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Pickup Height Preference: PJ

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by neebs, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. neebs


    Oct 25, 2011
    Manteca, California
    Okay so I've been getting into adjusting my pickup heights to my preference.

    I've been looking at different threads.. and haven't found a real preference.. other than "mess with it, til it sounds right."

    So for the bridge J pickup... I pretty much only like it far, or medium distance. (I think far is ~3mm, medium ~2mm) I think it starts sounding horrid when it's ~1.5mm distance on my bass.

    For the P pickup.. I like it in all distances.. far(4mm, to very close 1mm) But I think... I like the clankiness more of the p pickup.. over the clankiness of the J pickup.

    I think I want to set my P pickup super close.. for the aggresive tones, and the J pickup further for cleaner tones.

    Whats your guys opinion on distance for P/J.. or any dual Pickup setup?

    By the way.. this is on a fretless bass. I just think the P pickup sounds far superior being clean, and aggressive. Sorta against the grain I feel.. but I just like it!
  2. acebase62


    Jun 29, 2010
    The P pickup is normally louder than a J bridge pickup.

    If you emphasize the P pickup and use the J to modify its sound, do what sounds good to you.

    If you ever emphasize the J bridge pickup, try to balance the volumes some with a louder J model and adjust pickup height.

    These things have worked for me with PJs, but do what works for you.
  3. On my P/MM I have the P as close as possible without string interference and the MM is as low as it can go.

    On my J basses the neck pickups are just slightly higher than the bridge pup. Both are as close as possible to the strings. My Les Paul bass has the bridge pup just slightly higher than the neck.

    The P/MM, Les Paul, and passive jazz are wired in series.

    I'm a pick player and I usually play just over the bridge pup or between the two.
  4. It is really what works for you, having the pickups closer does offer more volume, if you have strong magnets on the P pickup having them to close can make intonation difficult to set on the E and possibly the A string, and you may find some odd tones when fretting passed the 12th fret as the pull of the pickup actually creates a harmonic node which rings with the note, low B strings can be very sensitive to this due to their bigger mass and lower tention. The effect is much less on the bridge pickup as there is less movement on the strings there and the bridge itself helps support the strings from being pulled by the magnets.
  5. neebs


    Oct 25, 2011
    Manteca, California
    Before I adjusted, I measured.. and they were about 2mm distance for the neck pickup and 1mm for the bridge pickup. After I settled on stomething.. it was +1mm (give or take) to each pickup.

    Before the adjustment, It sounded really good for the P pup under all circumstances. But the Bridge it was horrid if past 50% on the tone being open.

    Now the p pickup actually sounded a a little darker.. but in a good way. But the bridge pickup really shined adding that little bit of distnance. It sounds nice open full or closed all the way.

    I do like to be able to get a clean dull scooped tone from my bass sometimes. Sometimes we play very mellow portions of music.. and having a snarling fretless tone is out of the question for that.

    Definitely the bridge pickup is staying where it's at, it just sounds good under all circumstances while being soloed or blended. I'm gonna play with the p pickup again. I think raise it about half a mm and see how it performs next time we play. Definitely what sounds good in bedroom doesn't always work in live setting. Which was what I was getting with the bridge pup.. it sucked by myself but was being totally aggressive while live.
  6. neebs


    Oct 25, 2011
    Manteca, California
    I think overall I was really happy with the distance of the Bridge pickup, and the nasally tones I can get without being over obstructive.

    I will see what will happen when I max out the distance on the neck pickup.. see if I can get a "similar" flatwound tone on the fly. If that could work.. oh man I'd be goldne. I love flatwound tones.. but I just love the nasally tone of fretless also. If I can get both... I'll kiss the floor. :)
  7. oenomaus


    Jul 17, 2011
    Just wanted to say thanks for the post. It just dawned on me today after having a bass for over a year, and playing around with intonation, string height, and neck relief; that pickups have a height too.

    I did some research, but too many are reluctant to post numbers on string height, and I am grateful that you did. It helped put things in perspective for me.

    I have a P/J with these pickup distances to the string from neck to bridge with the first number being the bass side of the P: 7.1mm, 8.7mm and 3.6mm. :rollno:

    I was about to get rid of my bass because my "P" just wasn't "P" enough, but now I know why. I had almost swapped out the sgc nanyo pickups from my bass collection to replace my bartolinis on my Jon Hill. Now I will take all day saturday playing around with it.
  8. oenomaus


    Jul 17, 2011
    Hmm also realized the measurements are not calculated with string pressed, I will check on the procedure.
  9. neebs


    Oct 25, 2011
    Manteca, California

    Lol! I'm so sorry. I became comfortable, and assumed everyone takes the measurement with the string depressed at the last fret. Silly me!

    Yes it does make quite a bit of a difference if you adjust with it. I was more willing to mess with the trus rod over the pickup height given from fender specs.

    I felt silly after realizing how much more pleasing it is just spend 30 minutes figureing out which you like.

    I still haven't figured out which I absolutely love for this bass. I know for sure I like the J further.. But it can get drowned out when both pups are maxed when I do that.

    And I still admit.. I like the p in all positions, but when it's in a group setting.. not so much. More medium to medium close... J.. in group setting.. about super far, if pickup is soloed.. to medium close if pickups are blended.

    so I guess I just like them on the close side.. after all that unnecessary ramble.