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Pickup distance height?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Rivers, Sep 21, 2020.

  1. Rivers

    Rivers Strat-Talk Member

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    Was watching a Strat video on Youtube and was wondering if the pickup height in the video here seemed abit further than what is normally advised?

    [​IMG]

     
  2. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    I would consider that slightly high.....I set mine lower.....
     
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  3. Stratafied

    Stratafied Senior Stratmaster

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    Set em to your liking. He’s got huge hands , he can handle it.
     
  4. Oldboy

    Oldboy Strat-O-Master

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    It's real simple.Higher or lower, you set them to where they sound the best, which is a matter of personal taste.
     
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  5. PCollen

    PCollen Senior Stratmaster

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    About how I have mine set. They would look higher above the pickguard if it were single ply .
     
  6. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    the distance between the pickup pole pieces and the strings must be adjusted to a very precise, exact dimension. They should be exactly where the sound produced is what you want to hear. If you elect to use a ruler to set this distance, you're probably in the middle of a screw-up. Point being there is No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, exact measurement YOU can adjust your pups to that is published somewhere in a guide to optimum sound...

    use your ears... a ruler can't hear...

    a couple of VERY loosely held generalities.. the lower, the more bell like... or chimey, but at a reduced output... the closer to the strings ya adjust them, the more full rich, sometimes boomy and more prone to wolf notes.. and the magnets can adversely impact the note making it sound like the intonation is world class bad...

    r
     
  7. Oldboy

    Oldboy Strat-O-Master

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    This!!
     
  8. tinkertoy

    tinkertoy Strat-O-Master

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    Ron nailed it.

    I tried for years to get someone to tell me where my pickups "should be" and how little of a screw turn would make an audible difference.

    The best answer I got was "if you have to ask, you're doing it wrong."

    Some pickups are more sensitive than others and need more turns to hear a difference.

    Also, everyone's attack is different. If you are a string wacker, you probably want the pickups lower.


    Give that guitar to a string plinker, and he'll think they're low output and blah.

    Pick thickness/stiffness plays it's part as well

    It really is all about your attack.

    Since my revelation, all my pickups are lower than they used to be.

    You adjust the polepieces the same way.

    I adjust polepieces (on pickups with them) first, then overall height after.

    I used to think all the guys pissing and moaning over the tone zone were crazy.
    Some guys called it bright, some muddy, some perfect. How so?

    Then there were the guys that said a quarter turn makes a big difference. Do they have dogs ears? Lol.

    Pickup height does more than just make your guitar louder!

    When you finally hear it, you cant unhear it
     
  9. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too.

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    My Strats' pickups are a little higher than that even. Like Ron said, I use specs as a baseline when assembling and adjust from there based on sound.
     
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  10. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Senior Stratmaster

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    Strat pickups have a strong magnetic field. I've found they can sound great set further from the strings than I generally would do with a humbucker.
     
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  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    Set yours like Jimi's ... none of the factory setup specs match what he had. Who has better tone?



    .
     
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  12. PCollen

    PCollen Senior Stratmaster

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    Looks to me like Jimi's pickups have the base side raised higher than the treble side... Maybe it's the shadows, or ??
     
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  13. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too.

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    Probably just the factory setup with the string order reversed, so that as-shipped they were closer to the treble strings.
     
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  14. Dibbs

    Dibbs Strat-Talker

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    This is part of the ultimate joy of the Strat. Three pickups that YOU set, to the sound you like.
    I set my hotter bridge pickup close to the strings as I can get away with. It's near PAF, and can scream. My warm mid pickup is flat, even with the pick guard, for a rounded, acoustic sound. My cooler vintage neck pickup is angled, the low E is high, near the strings, and the high E end of the pickup is closer to the pickguard. This is the way I like it, for rhythm and blues, and backup guitar.

    Put down the ruler, and pick up the screwdriver, man. You probably won't wear out the screws, finding the adjustment, just the way you like.
     
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  15. Sockrawtease

    Sockrawtease New Member!

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    Tldr: don’t worry about other people’s set ups or recommended heights. Use what works for you.

    long version:

    Rulers are good in 3 situations:

    1) finding out what your starting point is so you can go back to it if you don’t like the experimented heights.

    2) setting them to a good starting point. I like to use 2mm for the high e and 2.5mm with strings fretted at the last fret. I wouldn’t go higher than this unless I have a fairly low output bridge pickup with 1/16” (1.6mm) being on the edge where you may start to run into problems. You’ll run into compression, notes choking out, intonation issues if you go too high. From here I start tweaking with the bridge first. Firstly making sure I have good string balance between wound and unwound strings. Theres a joe Walsh setup vid describes it in a great way. Mainly open chords, you’ll hear a difference. Sometimes I have to drop the low e side a bit more sometimes the opposite. With humbuckers I like to adjust pole height as well at this stage if I need to but I wouldn’t if I was happy with the general balance. From there I’ll adjust overall height by doing a quarter turn either up or down on both sides of the bridge pickup so I keep the string balance but find the best tone for the pickups in that particular guitar. Once I’m happy with the bridge I’ll balance neck for output after. Same principal applies except after I have found good string to string balance for the neck I’ll switch back and forth from neck to bridge to match output. You’ll hear it when they’re unbalanced. Neck will sound boomy and the bridge will sound thin or if your bridge has higher volume the bridge will sound like it’s being put through a boost pedal (this works great in some guitars).

    3) use a ruler to find that optimal height is so you can go back to it if you decide to change action or gauge and avoid 1) for the next time.

    You may get lucky and your starting point may sound great or you are only a quarter turn away from optimal. Most times you’ll need to go quarter turn each time and play some stuff to find the best sound, adjust again and repeat. It does take time and you will hear it when you get there, it is definitely worth the effort and time involved. The more you do it the more efficient you will be the next time. The better you sound, the better you will play.

    I wouldn’t look at other people’s heights or setups as a rule to go by. What works for you may not work for others and vice versa. Different pickups have different output levels, pickups sound different in different guitars, and people play differently. For example, my les Paul has its bridge pickup set at 1/16” (1.6mm) from the strings and the neck is flush with the ring, sounds great, output between the two are balanced. Someone else might have both of theirs flush with the pickup ring and it sounds great. If I set mine to the same height I’d need to drop the neck pickup into the cavity to balance the volume output with the bridge and I’d have the output level of a guitar designed for a mouse. My tele worked out where both pickups sounded great at 2mm and 2.5mm. My bridge is slightly louder than the neck but I like it that way for that guitar. My Strat did take the longest to find optimal tones, the bridge pickup was very height sensitive. Edit: think the Strat is somewhere along 2mm both sides bridge, neck and middle somewhere around 2.6 high e and 3.2 low e. These are approximations and just a reference if I decide I want to change heights and don’t like them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  16. Stratoholic

    Stratoholic Senior Stratmaster

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    Exactly. He didn't even bother resetting the intonation. He'd get a guitar, string it upside down, move the strap button to the other side, and get on with it.
     
  17. sadmoodyfrazier

    sadmoodyfrazier Senior Stratmaster

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    Noiseless pickups are rated "as close the string is able to vibrate".
     
  18. GilmourD

    GilmourD Strat-Talker

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    And yet all of his Marshall's and Fuzz Faces were modified? I doubt he didn't set up his Strats so they were at least in tune with themselves.
     
  19. BlurgyWurgyWibble

    BlurgyWurgyWibble Strat-O-Master

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    I set the pickup height to ear. Some pickups never sound "right" no matter where you set them. Some have a sweet spot. Its all subjective.
    There is no "right" or "wrong". The factory specs are just a good starting point.
     
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  20. Murphcaster

    Murphcaster Senior Stratmaster

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    That's for Lace Sensors. Noiseless are "suggested" to be as low as Texas Specials. Whether or not the Ultra noiseless pickups fall in line with those recommended height specs may be a little unclear as these specs have been around a while.

    pup.png

    As others have mentioned however, this is just a baseline. Go with what works/sounds best for the individual.