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Pickup height can really affect your tone!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Inconnu, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. I had a problem with the tone of one of my basses. Compared to others, I thought the sound was a bit dull, less focussed, lows could have been deeper and the highs weren't present enough. I just brought the pickups higher, just before the point were the strings would hit them when I play, and there you go : the sound problem is solved. Try it out!
  2. locisbrelm


    Nov 6, 2009
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Bass
    When your Pickups are closer the the string, the pickups magnetic field can more accurately capture the strings movement. which means bigger tone. Which is what happened with you. Its awesome eh?! I did the same with my bass, almost a night and day difference.

    One thing you have to remember is that the pickups have a magnetic field. Meaning, it'll pull your strings towards the pickup hindering the strings motion. so watch how close you have you pickups to your strings. I use emg active pickups. their field is much less stronger than passives. so i can get pretty close. for passives, I usually have them 1/4-1/2 from the top of the pickup to the bottom of the string while holding down the last fret on my bass. Active emgs, about 3/16.
  3. bassbombs84


    Dec 26, 2008
    You are right. It makes a HUGE difference.
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    This holds true for single coils, a la jazz bass, especially if one dislikes the noise which accompanies rolling off to a 30/70 blend. If you have a soft spot for the pronounced finger tone, leave the blend at 50/50, drop your neck pickup, and raise your bridge pickup.


    ODDBALL Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Salida, CA
    And if you want a deep warm tone? ( I have a P/J bass. )

  6. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    It's not "one size fits all" when it come to this issue. Depends on the pickup. I have my strings close to the pickup on my P bass. On my G&L, if I put the pickups that high it doesn't work at all.
  7. bass151


    Mar 10, 2012
    I have a recently acquired a 2008 Fender Deluxe Jazz that I really like but it lacks low end, I usually have to run the bass control at around 75% to get a reasonable bottom end. What type of pickup setting would give me more bottom?
  8. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA

    *What's your control layout / current settings?

    *Is the J single coil or hum-cancelling?

    *Is there a tonal deficit? If yes, please describe.

  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Should we alert the media about this scientific breakthrough? :eek: ;)
  10. Of course not! I was just posting this for one good reason : sometimes we forget the basic stuff, and it just might work... :bassist:
  11. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    True dat. :cool:
  12. And another thing i've nothing several times, through years, is that basses with humbuckers can sound very different by tilting a pickup forth or back, so that it's no more parallel.

    I believe that this way some string nodes are more privileged than others ...........
  13. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Adjusting each of the pups to taste and both together for best sound to you is a part of basic setup for basses and guitars. Rather then just action alone imo.
  14. this is interesting to me because I make my pickups higher, not because of sound or tone, but because I have what bass players call terrible technique and need my pickups high to rest my thumb on.

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