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J bass pickup height

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by markoc, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. markoc


    Jan 6, 2014
    North San Diego
    Hey Guys, can some one tell me the recomended spacing of between the strings and pickups on a j bass. I do use the ashtrays on this guitar most of the time. Thanks.
  2. BeerSuds


    Oct 21, 2012
    Foxboro, MA
    This may help from Fender's Bass Guitar Srtup Guide:


    Setting pickups too high can cause a number of unusual occurrences. Depress strings at last fret. Using a 6" (150 mm) ruler, measure the distance from the bottom of the first and fourth strings to top of the pole piece. A good rule of thumb is that the distance should be greatest at the fourth-string neck pickup position and closest at the first-string bridge pickup position. Follow the measurement guidelines from the chart below as starting points. The distance will vary according to the amount of magnetic pull from the pickup.

    Note: Larger string gauges need wider vibrational allowances. If you have a five-string bass or are using heavier-gauge strings, your measurements must be increased accordingly.

    Bass Side Treble Side
    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)
  3. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    These recommendations will give you a good starting point but your ears are the only true gauge you can use to find the "sweet spot" because it will vary from one pickup set to another.

    What BeerSuds posted is what Fender recommends for the various pickup models they use but those may not be ideal for others. Some will also provide setup guides for their specific models but in then end it's still your ears that work best.
  4. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Yeppers, the Fender setup guide pup height works fine with my stock MIM pups, but I've got to crank down my Model J pups quite a bit to get the clean sound I want.
  5. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Plus it is pretty safe to say that you likely wouldn't want them any closer (unless they're EMG) than those tolerances. A good idea to start there and get the bridge output even across the strings, then get the neck output even to the bridge pickup. Then you can "tune your tone" by turning every screw the same amount so the overall output balance remains somewhat unchanged. Then a full comparison to fine tune if needed.

    WARNING - CUIDADO: You can easily get carried away with OCD here.
  6. markoc


    Jan 6, 2014
    North San Diego
    Thanks for the help.
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    get your bridge pickup as close as you can with a good sound, balanced across all 4 strings (which may end up being pretty far away depending on what you like to hear), then adjust the neck pickup to be equal in volume to the bridge pickup on both high and low strings (which will pretty much guarantee that it's further away from the strings than the bridge pickup.)
  8. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    Does your bass have a "high E string"? Probably not. Those instructions are for a guitar, I believe. A nickel's thickness would be pretty thin for a bass's G string-to-bridge pickup spacing.
  9. Timpala


    Nov 13, 2011
    I just started a thread on how I was really liking the sound of my pickups on my jazz bass as far from the strings as possible. I play with a pick and it gets a nice full sound to it. I just turn up the volume to compensate for the spacing. I have also found that the treble and mids don't sound so clanky.
  10. markmeloney


    Apr 27, 2013
    America or canadian nickles? haha