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Adjusting pole pieces on staggered pickups.

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by davidKOS, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. davidKOS

    davidKOS over 48 years playing gigs Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I was messing around with my Texas Special pickups, and got to wondering how to adjust the polepiece height - and found these tiny steel washers that are about the same size as the alnico slugs, and tried using them as if they were polepiece screws.

    Well, once I got them on the pickups magnetic pull held them in place and sure enough the E and B strings responded better on a clean amp
    setting.

    I just put a drop of superglue to hold them in place.

    Anybody else have a similar solution?
     
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  2. fenderkev

    fenderkev Most Honored Senior Member

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    Alan0354 should be along soon. He's the polepiece moving expert 'round here! ;)
     
  3. Alan0354

    Alan0354 Most Honored Senior Member

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    Ha ha!!!
     
  4. Alan0354

    Alan0354 Most Honored Senior Member

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    For TS, there is inherent a slight chance you can ruin the pup as it is fiber bobbin and the wires touch the pole pieces. But it is rather safe to push just the D and G poles. That's all you need to do.

    To do this, take the pup off the guard, hold one end of the pup with one hand, the other end with the other. Then push the pole on some wood surface like the edge of the table. Don't hammer it. It will give as the poles are press fitted only. If you over pushed, just push back from the other side. Just adjust so the pole heights roughly follow the neck curve and you'll be done.

    As I said, you always take a slight chance doing this, but the payoff is worth the risk in my opinion. No matter what, do not touch the two end poles( low and high E). The wires really rest on these two. But I actually pushed the two E poles on my Fender CS54 up and down and up and down a few times. It survived with flying color. That's all I can guaranty you. Do it at your own risk. But you'll love it.

    With poles leveled, you'll find the sweet spot of the pup height is higher than before and you'll get more warmth and better signal to noise level. Remember, you'll get more output because it is closer to the strings, but the hum noise remains the same regardless of height, so you gain output without increase hum.
     
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  5. davidKOS

    davidKOS over 48 years playing gigs Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Thanks and I may take your advice...but for now those two small extra bits of metal made a lot of difference in the balance of the E and B string.

    I still am hesitant to move the polepieces, but I've done gutsier stuff with instrument repair so I may give it a shot.
     
  6. Alan0354

    Alan0354 Most Honored Senior Member

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    I am no pickup winder and don't know too much about the intricate stuff of pickup. From my pass observation, lowering the pup by raise the pole screw don't exactly sound like lowering the pole screws and raise the pup. It seemed to have a fuller sound if the screws are lowered and the pup raise.

    In your case of adding a section of ferro magnetic material on top of the pup effectively raising the height of the pole like the pole screw. I would think it will sound fuller if you push the D and G pole lower and raise the pup.

    But what do I know, I am not going to encourage you beyond this point as there is always a very slight chance you can break the wire. I would not think twice to push it. But that's just me.
     
  7. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Yeah the B string pole being so low is baffling to me.
     
  8. davidKOS

    davidKOS over 48 years playing gigs Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I do appreciate your advice.

    What I'm doing, it's a stop-gap solution but oddly it worked real well tonight at a recording session.

    I like the pickups enough as is to not want to mess them up - but I like this little mod.

    I figured if screws can act as polepieces, anything metal can extend the magnetic field. I am sure it's not perfect, but it sounded just a bit better than before.
     
  9. StratoTerr

    StratoTerr Senior Stratmaster

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    I agree raising pole pieces sounds different than raising the p/up, you change the magnetic field. But, I'm glad it improved your situation. From threads where folks have taken Alans advice, it seems to have worked out fine, w no broken wires reported.But I'd be scared too, I've broken HB coils by overtightening the screws, so coil wire is fragile. ... I put a square steel rod length wise on a flat stagger AlNiCo, 1/8 inch cross section. Really a strong change. Much more bite in the attack and a deeper tone IIRC. Eventually I found the effect too strong, so I took it off. I think maybe w rectangular instead of square rods, of different thicknesses, that perfectly fit the magnets width, you could do some nice easy to instantly change mods for tone and attack. Altho to preserve the pole peice rather than bar topology maybe washers are perfect. Wheres my Broadcaster ? Thanks for the tip.
     
  10. stratman in va

    stratman in va Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Alan makes a lot of sense about not pushing the 2 outside poles if you have a fiber bobbin type pickup.

    Thanks!!
     
  11. Alan0354

    Alan0354 Most Honored Senior Member

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    Thanks for the confirmation. Before I even suggested to push the poles on fiber bobbin pups, I did it on my CS54, even pushed the two E poles up and down many times to verify it's ok before I dare to suggest this on this forum. The CS54 still alive and kicking!!! But like you said, you even broke a hb by tightening the screws, so you never know and I am not going to buy a few more pups just to experiment.
     
  12. davidKOS

    davidKOS over 48 years playing gigs Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I forgot to mention the pickups are pretty high anyway, not low, so making a tiny adjustment in polepiece height seemed to work for me.

    I still may remove the pickups and mess with the polepieces- just not now.

    Just to say, I was happy before, this just makes the string balance a tiny bit better.
     
  13. SkylineUK

    SkylineUK Strat-Talk Member

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    Adding a washer to increase pup height - that seems a great idea! I'm going to try it. I'm a lead guitarist and love the sound of my Strats but hate the way volume falls off when I go onto the top two strings.
     
  14. Hal Nico

    Hal Nico Senior Stratmaster

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    Just as a side-note:
    When I made my,"Homebrew" Alnico Pick-ups converting from Ceramics to Alnico pole pieces I used a Hairdryer to melt the vibration damping wax and then pushed the poles out.

    After fitting the poles I re-melted fresh wax into the pick-ups using the same hairdryer.Then when I needed to fine tune the heights I warmed the Pickups so the wax started to soften.So if you decide to change the heights of the pole pieces on a,"Bobbin" pick-up try warming them a little with a hairdryer as it can ease the movement of the pole pieces and then when the wax cools down they grip again.

    HTH :)
     
  15. SkylineUK

    SkylineUK Strat-Talk Member

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    Interesting, thanks!
     
  16. Hal Nico

    Hal Nico Senior Stratmaster

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  17. Seymour Duncan

    Seymour Duncan Senior Stratmaster

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    Yeah, you certainly don't want to try to 'raise or lower' them, as they might be glued in. I have seen some people ruin pickups that way. If you are just adding something to the top, and it works and sounds awesome, then win win, I say.
     
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  18. SkylineUK

    SkylineUK Strat-Talk Member

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    Just to add to this thread - I just bought a new Fender Strat. 60th Anniversary in Aztec Gold, and very nice it is too.
    The 'Custom Shop Fat 50s' had the 'authentic' 3rd pole piece sticking out (for wound 3rd strings). I took my courage in both hands, as I am NOT in any way a fettler of guitars, removed the pickguard assembly and carefully pressed on the poles, feeling underneath for progress. I used a small piece of wood to apply the pressure and bingo, down they went, albeit after quite a but of pressure. I nervously reassembled everything, expecting to hear nothing from the third string, but all was well and things sound great now - without the third string being 15% or so louder than the rest.

    So it is possible, but I can only speak for the pickups above and have no idea if it applies to other single coil types.
     
  19. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Sometimes it works, sometimes you have to go and get new pickups. You never know which it will be until it's too late to change your mind.
     
  20. Seymour Duncan

    Seymour Duncan Senior Stratmaster

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    Lucky duck! I've certainly seen pickups ruined. This is why I don't particularly like vintage stagger.
     
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