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Pickup height


Kiwi

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I know that this topic has probably been done to death, but I feel that I need some help.

 

So I've been trying to set the correct height for my pickups since chords (especially an open G chord, I don't know if this is significant) sound out of tune when the pickups are too close to the strings. I realise that this has to do with magnetic pull, so I decided to lower both the neck and bridge pickups so they were level with the pickguard, and began experimenting from there.

 

I concluded that the neck pickup has way too much output for my amp (or something of the sort, it does however sound "too much" compared to other amps), so I basically leveled it flat with the pickguard and the tone came out kind of how I wanted it. The G chord doesn't sound just as much out of tune on the neck pickup atleast.

 

Then I came to the bridge pickup, which I managed to fix neither bad nor good, but at least acceptable. I mean, it sounds great and all, but whenever I hit a chord the sound kind of "bounces" up and down, especially on the B and E strings. I've managed to counteract it somewhat, but it's still there and it's a bit annoying. What should I do about it?

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I don't mean to be an ***, but are you sure it's not just the way you fret the chords with your hand causing slight bends in the strings? If your strings are being affected that much by your pick-ups they would barely be able to ring long enough for you you hear a nice note...

 

Start with the recommended heights for the pick-ups you have, and try grasping the strings a little lighter and harder to see if you can hear the difference. This was the biggest problem for me when I first started playing an SG, and every time someone plays my axe they say the same thing: "wow it's touchy, squeeze too hard and I'm out of tune"

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Yeah, I see your point and I get that you're not trying to be an ***. I acutally used to have that problem when I first got my SG, and I have been using a friend's Strat quite a bit lately... You know what, let me do what you said, and I'll report back if the problem still persists.

 

Oh, and my strings are like nearly three months old and have been used in band rehersal two hours a week since then. Could that have any slight effect?

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Alright, so no matter how I play it, the difference is slight. I mean, I can hear a very big change in tuning and sound when I press hard and loose on the strings, but the problem I was having (with the sound kind of bouncing up and down) is still there, more or less. But the funny thing is that it's mostly just noticable when I turn my Epi Valve Junior up over 12 o' clock, and now I seem to have managed to have gotten most of the bouncing away from the bridge pickup. But instead, the neck pickup is doing exactly what the bridge pickup did...

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Definitely change your strings man, as they get old (and used frequently like you said) they tend to rust, lose their bright sound, and start giving you tuning issues. Do you wipe them down after play? If not, even if you're only using them for 2 hours a week the sweat from your hands will start to corrode them. Also, what gauge strings do you use? I found that using lighter gauge strings than the ones I'm used to will make chords sound out of tune from pressing too hard.

 

I don't really think it's the pickup magnets that are pulling your strings out of tune. My tech says that happens more often on Strats because the magnets are at the top of the pickup. When Gibson made the P-90 (and I'm pretty sure its the same on a humbucker), they put the magnets below the polepieces to stop this from happening.

 

If you could possibly record this "bouncing" sound and post it here, that might help us to figure out what's going on.

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