Ive been playing for over 10 years yet ive never gotten a straight answer to this question

okay, anyway all of my guitars pickups have little screws or bolts in them, underneath the appropriate string, etc. I want to know what exactly they adjust. ive played with them on all my guitars and havent really noticed a difference in any of them.

thanks guys, no hate pls
Ibanez S7521qm 7 string
Ibanez S771pb
Fender Jaguar HH Special
PRS SE Custom 24 7 string
Epiphone Les Paul Custom
ah no worries about dumb question. What I hate most on here is what guitar should I buy or which pickups should I get the most on here without playing any or getting a brand new guitar and not even trying the existing ones.

to answer your question it's an easy answer, string volume
the closer the screw is the louder the string is

if you were to remove them completely for those with flat head screws the coil would "De-acitvate" and give you a single coil tone without the hum I can imagine. Worst case scenario there would be hum.

that and all you really need to know about the exterior of a pickup is there is different string spacing. F-spacing and regular spacing. Some pickups such as active emg, the X2N and invader do not follow this rule though. The reasons for them is the active EMG and X2N have blades, there is rail pickups such as the "hot rail" seymour duncan or finally the invader which has hex shaped pole pieces that are all so wide that any of those pickups are under the string at any given time. Each has their own advantage. But rule of thumb is F-spacing or Trembuckers (same thing different brands and marketing) is that F-spacing is for guitars with tremolos. Ones that don't are regular spacing... that and of course F-spacing is only accentuated on the bridge pickup. Neck you're totally fine with whatever. Besides that bridge pickups can be used in the neck if you match the right pickups. Easiest explanation is go by the resistance or power of the pickup on "tone charts" of big name pickup manufacturers.

other than that I think you're set for guitar pickup questions besides which wires do what haha. Hope I could help.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at Dec 27, 2014,
Honestly, they don't do much of anything.
There are, after all, pickups with NO adjustable pole pieces, pickups with 22 adjustable pole pieces (Carvin's M22 and C22 series) and pickups with one big rail (hot rails, etc.) down the center of the coil. In theory, they allow you to balance the string volumes. Strats came with solid (non adjustable) pole pieces that were already adjusted for the type of string that the early strats came with, but the adjustment was permanent.

The truth is, they may do something, but it's not a whole lot of something, but what they do best is give you something to obsess about when you've run out of other things.