What are the odds of ruining a rail ceramic pickup by "leveling" the rails?

diogoguitar

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 2, 2012
2,251
Northwest US
I notice a slight volume drop between the strings while playing with my strat.. enough to bother me.

The bridge pickup is a rail hum cancelling pickup, single coil sized. I believe the rails have a 9.5" radius and the neck of my guitar has a 16" radius. I tried messing with different combinations of pickup height and I'm still not satisfied. I wonder if I sanded those ceramic magnets I would risk ruining the pickup? Maybe not?

my model is very similar to this one here:

1653161618633.png
 

nickmsmith

Dr. Stratster
Jul 28, 2011
14,189
USA
I personally wouldn’t modify a pickup unless it makes the difference between functioning or not. But you can probably do it, without damaging anything.

I really am not sure how much difference it will make, though. That isn’t too extreme of a stagger.
 

dspellman

Strat-O-Master
Mar 24, 2013
831
Los Angeles
I notice a slight volume drop between the strings while playing with my strat.. enough to bother me.

The bridge pickup is a rail hum cancelling pickup, single coil sized. I believe the rails have a 9.5" radius and the neck of my guitar has a 16" radius. I tried messing with different combinations of pickup height and I'm still not satisfied. I wonder if I sanded those ceramic magnets I would risk ruining the pickup? Maybe not?

my model is very similar to this one here:

View attachment 564253
Don't bother. Been there, tried that already with Hot Rails in my ute*.

Back when, Carvin offered 22-pole pickups (Allen screws on each one of them) and sold them with the admonition that you'd never have drop-offs when you bent the strings between pole pieces. They also mentioned that you could adjust them to accurately reflect the radius of your strings OR you coulda just them to emphasize whatever you liked.

Truth was, it didn't matter.

However, if you sand the rails down to a 16" radius and you don't like it, what's your plan then?


*ute = younger daze.
 

Hal Nico

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 28, 2012
3,709
JAMOADR
I notice a slight volume drop between the strings while playing with my strat.. enough to bother me.

The bridge pickup is a rail hum cancelling pickup, single coil sized. I believe the rails have a 9.5" radius and the neck of my guitar has a 16" radius. I tried messing with different combinations of pickup height and I'm still not satisfied. I wonder if I sanded those ceramic magnets I would risk ruining the pickup? Maybe not?

my model is very similar to this one here:

Check your bridge saddles. Make sure both small adjustment screws are hitting the base plate securely and the saddle/s are not lop-sided. If they are off that can cause volume and lack of sustain issues.


HTH :)
 

diogoguitar

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 2, 2012
2,251
Northwest US
They sell that style of pickup on Amazon for $12 a piece, maybe experiment with a cheap one before damaging something with a decent used value.
Good point. I'll try that first. It might be a little time consuming to install a new pickup, filing that out, then repeat the process on the more expensive one... but dang, these little pastillas cost around $79 now.
 

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
3,784
Here and now
Don't bother. Been there, tried that already with Hot Rails in my ute*.

Back when, Carvin offered 22-pole pickups (Allen screws on each one of them) and sold them with the admonition that you'd never have drop-offs when you bent the strings between pole pieces. They also mentioned that you could adjust them to accurately reflect the radius of your strings OR you coulda just them to emphasize whatever you liked.

Truth was, it didn't matter.

However, if you sand the rails down to a 16" radius and you don't like it, what's your plan then?


*ute = younger daze.
Screenshot_20220523-183438-817.png Screenshot_20220523-183213-419.png
 

diogoguitar

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 2, 2012
2,251
Northwest US
i love to see the entertaining answers
Dimarzio said it's risky because the blades have a teflon coating. They gave a safer option (read below): raise the pickup around high E string and lower on low E string. I tried it and my first reaction is it works much better than the standard height.


DiMarzio Tech <[email protected]> wrote:
I think it would be necessary to remove a fair amount of metal to flatten the blades. The blades have a Teflon coating, which filing will remove, and the exposed metal would then be subject to corrosion.

I cannot predict in advance how well this might work, but another option you might try is to adjust the pickups closer to the strings on the high E side than on the low E side. The overall balance will change in a way that might be more useable.

DiMarzio Inc.
 
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