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Distance between neck pup and strings

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Loco85, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. Loco85

    Loco85 Tele-Meister

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    Question:

    Wanting to know if there is a recommended height/distance between neck pickup and strings on a telecaster?

    Seeing if i should raise mine...i love the bridge pickup as it is so unique and twangy. The neck sounds like the middle position without the hum. So thats why i pose the question. Is mine not high enough meaning is there a standard height?

    Let me know what you think?

    Loco
     
  2. FenderBender10

    FenderBender10 Tele-Holic

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    Depends on what pickups. Fender has a chart or page that shows the recommended height for each pickup. I always get within range of the recommended height then adjust to how I like it. Sometimes it's close, sometimes it's way off.
     
  3. Stubee

    Stubee Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    It's a balance between the two. I get the bridge pup just how I like it: plenty of crank dialed up + twang to just about slay me with tone on full, then I mess with the neck pup to get volume balanced so I don't have the neck pup louder than the bridge. I also want a bit more bridge pup in the middle position so I can tweak the tone knob to take it in/out a tad.

    IME the bridge pup requires a bit of tweaking to get growling perfect, the neck pup always sounds pretty good so that ones just a volume tweak, relatively speaking. YMMV.
     
  4. 10thoufirst

    10thoufirst Tele-Holic

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    Good advice from those two posts. The thing to remember with all pickups, but single coils in particular, is that their distance from the string has a noticable effect on the tone of the pickup. Lowering it away from the string reduces output but, in my opinion, improves the clarity and tone; move it closer to the string and the output will increase but the tonal qualities will be reduced. Again, in my opinion. So it's a case of experimenting. You can't damage anything and remember that small variations can make a big difference, so go at 1/8th to 1/4 of a turn of the adjustment screws at a time.
     
  5. Loco85

    Loco85 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks guys!

    These post will help...ill report when i try these methods
     
  6. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    here's what i KNOW to be True - in the case of all electric guitars powered with either passive or active wire coil transducers, allow your EARS to tell you what SOUNDS best to YOU. rulers and gauges can't hear - you can. your EARS are the standard for all sounds that YOU hear. :cool:
     
  7. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I just measured 4 guitars in the room here to see for myself... I usually balance them by ear...

    all the neck pu's on static resting guitars seemed @ 5mm from poles to the underside of strings.......

    about the thickness of a green scotchbrite scourer., a hair over two matches...... a bic pen was too fat....so was a cigarette butt...:rolleyes:
     
  8. jwp333

    jwp333 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I agree with Rob D. about using the ears but I still measure just so I know where I'm at and where I've been with pickup heights. It just gives me a reference so I can compare to the Fender or Bill Lawrence or Dimarzio recommendations. Not that I ever stick with one.
     
  9. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I start with Fender specs for the type pickup. Tweak from there.
    Usually the bass side gets a good bit farther away, just the way I like to hear it but it may be because of my style of playing.
     
  10. Horsefighter

    Horsefighter Tele-Meister

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    There is a sweet spot where you're hearing enough of the pickup's tone (raised) balanced with the right amount of guitar's tone (lowered). Its totally by ear, and subjective.

    I believe on my single coil electrics that my pickups are slightly on the higher side, and the Lollar Regals in my Thinline are probably about medium height.

    I also like to have the bass side a bit lower than the treble side on each pickup, as well as a fair degree of volume balance between pickup positions (although I wouldn't sacrifice a "sweet spot" for this).
     
  11. twobuckchuck

    twobuckchuck Tele-Meister

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    I adjust pickups first through my monitors and mixer. No amp. Completely flat. Just looking for balance and clarity. Not punch. Surprisingly some pickups are as close as can be to the strings while some are almost level with the pickguard. Then I gig on them and take mental notes. Remember, what sounds good in the bedroom doesn't necessity sound good with a band.
     
  12. steam-powered

    steam-powered Tele-Meister

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    I start with the nickel/dime method then tweak from there to get my desired sound. Two nickels on top of the bridge pickup (bass side), fret the highest fret, then raise the pickup until the nickels hit the strings. Same on the treble side, but I use one nickel and one dime. From there, I fine tune up or down. Next, I do the same with the neck, adjusting the volume to match the bridge pickup.

    Keep in mind that I keep my pickups lower than Fender spec, I don't like the tone with the pickups really high although plenty of pros, such as Jim Weider, like the keep them very close to the strings.
     
  13. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Afflicted

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    Here is the link to the Telecaster Setup Guide from Fender. I recently raised my N3s *almost* as high as recommended here and it made the sound much more full, rounder, and with enough grunt to drive the front end of my amp in a pleasing way. Recommended.

    http://www2.fender.com/support/articles/telecaster-setup-guide/

    Good luck with your tweaking!
     
  14. DucksEliminated

    DucksEliminated Tele-Meister

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    I set my american standard up to specs listed on the fender page, but there was still to much trebble in the bridge for me. I lowered my trebble side of the bridge pickup, and raised the bass side just a touch. Im much happier with the tone im getting now, doese t sound like ice picks to me anymore.

    Once i get the bridge were i like it, i set the neck accordingly (volume wise). I typically set my neck pickup level.

    I use the fender guide as a "starting point" and go from there. Good luck
     
  15. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    All depends pu and guitar..usually nickle on bass side and dime treble side..sometimes
    2 nickles on bass side
     
  16. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    really, people, do it the RIGHT way - don't use coins or rulers or calipers or any type of physical measure device as none as any good as those awesome tools you were born with - USE YOUR EARS! they're the best tool for telling YOU want sounds best to ..... YOU! promise!
     
  17. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    I like the Lollar method myself. (check the video on his website) I raise the bass side of the neck pup until I get the wavering tone, then lower till it goes away. I raise the treble side to balance, then adjust the bridge pup to be just a little louder than the neck pup. Seems to work for a makes and models of pup.
     
  18. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

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    I always start with Bill Lawrence's suggestion:

    As a general rule for the bridge pickup - put a nickel on top of the pickup under the high E string and play the highest note on that string. Adjust the height on that side of the pickup till the string touches the nickel. Repeat the same with the low E string, but use two nickels on top of each other. If this gives you too much output, you can reduce the height slightly. Don't forget that twice the distance will reduce the output by about 60%, and the sound will lose some lows. NOW, you can adjust the neck pickup to match the output of the bridge pickup. For the sound test, use stage volume.



    You might not end up there, but as a point of departure, you might be surprised how close it is to where you need to go.
     
  19. JohnS

    JohnS Friend of Leo's

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    How new your strings are makes a big difference as well. Just sayin'
     
  20. twobuckchuck

    twobuckchuck Tele-Meister

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    Man. The number of times I hear someone say they do or don't like a pickup, or a new bridge, or whatever, I always think this. Of course your new bridge sounds brighter, etc. Sometimes you need at least a week to a month of playing to decide if you like something or not. Including adjustments.
     
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