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Flat or Staggered?

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    take2
    Tone Member

  • take2
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    Hey, Royd mentioned the Carvin AP11's - anyone have any experience with these - they got a good write up in guitar player or one of those magazines. Thanks

    Leave a comment:

  • papersoul
    Mojo's Minions

  • papersoul
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    Mac, LOL bro...you sound like me.

    I am a nut and so anal about this stuff also and sometimes it get in the way of my practice.

    I play in a modern hard rock band that has been compared to everything from Alice in Chains to Fuel and Disturbed so a lot of our songs contain clean sections, but for the most part is aggressive and heavy. Maybe I'll stick to either radiused or flat in my case.

    Leave a comment:

  • Kent S.
    Volume Enhanceologist

  • Kent S.
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    Originally posted by Mac-P
    To me, the stagger (or lack of it) has more to do with string balance than tone.
    Yes, that's what it does, but ... Because that string balance is altered it does show up as a tonal difference on chorde because the relative strings a different volumes ... individually it's more of a gain difference for some strings; Hence, someone might find a certain string *fatter or thinner* after changing to another stagger when doing a lead for instance. That's what I meant by a tonally difference, and some companies do wind the pup slightly different to accent the difference in tone as well ... But that's another separate issue altogether.

    Leave a comment:

  • Mac-P
    Ultimate Tone Member

  • Mac-P
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    Originally posted by papersoul
    Mac, I am a bit confused on how you determine the height of the pole pieces if you stagger the pieces on a humbucker.

    I talked to a couple of local guys who said in a gig situation and at rehearsal, you'll notice little difference with any of this...staggered....radiused...anything. Best to just leave them flush and adjust the overall height unless you lack some clarity you can raise the poles and lower the p'up.
    Well, it depends on a lot of things;

    1st - how much distortion you use. With distortion there is much less difference in output between strings because the very nature of distortion is to compress the sound. So all the strings get the same output.

    I play in different reggae, funk, jambands, & use lots of clean sounds. It makes a world of difference in that type of situation.

    2nd - how crazy about details are you? I am a bit of a maniac and like to have my guitars set up EXACTLY the way I think they play and sound best. I notice the difference in string balance BIG time and I like every note in a chord to be even. Otherwise I get in a bad mood.

    Peace.

    Leave a comment:

  • papersoul
    Mojo's Minions

  • papersoul
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    Mac, I am a bit confused on how you determine the height of the pole pieces if you stagger the pieces on a humbucker.

    I talked to a couple of local guys who said in a gig situation and at rehearsal, you'll notice little difference with any of this...staggered....radiused...anything. Best to just leave them flush and adjust the overall height unless you lack some clarity you can raise the poles and lower the p'up.

    Leave a comment:

  • royd
    Senior Member

  • royd
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    one more single coil with adjustable pole pieces - the Carvin AP11. It uses a ceramic bar magnet with 11 adjustable pole pieces.
    roy

    Leave a comment:

  • papersoul
    Mojo's Minions

  • papersoul
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    So it's not as noticable with high gain rhythm or lead tones?

    Sounds like this might be worth a nice try. What about the individual height of the poles?

    Leave a comment:

  • Mac-P
    Ultimate Tone Member

  • Mac-P
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    Originally posted by papersoul
    Interesting Mac! So, do you recommend and notice a difference with your pole pieces set as follows??

    High

    lllllll E
    lllll B
    lll G
    llllllll D
    lllll A
    lll E

    Low

    What about radiusing for the fretboard as many do.....or just leaving them flush? I am referring to humbuckers.

    Thanks.
    I definitely notice a difference, that's why I did it. It is more noticeable when playing clean because the notes aren't being compressed by distortion.

    And that stagger is taking into consideration a bit of fretboard radius. I use the same stagger on my Fender Strats and Gibson SG's which have different radiuses.

    Single coil and Humbucker.

    Try it out with a totally uncompressed clean sound and you'll see what I mean. Just barre all 6 strings at, let's say the 7th fret, and listen to the volume of each string individually. If you adjust the pole pieces so that the output of all the strings is equal, you will probably end up with the above stagger (or close to it).

    Peace.

    Leave a comment:

  • papersoul
    Mojo's Minions

  • papersoul
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    Interesting Mac! So, do you recommend and notice a difference with your pole pieces set as follows??

    High

    lllllll E
    lllll B
    lll G
    llllllll D
    lllll A
    lll E

    Low

    In this diagram, would the low E and G be flush with the pickup? Are you also saying the G is naturally louder than the B is louder than the E?

    What about radiusing for the fretboard as many do.....or just leaving them flush? I am referring to humbuckers.

    Thanks.
    papersoul
    Mojo's Minions
    Last edited by papersoul; 04-12-2004, 01:07 PM.

    Leave a comment:

  • Mac-P
    Ultimate Tone Member

  • Mac-P
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    To me, the stagger (or lack of it) has more to do with string balance than tone.

    The "vintage stagger" was originally designed for a guitar, strung with heavy strings, using a wound G. Thin, wound strings are the lowest in volume. And thinner strings in general are lower in volume.

    Modern string sets use an unwound G which is much louder than a wound one.

    A problem that many players run into with a vintage stagger is a "wolf tone" or "bad harmonic" that occurs when you play the fretted G note at the 12th fret of the G string with distortion (try it - you'll hate me for pointing it out).

    The cause: that G pole piece is too close.

    Backing the pickup off the strings fixes that problem, but results in lower output for all the rest of the strings.

    To me (and I've experimented with this a lot), the pole piece stagger should mirror what the intonation (a coincidence?) of the saddles is like for the best, even string to string volume. Like this:

    High

    lllllll E
    lllll B
    lll G
    llllllll D
    lllll A
    lll E

    Low


    This is also the same for the adjustable pole pieces in humbuckers.

    As far as adjustable pole pieces for single coil pickups: the pole pieces are the actual magnets, so unless you go into the pickup and physically move them (I ruined two different sets of Texas Specials doing this), you can;t adjust them.

    BUT....DiMarzio has been making a stagger that is like the one above for years. It is on the Blue Velvet and Red Velvet pickups (it may be on some other ones too). Very very cool indeed.

    And I second Jeremy's opinion of the DiMarzio SDS-1 single coil which is almost built like a humbucker: the magnet is underneath, and the pole pieces are adjustable hex screws. It is the only one I know of as well. DiMarzio made another similar pickup in the 70's but I forget what the model was.

    The SDS-1 is amazing and is probably my favorite bridge pickup of all time. Definitely my favorite single coil bridge. And not because of the adjustability of it. That pickup just sound plain out fantastic. Thick, warm, punchy, clear.......mmmmmm.

    The one DiMarzio pickup that is under the radar that is a TRUE classic.
    Mac-P
    Ultimate Tone Member
    Last edited by Mac-P; 04-12-2004, 12:58 PM.

    Leave a comment:

  • jeremy
    LoveMachineologist

  • jeremy
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    in general most people wont notice the difference, like those people in the audience, they dont/wont care. i use flats for most things but i wont go out of my way to get em vs staggered
    as far as i know most fender single coils had staggered poles till the 80's but i could be wrong.
    the reason the poles were staggered is that they were supposed to compensate for the differences in string volume. older strats had a 7.25" fretboard radius and used heavy strings with (usually) wound third strings, most modern staggered single coils have a different stagger that works better with flatter fretboards and lighter strings with unwound third strings

    the only single coil that i know of with adjustable poles is the dimarzio sds-1 but it uses ceramic bar magnets with steel pole pieces. a very cool pup by the way.

    Leave a comment:

  • nast2112
    Member

  • nast2112
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    So is there a general setup with flat & staggered that works in most situations? Staggered in the middle and flat in the neck? Or vice versa? What if I qualify it by saying what would be best if you were trying to approximate an early to mid-70's Clapton tone?

    Leave a comment:

  • papersoul
    Mojo's Minions

  • papersoul
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    So rather than just rasiusing the poles...they are also staggered or uneven?

    The most I have done is radius the poles or keep flush.

    Leave a comment:

  • ArtieToo
    Peaveyologist

  • ArtieToo
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    Ah . . . I see . . .

    Leave a comment:

  • MattPete
    Ultimate Tone Slacker

  • MattPete
    replied
    Re: Flat or Staggered?

    Perhaps it's difficult to cast a magnet with threads and a screw head?

    Leave a comment:

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