HSS pickup height

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by jaimac, Jul 15, 2021.

  1. jaimac

    jaimac Strat-Talk Member

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    I set up my HSS Shawbucker as per fender specification but the humbucker is too loud. Is this the right way or should I lower the humbucker to sound same as other pickups? I used to have them all sound equal but now not sure which is the right way.
     
  2. TheWorldsAStage

    TheWorldsAStage Strat-Talker

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    No right or wrong way. The humbucker will naturally be louder. You can leave it louder so that when your amp is overdriving or you're using an OD/distortion it will drive the gain higher. Flip to the singles for a lower gain sound.
    Or you can lower the height of the humbucker to try to lower the output to match the singles. That'll keep the gain more even between all pickups.

    Up to you and what suits you.

    Me personally I like to keep the humbucker louder.
     
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  3. Jmart1212

    Jmart1212 Strat-Talker

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    Start off like at 3.5mm, that feels like the sweet spot for HBs for me. I like to keep the screws flat as well.

    A work around that I did was build a simple volume box with switch for my FX loop to knock off some Dbs and try to keep it level, as to not upset the mix down for the sound guy.

    I only use HB guitars for like two songs in our set and don't really switch to the single coils on them. I keep the volume box on for those songs and switch it off for my single coiled guitars for the rest of the gig.
     
  4. Hal Nico

    Hal Nico Senior Stratmaster

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    As per other posts lower the pickup and play with the height. I like my HB lower but raise the adjustable poles to suit. I do however use lower powered HBs in my bridge position so the pickup doesn't overpower the single coils.

    :)
     
  5. Hudman_1

    Hudman_1 Strat-O-Master

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    That’s the battle with the HSS Strat. In order to get the best tone out of the humbucker it needs to be close to the strings. Move it further away and it simply won’t sound full. Single coils tend to get the best tone further from the strings. Combine that with the fact that they are lower output and you have a volume imbalance between the pickups. A nice trade off is the S1 switch (coil tapping). You can also roll the volume back on the humbucker if you’re switching pickups during a song.
     
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  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    I start by setting all the pickups practically flush with the pickguard, then raise the bridge pickup until volume parity with the neck when slamming the switch from front to back. A too strong bridge pickup may require the neck pickup to raise slightly. This technique leaves the middle pickup with weaker output than the others so you get 'Maximum Quackage'.

    Play with adjusting pickup pole heights, like an 1/8th inch higher. While it's a LP Junior, I rotated the bridge humbucker 180deg so the screw poles are on the 'inside' and I get a much more P90 tone from it while still providing humbucking noise reduction. You might try that too.

    If you need more volume overall then turn the amp up louder or use a pedal.
    As one of the pedal guys says/wears a shirt: "more louder is more better".
    That's why some players push their bridge pickup tight to the strings but better tone lives lower, and just turn up the amp for "more better".

    .
     
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  7. jaimac

    jaimac Strat-Talk Member

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    Thank you everyone for the options. I will try the louder hum bucker for a while and lower if needed.
     
  8. Chipss36

    Chipss36 Strat-O-Master

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    I start with getting the neck sounding like I want it, the move to middle and bridge. Just use your ear.

    I would raise the neck middle and lower the bridge to try and get a better sound match, having a set of pickups that match for this application can be tricky.

    a hot humbucker with vintage single coils or such will never balance out correctly.

    I just went though this with a customer. He had a mismatched mess, We swapped in and out about 15 different combinations of pickups and found a set a set that worked well together.

    then I wired up two of them. He is happy.
     
  9. metrokosmiko

    metrokosmiko Strat-Talker

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    What are the other two pickups? In an American Pro with Shawbucker - V-Mod - V-Mod you should have roughtly the same volume.

    I swapped the V-Mods for Suhr V70s and the Shawbucker sounds more pokey in the mids but definitely around the same amount of output.
     
  10. Fender Phil

    Fender Phil Strat-Talker

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    A Shawbucker makes it easier to match, and sounds more vintage when used with the middle pickup. Very happy with that setup in my HSS.