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Can't lower my pickups anymore, file the cavity?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by jeffgnr90, Mar 2, 2013.


  1. jeffgnr90

    jeffgnr90

    Aug 4, 2011
    So i installed some model j pickups in to my Squier VM jazz and they sound great. Only issue ive run into is that they were a snug fit. I hit the strings very hard and of course the strings i think are making contact with the poles, which are just below being even with the top of the.pickup.

    I've lowered the pickups as far as they will go. So my question is, would i be able to file down the cavity the pickup sits it? Would that effect my tone at all or impact my instrument in a negative way? I've tried tape on the pickups which hasnt worked. Ive read about using clear nail polish which is something i could try too. Any insights?
     
  2. Sounds like something else is the issue here-play style perhaps?

    i would trim the foam underneath the pickups before touching the cavity.
     
  3. jeffgnr90

    jeffgnr90

    Aug 4, 2011
    I've trimmed the foam too matter of fact, i forgot to mention that. Ik play style is of course a factor in this, but it's just what comes naturally to me lol i could compromise, but it wouldn't feel right.
     
  4. Hawkbone

    Hawkbone

    Mar 23, 2009
    Newfoundland
    Those Model J's are deep. You could try shimming the neck and raising the saddles. Otherwise you need deeper cavities. Easiest way I know to make cavities deeper is to use a top bearing router bit, set the depth of cut on a plunge router and follow the cavity walls with the bearing.
     
  5. You can't file a pickup cavity. The route has to be deepened. It's a 10 minute job for anyone with a router and a template-follower bit.

    There will be no appreciable change in weight or resonance, removing an insignificant amount of wood.

    Resale value is questionable. The bass is not worth much to begin with, so you won't lose much if you want to sell it.
     
  6. You don't need a plunge router. A regular fixed-base router works fine.
     
  7. jeffgnr90

    jeffgnr90

    Aug 4, 2011
    Cool! I have no clue how to do that or what the tools look like but I'll look into doing it with the route. Idk anything about shimming the neck or what that entails. The saddles of course i know how to do. Would raising the saddles and making a truss rod adjustment also be another reasonable compromise?
     
  8. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

    Dec 21, 2012
    Shimming the neck is the simplest and cheapest. All you need is some 1 inch masking tape. 3 layers at the heel, two layers in front of that, a single layer, then no layer creates an even "ramp' that maintains decent neck/body contact, and lifts the strings almost an additional 3/16" from the body, once you've raised the saddles to keep the same action. That costs a few bucks. A top bearing router bit is going to run +/- $20~$25. And that's if you can borrow a router. If you have to buy one of those, it's another $100+
     
  9. jeffgnr90

    jeffgnr90

    Aug 4, 2011
    Well I'm gonna have to take a look at my bass when i get home. The
    Heel of the neck is the part closest to the body right?
     
  10. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

    Dec 21, 2012
    Yes. I don't know if I was clear enough. The idea is to create a ramp out of masking tape. This changes the plane of the strings and requires you to raise the bridge saddles to keep the same action. The 3-2-1 recipe should give you at least an extra 1/8" at the neck pickup.
     
  11. Personally, I would advise against shimming the neck pocket. But it depends on whether or not you think a proper neck joint is essential to a good instrument.

    The bit is $19 at Rockler. Depending on the existing route's depth, you don't even need a bit with a bearing on it, so you could find an even cheaper bit if you want. Or, perhaps most woodworkers will already have a usable bit on hand. You just need to find a friend with a router, or offer a woodworker a pack of beer to do the job for you.
     
  12. Di Marzio J's are taller than other J pups. You can screw down the poles into the pup with an allen wrench. (Di MArzio J's poles are adjustables). If it still bother you, you can remove some foam from inside the cavity. The last would be to file the cavity like you said... I would not shim the neck just for a pup height problem imo
     
  13. Hawkbone

    Hawkbone

    Mar 23, 2009
    Newfoundland
    Shimming the neck is no big deal. It's way easier than anything else, is 100% reversible and I doubt it will change the tone of your bass any noticeable amount anyway. Some basses are shimmed from the factory. If it does sound worse, put it back the way it was and go to plan B - making shavings.
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Geez, how hard do you play that you bang the strings into the pickups when they're all the way down? Seriously, you're asking for medical problems with your hand doing that. DiMarzios may be a little deeper but they're not that much deeper. I can get them plenty low in any Fender rout I've had them in. And really, if you're playing that hard, whether it's clanking into the pickups or clanking into the frets, you're going to clank into something no matter what you do. I'd just get them as low as possible and call it a day. And then I'd work on lightening up. You don't have to play whisper light but holy cow, have some dynamics!
     
  15. jeffgnr90

    jeffgnr90

    Aug 4, 2011
    Well my play style is very geddy lee like lol. I don't mean to brag when i say that, and of course my own play style is evident as well. but people tell me it all the time. It's just what comes naturally and my hand doesn't tire at all. On the other hand( heh heh) mg left hand is the one that gets tired cause i fret the strings too hard. And I'm all about dynamics, as well as the rest of my band mates. But when the song calls for it, I'm putting the bass through its paces lol. Sorry if it seems like I'm bragging, tis not my intention.
     
  16. jeffgnr90

    jeffgnr90

    Aug 4, 2011
    Yea I'm gonna try that too. I don't want the output to be crazy low or anything, but ill see after my bass recuperates from its latest operation:smug:
     
  17. mystic38

    mystic38

    Dec 4, 2012
    Mystic CT
    it really doesnt matter at all whether your hand hurts or not..now.. JimmyM was referencing that you are setting yourself up for severe physical issues in the future...and i completely agree.

    There are multiple threads in the techniques forum about a large number of hand, finger, wrist, arm, shoulder issues resulting from bad technique.. suggest you address it before its too late, or you wont be playing when you are my age (50)

     
  18. jeffgnr90

    jeffgnr90

    Aug 4, 2011
    It looks like i forgot to post this earlier. I shimmed the neck using two layers of a manila folder. I cut them out, shaped them, made 4 hole punches for the screws. I think it definitely helped, but I'm gonna give it some time and see first
     
  19. jeffgnr90

    jeffgnr90

    Aug 4, 2011
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151343447792999

    Well here's a link to me playing the bass with my band so you get an idea of how i play lol The last song is what I'm eluding to as far as diggin in really hard. I completely agree though, down the line, maybe sooner than later, I might start experiencing problems. And maybe I'm just young and stubborn:)
     
  20. uOpt

    uOpt

    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    I don't think that shimming the neck lifts the strings enough to solve the problem for the neck pickup position in a Jazz bass. I am also of the school of not shimming without recording before/after.

    I would take some action before you tear up the pickups and ruin looks or resell value. The good news is that if you have a router you can do this work without any templates (the existing cavity is the template).
     

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