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Old February 18th, 2009, 12:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Magnetic pull from pickups? What have YOU experienced tonewise?

Hey guys,

We always read about how having your pickups too close to the strings can cause decreased sustain, fret buzz, loss of tone, etc.

Have any of you actually experienced this, and if so, HOW DRASTIC was the improvement when you lowered the pickup(s)? I'm concerned with the effects on sustain and tone of the string itself, as opposed to "more treble, bass, etc."

I've got A5 magnets in my tele..and the bridge is really close. Wondering if that is taking some sustain away. I'm going to experiment tonight, but the guitar is at home right now. Just wanted to get some insight.


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Old February 18th, 2009, 01:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's no real mystery, just basic physics. Besides, sustain is highly over rated anyway! LOL!

Just set the pickups where they sound best and worry about all the rest later.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 01:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, i normally set my P-ups a bit lower than most guys.....why ?

you might give this a try:
lay your guitar down face up, then balance a screwdriver between your index finger and thumb and let the tip/blade hover over the neck P-up...slowly s l o w l y lower the screwdriver's tip until you can feel the magnet's pull on the screw driver.
Make a note of the distance/height point above the p-up where the magnetic pull becomes noticeable....i'm willing to bet that point is a good bit above your normal P-up to string clearance...
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Old February 18th, 2009, 01:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by maestrovert View Post
Well, i normally set my P-ups a bit lower than most guys.....why ?...
I've heard of problems with wolf-tones: where the magnetic pull from the "too close" pickups actually alters the normal vibration of the string. Causes pitch problems.

I think it was Terry Downs who turned me on to most Fender Tele pups being best set to the height of a single nickle stacked on the treble side of the pickup body, raised or lowered to just touch the bottom of the strings. Two nickles on the bass side of pickup.

It seems to work for me. Mine were WAY too high it turns out, (of course I set 'em that way and I had some unintended tones, esp. from the bass strings.

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Old February 18th, 2009, 01:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If the pups are too close to the strings your guitars intonation will suffer.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 02:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've had it effect my tuning and make my guitar sound funny. I went with the nickel thing Bswailes mentioned and I have had any problems since. I read about it on Bill Lawrence's website.
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