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Thread: Raising pole-pieces on P90 pickups- what to expect?

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    Ultimate Tone Member Erlend_G's Avatar
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    Default Raising pole-pieces on P90 pickups- what to expect?

    Well,

    I could take my screwdriver and raise the pole-pieces of my P90's, and try to listen-

    But I'm unsure if it will give me any advantage;
    and also what difference to listen for

    -Erlend
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    Imperator of Indignation idsnowdog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raising pole-pieces on P90 pickups- what to expect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Erlend_G View Post
    Well,

    I could take my screwdriver and raise the pole-pieces of my P90's, and try to listen-

    But I'm unsure if it will give me any advantage;
    and also what difference to listen for

    -Erlend
    You can either radius the poles to match the curvature of the neck or you can stagger them like a strat style pickup. What you will notice is greater note definition and improved balance when playing complex chords.

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    Mojo's Minions ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raising pole-pieces on P90 pickups- what to expect?

    Experiment and find out. Then report back.

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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raising pole-pieces on P90 pickups- what to expect?

    The main reason to move them around is to adjust the volumes of individual strings.

    In general, plain strings are louder than wound strings, and thicker strings are louder than thinner strings. Plus you have the fact that strings are not set flat from 1st to 6th. All of these factors mean that flat poles result in a volume imbalance from string to string. Whether using non-staggered poles, or using poles that follow the string radius, there will be a string to string volume imbalance. Most people learn to play around it, and just accept it as part of the "sound" of that particular guitar. I myself find the imbalance troublesome in chords, especially due to excessive G (or 3rd) string volume.

    As to what this translates to on the actual screws, first of all, it means the D pole will be the highest, and the G pole the lowest. The D pole is underneath the thinnest wound string, meaning that it is the quietest string on the guitar. Plus the D string is usually the farthest from the pickup (sometimes equal distance as the G string, but usually a bit higher than the G). The G pole is underneath the thickest plain string, meaning that it is the loudest string on the guitar. But it doesn't go quite as low as you'd think, because the G string is among the farthest strings from the pickup.

    B and high E are "ramped" up from the G pole, each one a bit higher.

    Same thing with A and E, but they are ramped down from the D string.

    But you have to go back to the A and lower it once you have set that "ramp." For some reason, the A string is often louder than the E. I haven't ever found out why.

    Note: When I say "louder" and "quieter" here, I'm speaking electronically, about the signal from the guitar not acoustically, about the un-amplified strings.

    In the end, when you achieve very close string to string volume balance, your pole stagger looks about like this:

    6: |||
    5: ||
    4: ||||
    3: |
    2: ||
    1: |||

    The heights of both E poles are usually around the same, and the heights of the A and B strings are usually around the same.

    If you are using a wound G string (which very few people do these days on electric guitar), it's like this:

    6: |||
    5: ||
    4: ||||
    3: |||||
    2: ||
    1: |||

    Same as above, except the 3rd string pole becomes the highest one (because the 3rd string is the quietest string on the guitar when it is a wound string).
    Last edited by ItsaBass; 06-03-2020 at 06:00 PM.
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    Ultimate Tone Member Erlend_G's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raising pole-pieces on P90 pickups- what to expect?

    Thank you

    Good to learn.

    I will experiment, just to raise the pole pieces ; every of them just as much-

    To hear if it changes the sound of the guitar.

    Thank you,
    -Erlend
    If somethings important- send a PM. I might be offline for long periods. Rock on!!!

  6. #6
    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raising pole-pieces on P90 pickups- what to expect?

    Aside from just the volume of individual strings (comparatively), changing pole height will also affect the tone. Raising a pole closer to the string will increase the volume of that string, but it will also make it brighter, it will lower the bass and fullnes of the tone.

    Try this:
    Lower all of the poles and raise the pup close to the strings and see how it sounds (power and tone).
    Now lower the pup way down but raise all of the poles as close to the strings as they were when the pup was high. See how that sounds. The biggest difference you will hear is in the tone.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

  7. #7
    Ultimate Tone Member Erlend_G's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raising pole-pieces on P90 pickups- what to expect?

    Thank you very much, Sir

    -Erlend
    If somethings important- send a PM. I might be offline for long periods. Rock on!!!

  8. #8
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: Raising pole-pieces on P90 pickups- what to expect?

    There is a tonal change that you can try by comparing a lower pickup body but with raised screws to a raised pickup body but with lowered screws.

    The two do different things.....

    There is no convention of using the screws only to do one thing. Nor to only adjust them only in a certain way. It depends on what you want out of each pickup, then also what you use each pickup for in relation to the other as to how adjustment can be made to tweak your tone.

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