Warmoth.com darrenriley.com Amplified Parts Lollar Pickups

Warmoth.com darrenriley.com Amplified Parts Lollar Pickups Guitar Pickups

Warmoth.com darrenriley.com Amplified Parts Lollar Pickups Guitar Pickups

Join Strat-Talk Today

What's the best PU height for CS 69's??

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by chillaxboi, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. chillaxboi

    chillaxboi Strat-Talker

    Feb 4, 2010
    I read the Fender Custom shop 69 pickups are very low output, should I set them close or far from the strings to get the best possible sound out of them??

  2. Vintage59

    Vintage59 Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 31, 2010
    Lost Angeles
    I would recommend just below the level where you can distinguish "string pull".

  3. chillaxboi

    chillaxboi Strat-Talker

    Feb 4, 2010
    That would be fairly high??:confused:

  4. Muddy T-Bone

    Muddy T-Bone Strat-Talker

    Dec 1, 2008
    Nor Cal
    The Fender website will have spec's on height adjustment. Poke around you'll find it.

    Typically with vintage type PUP's, a good rule of thumb is low to the PG.

    I start my setup with neck PUP maybe a 1/16" or 1/8" above the PG on the low E side. Then I fret at the 17th and set the Middle and Bridge to match the distance from the string to each pole piece. Now all 3 are identical height on the low E side.

    I take the low E measurement and move the high E side a 1/32 closer to the strings on each PUP's polepiece. That's my starting point for making the fine adjustments by ear.

    Good luck

  5. capt_goodvibes

    capt_goodvibes Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 28, 2009
    Land Down Under
    Adjusting strings and pickup height
    Gilmourish Adjusting strings and pickup height

    Pictures of David’s Black Strat and the new Signature models seems to stir up some confusion regarding what the correct string and pickup height might be. I get a lot of questions about this so I’ll try to clear up some misconceptions.

    If you look closely at David’s Black Strat or the new Signatures you’ll see that his pickups appears to have been set fairly low. The neck pickup is barely above the pickguard and the middle and bridge pickups seem to be lower than what’s recommended by Fender. The reason for this is that David’s pickguard is .120 of an inch, which is roughly twice as thick as the 1-ply plates on 50s Strats and slightly thicker than the 3-plys featured on 70’s models and newer. In other words, – using David’s setup as a reference for your 50’s Strat with a thin 1-ply plate may give you a completely different result than what you intended.

    Keep in mind that David might prefer a slightly different setup than what you’re used to or prefer. In an interview with Guitarist magazine (June 1986) he reveals: “I often have the nuts lowered on my guitars, because I like the action as low as possible without buzzes and rattles“. As a rule, the pickup height is fixed to the string height but within this rule, there are many nuances based to personal taste, playing style and how you want the pickups to interact with the effects and amp. David also have different pickups on his Black Strat with different output that requires slightly different height. Personally I prefer the action a bit higher than what’s recommended.

    String height
    Fender recommends that on a vintage style neck with a 7.25” radius, the bass strings should be 2mm off the neck (about 5/64 inch) and the treble strings 1.6mm (about 4/64 inch). Tune to pitch and measure the height between each string and the fret (not wood) on the 17th fret. Adjust the height if needed by fine tuning the height on each bridge sadle. This setup might be too low for some but it’s a good starting point for making your own adjustments. Do one string at a time and be sure to retune it between each adjustment so that you’ll see and feel the correct height. Here’s a tutorial showing the proceedure.

    Having the strings too low might cause some fret buzz (this might also be caused by worn frets or a curved neck, or lack of curve) and you might find it hard to do bends etc. An action that’s too high might make it hard to play properly and the strings might also ring and vibrate too much. Find the setup that you’re comfortable with.

    Every now and then you need to check the curvature of the neck. Inside each neck there’s a metal bar – the truss rod. This makes sure that the neck has the right preasure and curve. If this is out of balance you’ll get bad intonation and fret buzz. This is common and caused by temeprature changes, humidity, presure changes (going from 09 to 010 adds about 6 kilos to your neck) and it’s easy to adjust. Here’s a tutorial showing the proceedure.

    Pickup height
    Fender recommends that vintage style pickups (CS54, Fat 50s, CS69, SSL1, SSL5 etc) should be set slightly tilted with 2.4mm between the pole piece and the bass strings and 2mm between the pole piece and the treble strings. Measure the height by pushing down the strings on the very last fret next to the body.

    - (left neck – right bridge) As you can see, the neck pickup is slightly off the pickguard on the bass side. As the strings are higher towards the bridge the middle and bridge pickup is further off the pickguard.

    - (left bridge – right neck) Here’s the treble side of the pickups. You can see how they’re titled higher than on the bass side.

    However, this method only works if you prefer the standard string height suggested by Fender. If you want a higher action the only way to set the correct pickup height is to use your ears. Too low and you’ll loose much of the lower frequencies and attack. Too high and the tone gets too boomy and slightly “punctured” like you’ve added too much compression. You’ll also notice ringing overtones caused by magnetic interference.

    When you’ve found the sweetspot, you need to balance the output volume between all three pickups. Use a clean tone on your amp and switch between all pickups until you’ve matched the volume. Be careful that you don’t loose your self here and adjust the height too much and need to start all over again.

    Keep in mind that other pickups like active EMGs, humbucker etc requires a different setup. See the brand’s homepage for details. You also want to have alnico 5 pickups (like CS69) slightly closer to the strings than alnico 2, which has a higher output.


  6. sjtalon

    sjtalon Senior Stratmaster

    Oh ya !

    I have mine about at the pg on the E side and about 1/8 up on the e side.

  7. chillaxboi

    chillaxboi Strat-Talker

    Feb 4, 2010
    Thanks for all the responses guys, I raised my pickups a bit after reading all these. And that gilmourish website is awesome!

  8. bryvincent

    bryvincent Strat-Talker

    Nov 10, 2009
    A5 is stronger than A2

  9. AshMach

    AshMach New Member!

    Sep 10, 2010
    There is no "correct height", only personal preference. End of discussion.

  10. sjtalon

    sjtalon Senior Stratmaster

    thanks for taking care of that for us.

  11. StratDad81

    StratDad81 Strat-O-Master

    May 14, 2010
    Uniontown, PA
    I'd go with what Fender has spec'd out on their website. For vintage spec'd single coils - 6/54 away from string on bass side and 5/64 on treble.

  12. Marco

    Marco Strat-O-Master

    Jul 11, 2010
    Bill Lawrence told me over the phone one day to use Nickles as gauges. Start out using a single Nickle on the treble side and two nickles glued together to adjust the bass side on your bridge PU. This gives you a starting point to adjust up or down to taste. My Strat was set up by Mike Lull when I had the neck PLEK'ed and the bridge PU is approximate to the Nickle gauges. The neck PU is almost on the deck and the middle PU is right in between. Hope this helps.

  13. flyingace

    flyingace Strat-O-Master

    Feb 2, 2010
    Central Arkansas
    I used the nickles as a gauge for a while but I'm back to using a ruler and the fender method (5/64 bass 4/64 treble) then adjusting to taste from there and am getting the best results I ever have from all my strats.

  14. Dezzy

    Dezzy Strat-Talker

    May 27, 2011
    United Kingdom
    I use my eyes lol, never used a ruler or gauge on string height in my life lol, I just set them to what sounds best, and normally get it after one or two adjustments, the low E side is always a little lower on my setups, especially with my CS69s, as the High E & B strings have lower pole pieces, I think the CS69s sounds better a little closer to the strings than other pickups, i thought they would sound better lower, but mine came alive when i raised them some, I always have each pickup around about the same distance from the stings, I do it by ear, so each pickup is the same volume on 10, some like the bridge louder though, for lead boosts, personal taste, some wil have a lead boost pedal to do this

  15. mechtech

    mechtech Banned

    Jan 9, 2013
    We can't discount the 'wolf tones' and other anomalies from having the pickups too close to the strings. It is very real.