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Rickenbacker pole piece heights?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ishouldbeking, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. ishouldbeking


    Feb 5, 2007
    Hollywood, CA
    Endorsing: SIT, Eastwood, Hanson
    Its a toss up whether this belongs in setup or pickups, but what the heck. When I bought my Rick last year it came with the pole pieces under the A and D strings raised about an 1/8" above the pickups, while the E and G were lowered all the way. At the time that caused a slight disparity between the strings, where the A and D had a bit more bite and quite a bit more output.

    A couple months later I took it back to the dealer I bought it from and cashed in their complimentary setup once I knew what I wanted adjusted. I mentioned the pole piece issue, and when I got it back a few days later, I was slightly dismayed to see they had lowered all the pole pieces, all the way down. Now, it did solve the issue of matching the string to string output, but the bass as a whole felt slightly muted. I opted to give it a shot that way, and got used to it, almost forgetting about the issue.

    Randomly the other day I got it in my head to see if my remembrance of the "in your face" tone was in fact correct... so i raised all the pole pieces to about 1/8"... and the jump in output was insane. I play through an Ashdown amp which has a VU meter for the input. I actually had to turn down the input by a full quarter turn, the bass was suddenly so much hotter. I also noticed it had far more midrange presence, and I was able to lower some of the boosted settings on my amp. Now the one thing I'll say, I'm not positive I've got this set the way it oughta be... so.

    What's a typical height for Rick pole pieces? And are they usually staggered by string? Right now they're all set at the same height (bout 1/8") and I feel like the E string is probably a little too prominent. Any advice or recommendations is much welcome, thanks.
  2. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    If you have the pickups with the adjustable pole pieces then get out your allen wrench and adjust them to where they sound good for you. The middle ones will probably be higher because the middle strings are higher.
  3. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Yeah, from the factory, they're set up like you described yours, A and D raised a bit higher, E and G almost all the way down. Just tweak them one at a time until they're balanced, (volume-wise, not height).
  4. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    This isn't getting much love in Setup so I'm moving it to Pickups. Good luck!
  5. ishouldbeking


    Feb 5, 2007
    Hollywood, CA
    Endorsing: SIT, Eastwood, Hanson
    Cool, thanks! Out of curiosity, what are the typical tonal changes when you raise the pole pieces vs lower them? So far it seems like output level is the most noticeable one, but it feels like there might be more mids and treble now that i raised them a little bit. Still trying to decide if that's an improvement or not, it sounds a bit more in-your-face, but I guess I'll try to judge it after tonight's gig.

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