#1
What pickup height measurements are you using? Do you adjust your polepiece height as well? I have tried adjusting both up and down and could barely hear a difference. What say you?
2006 Epiphone Les Paul Black Beauty 3
2006 Epiphone Sheraton II
2009 Hagstrom Swede Gold Top
2011 Gretsch G5120 Electromatic
Last edited by jamesmickanen at Oct 18, 2016,
#2
I don't really measure it.

I just put one pickup at a height that I think looks right, adjust it to what I think is the optimal position and then adjust the height of the other pickup such that the volume of both pickups match.
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#3
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
I don't really measure it.

I just put one pickup at a height that I think looks right, adjust it to what I think is the optimal position and then adjust the height of the other pickup such that the volume of both pickups match.


I rarely have pickups that match volume, and I don't even try to accomplish that. I'll generally NOT have my pickups very close to the strings if I can avoid it.

Vintage guitars (those built prior to 1980 or so) don't have "matching sets" of pickups -- they have exactly the same pickup in both positions, which means that the bridge pickup is almost always quieter than the neck pickup (a consequence of its location). Manufacturers, over the last 30 years, will mostly put an anemic neck pickup and a too-powerful bridge pickup in their guitars in the interest of matching volume. But that's often NOT the best sounding arrangement. I have one guitar that now has a 9.2K bridge pickup and an 18K neck pickup -- hardly "matching" in volume -- and it sounds spectacular.

I've also found that you can slightly increase sustain by moving your pickups *away* from your strings, and you can often increase clarity a good deal. When I first started playing guitar, I thought that I should have the pickups as close as possible to the strings without making contact while playing. I found that I got a lot better results on a Les Paul, for example, if the neck pickup was almost even with the pickup ring.

Gibson has a recommended distance from the bottom of the string to each pickup; that should easily be available online. Start there and adjust.

Pole pieces do make a difference, but you'll want to train your ear to hear those differences. StewMac suggests that the pole pieces on a humbucker follow the understring radius (which will have the pole piece under the high E and low E lowest and the center two pole piece screws about a full turn higher).
#4
According to Bill Lawrence pickup heigth should be roughly the thickness of two American nickels on the between the pickup and low E and one nickel for the high E this with the string fretted on the highest fret 22/24 etc.

I adjust mine until they sound good to my ear and don't measure.
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#5
I use my ear as well. Generally I set the neck to a height that I like and then I match the bridge accordingly. Usually with the neck set pretty low and the bridge being set a little taller than historic height rings. I like them to be pretty close in volume because I switch positions quite a bit and the jump in volume can be annoying for more subtle stuff.
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#6
1/8 for bass and 1/16 for treble. You can fine tune from there but I hardly find it necessary for my own needs.
#7
I don't measure any aspect of a setup except neck relief and that's really only a starting point, I normally just adjust things based on how they sound and how they feel. With pickups I set the overall height until I get the output/tone/response that I want out of the pickup and then fine-tune to make sure the high and low strings balance the way I want them to. It always depends on the individual pickup more than anything else, however, there is kind of a theme that I've noticed:

I tend to find myself liking P90s jacked up really close to the strings, fender single coils pretty low/far from the strings, and humbuckers/everything else somewhere in-between.
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#8
Since it is the one I use the most, I set the neck pickup first, overall height by eyeball, then bass-treble balance by tilt. Then I set the bridge pickup to match it for volume and bass-treble balance, so that the 1st and 6th strings have the same volume on the two pickups. I'm also sensitive to string-to-string balance, so I also carefully adjust individual pole heights. It might might take a few tries to get everything right to suit a range of amp and stomp box settings.
#9
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
I don't really measure it.

I just put one pickup at a height that I think looks right, adjust it to what I think is the optimal position and then adjust the height of the other pickup such that the volume of both pickups match.


that's how I do it ... works great
#10
I have thoroughly sifted through the Internet and tried a number of suggestions: Gretsch, TV Jones, Gibson and the nickle trick. I have a make shift action ruler I printed and laminated, then taped to a used gift card. Set high or low. Poles flat or staggered. It all sounds the same to me.

Until a couple of hours ago. Playing my Epi LP BB3 with the Alnico Classic pickup pole pieces staggered in the fashion Gretsch had recommended for one of their pickup models along with their suggested pickup height. The sound coming through my amp sounded beefy with shape yet a little thin so I adjusted to Gibsons recommended starting point. We'll see if it still sounds good the next time I play, or in a few days.
2006 Epiphone Les Paul Black Beauty 3
2006 Epiphone Sheraton II
2009 Hagstrom Swede Gold Top
2011 Gretsch G5120 Electromatic
#11
I don't know how some of you guys do it picking up subtle details as string to string volume and bass/treble balance all by ear unless you have some type of gadget to help you out.

I would say that I have an above average ear for detail rooted in my band geek school days (damn, 20 years ago). I can transcribe songs, pickup some songs by ear and I am self taught on drums. But again, I have adjusted the pickups on all my guitars (listed in signature) and have met the same outcome more or less.

OCD is fun.
2006 Epiphone Les Paul Black Beauty 3
2006 Epiphone Sheraton II
2009 Hagstrom Swede Gold Top
2011 Gretsch G5120 Electromatic
Last edited by jamesmickanen at Oct 18, 2016,
#12
Quote by Fumble fingers
that's how I do it ... works great


Oh yeah, and there is that aspect too. It has to look "ok." Burying the neck pickup and too much bass/treble tilt makes my eye twitch. No, not really. I heard a lady friend of mine say that once and I thought it was funny.
2006 Epiphone Les Paul Black Beauty 3
2006 Epiphone Sheraton II
2009 Hagstrom Swede Gold Top
2011 Gretsch G5120 Electromatic
#13
i just use my ear. play, screw one way or the other, play, etc. until it is how i like it. simple enough.

i agree with Spellman on the matching thing, i actually don't want to match my neck and bridge pickups in most cases.

also the 'sweet spot' for me most of the time is farther away from the string than i usually think it is.
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