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Do Your Strings line up with your Pole Piece Screws?


Twang Gang

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I stumbled across a youtube vid with Joe Walsh talking about a Carvin guitar he had made. He pointed out that all the strings ran right over the center of the pole pieces on the pickups and mentioned that a lot of manufacturers don't bother to check that and put the pickups a little off center. Pretty sure if Joe ordered a custom guitar from anyone they would be pretty picky about the build hoping he would love and endorse it, whereas the rest of us buying production line guitars get what we get.

 

So I thought I would take a look at my guitars and see how they lined up. $300 Tele low E,A,D,G line up pretty good, B and high E pretty far off. LP Standard Bridge pickup all good - Neck middle four strings good, low and high Es pretty far off. LP Lite Bridge pup good except high E, Neck middle four good, both Es off center.

 

Now to the expensive stuff: CS 356 Neck pup low E and A off, other four good. Bridge pup low E,A,D good other 3 strings pretty far off. And lastly an L-5 that I paid almost $10K for, both neck and bridge pups, all six strings way off. However since that guitar has a floating bridge I can probably loosen the strings, budge the bridge over a little and they will all be pretty close.

 

One thing I noticed is that most often the low E is off center. My bridges are all a little higher on that side because the string is thicker so to get correct string height and distance from bottom of string to pole piece I have to raise the bridge on the bass side higher than the treble side. Might be able to center the string better over that pole by lowering bridge and the pickup on that side, but may cause a problem with string height off fingerboard? Something I have overlooked for years in doing my own set-ups.

 

So wondering if anyone else ever looked at this as a quality check and most importantly if you think it makes much difference tone/soundwise?

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My Korean Epiphone is all out of whack on the bridge pickup. When I replaced the stock pickup, I actually used a trembucker (wider) so it would line up better with the pole pieces. Its still far from perfect, but I think that contributes ever so slightly to the guitar's unique sound, so I don't really care.

IMG_1972.jpg

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1505525134[/url]' post='1881630']

How did you play without strings??

 

I gave you a plus there too, I got a laugh. I read way back Joe Walsh loved Carvin and because of their accuracy and detail. I think they put that in to everyone's guitars they make. Or at least that's what I heard. The guitar I have that was the furthest off was my Squire vintage modified Jag. When I first got it, some strings didn't even come close to the poles. But the bridge allows you to move the strings. I think it was played some as a floor model at GC because right after I got home with it, within a couple of days the high E just snapped.

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My Squier Esprit (which is hanging on the wall) lines up pretty much perfect for the bridge pup, but is way out on the neck one. Its unfortunate because its the neck one I use. This is partly Buttery's fault because I sent details of string spacing when ordering those pups.

 

Does it matter? Well, no. It sounds great.

 

On this topic, I will say that Schaller make a combi bridge that permits string spacing movement. I have one of these on my Ric 650 and its a useful feature to me as I like to keep the Es well away from the fingerboard edges. There are no pole positions evident on those (mini-HBs) pups, but again, it sounds just fine.

 

I'm inclined to think that its not too important. The only guitar I ever used with string volume disparity (the low E was too quiet) was a cheap Charvette, but that was because the pups were cheap & nasty.

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Honestly, I don't really every check........I go by the sound......if I strum a full chord, and I can't hear certain strings/they are not blending well, I'll mess with the height/angle or the pole pieces, but as long as each string sounds like it has good definition, I leave it alone.

 

NHTom

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it's more important that the strings properly line up with the neck. moving the sting location to line up with the pole piece is the wrong approach. if it bothers someone that much, the correct thing to do is fix the pick up, not the string location.

 

i don't believe it matters anyway, because i don't think of those pole pieces as microphones. magnetic fields occur in an arc. you dont need the kind of precision some folks seem to worry about. if you did, les paul would have addressed it long ago.

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To me it does matter, at least it did on my Epiphone 335 Pro.

 

The strings did not align, so no big deal, then the saddles started to fall apart, Stew mac has nickel plated brass saddles that fit Epis, for $6 a nice upgrade. Before I replaced them I noticed the Epi saddles have that cast notch in v shape, well the string spacing on the bridge is actually narrower on the bridge than it is on the tail piece.

 

When I notched the new saddles the string spacing is a bit wider and I like how the guitar plays better now and well, as a result the pole pieces line up.

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When you bend your B string doesn't it move away from being over the pole piece?

 

Yes. So goofs like myself and a bunch of others tell you to lift your strings not just for better playing but for better sound. The pickup can "see" the string better the higher it is. Betts can lecture you for hours about it.

 

rct

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In Memory Of E R is probably the best ABB song ever.

 

hmmm...jesus that is just so hard...

 

Revival

Come And Go Blues

Pony Boy

And then a really really newer one, Back Where It All Begins

 

These are all ones super special times seeing Dickey, so they are some odd ones that it was just special to get to see.

 

Stormy Monday, Tower Theater Philly PA, 2000-2001*, somewhere in there. Even Betts knew he needed the fire department to put him out.

 

And on record, there's a Blue Sky on one of the An Evening With records. A lesson in holding the band together while Warren just tears it up. Betts is so good with Butch that night it was just great they got it on tape.

 

rct

 

*Allen Woody played, so I had to look and see when he died, so this was late 99 or early 2000. I saw Mule a couple weeks before he died, that was after that 7 nights at the Tower.

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I've been thinking about this:

 

1) For me, it doesn't matter since I notice no difference when I bend strings

 

2) It could be an indication of how persnickety the guitar builder is and the attention to detail put in the rest of the instrument

 

3) Or it could mean that the manufacturer made both the pickups and the bridge and therefore used the same scale of measurement

 

I've never owned a Carvin guitar, but I have owned their speakers, both passive and amplified and they are great sounding speakers and very good value for the money.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

 

P.S. The strings on my Parker guitars line up with the poles on the Duncan pickups. But then the rest of the guitars also have a lot of attention to details.

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I forgot to lecture arrogantly on guitar history, so, you know...

 

Long ago there were two kinds of electric guitars, Fenders and Gibsons.

 

Fender's singles had a pole spacing and Gibson's humbuckers had another.

 

Soon after Seymour in the very early 80's, there were more than just Dimarzios around, and not long after that everybody everywhere was making pickups.

 

So guitar players had more pickups than they could imagine, and they were moving them all over the place. It was only later somebody realized, probably as a result of trying to sell a guitar, that the pole spacing could actually be noticed across the two kinds of electric guitars and all of the inferior copies that had also flooded the streets.

 

So then everyone had to talk about it and make it a big deal, and later Seymour or Dimarzio I don't remember who first, started making "F" spaced humbuckers.

 

And some said it was "Floyd" for these new fangled whamm-o bars the long hairs were using, but it wasn't, it was Fender. It does just happen that since Edward used a Fender bridge to show Floyd what he wanted Floyds happen to exactly match a Fender, but the F Spaced Humbucker was always for Fender.

 

So there you have it. More important and valuable guitar history from some doosch that lived it, and I didn't even charge you.

 

rct

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Yep that color is a winner.

 

My strings have no pole pieces to line up over on my D-28. Suck on that Joe.

 

I use a crappy Duncan soundhole pickup on my CFMarteens. I don't know, and I don't care, if it lines up. The Weight makes them smile, which makes me very happy, that's all the lining up I need.

 

rct

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