Strat / Tele TS pup height?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Pasta Player, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. Pasta Player

    Pasta Player TDPRI Member

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    Recently acquired a 2008 MIM Deluxe Roadhouse Strat with the Texas Special pups. Always said I’d never get a Strat… didn’t really want one but the pups sold me based upon sheer curiosity (and the 3T Sunburst).:rolleyes:

    I’m aware that the TS pups may not be exactly the same as the “Custom Shop” Texas Specials I have on my favorite sweet Tele but I’m thinking that they should be “closer” in sound / performance than what they are. If my Tele sounds so great with two TS pups, shouldn’t the Strat with three… offer some “advantage” or added dimension?

    Big difference here between these two, is the Strat’s pup height settings. The Tele pups are much closer to the strings… while the Strat pups are set much lower.

    Thinking of raising the Strat pups to match the Tele to see if they’ll more closely “respond” like those of the Tele. Haven’t precisely measured these distances yet but thought I might ask those straddling these two different guitar realms to see where their Strat TS pups are set.

    I’ll get a ruler… for a “good rule of thumb”. Thanks.
     
  2. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just checked my #1 strat. My pickups are adjusted "magnet to string" as:
    Neck: .140 on the low E, and .100 on the high E.
    Bridge: .110 Low E, .080 High E.
    These are Tex Mex but pretty similar to the TS. I like the TM or TS pickups a lot, they allow me to have the pickups not too close to the strings and not interfere with picking.
    I have found no discernable difference in Custom Shop vs normal TS Strat pickups.
     
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  3. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I usually adjust pickup heights by lowering them all all the way down into the body, and then slowly raising them and listening to the amp until I get the sound I want. A pickup will usually sound thin but clean and articulate the further from the strings, and then you get more punch, warmth, and distortion as you raise them up. With decent quality pickups I find there's usually a "sweet spot" somewhere along the way. Then I go through the switch positions and make sure they're balanced between each other volume-wise, and adjust here and there to even that out. On my Strats, I also adjust the pole pieces if there are significant volume differences between strings.

    I don't have a guitar that I haven't done this with. Every pickup is set to where I think it sounds best. To me adjusting your pickups well is a vital part of a good setup.
     
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  4. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

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    Always adjust the neck or middle pickups to match tonally at the same amp settings, don’t worry about what it looks like relative to the bridge.
     
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  5. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    The Strat A5 pole pieces are very strong, you have to keep the neck and the middle in particular some distance away in order to prevent the pull from detuning the strings as you fret them higher up the neck. The bridge pickup's pull doesn't matter as much since its so close to the far end of the strings. The Tele neck pickup has A5 pole pieces also, but they're further down, under the cover, so the pickup can look close to the strings, but the magnets are actually still farther away. Tele pickups also tend to feature AlNiCo 2 or 3 more often, which are fairly weak by contrast.
     
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  6. Pasta Player

    Pasta Player TDPRI Member

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    Thanks er’body. Appreciate the responses & insight.

    Texas Special pup height(s) on the Tele are very close to schmee’s. Previous owner of the Strat was a David Gilmour devotee and likely set the TS pups to reflect Gilmour’s signature lower pup configs. Most certainly they’re lower-noise but “thin” IMHO. New strings in this Strat’s future but first a dismantle and DMM check of individual pups before Dismalhead’s recommended quest for that eternal “sweet spot” begins.

    Won’t mind a little added “noise” from the Strat’s TS pups if I can get closer to the higher output and fairly clean hot “cut” of the Tele’s Custom Shop TS’es… so I can really compare the two against each other. (An AB/Y switch might be handy?)

    Twang v. Quack?

    This Tele’s TS pups have Alnico 5’s. Quick TS spec comparison, Tele 1st, Strat 2nd. (The Tele TS pups are noted as “Hotter”) from Fender:

    Tele TS.png

    Strat TS.png
    And many thanks Antigua Tele.
    Read your “Measured Electrical Values of Various Telecaster Pickups” referenced above. Great and invaluable benchmark reference material! A definite, saved, go-to future source.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  7. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity

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    HNGD !

    SO MANY variables with setting pickups....... this vs. that....... mine vs. yours, amps yada yada yada.

    Only TWO things you need are:

    ears.jpg phillips.jpg

    Happy pickin'
     
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  8. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    The Tele Texas Specials are a whole notch hotter than the Strat Texas Specials. The Strat Texas Special bridge pickup has electrical values that are very close to the Tele Texas Special neck. TBH I wasn't a fan, I replaced them with the Original Vintage Tele set.
     
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  9. Pasta Player

    Pasta Player TDPRI Member

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    Yet another possible avenue-vision to pursue with this new Strat as I continue to compare stock Texas Special pup output on this Roadhouse Strat, up against the hotter CSTS Tele pups. There’s a way to bridge that gap? :) Thanks Barncaster, had yet to consider this.

    With data from your Measured Electrical Values of Various Telecaster Pickups …seems that both the bridge pups from the Fender Twisted Tele and the Seymour Duncan - Quarter Pound for Tele sets have bridge pups meeting or exceeding this Strat’s stock TS bridge output? I'll get these Strat TS pups raised a bit this week and then consider the Twisted & Seymour Duncan's possibly, afterwards. Thanks.

    “…he doesn’t want to make it cry or sing.”
    -Sultan’s of Swing / Dire Straits​
     
  10. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Yes they have higher inductance values. The Quarter Pound bridge is the hottest single coil Tele bridge that I've tested. The Tele Texas Special bridge is average for a Tele, but then again all Tele bridge pickups are hot compared to typical Strat pickups, which just goes to show that the Tele Texas Special set it more about marketing that matching the tone.

    If you like comparing the data, check this out also http://www.echoesofmars.com/pickup_data/viewer/
     
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