Unbalanced output between BB1 at neck and BB2 at bridge. Les Paul Standard 50's.

MyLesPaul462

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Hi all, new to this forum, but longtime Les Paul owner. Recently I bought a Gibson Les Paul Standard 50's (2021). And I'm noticing that the neck pup is louder than the bridge pickup. Also, when I have my tube amp at the edge of breakup, my neck pickup pushes it into breakup much easier than the bridge pickup. What gives? is this normal? I thought BB2 was suppose to be more over-wound (i.e. "hotter) than the BB1.
You guys think I should just re-adjust the pickup heights to balance them out? Or should I have a tech take a look at it and maybe do an output readout for each pickup? Is it possible they were put it in the wrong positions?
 

Central Scrutinizer

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First off , welcome to the site.

The pickups should be in the proper location as it is a new guitar.

I would try adjusting the pickup heights and see where that gets you. Fine tuning can be done by raising or lowering the individual pole screws for a balanced sound.

Start with the easy stuff, as in adjusting the pickup heights, before you pull the pickups out to check proper placement.

@ErictheRed wrote up a great tutorial on pickup adjustments.

Good luck and enjoy.
 

Thundergod

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Check the height of the pickups first. Do you have a measuring tool? If not you can use a bunch of picks (some people use dimes or other coins but that can damage your finish or scratch the pickup cover). Anyway, measuring from the strings the neck pickup should not be higher than the bridge pickup, it should be lower.
 

ARandall

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^ Yep.
Every guitar is a little different.
Any nominal height specs published on websites are not based on any actual sweetspot, but merely provided so people with less imagination or initiative can have somewhere to start from.
 

MyLesPaul462

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Gadzooks! Eric, I think you're right. To answer an earlier question the bridge pickup is definitely closer to the strings if not equal to the neck Pickup's distance to the strings. But wow, the pole piece just under my low e string (on Neck PU) is sticking out so much I can't even fret at the 19th fret without touching the pole piece. Meanwhile the pole piece under the low e on the bridge pickup is sunken in below the pickup guard. WTF...ok, can I work around the strings to adjust pole pieces? or is it recommended to fully remove the strings first? And can I just use a flat head screwdriver to adjust?

IMG_0619.jpeg

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IMG_0621.jpeg
 

DarrellV

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Gadzooks! Eric, I think you're right. To answer an earlier question the bridge pickup is definitely closer to the strings if not equal to the neck Pickup's distance to the strings. But wow, the pole piece just under my low e string (on Neck PU) is sticking out so much I can't even fret at the 19th fret without touching the pole piece. Meanwhile the pole piece under the low e on the bridge pickup is sunken in below the pickup guard. WTF...ok, can I work around the strings to adjust pole pieces? or is it recommended to fully remove the strings first? And can I just use a flat head screwdriver to adjust?

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Yes, just use a flat head driver to adjust, no need to remove strings.

As far as height goes, go by ear. I set mine so I have a nice balanced chime in the middle switch position.

Looks like this IRL (In Real Life). Neck is sunken below the ring , poles raised, bridge is raised more.

 

McLovin

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op: your neck pickup looks significantly high and bridge looks slightly low. There are a multitude of Youtube vids on a starting point for pickup adjustment.
 

MyLesPaul462

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Ok, so in the last few hours I figured out how to: 1. calibrate intonation, 2. adjust action through bridge rollers. 3. adjust pole pieces, and 4. adjust pickup height. I got it closer to balance in output between the neck and bridge PU. I like where the Neck is at in terms of output, I'm just trying to get the bridge PU up alongside it.

That being said, as it turns out. Neck pickups naturally will have higher output because the string tension above it allows for more string vibration. I'm already building confidence in my finessing and my ears!

Another great resource comes from Gibson itself, check out their youtube channel "Gibson TV" there's a whole video series with their master luthier Jim Decola, who gives a rundown of all the setup fundamentals.
 

DarrellV

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Ok, so in the last few hours I figured out how to: 1. calibrate intonation, 2. adjust action through bridge rollers. 3. adjust pole pieces, and 4. adjust pickup height. I got it closer to balance in output between the neck and bridge PU. I like where the Neck is at in terms of output, I'm just trying to get the bridge PU up alongside it.

That being said, as it turns out. Neck pickups naturally will have higher output because the string tension above it allows for more string vibration. I'm already building confidence in my finessing and my ears!

Another great resource comes from Gibson itself, check out their youtube channel "Gibson TV" there's a whole video series with their master luthier Jim Decola, who gives a rundown of all the setup fundamentals.
 

Classicplayer

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OP. My Traditional arrived new with a neck pickup BB1 like your picture. I had to lower mine so that the 6th string side is slightly below its ring/surround and the 1st. string side a bit above the ring to balance out the 6th string volume.

On your Standard, don't touch pole screws just yet. They may turn out to be fine as is. Raise your bridge BB2 1st. string to show 4 to 5/64” (use a U.S. nickel) between pole piece and bottom of 1st. string when fretted at the highest fret. Adjust the BB2 6th string side to equal the volume from the 1st. string side. Use your ears. Stop when you like what you hear.

Move on to the neck BB1 and lower (or raise) its height to get a good clear tone from it by itself. When satisfied, go on to see what you middle position sounds like. Experiment with your guitar's knobs to see what you like for a tone in the middle position. Hope this helps you a bit.


Classicplayer
 

pedecamp

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Hi all, new to this forum, but longtime Les Paul owner. Recently I bought a Gibson Les Paul Standard 50's (2021). And I'm noticing that the neck pup is louder than the bridge pickup. Also, when I have my tube amp at the edge of breakup, my neck pickup pushes it into breakup much easier than the bridge pickup. What gives? is this normal? I thought BB2 was suppose to be more over-wound (i.e. "hotter) than the BB1.
You guys think I should just re-adjust the pickup heights to balance them out? Or should I have a tech take a look at it and maybe do an output readout for each pickup? Is it possible they were put it in the wrong positions?
Plug a cable in your guitar and measure the other end with a meter, bb1 will be around 7k and bb2 around 8k. Once confirmed they are in the right place adjust both to the top of their pickup rings and see how that sounds.
 


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