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cjsinla

ES 335 Neck Pup

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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.

 

IMG_0528_zpsdgjo7y2z.jpg"]63 Block 335[/url]

 

IMG_0528_zpsdgjo7y2z.jpg

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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.

 

DSC_0007_zpsbec47ce9.jpg

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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.

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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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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.

 

L5CES006_zps8aa5ad35.jpg

 

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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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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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.

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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.

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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:

 

ZSkRV3q.jpg

 

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]

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