Pole Piece Setup Advice - PAF Clones

fendrix

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Hi All,

I've been trying to setup the pole pieces of my OX4 PAF pickups and at this point I'm quite desperate. I tweaked the poles for days but still not happy the results and because I can't tell how they were originally I can't revert them.

I have unmounted the pickups now and I'm about to level the screws using a ruler from the back of the pickup. Do you guys think that is a good approach?

I just want a standard setup if there is any.

What would you suggest? angled screw slots or perpendicular to the strings? poles flush with the cover or raised? I see Gibson is setting the slots perpendicular to the strings these days...

Also when people talk about flush with the cover I'm not sure what they mean, is that the screw slot if levelled with the cover or that where domed part of the screw starts is flush with the cover?

Many thanks in advance for the help guys
 
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Macronaut

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In my limited experience, I have "never" found the need to adjust individual pole pieces. I have read where some do in fact do that. I have yet to see the need to do so (personally).

It won't be that hard to find a stock image of what the factory height of pole pieces should be. It's only a starting point anyway.

Good luck and keep us posted of your progress.

Peace out, Bill ;)
 

Les Paul John

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I always adjust pole pieces to spec when working on some elese’s but for my own it’s always to taste, there’s a sweet spot you can hear for each string. Too close is very bad - losing sustain. Too far you have clarity but not much gain. Many people set them far away from the string if they play certain clean styles or traditional blues.

But yeah ... anyway. Here is a reproduction of those instructions received with a 50s burst. This is from my 59 Historic case candy packet.

3E5AE4F0-77AB-4CB7-A6B3-A28D037CC072.jpeg
 

fendrix

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Yeah I totally agree.. I should not have touched them. Thanks man
 

Macronaut

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In my limited experience, I have "never" found the need to adjust individual pole pieces. I have read where some do in fact do that. I have yet to see the need to do so (personally).

It won't be that hard to find a stock image of what the factory height of pole pieces should be. It's only a starting point anyway.

Good luck and keep us posted of your progress.

Peace out, Bill ;)
 

fendrix

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always adjust pole pieces to spec but for my own it’s always to taste, there’s a sweet spot you can hear for each string. Too close is very bad - losing sustain. Too far you have clarity but not much gain. Many people set them far away from the string if they play certain clean styles or traditional blues.
Many thanks, I play mostly 70s hard rock, stoner rock and psychedelic rock.

I checked the doc but it does not include factory specs for the pole pieces.
 

Les Paul John

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Many thanks, I play mostly 70s hard rock, stoner rock and psychedelic rock.

I checked the doc but it does not include factory specs for the pole pieces.
Not sure what you’re doing, I was assuming you wanted pickup height. Pickup height is string to top of pole piece - 1/16” in the diagram.

Gibson recommends ... for modern humbuckers “Measuring between the top of the pickups and the bottom of the strings, with the strings depressed at the last fret, the best advice is to start with a gap of 1/16 inch between bridge pickup and strings and 3/32 inch between neck pickup and strings, and this makes a good general base from which to launch your own experiments.”
 

fendrix

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Not sure what you’re doing, I was assuming you wanted pickup height. Pickup height is string to top of pole piece - 1/16” in the diagram.
Yeah the thing is I totally messed up the pole piece heights and I want to revert them to a standard position before setting the pickup heights. I'm totally lost as to how I should set the pole piece heights before attempting to adjust the pickup heights. Hope that makes sense
 

Les Paul John

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Basically though you’re taking this way too seriously. There’s no wrong way, like most things it is taste. It comes down to whatever sounds good to your ears.

I even radius my pole pieces using my ears for each string. You’ll notice on most Fender Strats that the B string pole piece is much lower than the rest because the B string is louder.

Here’s a single coil with staggered pole pieces and also one of my Historic LP pickups with radiused pole pieces. You can eyeball or use a radius gauge.
24BAD9F0-220A-4B95-AF1E-6B5C5A1730B6.jpeg
F07826D9-AFF1-4A85-BABB-00A5AD1EA6DB.jpeg
1C218535-2495-4BE8-98A7-F30820939E66.jpeg
 

fendrix

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Basically though you’re taking this way too seriously. There’s no wrong way, like most things it is taste. It comes down to whatever sounds good to your ears.

I even radius my pole pieces using my ears for each string. You’ll notice on most Fender Strats that the B string pole piece is much lower than the rest because the B string is louder.

Here’s a single coil with staggered pole pieces and also one of my Historic LP pickups with radiused pole pieces. You can eyeball or use a radius gauge.
View attachment 340294 View attachment 340295 View attachment 340296
I agree, I'm taking it too seriously. Many thanks for the informative reply man, I will adjust them similar to the way you have it in your historic and be done with it.
 

Subterfuge

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just e-mail Mark Stow, it's his company, ask him to send you a photo of his factory pickup set-up as per original
 

Frogfur

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Yeah I totally agree.. I should not have touched them. Thanks man
Horse feathers ! Thats how you learn.
You're not stupid. You did the best thing you could do for yourself. Now, you'll learn something you didn't know before. Let me be your friend at the factory. The information is out there as well as here on MLP.

First off, adjust your pole pieces flush to start if that helps. Then the adjustment is made holding the corresponding string down on the last fret while you make the adjustment. The spec is now between the top of the pole piece to the bottom of the string. You can obtain a six inch ruler graduated in 32ds and 64ths at any hardware store. All You Need besides a screw driver. This is not rocket science. You can easily do this.

Now also think of this. Your finger board has a radius right ? Of course.
Your bridge also has a radius right ?
Of course it does. So your strings to a degree would have the same basic radius as well. At least in the initial setup which on a Gibson is set, but on most fenders can be individually adjusted for the way you play.

Lastly, there are a boat load of smart people on here, and a basket full in the opposite direction as well. Basic maintenance is quite easy. Take a breath and think first, act second.
The most important thing to remember is that guitars are made to be adjusted. It only comes to you in a very generic fashion from the factory. Once you get in spec that's just a reference point. Then you adjust for your ear and the way you play. So, look at each pole piece as a clock. To turn the piece from 3 o'clock to 6 o'clock might be radical, or just right. Most adjustments are minute.
Good luck. Take logical advice and leave the rest.
 
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Tone deaf

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Yeah I totally agree.. I should not have touched them. Thanks man
First, I'd relax. Don't think that you've done something that can't be remedied. Slight differences in pole heights aren't going to spoil a pup.

I'd put them all flush (the crown of the top of the screw level with the covers) and put them in. I would adjust the pup to the spec height to the strings on both sides. I think (I recall form dan erlewine's book) it is 1/16th" on the bridge pickup and 3/32nds" on the neck pup with the string fretted on the last fret and then start playing around with them. I'd start with the bridge pup (keeping the neck pup backed off so as not to interfere with getting the bridge pup right).

I usually prefer my treble strings a little closer to the strings. So, I start to get them dialed in. Then I'll play around with the bass side. I like a lot of articulate (bit biting) mid range. If I feel the need to tweak the mid range, I might play around with the poles, but normally, I can get it with the position of the pup.

Don't psych yourself out thinking that because you can't get them exactly the way they were when the arrived in the mail that you can't get them right. The person who made that pup has never even seen your guitar.
 

mdubya

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I have had techs radius the pole screws (their own doing, I didn't ask for it) and I have hated (HATED! :mad2:) the results each time. I like the pole screws flat and low. I might bring them up a little bit to get some brightness out of the neck pickup. But too much and they interfere with pickiing. JMHO. There is no right or wrong.
 

ehb

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Different folks do different things.

Figure out and do what YOU like and to hell what I or anybody else thinks.
Works for me...

I have found the following works for me with humbuckers, especially with hot pickups (which I do NOT prefer)

I deck my neck to the rings.
I then adjust poles to brighten up a bit and to balance the strings.
I then balance the bridge to neck, etc..

Every amp on this planet has a Volume/Gain knob on it with numbers and shit...they turn too....

Your boat, float it......
 

ehb

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Different folks do different things.

Figure out and do what YOU like and to hell what I or anybody else thinks.
Works for me...

I have found the following works for me with humbuckers, especially with hot pickups (which I do NOT prefer)

I deck my neck to the rings.
I then adjust poles to brighten up a bit and to balance the strings.
I then balance the bridge to neck, etc..

Every amp on this planet has a Volume/Gain knob on it with numbers and shit...they turn too....

Your boat, float it......
 

fendrix

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I have had techs radius the pole screws (their own doing, I didn't ask for it) and I have hated (HATED! :mad2:) the results each time. I like the pole screws flat and low. I might bring them up a little bit to get some brightness out of the neck pickup. But too much and they interfere with pickiing. JMHO. There is no right or wrong.
Yeah I radiused the poles and hated it too. I don’t get that approach it makes absolutely no sense. Its only half way of making any sense, if someone want to balance the output should take into account the thickness of each string as well.
 

fendrix

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I have had techs radius the pole screws (their own doing, I didn't ask for it) and I have hated (HATED! :mad2:) the results each time. I like the pole screws flat and low. I might bring them up a little bit to get some brightness out of the neck pickup. But too much and they interfere with pickiing. JMHO. There is no right or wrong.
Yeah I radiused the poles and hated it too. I don’t get that approach it makes absolutely no sense. Its only half way of making any sense, if someone want to balance the output should take into account the thickness of each string as well.
 

PierM

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Yeah I radiused the poles and hated it too. I don’t get that approach it makes absolutely no sense. Its only half way of making any sense, if someone want to balance the output should take into account the thickness of each string as well.
If you think the radius of the strings its making a difference, you are seriosuly overthinking LOL!!

What about the vibration amplitude? :lol:
 

mdubya

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Those techs were might proud of their work. I was not so impressed. :p
 

mdubya

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Those techs were might proud of their work. :p
 

fendrix

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Thanks so much everyone for helping me out. I really appreciate it.

I ended up setting 1 of the pole pieces crown flush with the cover and I levelled the rest at the back of the pickup using a metal ruler.
 

fendrix

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Thanks so much everyone for helping me out. I really appreciate it.

I ended up setting one of the pole pieces crown flush with the cover and I levelled the rest at the back of the pickup using a metal ruler.
 

LPaddicted

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pole adjustement = most useless thing to do with a guitar.
 

fendrix

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If you think the radius of the strings its making a difference, you are seriosuly overthinking LOL!!

What about the vibration amplitude? :lol:
To my ears pole piece distance to the string made a noticeable difference. Fender single coils are staggered for a reason
 

fendrix

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If you think the radius of the strings its making a difference, you are seriosuly overthinking LOL!!

What about the vibration amplitude? :lol:
To my ears pole piece distance to the string made a noticeable difference. Fender single coils are staggered for a reason
 

ehb

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pole adjustement = most useless thing to do with a guitar.
You are correct.
It is the most useless thing you can do with a guitar.
You should not do it under any circumstances.
I hope to all that is homey that you never do it.
 

PierM

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To my ears pole piece distance to the string made a noticeable difference. Fender single coils are staggered for a reason
yeah, but the radius of the strings its doing nothing. You cant even properly measure since as soon as you touch a string with a gauge that’s already moving away...

Staggered its a totally different thing and was introduced to balance the old vintage huge rad strings, with a wound G string.
 


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