'Hard' mounting vs. soft/adjustable mounting pickups

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by poolshark, May 9, 2015.

  1. poolshark

    poolshark Supporting Member

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    Does it make a damn bit of difference? I'm working with a body-mounted pickup right now, and I'm debating between hard and soft (i.e. rubber) shims. Now obviously, the latter would make it a lot easier to dial in the right pickup height. The former appeals to my inner tone superstitions - something about vibration transfer from the body, harmonics, etc. - but since swapping shims means removing strings, it's a right pain to get the height dialed in. Anybody out there feel one way or the other on this?
     
  2. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    No difference IMO.
    This is Ed's fault.
     
  3. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Under the right circumstances it can make a big difference. It depends on a lot of little variables though, and in many (probably most) cases may make no notable difference at all.

    For what it's worth, in the cases where I have found differences, hard mounted was generally the bad option, and spring or foam mounting was the solution. Go with adjustable mounts. I see plenty of reasons to prefer this, and none really against.
     
  4. Tony Bones

    Tony Bones Member

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    Can you hear the difference between dogear and soapbar P90's?
     
  5. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    I've not noticed a difference. Have mounted pickups on foam rubber with no apparent change.
     
  6. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    The only situations I've noticed significant influence in involve high volume and feedback.

    If your pickups are even a bit microphonic (something that can be surprisingly difficult to eliminate 100%), then there can be a difference between hard mounting them to the body vs adjustable, which basically equates to an unintentional means of shock-mounting.

    Depending on how the body resonates at various frequencies under moderate to high volume feedback, and where your pickups fall on the microphonic scale, hard mounting can lead to more uncontrollable squeals and piercing screams which dominate the feedback before you have any chance of utilizing any controlled sustain or lower feedback swells. In the relatively small number of cases I've encountered this, better isolating pickups from the body with some form of shock mounting has almost always improved the behavior of the instrument at stage volume, and led to more controllable use of feedback.

    Primary production of tone - no, I highly doubt you could find any meaningful impact. The model is incomplete however unless you include high volume feedback and imperfect components, which is where under the right conditions mounting style can make a difference in performance of an instrument.
     
  7. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    ^
    interesting, the few times i've run in to this the results went the other way!

    not so much about squealing, internally microphonic feedback, but for guys who play at insane volume levels with massive low end (metal dudes, etc.) a sprung pickup can howl, where the whole thing starts vibrating at an ugly low-mid frequency.

    hard-mounting seems to fix that.

    (never noticed any real tone difference, though.)
     

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