Burstbucker I & II Ideal Height?

Classicplayer

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I know that loads of Les Pauls, including Historics have been sold with this pair of Burstbuckers. For those owners who still have them, where aboutouts did you set their heights for optimal tone for all three switch positions? Was the type of amp you use a factor in the decision? I have mine in an ‘18 Trad and like them where I now have them. The neck is low in its ring and the bridge BB2 is set higher to help my amp crunch up the way I prefer, yet still a good balance for the neck BB1 in the middle position.


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whatshisname

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I have my bridge pickup set at an eighth of an inch, with the strings pressed at the 22nd fret, and just a little lower for the neck.
 

mdubya

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I have mine in an ‘18 Trad and like them where I now have them.
That sounds like the ideal height to me. :thumb:

I go by what sounds good and not by measurements.

Unless the magnets are particularly weak, I like a bit more breathing room than most recommended heights; e.g. the A2 P-90's I have need to be closer to the strings to give me what I want. A5 P-90's are set significantly lower than recommended spec.

If I do any particular dialing in, it is to pluck each E string, low and high, individually, and dial the pickup height until each E decays into harmonic overtones. Can't get better than that as far as maximizing harmonic content. Sometimes, that setting is in the "too much" arena.

You can use the pole screws to fine tune, but I recommend keeping them in very modest adjustment - jmho, just a turn or two, this way or that.
 

Classicplayer

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That sounds like the ideal height to me. :thumb:

I go by what sounds good and not by measurements.

Unless the magnets are particularly weak, I like a bit more breathing room than most recommended heights; e.g. the A2 P-90's I have need to be closer to the strings to give me what I want. A5 P-90's are set significantly lower than recommended spec.

If I do any particular dialing in, it is to pluck each E string, low and high, individually, and dial the pickup height until each E decays into harmonic overtones. Can't get better than that as far as maximizing harmonic content. Sometimes, that setting is in the "too much" arena.

You can use the pole screws to fine tune, but I recommend keeping them in very modest adjustment - jmho, just a turn or two, this way or that.
This sounds very much similar to the way I dial'd in my heights on the Burstbuckers. I measured mine again this morning, and the bridge when both E-strings are fretted at the highest fret, measure 8/64” on low E and 4/64” on the high E. My neck pup is 8/64” on the low E and 5/64” on the high E string. I did dial them in “by ear“ so both high and low E string sound about equal in volume and get the harmonics going when pick'd hard. I only measured them for future reference...they really are close to what I think is ideal.

The caveat here is actually which amp I choose to play my Trad through. In my case it's just one tube amp; my Orange Dark Terror into a Celestion V30. This amp and speaker combination have deep lows and an abundance of low mids and adequate (but not excessive) highs. This is the reason I spent mucho listening time to set the heights on my Burstbucker, and not pre-determined measurements. Since this amp is my one and only, I don't have to contend with multiple amps.

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ehb

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Simple. Where it sounds best to you.

example: I start on a humbucker guitar by decking the neck to the rings. Raise the pole screws and balance strings. Play it a bit and raise pup a tiny bit if I feel it needs it.
Etc...

Mine are low. I like em that way. Numbers, just like string height numbers are like a starting point.
 

cooljuk

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Manufacturers only have specified pickup heights listed so their employees (who may not be musicians at all) have somewhere to set them, which is kind of in the middle of the adjustment range and not in the way of the strings. They also have setup numbers for neck relief and string height to give the guitars a general "it'll work" setup that won't buzz when shipped to all types of climates around the world.

None of that should be taken as "optimal' or "ideal" for ANY single guitar, pickup, player, rig, etc. It's more likely to be "known not ideal, but with a wide margin for function" if you think about it.

Grab yourself a slotted drive screwdriver, plug your guitar in, and dial in the neck pickup first. Forget about the volume, just put the pickup height and pole screws where the voice sounds good to you. Then, adjust the bridge after the neck is done, to give the sort of balance of volume and bass to the neck pickup that you find appropriate for your style and preferences.

That's it. No magic. No real tricks (other than adjusting the neck pickup first). And no stated numbers will be ideal for everyone.

If you try to set the bridge pickup first, then balance the neck to it, you'll probably go around in circles forever. That's usually the wrong way for most people, even if you play on the bridge 90% of the time.
 

mdubya

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IMHO, the neck pickup has a greater range of potential for sounding good. You can bury it and raise it up to balance with your bridge pickup and it will probably sound good.

I use my neck pickup plenty, but if the bridge pickup doesn't please me, it won't matter.

So, I go against the mlp popular opinion of dialing in the neck pickup first. The neck pickup is my compromise pickup, not the other way around.

I have no problem with it being a little louder or needing to keep the volume pot low. But I don't usually have balance problems with my method. :dunno:

JMHO. YMMV.
 

Classicplayer

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I spent some time yesterday and the day before just doing micro tweaks to my BB 1 & 2 heights. I ended up my playing session this morning by measuring their heights and it seems that after all the micro tweaks, they are situated at the heights that I began with;), so they do sound fine within a range; a narrow range at that. I seem to prefer the sound though just at the point where the neck pup begins to “overtake” the bridge in volume. That seems to be the balance point where the “chirp” (if any) can be noticed. It's an interesting tone, in that there are plenty of bass frequencies in it and just enough highs and mids to call it “fat”. In this particular Traditional, it is it’s defining middle position sound and in a different guitar would require perhaps different pup height to achieve a similar sound. That's why guitars can be so different and different personalities; different tone signatures.

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tazzboy

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Depends on how your action is set. If it's setup to Gibson Specs 5/64" on bass side and 3/64" on treble side then you should set your pickup height at 3/32" Neck Pickup and 1/16" on Bridge Pickup. Of course they are just guidelines and jumping off points
 

DADGAD

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I’ve never been very patient tweaking pickups. The micro nuances seem to get lost on my ears and tweaking too much tends to give me ear fatigue where I stop caring about the tone and just play what I have and tweak through the amp.
 


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