Gibson Les Paul Pickup Height Setup Question

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3,272
I've been mostly a Strat player for most of my life. I do most of my own work on my guitars. I recently got a 2013 R7 and had a few questions regarding setting up the pickup heights.

When setting the pickup height do you normally do so with both the volume and tone knobs set to 10/wide open? I ask b/c I hear most Les Paul players use the volume knobs to balance the pickups and I also hear most Les Paul players roll off the tone knob (especially on the bridge pickup). So it baffles me how one can properly set the pickup balance and treble side correctly if the knobs are in a position that most Les Paul players don't use (i.e. wide open). It's kind of a chicken and the egg problem.

If you set the pickup heights with the knobs on full, then what are you listening for if you already anticipate you'll have to back off the volume on the rhythm pickup to compensate for volume and back off the treble pickup tone to take off the brightness.

If you are of the mindset to set the knobs where they are normally set, then where do start off (as middle ground) for the volume and tone knobs?

Thanks.
 

Tom60

Senior Member
Messages
719
When setting the pickup height do you normally do so with both the volume and tone knobs set to 10/wide open?
Thanks.
Yes.
But there is never perfect balance in volumes of both pickups. Not a big deal IMO - I prefer to set the sweet spot for each one separately. The neck tends to overpower the bridge this way.
 

just_one_more

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,378
I am not sure about the tone knob deal. Pretty much nobody I know or play with does much with the tone knob on humbucker guitars. The balancing volume between pickups never even comes into play with me. Just set them up so each pickup sounds best and see where you are with volume balance. Mine I typically use pickup combos that the neck pickup is a little less "hot" than the bridge and that makes the volume between them balance well when they are roughly the same distance from the strings. Don't over think it. Set them up for how you play and play it (volume and tone control settings). Adjust from there.
 

73Fender

Member
Messages
3,980
There was a thread here recently on this subject. I learned that it is common to raise the D pole screw and lower the G and have the others follow the radius of the neck. I was playing a Heritage I got used that has a killer set up and noticed that is how the poles are set, the previous owner must have had it set up and the tech did it that way.

Is there a common starting point to get in the ball park with the heights? I seem to end up with my Neck pickup pretty low.
 

groovington

Member
Messages
2,852
There was a thread here recently on this subject. I learned that it is common to raise the D pole screw and lower the G and have the others follow the radius of the neck. I was playing a Heritage I got used that has a killer set up and noticed that is how the poles are set, the previous owner must have had it set up and the tech did it that way.
This is pretty solid advice, but after finetuning it may not always be the end result.

Is there a common starting point to get in the ball park with the heights? I seem to end up with my Neck pickup pretty low.
Yes, the neck pickup in a LP usually will end up almost even with the top of the pickup rings. Give or take in either direction for the players adjustments for clarity. Bridge pickup will usually be alot closer to the strings than the neck p/u. This is from my experience with all 4 Les Pauls I've ever owned.
 

el supermanny

Member
Messages
569
Yes.
But there is never perfect balance in volumes of both pickups. Not a big deal IMO - I prefer to set the sweet spot for each one separately. The neck tends to overpower the bridge this way.
I'm so glad you wrote this! I have thought there was something wrong with my pickups or something. I have to set my neck pickups so low compared to the bridge to balance out the volume between the pickups.

Thank you for writing that. You have no idea how "at ease" that makes me feel.
 

bartmcartman

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,056
I normally start with Gibson's recommendation of 3/32 for the neck pup and 1/16 for the bridge. Funny thing is a lot of Gibson's I've pulled of the walls have had the pups nearly touching the strings... Go figure.
 




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