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ES 335 Neck Pup Pickup ring question

#1 User is offline   cjsinla 

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 11:02 AM

I just got a new 63 re-issue ES 335. I noticed that on the 335 the neck pick up does not sit parallel to the strings. Has anybody turned that pick up ring around? It would seem to me that if the pick up ring was mounted the other way the pick up would be more parallel to the strings.

63 Block 335

Posted Image
Life is too short to play crappy guitars:

1959 Les Paul Jr
1960 Melody Maker
1979 Flying V
1982 Heritage Flying V
1982 30th Anniversary Les Paul
2009 VOS Les Paul Special DC
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2011 VOS 1960 Les Paul Special
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#2 User is offline   badbluesplayer 

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 02:11 PM

Every newer 335 I've seen is just about the same. You can turn the pickup ring around but it's usually just a little worse if you do. The only real way to fix it is to get a bridge pickup ring and sand it flat on a piece of sandpaper so it's level. Like this.

Posted Image
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#3 User is offline   cjsinla 

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 11:17 PM

That's a good idea. For now I flipped it and it's actually more level than the factory setup. It's only tilted a little and the poles are now on the side that is closer to the strings. The body of my 335 slopes down towards the neck, the ring would have to have some bevel in order for the pup to be completely level.
Life is too short to play crappy guitars:

1959 Les Paul Jr
1960 Melody Maker
1979 Flying V
1982 Heritage Flying V
1982 30th Anniversary Les Paul
2009 VOS Les Paul Special DC
2011 50th Anniversary Pete Townsend SG
2011 61ri SG
2011 VOS 1960 Les Paul Special
2013 SG Original
2013 61 Les Paul SG
2013 ES335
2014 Les Paul R6 Goldtop
2014 Les Paul Traditional
2015 VOS 59 ES330
2015 VOS 63 ES335
2016 VOS 1960 Les Paul Special DC
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#4 User is offline   kaicho8888 

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 04:32 PM

Most of the ES I have that overly slanted pickup ring at the neck position. The neck pickup top does not run parallel with the strings.

At one time I was going to sand the plastic ring bottom to make it parallel to the strings. If you just push down on the pickup edge to make it parallel to the strings, the tone didn't seem to make any difference. So I just left it "as is".

I recall and read or saw that Clapton also reversed the pickup ring on his famous ES-335.
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#5 User is offline   cjsinla 

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 08:29 AM

I guess that Eric and I must think alike [thumbup]
Life is too short to play crappy guitars:

1959 Les Paul Jr
1960 Melody Maker
1979 Flying V
1982 Heritage Flying V
1982 30th Anniversary Les Paul
2009 VOS Les Paul Special DC
2011 50th Anniversary Pete Townsend SG
2011 61ri SG
2011 VOS 1960 Les Paul Special
2013 SG Original
2013 61 Les Paul SG
2013 ES335
2014 Les Paul R6 Goldtop
2014 Les Paul Traditional
2015 VOS 59 ES330
2015 VOS 63 ES335
2016 VOS 1960 Les Paul Special DC
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#6 User is offline   Twang Gang 

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 12:23 PM

Do you guys think it matters tonewise? I'm serious here, I don't know much about electronics and really how pickups work, I've read a lot about it and it just doesn't register with my brain. (You'd think after 50+ years of playing electric guitar I'd know this stuff, but I always just worried about how it sounded, not why it sounded that way)

On my 336 the neck pickup is like yours - the pickup is slanted and it is lowest near the end of the neck. The pickup ring is beveled and is thickest toward the bridge. I just always measured the distance between the string and pole piece when doing set up and didn't think about the rest of the pickup being parallel to the strings. If I were to somehow level out the pickup, then my pole pieces would be closer to the strings, and I'd either have to lower the pickup height or raise the action for it to sound the way it does now (which I'm pretty happy with).

On my L5 it is the opposite. The pickup is again not parallel to the strings, but the highest point of the pickup (where the pole pieces are) is closest to the neck, and the lowest part is toward the bridge. Also the pickup ring has a noticeable bevel like this was done intentionally.

Posted Image

I'm hoping that after 60 years or so of making 335s, and longer making L5s that Gibson knows what they are doing and that the pickups are slanted for a reason. Or it could be that since the tops are arched, they just never bothered to try to make the pickups parallel to the strings. On both my Les Pauls the pickup rings are beveled and they keep the entire pickup pretty much parallel to the strings.

Bad Blues - since you sanded a pickup ring to make your bridge pickup level did it improve tone. I know tone is different for each of us, but did it make it fuller, brighter or whatever?

I never worried about this before and now you guys got me thinking [scared] which is not always good.
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#7 User is offline   badbluesplayer 

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 05:12 PM

View PostTwang Gang, on 24 May 2017 - 12:23 PM, said:


I'm hoping that after 60 years or so of making 335s, and longer making L5s that Gibson knows what they are doing and that the pickups are slanted for a reason...

Bad Blues - since you sanded a pickup ring to make your bridge pickup level did it improve tone. I know tone it different for each of us, but did it make it fuller, brighter or whatever?


They don't have any flat rings and that's why they don't use them. They're supposed to make the bevel on the ring match the slope on the top at each pickup so the pickup sits parallel with the strings. But pennies are pennies.

I can't say for sure that it helped the tone but I fixed it so the pickup's installed properly. Not reinventing the wheel, just installing it properly. It's so easy to fix and it looks so stupid having a pickup like that. It really is pretty cheesy for a first rate guitar like a Gibson. I've been ranking on those guys for years.
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#8 User is offline   Twang Gang 

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 03:49 PM

I can't say for sure that it helped the tone

Well if there is no significant change in how it sounds I think I'll just leave mine like they are. Thanks for the reply.
2017 Custom Shop 356 Mahogany/Maple Antique Natural
2017 Les Paul Standard T Honeyburst
2013 L5-CES Natural (Maple/Spruce)
2013 Les Paul Custom Lite (Mahogany/Maple) Ebony
2007 Taylor Solid Body Custom (Sapele/Walnut)
2010 Fender Telecaster (Ash)
2006 Taylor Grand Symphony (Rosewood/Spruce)
1981 Ovation Balladeer
1963 Walthari Mittenwald Classical
Rivera Venus 6 (1 X 12)Combo
Blackstar HT-5R (1 X 10) Combo
AER Compact 60-2
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#9 User is offline   cjsinla 

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 07:15 AM

I can't tell if the tone was improved on mine either. But I do adjust the poles sometimes and figured that it would better to have them closer to the strings. The poles are made so you can tailor your sound so it doesn't make any sense to mount them so far from the strings. It doesn't help with my OCD to have them slanted either.
Life is too short to play crappy guitars:

1959 Les Paul Jr
1960 Melody Maker
1979 Flying V
1982 Heritage Flying V
1982 30th Anniversary Les Paul
2009 VOS Les Paul Special DC
2011 50th Anniversary Pete Townsend SG
2011 61ri SG
2011 VOS 1960 Les Paul Special
2013 SG Original
2013 61 Les Paul SG
2013 ES335
2014 Les Paul R6 Goldtop
2014 Les Paul Traditional
2015 VOS 59 ES330
2015 VOS 63 ES335
2016 VOS 1960 Les Paul Special DC
0

#10 User is offline   Twang Gang 

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 06:24 PM

OK, I couldn't leave well enough alone. So I turned the pickup ring around on my 336 (not the pickup, just the ring) and without any sanding or filing, the strings are now a lot more parallel to the pickup all the way across:

Posted Image

Took the opportunity to change strings and do a set-up check, since pickup height was going to have to be adjusted anyway. Found my intonation was way off on the low E and A strings [crying] but it was good on the other four.
Plugged it in and I think the sound is different. It seems as though the neck pickup is clearer or a little brighter now. It used to be if I was on neck pickup only and rolled the tone way down it would get pretty muddy sounding. Now I can roll it way off and it is still very clear. (Although could be a function of the new strings just being brighter)

So I like it and thank you guys for bringing this up in the first place. Seems like another goofy thing that Gibson could improve on with almost no effort on their part, but I guess they wouldn't be who they are if they weren't a little quirky [rolleyes]
2017 Custom Shop 356 Mahogany/Maple Antique Natural
2017 Les Paul Standard T Honeyburst
2013 L5-CES Natural (Maple/Spruce)
2013 Les Paul Custom Lite (Mahogany/Maple) Ebony
2007 Taylor Solid Body Custom (Sapele/Walnut)
2010 Fender Telecaster (Ash)
2006 Taylor Grand Symphony (Rosewood/Spruce)
1981 Ovation Balladeer
1963 Walthari Mittenwald Classical
Rivera Venus 6 (1 X 12)Combo
Blackstar HT-5R (1 X 10) Combo
AER Compact 60-2
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