Neck pickup placement - harmonic nodes?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by RomanS, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. RomanS

    RomanS Member

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    I just ordered a CC Rider pickup from www.vintagevibeguitarscom for one of my Teles; since those are wider than Tele neck pickups, I'll have to do some routing...

    Now, on all pics I've seen of Teles with CC Riders, the pole of that neck pickup sits farther back (closer to the bridge pickup) than those would on a regular Tele neck pickup (where they sit exactly on the harmonic node where the 24th fret would be).
    Is that done for purely practical reasons (so you don't have to change the front edge of that pickup route, just enlarge it on the sides and in the back)?

    What are the tonal differences between a neck pickup placed underneath a harmonic node (like the 24th fret), or not there, but farther back (I know that was a controversial question for SG players, too, but can't remember the details).
     
  2. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Ya thats kindof a tough one. You'd have to have a guitar with a "moveable" neck pickup to really know if there is anything to it. I've built a few bodies in my day and I just went from the dimensions of a guitar I knew I liked the sound of the neck pickup.
     
  3. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    The farther a pickup is from the bridge the warmer and louder it will sound. As far as nodes go they change as you fret a string.
     
  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    that's right! the whole "pickup under the 24th fret harmonic node" thing only counts on open strings!
     
  5. Jef Bardsley

    Jef Bardsley Member

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    Yes, as far as the strings are concerned, but the pickup is in the same relative place in the body. Since the vibration of the body does have some effect, I'm willing to believe...

    But so far, I've never picked up a guitar and thought twice about it. That is, I don't "hear" a 24 fret guitar's neck pup being in the "wrong place". I still hear as much difference between two different 22 fret guitars. I think it's one of those differences that's below the threshold of the wood. That is, two identical guitars will sound different just because they're not made from the same tree.
     
  6. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Thinking a bit more pragmatically, you probably see them moved toward the bridge simply because it's a natural way to install them. The neck pickup route already has a nice flat upper edge that can be left alone and used as reference when cutting the rest. I'd say 99% of the time, designs and trends like this evolved out of practicality and simplicity. Other people contemplating the qualities and attributes then seem drawn to assign some esoteric qualities, assuming there must be some great physics or genius behind it.

    Interior designer: Wow Frank, this room is incredible. These colors are beautiful, and the placement of that painting just totally sets the place off! How do you come up with these ideas?!

    Frank: Uh, well the paint was on the clearance rack, and there was already a nail there in the wall for the painting. Didn't see no reason to pull it out and move it someplace else.
    ;)


    In short, you see them down lower because it's easier. Do the same, and you'll be fine. Don't start thinking about nodes, because they are everywhere depending on what fret you're playing. The closer to the center of the string, the more prominent the fundamental over the overtones, meaning it's warmer. Moving it a 1/4" toward the neck won't make enough of a difference to really hear though, and won't be worth cutting another face of the route that's already fine.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2008
  7. RomanS

    RomanS Member

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    David,
    thanks, that's pretty much what I was thinking in the first place. Just needed some more info/experiences, but I guess I'll go the practical route, too...
     

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