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Larsongs

How to adjust Pickup Pole Piece height on Gibson J-160E

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How to adjust Pickup Pole Piece height on Gibson J-160E?

 

Are there any tutorials or good videos?? I've looked but not seeing any.

 

Thanks,

 

L

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Just look up adjusting a P-90 pickup. There is also quite a bit of info about what the effect will be and how to adjust the poles to get that effect. If you are talking about raising the height of the pickup though you will need shims.

 

Here is one I quickly ran across.

 

Edited by zombywoof

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Just look up adjusting a P-90 pickup. There is also quite a bit of info about what the effect will be and how to adjust the poles to get that effect. If you are talking about raising the height of the pickup though you will need shims.

 

Here is one I quickly ran across.

 

 

Thanks.. I watched several You Tubes last night including that one. All were good but was hoping to find one that was a J-160E..

 

I don't want to raise the Pickup. I was hoping to find a Pro method of adjusting Pole Piece Heghts... More than adjust Scews to how you like them.....

 

Are there accurate Specs, certain DB levels or ???

 

Thanks again,

 

L

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How to adjust Pickup Pole Piece height on Gibson J-160E?

 

Are there any tutorials or good videos?? I've looked but not seeing any.

 

Thanks,

 

L

Hello!

 

I have owned and used the J-160E in its various configurations continuously for nearly forty years. Here is how I was once instructed to adjust the polepieces on the P90 pickups many years ago by an older man I had become acquainted with, who had worked for Gibson when these guitars were still being built up in Michigan.

 

Although I do not know what the specific model year or 'build configuration' of your own J-160E is...this is a good, general way to adjust the pickups on these guitars as I was instructed many years ago, by someone who claimed he'd worked at one time on building the 'originals', circa the 1950s-1960s.

 

First of all as a rule, your adjustments will vary somewhat from individual guitars depending upon the particular bracing, the tops (laminated or solid), winding differences on individual pickups, pickup age and perhaps most of all, the kind of strings you are using. For example, if you are using the more 'conventional' laminated top J-160E, you might wish to use high quality flatwound strings, provided you are seeking an authentic 'early Beatles tone' often associated with this guitar whether miked-up or amplified. On the other hand, if you have a solid top J-160E or you wish for greater volume and a more 'open' acoustic tone when playing your instrument un-amplified, then you may prefer the tone of wound strings.

 

Having mentioned these preliminary considerations and assuming you have your J-160E strung, in good tune and otherwise adjusted per your individual preferences for overall playability...especially the bridge height...we can now proceed to adjust your pickup polepieces for your guitar's P-90 pickups:

 

First bear in mind that on most pickups, adjusting the polepieces AS LOW AS POSSIBLE to obtain a full yet clear tone is best. DO NOT adjust the polepieces higher than that or you risk 'pull' on the strings by the magnetic polepieces which can both distort tone and minimize string vibration...always a sound rule to follow! Your goal is to

always obviate the best obtainable balance to your own ears of both tone and volume between all six strings.

 

Now, assuming your guitar is plugged into your amplifier and ready to play...first place your the guitar down flat on its back (on a safe surface) and you may begin by inserting a small single-slot screwdriver into the 'low E' polepiece below that string. Do NOT use an oversized or otherwise inappropriate screwdriver or you risk deforming the polepiece adjustment slots. You will be glad later, avoiding THAT.

 

Turn the polepiece until the tone on that string BEST rings clear and full to your ears. Next adjust the 'A' polepiece and so forth until each string rings clear and with best sustain. NOW, you may next proceed fine-adjusting each individual string to BALANCE THE VOLUME against all other strings so that each string projects EQUAL volume to the others as it rings, un-fretted.

 

In other words...first we adjust individual polepieces for optimal balance of clear TONE. THEN we adjust for optimal balance of best volume between individual strings. Play the instrument and check for sound when fretted for open and barred chords and also play up and down the neck and listen for the balance between strings to sound clear with good definition and balanced clarity for and between the individual strings. Provided your ears are pleased with what they are hearing...your P-90 pickup is now adjusted for optimal performance for the kind of strings you are using and for your guitars individual playability.

 

And one more thing to mention...if I may suggest...try to avoid setting your guitar pickups to precisely replicate the way someone on a video does it...your guitar is not his guitar! Each instrument is unique to an extent and it is always best to let your own ears be your guide. After all, it is YOUR guitar and you are playing it.

 

...Hope this information will be of service per your request and best wishes with your J-160E!

Edited by Billy C.

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Thank you very much for your response...

 

My Guitar is the Solid Top, Spruce & Mahogany, X Braced with P100.. With a newly installed Set of Martin Retro Monel .011's....

 

I've done what you have described... After adjusting to what sounded good to my ear I fine tuned the String sound to equal Db's with a Db Meter..

 

I watched many Videos.. One showed a Guy with a Paper Clip who adjusted the Pole Pieces just to the point where there was little or no magnetic pull on each of the Strings... Is that legit????

 

On my Guitar, the B String is extremely loud.. After adjusting all the Strings the Pole Piece Screw on that String is screwed way below the Suface of the Pickup... Is that a problem???

 

Thanks,

 

L

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If the B string is louder than the rest and screwed all the way down, I would try raising the volume of all the other strings to balance the volume of all the strings, maybe keeping the volume on the bass strings a bit softer. That’s just my take. I have a 1965 125TC with a P90 and that’s the approach I take.

 

One other thing to think of is going with 12s rather than 11s. My experience is 12s or 12.5s or 13s work best on acoustic guitars while 11s seem to be the domain of purely electric guitars. (12s work good on acoustic electrics in most cases.). The J160E, especially the solid top version, is still primarily an acoustic as well as an acoustic electric. The heavier strings might balance the volume and the guitar a bit before the P100 is adjusted.

 

Just my experience.

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

Edited by QuestionMark

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Yes, on some of these guitars it seemingly becomes a genuine 'balancing act' pertaining to satisfactory adjustment of certain polepieces and their overall effect on a specific string. For some reason the particular issue you mention encountering, regarding excessive volume at your 'B' is actually not that uncommon to encounter. It can occur sometimes on P-90 equipped guitars, as well. It may even present on a different string, for example a 'G' or an 'A'. The P-100 is essentially a somewhat 'hotter' pickup by its nature, as compared to the P-90. Nonetheless, identical adjustment procedure ought to yield your expected satisfactory results, albeit a little more time and patience expended toward that end.

 

I once owned a '66 J-160E and encountered that same tendency to 'over project' at its 'B' with the polepiece essentially 'buried' into the guitar. Eventually with more effort, I was able to at least 'minimalize'...to make less obvious the prevailing issue at that string by adjusting polepieces of the adjacent strings to be more pronounced, although the problematic 'B' on that guitar was never fully off steroids.

 

As pertains to the 'paper clip magnetic thing' you mention...I've neither heard nor encountered anything like that??? However, it ought be entirely satisfactory to your needs merely being attentive to balance the tone and volume between individual strings as earlier mentioned in this thread. Being certain that to begin with, the polepieces are not excessively high as you begin your polepiece adjustments! Therefore, no need to go to such a length.

 

So, short of having the instrument professionally serviced...the way to go about achieving the best possible result in your situation is to follow the proferred advice to the letter, aiming toward 'averaging out' the best degree of overall volume balance and tone between the strings that you can achieve. Expect, it will take considerably more time and patience to do so. You likely may not achieve 'perfection'. But do attempt at least making such 'disparity' as minimally audible, as possible.

 

Chances are with you, that you ought eventually get it someplace within the ballpark, in terms being acceptable. But failing that, then perhaps considering a replacement pickup may be your best solution as per remedy, should the issue persist as unsettling to your ears. In any case, trust to your hearing to inform you your exertions have yielded satisfactory results...or not.

Edited by Billy C.

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Thanks for the replies..

 

I think I've got it pretty well balanced overall.. I was curious about the B string polepiece being buried so far into the Guitar in comparison to the other strings.. Also, if I may have some of the other polepieces magnet wise too close to the Strings....

 

Any suggestions, thoughts or advice is appreciated...

 

Thanks again,

 

L

 

PS Here's the Magnet video I saw last night...... Let me know what you all think...

 

Edited by Larsongs

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Larsongs. I have a 2008 J160 same material build as yours and can confirm I have the pole screw way down at the B string. I have 12 to 52 electric Elixir strings on as I plug into a Vox amp.

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Larsongs. I have a 2008 J160 same material build as yours and can confirm I have the pole screw way down at the B string. I have 12 to 52 electric Elixir strings on as I plug into a Vox amp.

 

Seems to be consistent on these Guitars with the B string... Good to know...

 

Any thoughts on the Video with the Paper Clip to avoid magnetism on Strings???

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