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Pickup Height Comparison Question: Precision vs. Jazz

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by KingOlav, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. KingOlav


    Oct 1, 2011
    I have a question. I have a Fender J-Bass, and I've been shown how to set the pickup height (approximately): namely so that the pickup is closer to the higher strings. So basically, from the bottom end, the pickups tilt up to one side.


    On most P-Basses I've seen, each half of the pickup is tilted in the opposite direction. So the E-A half tilts up toward the A, but the D-G half tilts down, so there's actually more space between the G-string and the pickup.

    What gives? Why would the P-Bass pickup not have both halves tilted in the same direction like a single coil Jazz?
  2. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    The halves are angled like that to follow the radius of the fretboard (and strings).
    The A and D are slightly higher than the E and G, and therefore so are the A and D
    In addition, there is an overall increase in the string to pole gap as you move from
    G to D to A to E.

    On the one piece Jazz pickup, the poles themselves vary in height to follow the radius.

    The arc of the poles to follow the fretboard radius is built into the Jazz pickup. With the
    P pickup, you adjust the arc into it by raising the the inner ends of the pickup halves.
  3. KingOlav


    Oct 1, 2011
    Oh wow. Hadn't noticed that. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
  4. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Some folks set jazz pickups that way because some J's can be a little thin on the G in higher positions. ...depends on the individual bass. I have one I tilt like that because it has a too-powerful E-tring, for some reason. There are no set rules, do what you have to do to balance string volumes.
  5. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    a few do this, but all too many don't (vintage J pickups never did). as a result, you get this problem:
    the reason is that the G and E end up closer to the pickup poles than the middle two, making those two strings, especially the E, too hot compared to the middle two.

    the fix is to back the whole pickup away, so that the relative differences in string distances from the pickup get reduced.

    this evens out the response, obviously at the cost of reduced output.

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