Thrill is gone? Let’s be sure your guitar has proper Pickup Height Adjustment!
Whether you have a Telecaster, Stratocaster or Les Paul Style guitar, here are some basic guideline to be sure you are getting the most from your pickups! Much tone is lost from improper installation.
Since pickups use magnetism to ‘pick-up’ the elliptical vibration of the strings, we have to adjust the height of the pickups so they don’t pull the string too strongly. Their job is to sense the string, not to pull it out of tune. These graphics come from the The Guitar Player Repair Guide, get yours today!
Remember: Closer to the strings does not mean more tone!
After adjusting the truss rod to get the neck action how you like (be gentle, get advice, see a doctor), follow these simple steps.
1. A friend (a real, present friend – not a virtual one)
2. A fine measurement ruler (down to the 1/64″, but to the 1/32″ will do)
3. A Phillips Head Screwdriver that fits your pickup adjustment screws, located to the sides of the pickup
• Pressing each string down on the last fret of the guitar, measure the distance from the bottom of the string to the top of each pickup.
• Adjust the pickup screws to bring the treble side to 1/8″ – 3/32″, and the bass side of the pickup to 5/32″ – 3/32″
• Play the guitar at normal, clean volume. Listen for tone.
• Your friend will help to listen as you play. They could even adjust the pickups with the screwdriver..
• Lower the pickup for a more open spectrum to the sound.
• Raise the pickup to add focus to the sound.
Use your ears, but trust your friends’ ears as well. Don’t be surprised to see that the pickups end up closer to the pickguard than you expected!
If you are looking to be sure that your guitar remains quiet and that your tone shines through, consider reading my post about shielding your electric guitar!
For even more tweaks to your guitar, get the The Guitar Player Repair Guide today!