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Thread: Long vs Short pokepieces

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    Default Long vs Short pokepieces

    Hi.
    I heard that if I cut polepieces equally baseplate, this give me more high end. Is true?
    I would like to add little high end to E and g string.

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    Ultimate Tone Member Nagisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    I enjoy my long pokepiece.

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    Mojo's Minions dave74's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    I think it reduces lows more than it increases highs, but I'm not sure if that's true or if it even matters.
    Hey what about the B string? Does it sound different than the E and G?

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    Toneologist freefrog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlosG View Post
    Hi.
    I heard that if I cut polepieces equally baseplate, this give me more high end. Is true?
    I would like to add little high end to E and g string.
    Hi.

    Shortened screw poles diminish Eddy currents and overall inductance. Hence a brighter tone, typically [= theoretically, if you prefer; practically, results may vary as mentioned in the answer below.]

    Now, this effect is global. You won't brighten separately the tone of your high E just by cutting its screw pole... but you might end with a weaker sounding high E. :-/

    It's possible to obtain a brighter or darker tone from a string separately thanks to a screw pole made of a different alloy... but it would require to know the alloy of the other (original) screw poles. :-/

    Now, you’re free to experiment with screw poles of different alloys and to shorten them if you want.

    Food for thought: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf4j...ature=emb_logo

    NOTE -Another way to do what you want would be to mount some G and E strings themselves made of a different alloy than your other strings… :-)

    FWIW (my 2 cents).
    Last edited by freefrog; 02-20-2020 at 04:34 AM.
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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlosG View Post
    Hi.
    I heard that if I cut polepieces equally baseplate, this give me more high end. Is true?
    I would like to add little high end to E and g string.
    The resulting outcome of the modding will be different in different p'ups, depending on type and alloy of the polepiece and magnet type and grade. Can't generalize like you think you can. Sorry!

    /Peter
    Peter Pedersen aka Discharged
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    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    Polepiece alloy makes a difference. You could try replacing the poles at the "E" and "G" strings with 1022 screws (they are probably already 1020 in the pup but not necessarily), and put 1016 screws in the 4 other spots. This will make the "E" and "G" strings a little brighter relative to the rest of the strings. Shortening those two poles will also have some effect in brightenning them.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    Hi, new member here
    Wow, this is news to me. I've often wondered why some humbuckers appear to be more sensitive to pole piece adjustment than others. Of course, there are many factors involved, not least the individual guitar, but it seems like some humbuckers just require more staggering for balanced output.
    I've never reflected over the pole screw lengths, nor the alloy. I thought it was probably due to the individual magnets.

    You know, vintage staggering where the G-pole has to be set higher due to the weak magnetic pull of a wound G string. Like most people these days I use a plain G string most of the time and therefore have to lower the G-pole. Usually a couple of turns would be sufficient, but sometimes I would have to screw the G-pole all the way down and raise the D-pole quite a bit (and balance the others accordingly).

    -How do you explain this variation? Is it about the lengths and alloy of the pole screws, or something else? Maybe in combination with the magnet?

    -Could pole screw specifications be expected to vary, for the same model pup from the same manufacturer?

    -When modding a pickup by magnet replacement, would it also make sense to try out a set of different pole screws, maybe cut to individual lengths?

    Thanks

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    Mojo's Minions Masta' C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Nico V View Post
    You know, vintage staggering where the G-pole has to be set higher due to the weak magnetic pull of a wound G string...I use a plain G string most of the time and therefore have to lower the G-pole..How do you explain this variation?
    You sort of explained it to yourself...the height differences are compensating for the differences in the mass of the strings. Plain G strings have greater mass than wound G strings, therefore they have a greater impact on the magnetic field and require less compensation. As far as adjusting for the other strings and "balancing out" a pickup, you're just fine-tuning the compensation of each pole piece.

    What this thread is suggesting is that, in addition to the simple height adjustment of a pole piece, you can further change the response of a string and even the sound of an entire pickup by changing the material of the pole pieces and also the pole piece length. It starts to get a little advanced when we begin to think about inductance, eddy currents, etc, but most players don't need that information.

    To answer your other questions: Generally, the pole pieces for a particular manufacturer stay the same over time. I know that's largely been the case with SD, DiMarzio, Gibson, etc. To answer you question about mag-swapping, I would strongly recommend changing the magnet and trying it out before moving on to swapping pole pieces. One change at a time, so you know what each change is doing and whether you like it or not...

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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    Quote Originally Posted by Masta' C View Post
    You sort of explained it to yourself...the height differences are compensating for the differences in the mass of the strings. Plain G strings have greater mass than wound G strings, therefore they have a greater impact on the magnetic field and require less compensation. As far as adjusting for the other strings and "balancing out" a pickup, you're just fine-tuning the compensation of each pole piece.

    What this thread is suggesting is that, in addition to the simple height adjustment of a pole piece, you can further change the response of a string and even the sound of an entire pickup by changing the material of the pole pieces and also the pole piece length. It starts to get a little advanced when we begin to think about inductance, eddy currents, etc, but most players don't need that information.

    To answer your other questions: Generally, the pole pieces for a particular manufacturer stay the same over time. I know that's largely been the case with SD, DiMarzio, Gibson, etc. To answer you question about mag-swapping, I would strongly recommend changing the magnet and trying it out before moving on to swapping pole pieces. One change at a time, so you know what each change is doing and whether you like it or not...
    Thanks

    Yeah, it's obvious that the pole screw height above the pickup affects magnetic pull and output. What I haven't given any thought is that the length of the pole screw protruding from the base plate could also affect the signal according to above posts.
    And I haven't reflected over the fact that the magnetic properties of the pole screws obviously also must have an impact... I have just assumed pole screws are all the same.

    What I do know is that pickup height as well as pole screw height not only affect output, but also tone. And that the magnet specification and Gauss-level also affect output and tone.

    In conclusion this all means that a pickup in theory could be fine tuned, by individual selection of pole screws for each string. How well it works in real life probably depends...

    I guess major manufacturers are not tuning their pickups, -maybe some boutique winders do?

    What I still don't get is why some humbuckers must be more staggered than others to acchieve balanced output. -Would it depend on the balance of the second coil...uneven coil winding, the magnet or something else? (like for example the alloy of the pole screws...In that case, pole screws are different even if they come from the same manufacturer...)

    (I don't intend to hijack the thread, hopefully my questions are related to the OP).
    Last edited by Al Nico V; 02-25-2020 at 01:11 AM.

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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    Quote Originally Posted by Nagisa View Post
    I enjoy my long pokepiece.
    It's not the size of your pokepiece, but how you use it. :P
    Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    What’s the effect of lowering a humbucker and raising the pole pieces? And the effect of raising a humbucker and lowering the poles?

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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    Quote Originally Posted by Bowtomecha View Post
    What’s the effect of lowering a humbucker and raising the pole pieces? And the effect of raising a humbucker and lowering the poles?
    Correct me if I'm wrong since I'm just starting to get into adjusting individual pole pieces now, but I believe that lowering the humbucker will reduce some low-end muddiness and create less output. Raising the individual pole pieces will give you more clarity, slightly more high end, and some more volume.

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    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    I believe most pups come with 1020 alloy pole pieces (could be 1018). There is no need for manufacturers to change something (the alloy and length of the screws) that only has to do with each individual's personal preference and has such a small affect on the tone of the pup.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    Anyone know for sure which manufacturers use which alloy? Afaik, only throbak publishes that data.

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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Nico V View Post
    I guess major manufacturers are not tuning their pickups, -maybe some boutique winders do?
    Yep: see for example Wade Westbrook from Motor City Pickups (@ Detroit; one of the finest artisans in USA from my European POV). :-)

    And FWIW, tuning already existing pickups can save money by avoiding an expensive swap. I'm periodically upgrading pre-existing PU's by manipulating their magnetic and LRC specs for this reason.



    What I still don't get is why some humbuckers must be more staggered than others to acchieve balanced output. -Would it depend on the balance of the second coil...uneven coil winding, the magnet or something else?
    A same set of HB’s has been tried here in a semi hollow, a Flying V then a double neck guitar with bolt on necks.
    Same scale, same pots, same strings, similar hardware.
    In the last guitar, on both pickups, the screw poles below the G string had to be elevated of several mm (!).

    In my understanding, such differences are due mostly to a “comb filtering” effect caused by the physical structure of the guitars and their vibrational modes.

    Now, it doesn't deny the role of screw poles and their complex interaction with other parts of the pickups. Even plated vs non plated pole pieces can make a (slight but noticeable) difference IME. :-)
    Duncan user since the 80's...

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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    Quote Originally Posted by freefrog View Post
    Yep: see for example Wade Westbrook from Motor City Pickups (@ Detroit; one of the finest artisans in USA from my European POV). :-)

    And FWIW, tuning already existing pickups can save money by avoiding an expensive swap. I'm periodically upgrading pre-existing PU's by manipulating their magnetic and LRC specs for this reason.





    A same set of HB’s has been tried here in a semi hollow, a Flying V then a double neck guitar with bolt on necks.
    Same scale, same pots, same strings, similar hardware.
    In the last guitar, on both pickups, the screw poles below the G string had to be elevated of several mm (!).

    In my understanding, such differences are due mostly to a “comb filtering” effect caused by the physical structure of the guitars and their vibrational modes.

    Now, it doesn't deny the role of screw poles and their complex interaction with other parts of the pickups. Even plated vs non plated pole pieces can make a (slight but noticeable) difference IME. :-)
    Thanks, good input

    Just an hour ago, I pulled a long polished A2 magnet from a humbucker and replaced it with a short, rough A5. Besides the fact that this humbucker now sounds awesome (which was the sole purpose of the operation) I'm surprised it doesn't require nearly as much staggering as before...
    Same guitar, same coils, same pickup height (meaning about the same output), same everything including the pole screws. The only difference is the magnet. Go figure.

    Sure the pickup now has a different frequency response, but remember that each pole screw, each string covers up to 2 octaves, hereby overlapping the adjacent strings. So pole screw adjustment is first and foremost about compensating the difference in magnetic pull.

    (I don't mind adjusting pole screws, that's the reason they exist...in most buckers..., I just like to better understand why some pickups behave the way they do and what can be done to tune them when required.)

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    Toneologist freefrog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Nico V View Post
    Just an hour ago, I pulled a long polished A2 magnet from a humbucker and replaced it with a short, rough A5. Besides the fact that this humbucker now sounds awesome (which was the sole purpose of the operation) I'm surprised it doesn't require nearly as much staggering as before...
    Same guitar, same coils, same pickup height (meaning about the same output), same everything including the pole screws. The only difference is the magnet. Go figure.
    An A5 diminishes the inductance compared to an A2 and even more so if it's a short one. But it's magnetically stronger. These parameters suffice to explain your experience in my humble understanding. :-)

    Now, there was long RC A5 bars in the set mentioned in my previous post... but it still needed some serious pole staggering in the last guitar fitted with it.

    Regarding screw poles in general: for the record and ironically, Seth Lover hadn't included this feature in his first HB design (!)... :-)) But he did know what kind of effect it has, of course. :-)

    https://www.seymourduncan.com/blog/t...ith-seth-lover

    ... and a post scriptum regarding magnets, generally speaking: when I test bar mags with our teslameter, I'm often fascinated by how uneven is their magnetism. Some bars are stronger in the middle, others are strong at both ends with a weaker zone in between, others are strong on one side only, and so on... Granted, these strong and weak spots fade in one common field but IMHO & IME, uneven magnetism is one more random parm to take in account here (not to mention the somehow counter-intuitive shape of a typical mag field, as illustrated by the pic named "screw poles for a humbucker" here: http://www.skguitar.com/SKGS/sk/Imag.../Magnetics.htm ).
    Last edited by freefrog; 02-26-2020 at 07:10 AM.
    Duncan user since the 80's...

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    Default Re: Long vs Short pokepieces

    Quote Originally Posted by freefrog View Post
    An A5 diminishes the inductance compared to an A2 and even more so if it's a short one. But it's magnetically stronger. These parameters suffice to explain your experience in my humble understanding. :-)

    Now, there was long RC A5 bars in the set mentioned in my previous post... but it still needed some serious pole staggering in the last guitar fitted with it.

    Regarding screw poles in general: for the record and ironically, Seth Lover hadn't included this feature in his first HB design (!)... :-)) But he did know what kind of effect it has, of course. :-)

    https://www.seymourduncan.com/blog/t...ith-seth-lover
    Yeah I've heard that before. Seth Lover would have used a wound G, that's the only way he could get away without pole compensating an A2 magnet like the one i took out...his pickups probably were lower wind...Anyway, they were smart enough to launch the PAF with pole screws. Clever move.

    Here's the tall tale coming from the man:

    "I wanted them to sell it without any adjusting screws because I found that with this there was much difference between the first and second strings like there is on most of the old non adjustable type there was quite a difference in the first and second string but this didn’t seem to have that major difference, and I thought it was not necessary to have pole pieces… well when you take away a talking point from a salesman it’s like breaking off your arm… The first thing I came up with an idea was just fake some things there so I stamped them on the cover, that didn’t please them either, by that time we already made the patent application… that’s why it went through that way, so they finally decided they wanted screws in there, so I put adjusting screws in it for them, then the question they asked me then was which way should those screws set? Should they set up or down? Well you’ve got to give them an answer so I decided to take the one closest to the fingerboard and put the screws facing it and the one closest to the bridge towards the bridge! [Laugh] that made them happy, they had a set way that it should be set, it only amounted to turning the pickup around…" (Seth Lover)

    I call baloney . I believe some of those "salesmen" were actually guitar players.


    Quote Originally Posted by freefrog View Post
    ... and a post scriptum regarding magnets, generally speaking: when I test bar mags with our teslameter, I'm often fascinated by how uneven is their magnetism. Some bars are stronger in the middle, others are strong at both ends with a weaker zone in between, others are strong on one side only, and so on... Granted, these strong and weak spots fade in one common field but IMHO & IME, uneven magnetism is one more random parm to take in account here (not to mention the somehow counter-intuitive shape of a typical mag field, as illustrated by the pic named "screw poles for a humbucker" here: http://www.skguitar.com/SKGS/sk/Imag.../Magnetics.htm ).
    Yes, yes, I think this is the answer. Good info.

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