When adjusting, It absolutely helps me to have another guitar that I've got dialed in and sounds good on all my amps to switch over to during testing to get a good reference.

Years ago, I cared more about having an even volume between pickups and a good blend in middle position; usually after setup they end up sounding pretty balanced--sometimes the bridge isn't as loud as I'd like dimed compared to the neck, depends on the set of pickups--but I'd prefer great sounds on both bridge and neck than a mediocre sound on either to get a good middle.

After I get the pickups adjusted to sound the way I like them on my fender clones, they usually sound great on my brighter amps (2204, 18w tremolo, and tw liverpool clones).

Even then, it's nice to have several guitars to try when you have a sound in your head that you want to get out of your rig!

Best wishes,

Andrew
 

Classicplayer

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I play a lot of triads on the unwound strings, so that is my reference point. I use the pick to play the 6th or 5th strings while my fingres sound a triad, so pole piece height is a factor to my guitar's tone. The notes have to bright and clear when playing “clean” and those higher strings' pole pieces are raised up enough on neck and bridge to “excite” the amp's gain…again the “Page” influence. If those strings seem louder than wound strings, I manage with my hybrid picking to use the appropriate amount of finger pressure to sort of “equalize“ the strings' volumes. I may also find it necessary to reach for the pup volume knob, when needed, to help with controlling volume.

If you watch Gary Moore videos, you will see him reach for his volume sometimes in between notes to get what he's listening for. I'm not fast enough to handle that technique, but it's easier to let my fingers control volume of particular strings.

Classicplayer
 

ARandall

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I simply can't imagine how bothersome it must be to be actually wanting to adjust pickup heights constantly if you swap amps.
I'd be more interested in finding the naturally most suited guitar (or a few most suited) for each ideal amp's tone you dial up - especially if your amps are incredibly varied.
 

Classicplayer

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I simply can't imagine how bothersome it must be to be actually wanting to adjust pickup heights constantly if you swap amps.
I'd be more interested in finding the naturally most suited guitar (or a few most suited) for each ideal amp's tone you dial up - especially if your amps are incredibly varied.

In my case, I only have one amp, but two Les Pauls. I'm strictly a home player and being such led me to decide that I could spend some time dialing the pickups on both of my Lesters to my amp. I was getting a good sound before I tweaked pole pieces, however after living with my Dark Terror for over 3 years, I began to hear some need for tweaking to get the pickups on both guitars at a point where notes up and down the neck were clear when played clean (neck pup especially) and brought out the harmonics and peak tones from the amp's gain stage…..when using the bridge pup or middle position.

This past week, I accomplished the goal; after many tweaks to (really) only a few pole screws to bring out the “sweet-spot” in each note played. If I owned several amps, I probably would have not touched any pole screws and just dialed each guitar in to sound good with each amp; with more care being taken to tweak the amp's e.q.


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ErictheRed

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I have different combinations of guitars/amps generally. I use my R9 with my old Blackface Pro Reverb, and I use a Suhr Modern with my Mesa Triple Crown (for the most part, I do switch things up). So while it isn't conscious, I probably set them up slightly differently because I'm tweaking them for those particular amps, which are pretty much opposites of each other (one has lots of preamp gain and one very little).
 

jcsk8

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I usally do the opposite. I tweak my amp to my neck pickup. After that, usually the bridge pickup becomes very bright, than I use the tone control properly.

The pickups I set with clean tone to match volume and sustain in all strings and both pickups.
 

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