*Pickup Height*

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by knuw1, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. 3bolt79

    3bolt79 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I realized that the specs are just a starting point. All of my pickups came out lower than I expected for best sound. Just experiment. You will find the sweet spot.
     
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  2. 3bolt79

    3bolt79 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I’d start with the pickups flush with the guard and then raise the neck pickup up about an eighth of an inch and then raise the middle up to the point where the volume is equal to the neck Pickup. Then raise the bridge pickup to the point where the volume is equal with the middle. Tweak to taste after that.
     
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  3. fezz parka

    fezz parka Duke of DILLIGAF Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I do it the opposite way. High enough to cause the warble...then dial it out. Then adjust to where they sound like I want them to.
     
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  4. PCollen

    PCollen Senior Stratmaster

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    Don't forget that SRV used those very heavy strings, and tuned down one or two half-steps. Jeff Beck does the same. When you're playing your music at that level, you can do whatever you want and the rest of the band needs to adapt.
     
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  5. misterwogan

    misterwogan Senior Stratmaster

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    I was helped out by several esteemed members the other day on this very topic. The pickups were hot noiseless. Anyway, here is where they ended up and here is where they'll stay. The neck and middle almost flush - the bridge a bit higher.

    IMG_2668.JPG
     
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  6. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    If the pickup falls off the adjuster screw, you went too low. If you get the wierd tuning & warble issues (wolf tones) you went too high. Anything in between is ok, just a matter of taste.

    Height does make a difference in tone. More than the trem block, for sure. As the pickup goes lower the tone gets softer and mellower; as the pickup raises the output gets hotter (i.e., drives the amp to distort more easily) and to my ear anyway gets brighter/harsher. I suspect the resonant frequency peak of the pickup increases more than other frequencies as the pickup gets closer to the strings.

    Jimi tilted his pickups towards the bass. But note he was using 10-38 strings and usually tuned flat. You might get some different issues with a modern string set and standard tuning.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. stratmatt777

    stratmatt777 Strat-Talker

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    Right. Stevie tuned down to Eb and used 13s early on and eventually stepped down to 12s and maybe even 11s at the end since his fingertips would rip off (supposedly he superglued his fingers back together).
    Dan Patlansky in that video says that 11s work for him... as they did for Stevie at the end.

    I don't think that the fine tonal minutia that we are discussing on this forum actually effects the rest of the band. If your pickups are low output and you crank your amp or run through a TS808 its not gonna effect the band. ;)

    I'm assuming that you're not Phill Collen from Def Leppard. :p
     
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  8. stratmatt777

    stratmatt777 Strat-Talker

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    Regarding Hendrix tones, you NEED to watch this:
     
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  9. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Strat-Talker

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    When I was a kid, we didn't have the internet.
    What I did have was a poster of Jimi where his pickups were right down to the pickguard.
    Trying that was a Eureka moment for me/
    One of the first things I noticed was the volume was lower, meaning I had to turn my amp up higher, which is ALWAYS a good thing, right!
    I still drop 'em way down, then raise the treble side to balance the output of the high E.
     
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  10. CB91710

    CB91710 This is a Custom Title Gold Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    It makes a big difference, and the neck pickup being too close is the cause of what is commonly referred to as "Stratitis", which is a "Warbling" sound, as well as intonation problems.
     
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  11. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    Well I don't "use ma ears", not exclusively, so I have a different answer. You know what Stratitus is? A pickup with AlNiCo 5 (because it's so powerful) is too close to the string and causes the pickup to vibrate asymmetrically, so much so that it causes "beating" where you hear a "wow wow wow" sound of two signs waves that are slightly off pitch of each other. Having the pickup closer to the strings causes that asymmetry all the time, it's just a question of how much it's doing so. The lower the pickup, the less it does it. Asymmetrical movement of the string translates into an asymmetrical output wave form. The farther away the pickup is from the strings, the more naturally and symmetrically the string vibrates, and the more symmetrical the output signal is.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  12. CB91710

    CB91710 This is a Custom Title Gold Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    There is a lot of mythology regarding SRV's string gauge. They were not the standard 12-56 or 13-56 Jazz strings.
    "Standard" 13 - 17 - 26w - 36 - 46- 56
    SRV 13 - 15 - 19p - 28 - 38 - 58

    So only the top and bottom were heavy relative to the rest of the set.
    The middle four were closer to a set of standard 11s.

    The "superglue" thing is another myth.... I've used superglue to band-aid injuries and it will not stand up to playing. It is temporary at best, peeling off within a couple of days if it is left undisturbed... and within a few minutes of washing under soap and hot water.
    I heard a lot of "tips" when I was learning in the 70s... including dabbing my fingertips with iodine to strengthen the callouses. It doesn't work... just stains your fingers so people think you smoke. Supposedly, that was an old farmer's trick to toughen the hands for milking cows.
    This is an excellent point.
    Guitarists tend to get very OCD about what does and doesn't work for their tone, but ultimately, the tone that we are trying to mimic is not the tone that Jimi/Jimmy/Pete/Eric actually produced. We are hearing the complete mix, and the result of that raw guitar tone being processed by the engineer. Page's studio tone was extremely bright.
     
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  13. duzie

    duzie Senior Stratmaster

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    For those of us with active pickups.
    How do you set your pickup height?
    I’ve never felt the need to change the height of mine .
    Am I missing out on anything?
     
  14. stratmatt777

    stratmatt777 Strat-Talker

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    I read somewhere that EMGs are supposed to be set as close to the strings as possible.
    [EDIT: THIS IS WRONG!!!]
    Considering how high their output is I don't see why that would be necessary and I forget where I read that.
    I know this because I bought a 2008 ESP LTD off ebay with EMGs in it.
    I currently have those EMGs set in a guitar owned by someone else after trading them for an entire stratocaster kit, complete with pickups and wired pickguard. ;)

    Trust your ears. They are right!
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
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  15. fezz parka

    fezz parka Duke of DILLIGAF Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Yup.
    :D
     
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  16. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    People love certainty.
     
  17. fezz parka

    fezz parka Duke of DILLIGAF Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Here's the deal....

    Set them where they sound good to you.

    I don't give a rip where ( insert name of sacred cow guitarist who can do no wrong because they are dead) set them.
    I don't give a rip what strings they use(d). Use what is comfortable to play and gives you the sound you want to hear.

    Dial out anomalies like Stratitis and set them where they sound good. To you. :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  18. stratmatt777

    stratmatt777 Strat-Talker

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    ANTIGUA, your signature photo of a bunch of Les Pauls on this Strat-Talk forum is pretty hilarious.

    Also, that advice I followed was wrong!!!

    FROM EMG's website https://www.emgpickups.com/emg-faq :
    "Can I adjust the output level of my pickups?
    EMG active pickups have higher output levels than traditional passive pickups. If you find that the output level of your EMG is too hot to get clean tones, you may want to lower your pickup. EMGs are very sensitive to string height. You can adjust the overall output and tone of your guitar by raising and lowering your pickup. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may need to adjust the gain on your amp or try turning down the volume control on your guitar. Unlike a traditional passive volume/tone system, the low-impedance of an EMG lets you turn down the volume with very little effect on your overall tone and virtually no high end loss.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
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  19. Antstrat

    Antstrat Senior Stratmaster

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This.

    As a guy who had the internet when he started (which could be both helpful and, well, beyond mythically ridiculous regarding how stuff works) sometimes I kinda wish I didn't have the internet when I started. Took many years of "No antstrat that makes no ******* sense" and finally no guitar forums for almost a decade. Some things are just that simple if it sounds good then no need for triginometry and scientific testing. I'm not completely cleansed of some of the crapolaitis I beleived but am nearly there. You just don't give up shooting smack overnight ya know!
     
  20. fezz parka

    fezz parka Duke of DILLIGAF Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Well....there's one way. LOL
     
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