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Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Guest User, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. Guest User

    Guest User

    Apr 3, 2005
    how high should my pickups be? is their some way to measure the height? and how should they be alligned? (straight or slanted) (i have a p-bass)
  2. Groover


    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    I have my P-pup slanted, sort of following the radius on the fingerboard. I also have it closer up at the G string.

    I use a 4mm rule of thumb from the bottom of the string to the top of the pickup (learned that from my MM instructions), and then maybe tweak from there.

    I normally go less than that though, something like 3.5mm, maybe 2.75, or 3mm on the G, and whatever you can that’s close to that in between.

    It's really about the tone IMO. At least for the E, A, and D strings. (G string is still a mystery to me… do we really need that on a Bass?? LOL).

    Anyway, as a tuning method for string gap between the pickup and strings, I play the E (at the 12th fret on the E), then the E on the A string (7th fret), and the E on the D string (2nd fret) as quickly as I can, and when they all sound similar volume-wise ad tone-wise, then I'm happy with the of the pickup heights.

    Well, that's my strange technique I guess.... The tone on the D won’t be right-on with the E and the A, but I think you can get the volume right (and tone too) by doing it that way.
  3. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    From fender.com - these are the gaps between the top of the poles and the bottom of the strings

    Bass Side figures first, (E) then Treble Side (G)
    Vintage style 8/64" (3.6 mm) 6/64" (2.4 mm)
    Noiseless™ Series 8/64" (3.6 mm) 6/64" (2.4 mm)
    Standard "J" or "P" 7/64" (2.8 mm) 5/64" (2 mm)
    Special Design Humbuckers 7/64" (2.8 mm) 5/64" (2 mm
  4. Are these heights measured with the string "open" (unfretted)? Or with the string pressed on the highest fret?
  5. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Good question - they're with string pressed at the last fret.


    Setting pickups too high can cause a number of unusual occurrences. Depress strings at last fret. Using 6" (150 mm) ruler, measure the distance from the bottom of the 1st and 4th strings to top of the pole piece. Rule of thumb--distance should be greatest at the 4th string neck pickup and closest at the 1st string bridge position. Follow the measurement guidelines from the chart as starting points. The distance will vary according to the amount of magnetic pull of the pickup. Note: Larger gauges of strings need wider vibrational allowances. If you have a 5-string bass or are using a heavier gauge of string, your measurements will need to be increased accordingly."

  6. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    I start by setting the pups as high as they'll go without driving the strings into them. If they distort I drop them down till they don't. If the volume is uneven I drop the side (typically bass) that's excessive till they balance. If the pups are too hot or you want a more refined tone, drop them down some. And (from the Bill Lawrence site) "Don't forget that twice the distance will reduce the output by about 60%, and the sound will lose some lows".

    Different strings, different scale lengths, and different players have a different range of techniques and attacks and those all affect and factor into any given adjustment. Even your pickups can factor in cause some pups don't transmit string slap, some actually make it appealing, and others will make it sound like ......

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