MIM Strat pickup polepiece heights....anybody experimented with it?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Yoda, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. Yoda

    Yoda Member

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    Has anybody here ever adjusted the MIM standard Strat ceramic pickup polepiece heights by pushing them up or down? Just curious how others staggered the polepieces and what the results were vs. the factory stagger which pretty much follows the fretboard radius.
     
  2. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    The poles are glued to the magnets so you pretty much have to break the magnets off in order to push the poles up and down, then glue the magnets back on when you think you've got them where you wanted them. Are you going to like the response of an unbalanced stagger more than the stock radiused stagger? Dunno.

    For most people this would come under the heading of "why?", as many players consider the stock MIM pickups to be inferior and modifying the stagger is a lot of busy work. The only reason I did it was a bit of an experiment sort of to prove a point. I disassembled a set of the stock MIM pickups, stripped the plating off the poles and ground the faces of them to look like vintage Alnico poles, then reassembled the pickups with a vintage stagger so that they would be visually indistinguishable from a set of "better" Alnico pickups like Texas Specials. That way the tester wouldn't be able to visually tell whether they were playing a set of "crap" stock MIM pickups or a set of Fender Custom Shop pickups. They would simply have to rely on their ears!

    The MIM stock pickups have their place and there are many players who think they sound fine.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
  3. Yoda

    Yoda Member

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    On my MIM ceramics they had little pieces of hot glue gun type material securing the polepieces in place. Once broken off the polepieces were free to move up and down with just moderate finger pressure, the ceramic bar magnets do not interfere at all.
     
  4. StratoCraig

    StratoCraig Member

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    Yeah, I don't really see any point to messing with the pole heights when they're already following the fretboard radius. What's the problem you're trying to solve? Are certain strings significantly louder than others?

    I'm not a big fan of those ceramic pickups -- too hot for my taste, and tonally kind of crude. I've replaced them on all three of my MIM Strats. But if you basically like their sound, then they're fine.
     
  5. joeybsyc

    joeybsyc Member

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    I've had some I hated, and some that were honestly pretty darn good. visually they all look the same, but I swear some of them are better than others.
     
  6. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    All ceramic pups are not created equal just as the slug ones are not.
    When made by a boutique winder they are considered to be 'premium.'
     
  7. joeybsyc

    joeybsyc Member

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    I was speaking specifically of MIM Standard ceramics, not ceramics in general. You'd think the factory MIM pickups would be pretty consistent and generally all sound the same, but I've found some that sound much better than others.
     
  8. ken374

    ken374 Member

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    I bought a new 2014 ssh but been loving the neck pup in the lead 1 in my DSL! Very Hendrix, Trower tone. Love to try some better one's some time in the future
     
  9. gwr

    gwr Member

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    I have on my 60's road worn strat,more so on the bridge just to even out the sound although I have found that the pole for the "g" string on all the pups don't need to be as high as they are so I lowered the poles down just a hair to smooth things out.
     
  10. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    On the MIM Squiers and some budget special runs that can be identified by an all black logo, the pickups are not the MIM standard, but a Korean or Chinese made pickup. The top of the MIM standard poles have circular tool marks under the chrome plating. The foreign ones have smooth plated tops. If the poles are not plated, you might have Tex Mex or some other Alnico pickup.
    Also, assuming that all the pickups were the standard ones, there actually is a difference between Strats. Take it from someone who spent nights taking apart and switching around necks, bodies, and pickguard assemblies from several MIM Strats trying to find out why one sounded so much better than the others. You can take the pickguard assembly off a great Strat and put it on a dead one. It's still dead.
     
  11. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    Wood...specifically the neck in my experience.
     
  12. Yoda

    Yoda Member

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    Not trying to "solve a problem" anymore than the next guy trying different tubes in his amp or modding a guitar. I'm sure I'm not the first one to try staggering the MIM pole pieces for a different effect. Nobody has mentioned yet if they achieved different results by doing so.
     

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