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Question about pickup height

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by buckethdd, Jan 24, 2002.


  1. buckethdd

    buckethdd

    Jan 15, 2002
    SF, CA
    I'm playing a Warwick Thumb 5 string neckthru '91...beautiful bass, sounds amazing, plays great, and doesn't have the neck dive as bad as the later models...anyway, my question is in adjusting the pickup height...it's got the 2 J pickups (EMG) and I'm trying to raise them pretty high (say within a 1/4 inch from the strings)...the reason is not as much output as it is comfort. I like having something there underneath my fingers...when I try to raise them, they get to a point where the strings sound all muffled and weird (most notably the A string for some reason)...I've seen other basses that had the pickup height that high with no problems...so is this possible, and if so what do I need to do? Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Every pickup has an ideal height that allows the magnetic field of the PU and vibration of the string to mesh more efficiently. And all PUs are designed a littel differently.

    EMGs have very strong fields. With the PU too close, the field of the PU is actually inhibiting the oscilation of the string. That is probably why you are getting a poor tone.

    There is really no trick to adjusting pickups. If you get signal loss with them close, there's nothing else that is going to change that. You just have to lower them.

    As you have seen, some PUs are weaker and need to be closer, but yours apparently are not.

    Chas
     
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    With all due respect to Chas's good input, I'll add another possiblity - your technique

    The finger you customarily use to pluck your A may be one of your "strongest" fingers. When the string is plucked hard and the pickup is too close to the string, the pickup "sees too much information."

    A plucked string travels in elliptical pattern and the pickup may be trying to "read" too much, That's a big benefit of single coils - they only "read" a very small bit of the "information."

    You might try raising the saddle on your A and seeing if that gives you more clarity.

    It's unfortunate with magnetic pickups;

    - closer to the string = tone degradation
    - farther way from the string = less output

    :rolleyes:
     
  4. buckethdd

    buckethdd

    Jan 15, 2002
    SF, CA
    ...for the replies. I was wondering, is there anything I could put on top of the p/u's surface to artificially raise it....like plastic or some other material or would this inhibit the string signal going to the p/u?
     
  5. buckethdd

    buckethdd

    Jan 15, 2002
    SF, CA
    thank you...that is very informative.
     
  6. buckethdd

    buckethdd

    Jan 15, 2002
    SF, CA
    if you read from the beginning i am trying to raise the pickups but when they get too high the sound becomes muffled...i know how to adjust the height. i like them high from a comfort standpoint so i am trying to find a way to raise them without getting the muffled tone.
     
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA


    Agreed, Rick. It's possible (maybe even likely) that is a combination of the two things.

    That would certainly explain why it is worse on some strings than others.
     
  8. ok.. I guess people didn't read Hambones message in the thread that is locked and stuck at the top of this forum.

    We have a pickups forum. I am going to move this there.

    :D:D

    Merls