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Pickup height?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by funkasaurus, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. funkasaurus


    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I noticed today that my neck pickup was higher (closer to the string) at the G string than at the E string. I don't remember it being like that before, so I lowered it and liked the sound better. I can't remember if the bass came like this when I bought it or not. Maybe the screws just loosened a little over time?

    That got me to wondering...

    1. Is there an accepted standard distance between strings and pickups for Fender Jazz basses or basses in general?

    2. How high are your pickups (distance from pickup to string)?

    3. Should the pickup height be constant across all strings?

    I have pretty low action, about 5/64" on all strings (@ 12th fret, string depressed at first fret). Not sure if that matters or not. I'm still fairly new to the bass, and very new to the world of setup, so any and all info is welcome! :) Thanks.
  2. Pulled from the Fender Mr. Gearhead site:
    Bass Side Treble Side
    Vintage style 8/64" 6/64"
    Noiseless™ Series 8/64" 6/64"
    Standard "J" or "P" 7/64" 5/64"
    Special Design Humbuckers 7/64" 5/64"


    It's a faily well written instruction manual for setting up fender basses. I use it almost religiously on my Fender MIM Jazz, and have gotten quite good results. Remember, though, none of these numbers are written in stone. But it is a good starting place. Good luck
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    There are these anal-retentive measurements for action and pickup height. I don't have a religious belief in feeler gauge measurements nor do I pay attention what Joe Blow says is "correct" in some magazine article.

    After playing for a few decades, I've learned to say "screw `em." Who's to say there is some "Joe Authority" on this stuff.

    I begin by tweaking my truss rod, one 1/4 turn on a given day, let is set and settle overnight, and see how I like it. I'll repeat the process until I get where I like it ---- BUT ---- one of the tricks is not adjusting your truss rod too much and using your saddles to set the action.

    Once that's done, I adjust the pickup height so the strings don't contact the pup covers. Depending on the gauge of the strings, the metal composition of the strings, their design, et all, I adjust pickup height. On some basses, a G that is further away from the strings sounds better to me, on some basses it sounds worse.

    But as a rule of thumb, I generally get the D and G closer to the pickup to compensate for their smaller diameters.

    What works for me may not work for you.
  4. funkasaurus


    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for the link! Lots of great info on that page, especially for someone new to setup.

    I hear ya man. I just wanted to make sure my pup height wasn't way off. I haven't really played a lot of different basses or have much experience in this area. I think I will set my pup heights to the measurements listed above (they're already pretty damn close anyway) as a reference and start tweaking from there until I get the sound I'm looking for.

    Thanks to both for your help! :D

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