Are your pickups too high?

jvin248

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 10, 2014
5,645
Michigan
.

I start with pickups flush to the pickguard/trim rings and only raise them, by ear... I use a screwdriver to actually adjust them, thumbs involved too ;)

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amstratnut

Peace thru Music.
Dec 1, 2009
21,908
My house.
I get the stratitis to be completely gone from the neck pickup and balance the middle and bridge in volume. Sometimes if the bridge is spikey, I will lower it and thena lower the other two to balance volume.

None of my strats has pickups all the way flush with the pg tho.
 
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joebtone

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Jan 26, 2022
2,163
Northwest US
I get the stratitis to be completely gone from the neck pickup and balance the middle and bridge in volume. Sometimes if the bridge is spikey, I will lower it and the lower the other two to balance volume.

None of my strats has pickups all the way flush with the pg tho.
Same here. Balance between volume and minimal warbling...
You know it when you get there.
Easy peasy once you have done it once or twice.
 

rogb

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 22, 2013
35
London, UK
I use Alnico 5 and I keep them well down away from the strings for the sound I like. They measure 1000-1100 Gauss. A Ron Ellis Tele bridge A3 I had measured around 600-630 G. That went a little closer.
 

amstratnut

Peace thru Music.
Dec 1, 2009
21,908
My house.
I use Alnico 5 and I keep them well down away from the strings for the sound I like. They measure 1000-1100 Gauss. A Ron Ellis Tele bridge A3 I had measured around 600-630 G. That went a little closer.

I prefer A 5 as well. No idea what the gauss is but, even low wound, they seem plenty loud enough.
 

92 Fiesta Red 62

Strat-Talker
Apr 27, 2022
432
TEXAS
Mine are not too high. In fact, they’re not high at all…

Neither I nor my pickups use any kind of substance that could cause us to get high.

Although I did have a BBQ-gasm a few weeks ago at Heim BBQ in Fort Worth. 🤔
 

dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
7,020
Murfreesboro, TN
If they're too high, you get string warble. Too low, and they fall off the end of the adjuster screws. In between, it's just a matter of what you want out of the guitar. Higher pickups are better for distortion, lower pickups are better for cleans, IMO of course.

It's your guitar, set 'em where it sounds best to you. If you don't hear a difference, leave it alone.
 

SIngles Forever

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 14, 2019
1,379
Montreal
I prefer A 5 as well. No idea what the gauss is but, even low wound, they seem plenty loud enough.

Speaking of magnets I still have my alnico 2 set sitting around. Such smooth and fat sounding pickups, but ultimately not stratty enough for me. But for a 5th strat I think it would be a nice change up. Bridges sound very juicy with alnico 2s.

Damn, now I'm imagining a 5th strat in surf green, shell pink or pacific peach, with alnico 2s. Urrgh.
 

Dick Blackmore

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 10, 2017
2,212
Black Hole
I set all pickups the same way, first I start with 1 nickel distance on the treble side and two nickels distance on the bass side, why? Because Bill Lawrence that's why. Then I get a good old boost/dirbox and plug into my Pignose and I play root/ 5th powerchords on the 10th 11th and 12th fret root. If I hear warbling, I lower the pickup, until it stops warbling and I get a clean, smooth harmonic. Then I put the guitar into a clean platform, currently I like the Monoprice tube amp, its super classy and sounds amazing regardless of the price, and is small and fits in my workshop and I dont have to worry about spilling coffee on it or beer. There I balance out the volume of the pickups based on my favorite position, for me the middle pickup. Once there all even sounding I rarelyif ever revisit unless I lower the action or tweak the truss rod.
 

amstratnut

Peace thru Music.
Dec 1, 2009
21,908
My house.
Speaking of magnets I still have my alnico 2 set sitting around. Such smooth and fat sounding pickups, but ultimately not stratty enough for me. But for a 5th strat I think it would be a nice change up. Bridges sound very juicy with alnico 2s.

Damn, now I'm imagining a 5th strat in surf green, shell pink or pacific peach, with alnico 2s. Urrgh.

I had a set of GFS A2 pups and they were very sweet sounding but, just not as punchy as A5.
 

SIngles Forever

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 14, 2019
1,379
Montreal
I had a set of GFS A2 pups and they were very sweet sounding but, just not as punchy as A5.

Yup. They're sweet, balanced, warm, organic. But not punchy and aggressive like an A5. A2 cleans are beautiful and jazzy, but at the end of the day, pull the volume back on your A5s and you have just as sweet a clean sound with more Fender vibe.
 

Wrighty

Dr. Stratster
Mar 7, 2013
11,626
Harlow, Essex, UK
Had this sonic blue AM standard for years, equipped with late 60s spec pickups. It always sounded colder than my other guitars. I looked and realized there was an optical illusion cause of the neck and guard placement, and the pickups were actually kinda high. Lowered them, even a bit more so than the others, and I gotta say...it doesn't sound colder than the others anymore.

Moral: lowering pickups can give a warmer, more dynamic, articulate feel.

That's all.
Raising / lowering pups can have more effect on everything about a guitar than most realise. I struggled with sustain, or lack of it, and ice pick highs, on a Strat and a Tele fitted with CS Texas Specials for months until someone, on here, suggested I lower them a touch. EUREKA!!!!
 

SIngles Forever

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 14, 2019
1,379
Montreal
Raising / lowering pups can have more effect on everything about a guitar than most realise. I struggled with sustain, or lack of it, and ice pick highs, on a Strat and a Tele fitted with CS Texas Specials for months until someone, on here, suggested I lower them a touch. EUREKA!!!!

especially those
 

StratUp

Most Honored Senior Member
Sep 5, 2020
9,051
Altered States
Yup...I had the epiphany years back. However, I had it again this time only because on this particular strat the neck sits a bit lower, so you have to set the pickups pretty close to flush get the same distance from the strings as my other strats. I allowed that optical illusion to over-ride my diligence in using my ears to determine height.

In fact, the neck sits so much lower that the Wound E saddle is so low that it is actually sitting on the bridge plate. Luckily, I get the action I want but it won't go any lower unless I deck the trem, or at least put it lower than I want it. But it all works out fine in the end.

You need a shim in the heel of the pocket. Bring the heel up and then you'll be able to raise the bridge/saddles and bring it back into spec.
 


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