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How to get smooth pickup height adjustment

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by BigKD, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. BigKD


    Apr 19, 2014
    Using a small piece of foam right now. Pickups keep getting stuck on the screws, so as I raise the screws, the pickup does not come along for the ride.

    Any tips?
  2. NigelD

    NigelD Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2013
    Try springs.
  3. RobbieK


    Jun 14, 2003
    Fill and redrill the screws. It is very common for them to be off-centre or not perpendicular.

    Fill the holes with toothpicks and CA glue. Then place the pickups in the routes without any foam so they sit right on the bottom. Centre them perfectly in the routes with an even gap on all sides to the pickguard. Use a centre punch so the drill won't wander on the hard glue and toothpicks. Drill a pilot hole that is centred with the pickup holes. Use a small amount of paste lube on the screws. Use a fresh piece of closed-cell foam. Install the screws by hand with the correct sized screwdriver.
    ex-tension and tlc1976 like this.
  4. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    2 good posts. Thicker foam is a possibility. I'll add that if you have a countersink bit that will fit, you can put a small chamfer on the faces of the holes that go through the pickup. This will help keep it from getting caught on the screw threads if something's a little off. But the right force pushing the pickup back out (foam or springs) should overcome that.
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  5. BigKD


    Apr 19, 2014
    any sources on proper spongy pickup foam and springs for bass pickups?
  6. ex-tension


    Jun 11, 2009
  7. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    I prefer to just go to the local hardware store and see what they have. Depends on how deep the rout is, how thick the pickup is, and how high you need the pickup. I like a spring to have about twice the travel as I really need, so I have force still at the top of my needed travel. Same with foam, I'd go probably twice as thick as what you need, as long as it still will compress down to what you might want.

    Last time I used this roll of black plastic I had laying around, that looked like astroturf sponge, probably 1 1/2" square. Just trimmed it down as needed. Could just rip it with my fingers, nothing fancy, you'll never see it. If the force was too much, I just used less of it, like 2 strips instead of a wide pad under the pickup.
  8. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    I've had stubborn pickups before. 99% of the time, they would budge, after how little or a lot of time, by gently pulling and rocking the pickups back and forth (assuming the screws were near all the way out/really loose). Sometimes, too, glue or finish can stick to the pickups after a build's completion, believe it or not, which is why I say be careful. This forced me to build patience. I had a Bass Mods bass with Bartolinis, and those pickups wouldn't budge no matter what. They offered to pay for a tech to get them loose, but I didn't like the bass as a whole, so it went back.

    I like my pickups quite high, right under the strings (kind of like Billy Sheehan does), to act as a playing ramp, so I need the pickups to have enough foam or whatever underneath, along with long enough screws.

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