ES-335 pickup height

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner: Guitar & Bass Technical Discussi' started by krave, May 9, 2012.

  1. krave

    krave Member

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    Hi I am new here, my name is Dave
    I have a Gibson ES-335 and i was playing around with string height, intonation and pickup height.
    I read allot about pickup height and someone posted that the best sounds could come from lowering the pickups all the way down ( of course this is only ones personal preference of sound ).
    I set up all my coils to match up with the string heights, i.e. fatter strings are lower and smaller strings are higher. I ended up with sort of a curve that follows the strings. But when i tried to raise the pickups at all i got this really ugly overdriven sound. So i just lowered them all way back down to where it was from the factory and just made them look even. Sounds like it did before which was pretty good.
    Am i doing something wrong? My amp is set pretty flat treble/bass/mids all mid position, no reverb, no overdrive.
    Any advice would help. This guitar will eventually go into the shop and get done professionally but i always try to understand how to do it myself just in case i need to make adjustments.

    Dave
     
  2. OlAndrew

    OlAndrew Member

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    To begin with, there's no standard setup that will guarentee 'best' on any guitar. The 'best' setting is gonna depend on your particular guitar, amp, playing technique and the tone you want to hear.

    As a general rule, the stock setup is: hold the string down at the last fret nearest the pickup, and there should be 1/16 inch between the bottom of the string and the screwhead on the pickup.

    Any closer and the magnetic field from the pickup will begin to affect the string's vibration, and your sound will get really weird, and not usually in a good way.

    Lowering the pickup, moving it farther from the strings, usually has the effect of reducing bass response and a brighter tone. You might do this if the neck pickup sounds muddy or dull, for instance.

    You may see the neck pickup farther from the strings than the bridge pickup, because the strings don't vibrate as much down near the bridge. Pickup makers usually try to compensate for this with more windings and/or stronger magnets on the bridge pickup of a matched set.

    Then there's the fact that some strings, like little 'e' and usually 'd', don't affect the magnetic field as much as others, so you may want to lower a pickup a bit and then raise the screws under the 'weak' strings to get a more balanced sound.

    THere's nothing for it, but to try different settings until you're happy with the sound.
     
  3. krave

    krave Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I did raise the screws on the weaker strings, little E etc. so now they kinda follow the contour of the neck.
    I did notice that from the factory ( where my pickups are now ) the neck pickup is farther down.
    One thing for sure is that raising them up anywhere near 1/16th of an inch close to the string created the worst sound ever.. I'd say they are probably 1/8 inch down from the strings now..
    My best bet is probably taking it to a professional
     
  4. krave

    krave Member

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    I was mainly wondering if anyone had similar results with having them way down on this type of guitar ( which is what i found on another site )
     
  5. dannopelli

    dannopelli Supporting Member

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    I think OlAndrew has it right. Start from the 1/16 mark and adjust to taste.
     
  6. Jon@Home

    Jon@Home Supporting Member

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    I set the pickups up for the type of amp I'm using.
    If it's a bright amp I'll lower the treble side of the bridge pup a little.
    If my neck pup is too muddy I'll lower the bass side a little.
    Normally I need to try a few different adjustments to get it how I like it.
     

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