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Recomended Pickup Height

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  • Recomended Pickup Height

    Hi guys,
    I posted this question on the old forum and wasnt sure if it transfered to this new one. Anyway i have a SH-2 & SH-4 and was wondering what the ideal pickup height is? I have experimented with moving the pole peices to adjust each to the same string height and was wondering if it really made that big of a difference.......?

  • #2
    Pickup height is as much a matter of taste as anything else. I find that it's best first to adjust the pole pieces to match the string height/neck radius, and then move on to altering the pickup height. Too low and you'll lose volume; too high and the magnets will interfere with the string's vibrations and affect your tone. You should be able to quite easily find a comprimise between the two.

    Once you've done that, you can go back to adjusting the pole pieces again. This is only if you find that the tonal distrubtion from your pickups is in need of altering - like a quasi-EQ.

    If you spend just a little time experimenting, you should be able to hear the difference.
    Gibson Les Paul w/ Seths. Strung with EB 12's
    Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb RI
    Arbiter Fuzz Face, Fulltone Fatboost, Crybaby, Voce Spin II


    • #3
      I learned from someone here a long time ago to start out with 1 nickel's height on the treble side and 2 nickels height on the bass side. Adjust the pole pieces to match the radius and then adjust to personal taste from there. As a result, I always keep 2 nickels in my guitar toolbox.

      I have found over the years that I prefer my pickups slightly farther away from the strings. I prefer a slightly more open sound to that of the more compressed in your face tone of having the pups slightly closer. It's all personal preference though.
      My Sound Clips


      • #4
        Is the nickel measured bewtween the pole piece and strings?


        I always though you want to measure the same distance from the bass and treble side and then radius if necessary. Don't most just measure the distance from the high E pole piece the same as the low E pole distance??


        • #5
          the main thing is not to go closer than 1/16th.
          if i were you since tone is so personal i would start with them at a good distance(flush with the rings) and gradually bring em up till ya hear what you like


          • #6
            I find two 2/16 is a good starting point and raise and lower from this point. Also, you can raise the pole peieces and lower the overall pickup for more clarity.

            I like as much meat in my tone as possible so I always start at about 1/16" with the poles radiused....this way I have as much of the pickup even with the strings (slugs and screws) then I adjust down......usually to about 2/16 and maybe a hair higher on the treble side.


            • #7
              3/32 for the neck and 1/16 for the bridge. Top of polepeice to bottom of strings with the last fret depressed. Gibsons starting point, that`s what I use.
              57 VOS Les Paul Goldtop
              62 Thin Skin Stratocaster
              Mesa Boogie Lone Star 212
              Baby Taylor


              • #8
                I thnk Gibson says 2/16" for the bridge....
                Usualy for high gain players I find 1/16" too muddy and I get weird overtones. I find 2/16" just about right.


                • #9
                  dont forget there is another factor to height, EACH model pickup has it's own "sweet spot"
                  like a JB will not sound as good as a custom at the same height
                  and vise versa


                  • #10
                    Isn't it true that anything over 1/8" can result in weird overtones?


                    • #11
                      over an 1/8"? no, you may lose power and have thinner tone but you shouldnt have any weird tones. under an 1/8" with a really strong magnet can kill sustain and cause tuning problems and wolftones (those weird 2nd tones that come out)


                      • #12
                        Sorry I meant under 1/8" with the Gibson BB Pros or the C-5.


                        • #13
                          Re: Recomended Pickup Height

                          I wanted to bring up this topic agian because I had a discusion with a respected store owner near Harrsiburg, PA who recommended that I stop worrying about the actual measurement of the pickup height and rather use my ears.

                          He basically said I really shouldn't have to worry about false notes or wolfe tones with a humbucker like I would with single coil pickups. I believe Lew of Lewguitars may have said something similar? This guy was saying how his bridge pickup is practically touching the strings so I moved it around and listened. I think I found the right height and it is really close. I actually measured to see where it ended and it is between 1/32" and 2/32". Basically a little closer than 1/16". Pretty close, huh?

                          I also found I prefer to have the screw coils flush with the pickup or bobbin and no radiusing. My ears like it better.

                          Finally, I set the screw up in a "v" pattern but not sure what that is supposed to do.
                          Mojo's Minions
                          Last edited by papersoul; 04-06-2004, 07:52 AM.