I just picked out a damien elite 7 today and the first thing i noticed was the bridge pickup was super close to the strings. I started playing it and it sounded kinda saturated or muddy through that pickup. I think it might have something to do with the height of the pickup. Can someone give me an explanation of how to find the right height both on the bridge and neck pickups?
Schecter Damien Elite Avenger FR
Schecter Damien Elite 7
Schecter Damien Elite
Epiphone Les Paul
Fender Stratocaster Fretless
Samick Dreadnaught Acoustic (Unknown Model)
Various Marshall Amplifiers
Boss SD-1
Boss CS-3
There is no "right" height for a pickup, keep tweeking till you find a spot that sounds good.

Neck pickup usually is lower than the bridge.
ESP/LTD EC-200QM (with SD Distortions)
1986 Charvel Model 4
2013 Ibanez RG7421WH

Marshall MS-2 microamp (a POS)
B-52 LG-100a head (Not bad)

Digitech Grunge distortion
Just to improve your understanding, google how pickups work.

Essentially, they create a magnetic field that radiate's out in concentric circles. Think an Archery target.

When you hit the string (which is obviously metal) it 'cuts' in to this field, and alters its output. this is why you can never get 100% noise free pickups, as they're always 'broadcasting'

The closer the pick up is to the strings, the more the strings will 'cut' the magnetic field, and a larger or more intense signal will be sent, lower will mean a less intense signal will be sent.

I know there's some average terminology in there, but as learningplayer said, just have a play around with the heights, and you should be right.

There's also nothing wrong with having the pickup off level (IE closer at one end, further at other). If it gets the sound your after, do it.

Hope that helps.


You gotta figure it out for yourself, but heres some tips for you.
1. You should be able to strum hard and not hit the pickups
2. the pickup should be slightly higher near the high E string.
3. Too close, and magnets affect the string, giving less sustain and more feedback. Too far, and the volume/output is waay lower.
4. Neck pickup should be higher, because its usually quieter. (IF you want both pickups to be same volume. see my setup for more on this.)
5. Closer = Brighter tone and more output/volume. Farther = Darker tone and less output.

My setup: on my warlock(metal guitar with dual humbuckers) i have my neck pickup lower than the bridge because i want a darker tone from the neck than the bridge. This gives my solos(which i actually use the neck pickup for) a much more mellow and consistent tone. The bridge, being higher, has a brighter and crunchier sound that i use for rhythm. Thats just me.(and a lot of other metal guitarists actually)

My Stratocaster is a way different story. It has 2 singles and a humbucker in bridge. I have the bucker wayy lower than the singles in order to get a volume balance. I do this because i play almost all clean on my strat and i cant be playing a clean song, switch to bridge pickup, and get slapped with a ridiculous volume difference.(once again, thats just me. some ppl like one pickup to be louder if its specifically their "lead/solo" pickup)
Last edited by ciano16 at Aug 12, 2011,