"Secrets of Sustain: Why Pickup Position Matters", article by Craig Anderton

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by EsquireBoy, Feb 26, 2020.

  1. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Indeed interesting, thanks!
     
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  3. tah1962

    tah1962 Tele-Afflicted

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    I know a lot of people that were ready to swap pickups until I recommended adjusting their pickup heights. I think this is one area that many people definitely overlook. They assume that the factory setup is the holy grail. The first thing I do when buying a used, or new guitar is to give it a complete set up, including setting the pickup heights to my taste.
     
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  4. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Craig Anderton is always a good read.
     
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  5. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    absolutely agree..it usually takes me a few months to slowly set my guitar up...after some hours & familiarity..i look to see what role it will play in the tonal spectrum. Have a screwdriver right at my main practice spot...mess with them pickups...it takes some experimenting..but you truly can get all positions functioning top notch & then the blend can be the most amazing sound of both combined...so much is available in the adjustments...the set up ..is always ongoing..
     
  6. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    This is new ground for me - timely. I've been tweaking the pickup height on my new p90 guitar a bunch. So much that I keep a small flat head and phillips next to me.

    I'm finding it's a challenge to get enough sustain on the high E (both bridge and neck), but still have enough room for the string to keep from hitting the poles when fretted/plucked. I know the frets need a little loving, so that could be part of the issue. But still. Sheesh. As soon as I think I got it, I come back later and it still doesn't seem right.

    Feels like more art than science. :eek:
     
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  7. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I did this same experiment https://guitarnuts2.proboards.com/thread/7998/tonal-effect-pickup-height and some others too, though I was using a Strat with three A5 single coils and not humbuckers. The decay rate was virtually identical regardless of pickup height once amplitude was normalized.

    The bigger impact is on how the string oscillates, because as they magnetic pull increases, the string becomes an increasingly asymmetrical systems, and it's easy to see, each sample has the pickup set increasingly closer to the string, using the neck pickup, mechanically plucking the B string:

    [​IMG]

    Note that these are long decays too, fifteen seconds each. The issue if pickup height and sustain goes from little to nothing when you consider how rare it is to hold a chord for fifteen seconds.

    This issue doesn't apply to Telecasters too much either way, because pickups near the bridge affect the strings less than pickups near the bridge, because the strings are stiffer towards the ends. So just taking the neck pickup into consideration, a Tele single coil neck pickup has an especially insignificant pull upon the strings compared to either a Strat or an HH guitar, especially if the neck pickup has AlNiCo 2 or 3 pole pieces, and the flat stagger keeps the magnets further away from the centermost strings.
     
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  8. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    That was really interesting to read, especially about the harmonic content. Thoughts for food... Thanks for posting!
     
  9. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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    I have found Bill Lawrence's suggestion--the real Bill Lawrence, Willi Stich--that a nickel under the string on the high E, set the pickup to just touch string and pickup, low E lower, is a good starting point.
    I have a light touch, so I tend to like the pickups close to the strings to get the sound I want. Just my $.02.
     
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