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Pick up height

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by YellowCarLuke, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. YellowCarLuke


    Sep 28, 2011
    I play a Marcus Miller signature. The pick-ups must be loaded on springs as tightening and loosening results in lowering and heightening respectively.

    Does anyone have a comprehensive description on the consequences on the tone/sound of your bass by having pick ups closer or further away from the strings? Or indeed having one high and the other low and vice versa?

  2. Remus_Redbone


    Dec 27, 2010
    Western AR
    Detailed answers will vary between the length of to US Constitution (4400 words) to the length of War & Peace (1/2 million words).

    Non-detailed response;
    Closer to strings = more output.
    Further from strings = less output.
    Too close to strings = weird pull on strings creating strange overtones. (You won't like it)
    One P/U closer than the other = tone favoring the solo tone of the closer p/u , but not identical to the solo tone of the closer p/u. (You might like some version of this).

    My feeble attempt at humor and an answer all in one. There really is the potential of a book length discussion on the subject, with 98% of the book being useless information to most bassists.
  3. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Closer to strings will give more output, but too close can pull on the strings and give an undesired effect. There is an ideal space.
  4. aphexafx

    aphexafx A mind is a terrible thing.

    Dec 10, 2013
    Denver, Colorado
    Designer - Big Machine Electronics
    The relative heights between neck and bridge on a Jazz is very important. One you have each individual pickup balanced across the strings you can start comparing volume between the two pickups solo'd and then finally fine tune the balance to fix the 'center tone' where both pickups are on full (or, at lest, even) or at the center detent on a blend. I like to have the bridge stand just slightly ahead of the neck, volume-wise, to give it a slight edge. Once that relationship is set, I have a perfect Jazz bass bark and snarl and my blend behavior is perfect for me.

    Get a screwdriver and go at it. There isn't a factory setting that you are going to mess up, its all arbitrary. Experiment.

    Some pickups have smaller windows. The N3 pair on my fiver come alive but only at a height lower than the Fender recommendation.