bridge pickup height on Strat

DSL74

Member
Messages
1,590
I have some DAllen Dovers in my Strat, but don't feel the bridge pup gives me enough output when using my Hendrix fuzz face. Doesn't sound very fuzzy and is kind of stiff sounding on treble strings, no 'hair' on it so to speak? Have it set at about slighty less than 2mm on treble side. Tone is wired to bridge pickup by the way, but adjusting that doesn't help much. Any suggestions out there? Should I get it closer to poles or back off some? The middle and neck sound good, and positions 2 and 4 are fine too.

Thanks.
 

mellecaster

Member
Messages
1,125
To put it plainly.... A Phillips Driver and your own ears are all that you need...measurements really mean nothing, It just boils down to what pleases You...not someone else.
 
Messages
1,871
I have some DAllen Dovers in my Strat, but don't feel the bridge pup gives me enough output when using my Hendrix fuzz face. Doesn't sound very fuzzy and is kind of stiff sounding on treble strings, no 'hair' on it so to speak? Have it set at about slighty less than 2mm on treble side. Tone is wired to bridge pickup by the way, but adjusting that doesn't help much. Any suggestions out there? Should I get it closer to poles or back off some? The middle and neck sound good, and positions 2 and 4 are fine too.

Thanks.
To put it plainly.... A Phillips Driver and your own ears are all that you need...measurements really mean nothing, It just boils down to what pleases You...not someone else.


:agreeThis is the bottom line but...

I've seen (and encountered myself) the occasional stand-alone difficulty mating the bridge pickup with a particular fuzz. There're a ton of variables to consider, some of which concern the amount of gain from the pedal itself, input/output matching etc. 2mm may or not be the "best" sounding at 2 and 4 or clean, or with an MG, or with a vibe and so on, you get the idea.
As mellecaster says, take your screwdriver and get it to where it gives you what you want without the fuzz, regardless of published specs. Adjust the bridge with no "Stratitus" with the bridge, then adjust you middle until it gets the best Stratty quack in 4. Then adjust the neck until no stratitus and again check the middle for quackiness. Theoretically that's the "preferred" position.

Now disregard all of that and set them up as they sound best... to you.

Next, let's get to the fuzz. Since you say you're only dissatisfied with your pickups when the fuzz is engaged, I'm gonna take a shot and say maybe it's not the pickups, it may be the fuzz. You may want to try positioning the fuzz in a different position in the chain; lots of fuzzes like a direct input from the guitar e.g.. You may be using a high capacitance cable that's rolling off a little of the highs which you may "hear" as weakness. Your fuzz may not be developing the gain it needs, that is, enough to respond/distort the higher frequencies; it may not be biased correctly. Your fuzz may be experiencing some input/output disparity. You may need a buffer. There are a number of "what ifs". Let's eliminate the pickups as the cause first, then attack a few of the easy fuzz fixes.
 

DSL74

Member
Messages
1,590
:agreeThis is the bottom line but...

I've seen (and encountered myself) the occasional stand-alone difficulty mating the bridge pickup with a particular fuzz. There're a ton of variables to consider, some of which concern the amount of gain from the pedal itself, input/output matching etc. 2mm may or not be the "best" sounding at 2 and 4 or clean, or with an MG, or with a vibe and so on, you get the idea.
As mellecaster says, take your screwdriver and get it to where it gives you what you want without the fuzz, regardless of published specs. Adjust the bridge with no "Stratitus" with the bridge, then adjust you middle until it gets the best Stratty quack in 4. Then adjust the neck until no stratitus and again check the middle for quackiness. Theoretically that's the "preferred" position.

Now disregard all of that and set them up as they sound best... to you.

Next, let's get to the fuzz. Since you say you're only dissatisfied with your pickups when the fuzz is engaged, I'm gonna take a shot and say maybe it's not the pickups, it may be the fuzz. You may want to try positioning the fuzz in a different position in the chain; lots of fuzzes like a direct input from the guitar e.g.. You may be using a high capacitance cable that's rolling off a little of the highs which you may "hear" as weakness. Your fuzz may not be developing the gain it needs, that is, enough to respond/distort the higher frequencies; it may not be biased correctly. Your fuzz may be experiencing some input/output disparity. You may need a buffer. There are a number of "what ifs". Let's eliminate the pickups as the cause first, then attack a few of the easy fuzz fixes.
Thanks for the replies. What I really want is for the Strat bridge pup, when I use it for lead playing only, to give the same or some somewhat close to it anyway, sound/output as my Les Paul HB, but want to keep the single coil aspect and not switch it out to a HB. Should I be looking at boost or od pedal after the fuzz maybe or a hotter wound Strat bridge pup? Current one is about 6.85 kohm.
 
Messages
1,871
Thanks for the replies. What I really want is for the Strat bridge pup, when I use it for lead playing only, to give the same or some somewhat close to it anyway, sound/output as my Les Paul HB, but want to keep the single coil aspect and not switch it out to a HB. Should I be looking at boost or od pedal after the fuzz maybe or a hotter wound Strat bridge pup? Current one is about 6.85 kohm.
Totally get it DSL, I dunno if there's any one (or easy) answer.
For pickups, and these are just a few ideas.
- Firstly, around 7K is a fairly strong bridge pickup, a more modern wind anyway, and about as fat as a "standard type" Strat pickup would be... Going higher than that (let's not get into inductance ((henries)) vs resistance), and you're in the overwound territory. It's certainly not the worst idea but you'll (probably) want to consider balance with the other two as you move into 8K+ resistance and above.
- IIRC, the Dovers are like a hybrid magnet kind of thing (apologies to D Allen if I'm wrong), half A2 (A3?) and half A5. If that's the case you may want to consider a straight A5 magnet only in the bridge. Something overwound with a reputation for fat and loud, like one of the overwound Bare Knuckle (or anybody's really).
- Adding a base plate - arguably (here anyway) a fast and easy way to add a little meat to a Strat bridge pickup.
- Something like a Fralin Steel Pole in the bridge. Lots of folks swear by 'em. More of a Tele-voiced treble-y tone but still works very well within the Strat realm and nice complement to a good neck and middle like you already have.
- Strat sized P90. Not a Stratty sounding pickup but also a nice complement. Some are voiced a little closer to the Strat tone through magnet and winding but they are, after all, a two magnet set up, vertical or not, a beautiful gritty tone and are can really add a growl to the bridge position.
- Certainly there's the HB option.
- As you mentioned, not a steel pole but a fatter wind bridge pickup. Man, to reach an informed decision there, you could read through the 100s of threads. Consensus? Nope, but most would agree that if you contact a winder and explain what you want, it's a simple solution.
- Fuzz into a Klon(e) or TS. That's a great, great tone. Once again, lots of threads (recent ones too) on that combination.
- Boost? Sure, but frankly, it sounds (to me anyway) more like you're after a 'fatter and bigger" sound, rather than just a louder one.
Anyhow, some options to consider.
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,921
Thanks for the replies. What I really want is for the Strat bridge pup, when I use it for lead playing only, to give the same or some somewhat close to it anyway, sound/output as my Les Paul HB, but want to keep the single coil aspect and not switch it out to a HB. Should I be looking at boost or od pedal after the fuzz maybe or a hotter wound Strat bridge pup? Current one is about 6.85 kohm.
And there's the rub. I agree with Frankie's advice, and Mellecaster's, but ...

In the real world, Strat bridge pickups simply do not have the output of a LP bridge pickup - even hotter winds don't. A5's are stronger than A2's. Scott Lentz uses A5's in his guitars - he recommends that TO START, fret the last fret on the high E and adjust the bridge pickup treble side to 4/32" away, measuring from the bottom of the string to the top of the pole piece - in fact, he uses that spec for all 3 pickups, and 5/32" on the bass side.

That's a place to start, then adjust to taste. On a Strat, often the bridge pickup tone can be improved by moving the bass side of the neck pickup lower - go figure, but it's true. If you find you want the pickup closer on the treble side, I think you're gonna start having problems at much closer than 3/32". I find that if you want the bridge pickup to seem balanced with the middle and neck output, one has to sometimes lower the middle and neck pickup more than you might expect.

But it's all about what works for you, in the end. The Lentz method is a starting place, nothing more. I used it as an example since his pickups have A5 mags.

On my Lentz SSL, I have the p/u height at 4/32 treble and 5/32 bass - works well on that guitar. On my CS maple neck Strat, the middle and neck are 6-7/ 32 treble side, nearly 8/32 on the bass side with the bridge at 4/32 treble and 5/32 bass - and that's what balances the pickups beautifully on that guitar.

Hope this helps, Dana O.
 

DSL74

Member
Messages
1,590
Totally get it DSL, I dunno if there's any one (or easy) answer.
For pickups, and these are just a few ideas.
- Firstly, around 7K is a fairly strong bridge pickup, a more modern wind anyway, and about as fat as a "standard type" Strat pickup would be... Going higher than that (let's not get into inductance ((henries)) vs resistance), and you're in the overwound territory. It's certainly not the worst idea but you'll (probably) want to consider balance with the other two as you move into 8K+ resistance and above.
- IIRC, the Dovers are like a hybrid magnet kind of thing (apologies to D Allen if I'm wrong), half A2 (A3?) and half A5. If that's the case you may want to consider a straight A5 magnet only in the bridge. Something overwound with a reputation for fat and loud, like one of the overwound Bare Knuckle (or anybody's really).
- Adding a base plate - arguably (here anyway) a fast and easy way to add a little meat to a Strat bridge pickup.
- Something like a Fralin Steel Pole in the bridge. Lots of folks swear by 'em. More of a Tele-voiced treble-y tone but still works very well within the Strat realm and nice complement to a good neck and middle like you already have.
- Strat sized P90. Not a Stratty sounding pickup but also a nice complement. Some are voiced a little closer to the Strat tone through magnet and winding but they are, after all, a two magnet set up, vertical or not, a beautiful gritty tone and are can really add a growl to the bridge position.
- Certainly there's the HB option.
- As you mentioned, not a steel pole but a fatter wind bridge pickup. Man, to reach an informed decision there, you could read through the 100s of threads. Consensus? Nope, but most would agree that if you contact a winder and explain what you want, it's a simple solution.
- Fuzz into a Klon(e) or TS. That's a great, great tone. Once again, lots of threads (recent ones too) on that combination.
- Boost? Sure, but frankly, it sounds (to me anyway) more like you're after a 'fatter and bigger" sound, rather than just a louder one.
Anyhow, some options to consider.
Thanks again to all for the great info. I read Eric Johnson uses a Dimarzio HS2 ( I think is the model#) in his bridge position. Heard that one is wound pretty hot in single coil mode. Any thoughts on one these as a bridge pup?
 






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