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Nocaster/Tele Pickup Adjustment Tips

digthosetubes

Senior Member
Any specific or general advice for adjusting pickups on a Nocaster?

I understand the basics but want some advice on the fine points, such as adjusting that one lone screw on the bridge pickup that's on the neck side of the pickup in the middle. Thx.
 
Well, some say adjust to the height of two nickels on the bass side, and one nickel on the treble (from the pickup to the strings). Lately, though, I have been lowering my pickups. With my Duncan Antiquity, and my Fender 52 OV RI pickups, I have adjusted them a lot lower than I used to. I find, for me, that it really sweetens up the tone, and for output, I just turn my amp up. A lot depends on what amp you have and what kind of music you play.

But this stuff isn't rocket surgery. Just raise and lower the screws until it sounds good and balances well with the neck pickup. If it sounds good to you, it's right. Enjoy! Those Nocasters are sweet.
 

digthosetubes

Senior Member
Thanks. One of the guitars has the bridge pickup pretty hot. I backed it off and did find the tone a little mellower and nicer. Still hot enough. Before, the bridge pickup was a little too loud for my tast compared to the neck pickup. It's a little more balanced now. I haven't figured out what that third screw is for. I'm afraid to mess with it until I know what it does. It's the screen right in the middle of the pickup at about the G string on the neck side of the bridge pickup. I am wondering if that adjusts the "yaw" of the pickup?
 

tybone

Member
The 3rd screw is to make the pickup level with the strings. It also kinda acts like a fulcrum when you adjust one of the other two screws.

Larry
 

digthosetubes

Senior Member
You need some cheaper Tele's to learn on.
Well....that may be well be the case. But I sure am digging this old vintage neck. Didn't really know how I would "bond" with it -- the 7 1/4 radius and vintage frets. It was "intriguing" at first. Now I find it to be exceptional. The small frets and the obvious curve create a playing board that translates all the nuances of my left hand into ......you know......sound. And it helps me play all those fancy chords I am always trying to learn. I like it. Don't do super bends at all, so it's just fine.

But the art of "tuning" pickups is brand new to me. I can already see that these adjustments make quite a difference to the tone. Wow.

Cool.
 
Thanks. One of the guitars has the bridge pickup pretty hot. I backed it off and did find the tone a little mellower and nicer. Still hot enough. Before, the bridge pickup was a little too loud for my tast compared to the neck pickup. It's a little more balanced now. I haven't figured out what that third screw is for. I'm afraid to mess with it until I know what it does. It's the screen right in the middle of the pickup at about the G string on the neck side of the bridge pickup. I am wondering if that adjusts the "yaw" of the pickup?

The third screw tilts the pu one direction or the other, I also notice that seems to effect the center strings some how. I usually adjust all three screws so the pu is parallel to the strings, this usually involves adjusting all three screws.

As far as heights are concerned it depends on what you want to hear, closer to the strings will increase the harmonic content and will eventually compress and then the highs will get harsher. Farther away less midrange sweeter highs but less harmonic content. A good way to set up pu's is to use a overdrive and set the pu's so you get the most sustain, this usually finds the sweet spot.
 
Yeah, I use the middle screw to rough in the mids. I've heard people say that adjusting this screw is the key to the pickup's tone. But again, this is not complicated stuff. They are screws--tighten them and loosen them. You can't got too loose because it will go below the bridge plate before it unscrews completely. And you can't go too tight because it'll hit the strings before anything bad happens. (And who would keep tightening after the pickups touches the strings?)

The beauty of the Telecaster is that you can work on it yourself. It's your guitar man, just get in there and adjust it. Use a modicum of common sense and nothing bad is gonna happen.
 


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