'69 CS Strat - standard pickup height?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Mr. Blue, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. Mr. Blue

    Mr. Blue Member

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    Hi,

    Just got a new '69 Closet Classic stratocaster and to me the factory setup for the neck pickup doesn't look right. When I received it the bass side of the neck pickup was set flush against the pickguard, in fact even slightly lower.

    I have never seen one photo of a '69 with the neck pickup as low as this so I assume mine is definately set wrong. Most seem to have it quite high.

    Now I am terrible with setting up strats so I really have no clue what to aim for. So far I have raised the pickup (the bass side) about 1 and a half screw turns worth. With the last fret depressed (low E) the distance from the bottom of the string to the end pole piece is a little over 3mm. I can put up some photo's if needed.

    I can't seem to find any info on the standard pickup height for a '69 strat, and the Fender set-up guide does not include any pickup settings for the custom shops. Only 'vintage style' pickup settings which isn't very specific.

    So can anyone who knows a bit about the 69's (or owns one) help me out here?

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008
  2. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    It's the same settings apply for pretty much all and any Strat, except the lace sensors. Factory setting is 1/8" from the string, fretted at the last fret, and adjust to taste from there.

    Too close to the strings gets you "stratitis" where the magnetic pull of the pup's affects the vibration of the string, and makes the guit sound weird, in an out of tune, phasey kind of way

    Some folks like to keep the pups low so they can crank up the amp more. You get a "sweeter" and softer tone.

    Most of us run the pup height somewhere in the middle, and try to get some balance between the pup's. An 1/8" (3mm) or so is a good starting point. You're going in the right direction.

    You said 3cm. That's 1 3/16" in the good 'Ol USA. That has to be a typo!

    http://www.fender.com/support/
     
  3. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I like those pickups. Just use your ears as to what sounds good. Be careful, the G will warble if the pole is too close. Every guitar is it's own beast, there's no exact measure.
     
  4. Mr. Blue

    Mr. Blue Member

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    Sorry I meant 3mm! That's fixed.

    So the bass side is at around 3mm now. I would prefer to go by a setting in the pickup chart (Fender's site) tbh. At least to start with anyway.

    Would the 'Vintage Style' settings be fairly standard for this strat?

    Really I am looking for that Hendrixy punch.
     
  5. ant_riv

    ant_riv Supporting Member

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    Lots of good advice.

    The theory behind the advice:

    The closer the magnet is to the string, the louder the initial attack will be, but less sustain as the magnet pulls the string towards it, lessening string vibrations. In the extreme, it causes the "warble" mentioned.

    The further the magnet from the string, you get more acoustic ring (more sustain in string vibration due to less magnetic pull on the string) but lose volume and attack.

    You need to decide which is best for your playing style as there is obviously a trade-off here.

    You will also need to balance the treble and bass side of the pickup so the volume diffence is not extreme when playing chords, as well as balance the total volume with the middle pickup, so that in the "both on" position, they balance.

    It takes a little time, but is easy to do. It's easier if you use a clean setting on your amp when doing this.

    Let us know how it works out for you!
     
  6. mistercoffee1

    mistercoffee1 Member

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    With the last fret pressed, try the following as a starting point:
    Bass - At least 4/32" clearance from the bottom of the string to the top of the pole piece
    Treble - At least 3/32" clearance from the bottom of the string to the top of the pole piece

    Play it, as see how you like it. Lower as needed to balance out tone, pickup output from neck/middle/bridge.
     
  7. Mr. Blue

    Mr. Blue Member

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    So you suggest reversing the pickup angle? Just to be sure 4/32'' = 3.2mm, 3/32'' = 2.4mm. That right?

    That's interesting. I guess that might produce a more Hendrix like tone then?

    EDIT: Scratch that. It wouldn't be reversed angle, my mistake..

    Thanks for all the advice by the way.
     
  8. Mr. Blue

    Mr. Blue Member

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    Apologies for the bump. I hope you people don't mind answering another question.

    Just noticed that the neck and middle pickups on my '69 are slightly slanted forward. Now I'm not talking about the normal angle towards the bass strings (lengthways). I mean the whole pickups are angled forward slightly causing one side to look a bit lower than the other.

    Is this normal? I ask because I cannot find any pictures of '69 strats with the pickups angled like this.

    Please understand I'm acting this way because I'm always paranoid with new instruments. Especially expensive ones!! And it doesn't help that the last strat I had (62 RI) left the Fender factory with a dead truss rod, which I conveniently discovered just after it's warranty had expired..

    Thanks for any help.
     
  9. mistercoffee1

    mistercoffee1 Member

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    Do you mean they are angled forward towards the headstock?

    If so, although it's not common, it's also not impossible for this to happen. On a single coil fender pickup, they might fail to sit flat due to the rubber bushing spacers, or if the pickup wire is a little long on one side slightly lifting up that side underneath the pickguard.
     
  10. Mr. Blue

    Mr. Blue Member

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    No they angle towards the bridge.

    So is this classed as a defect/fault? I need to know because I can't handle being f*cked over by Fender AGAIN.

    I just can't believe how bad my luck is...

    I bet if I return this I am going to have to wait months for a replacement seeing as its a custom shop.. I'm sick of this. Every damn guitar.
     
  11. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    Next time you change strings, remove the pickguard and shift the pup in question around until it's sits parallel to the pickguard. This ain't no big deal


    Maybe stop staring at it and play the damn thing!
     
  12. Mr. Blue

    Mr. Blue Member

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    The pickups feel very solid. I can't move them at all. Won't I need to remove the pickguard? I really haven't got a clue.
     
  13. Andy S.

    Andy S. Member

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    How does it sound ?? How about taking it to a tech ?? Have it set up.

    I've adjusted for years by ear. I just twist and turn until I get a sound I like.

    The famous strat " quack " in positions 2 & 4 can be accentuated greatly depending on the height of the pickups.

    I would'nt worry about it so much.

    Go to a store and maybe look at how the strat pickups look. Then go home and screw around until yours look similar.

    Then listen carefull and fine tune to taste....


    I would NOT send the guitar back over the pickup height and most strat pickup tend to point forward or backward a bit....not a big deal.


    Play and enjoy it man ! Those 69 CS guitars are AWESOME ! Does your have any relicing ??
     
  14. Mr. Blue

    Mr. Blue Member

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    The strat sounds good but a problem like this (crooked pickups) makes it hard for me to tell if it's sounding as good is it should. It's highly frustrating for me.

    I'm not technical at all. I've been playing strats for over 4yrs but I could never grasp the ins and out's of them.. I just want to get what I pay for. It should have come out of the factory perfect. And most seem to...

    Yes it has mild relicing (finish checking, aged wood).

    So do I need to remove the pickguard to move the pickups then? I really need them normal because with them angled like this I can't properly measure the pickup height.... so I can forget about adjusting the pickups at all at this stage.
     
  15. Andy S.

    Andy S. Member

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    can you post a picture ?? I bet your pickups will look fairly normal to many of us. Did you buy it new or used ??
     
  16. Andy S.

    Andy S. Member

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  17. Mr. Blue

    Mr. Blue Member

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    I'll try and post some pics, just give me a few minutes. My camera has run out of battery and I can't find the damn charger..

    Btw my pickups are not like in those pics in the link. They are noticeably more angled forward.
     
  18. Mr. Blue

    Mr. Blue Member

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  19. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    There is absolutely nothing wrong with your guitar

    Single coils, humbuckers, whatever. They always sit a bit crooked. They are "floating" behind a plastic pickguard and held on with a screw and a short piece of surgical tubing.

    The wiring also can make them sit a bit crooked. There's not much tension holding the pup's in there. The pup's may also be a tight fit in their repective cutouts in the pickguard.

    If you pull off the pickguard, maybe you can tweek them a bit, and satisfy your obsesive compulsive behavioral issues :)
     
  20. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    :worried

    :messedup

    :huh
     

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