Best way to measure Pickup height.

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Digiplay, May 18, 2019.

  1. Digiplay

    Digiplay TDPRI Member

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    I'm going to adjust the pu's on my Tele, and I'm wondering the best tool (not my ears :) ) to measure the distances with.


    Equally important is where to purchase said tool :)
     
  2. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hate to say but it really is your ears.
    Play the neck pickup for a bit, then the bridge, then both. Tweek as necessary.

    If you already have definite ideas about what the heights should be then just get any 6" machinest's scale. Starrett is the benchmark.
     
  3. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    Spot on !! Ear's & the fine line of balance between the 2(3) for the blend tend. An investment in time that can make a guitar go to the next level. very neglected aspect of guitar set up.
     
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  4. tessting1two

    tessting1two Tele-Meister

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    While your ears are the final judge, measurements are the starting point and the ending point. Get a 6" machinist ruler.
    1. Set the pickup heights to typical recommended specifications for the type of pickups you have (these measurements are typically taken at the bass and treble ends of the pickups by measuring the gap between the pole piece and the bottom of the string while the last fret is being pressed down)
    2. Play through an amp at realistic gig volume and judge the results
    3. Make small, incremental adjustments and test again
    4. When you reach the point that your ears are happy measure the end results and write them down somewhere. You may change other aspects of the guitar's setup down the road that affect pickup height so having a reliable measurement will save you from having to start from scratch.
     
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  5. Digiplay

    Digiplay TDPRI Member

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    How about the angle adjustment?
     
  6. Vanzant

    Vanzant Tele-Afflicted

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    Stew Mac String Action Gauge is what I use. Works with many applications for guitar.
    String_Action_Gauge.jpg
     
  7. Vanzant

    Vanzant Tele-Afflicted

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    action4.jpg
     
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  8. Digiplay

    Digiplay TDPRI Member

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    That's cool!!!!

    What about the proper angle for the pu?
     
  9. tessting1two

    tessting1two Tele-Meister

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    The angle is determined by the two measurements. For example, the bass side may be 2 or 3 64ths lower than the treble side. The manufacturer spec will have measurements for both sides and that will get you in the ballpark. Then you fine tune with your ears and some patience.

    I use a tool similar to the Stewmac tool made by Fret Guru because the contrast of the white markings on black is easier for me to see.
     
  10. Matthias

    Matthias Tele-Afflicted

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    I tend to use the ruler end of my set square when I’m setting to factory specs (carefully as it’s metal).
     
  11. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    I don't think it matters much, but I lay the ruler's edge on the pickup's bobbin between the D and G strings and adjust until it's parallel to the unfretted strings -- just because I'm a fan of parallel lines and right angles.
     
  12. Digiplay

    Digiplay TDPRI Member

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    Anal...........................................just like me :) :) :) :) :) :)
     
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  13. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ears.
     
  14. bullfrogblues

    bullfrogblues Friend of Leo's

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    Easy place to start is the nickel settings.
    2 nickel thickness for the bass side, 1 nickel for the treble side.
    measure those with a good ruler and use those as a starting point, or use the nickels themselves. then tweak by ear.
     
  15. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    I have never heard of anyone actually measuring pickup height. That makes no sense to me, you're making an aural decision, not a visual one.
     
  16. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

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    Using anything but your rears makes no sense IMO except for one purpose. that being getting the height back to where your ears decided it was best is anything was changed. For example, take the pickups out to try others. With the new pickups you'd want to use your ears, but say you decide you preferred the old ones and u put them back in. if you had measured the height where you liked them and recorded that before you removed them them you can easily put them back to where they sounded good without having to go thru the same ear tweaking you already did. Thats the only thing measuring is good for. But to determine the pickup's best height by setting it to a given height suggested to you by some article or the manufacturer is ridiculous. Ever heard even one person gush about how good the stock patches are on ANY modeler? Plain and simple, there's no pickup height thats perfect for everyone because they sound different depending on the height and the difference between one height and the next is not good or bad, its 100% subjective. You set them where they are best to YOU, and the only tool that is capable of that is on the sides of your head.
     
  17. ricknbaker

    ricknbaker Tele-Holic

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    Just set them so they're not too close to the strings and not too far away.
     
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  18. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Start with the pickups flush to the pickguard or pickup rings and raise until they sound bad then back them off until they sound better.

    If you need to measure, two US nickels stacked up is the usual starting point.

    As Joe says about setting pickup height "... they don't have the great tone like I do."



    .
     
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  19. bb_matt

    bb_matt Tele-Meister

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    Heck, I love this answer, made me laugh :)
     
  20. bb_matt

    bb_matt Tele-Meister

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    Take an A4 size piece of paper and fold it in half and in half again 8 times to try to get that perfect paper height for reference.
    When you've failed to do that, toss the paper in the trash.
    Plug your guitar into the amp, dick about with the height whilst smashing out some riffs or chords.
    Pretend to yourself, at some point, that you've reached pickup height nirvana. You are done.
     
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