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Apostata

High pickup on Riviera P93 -- looking for feedback (pardon the pun)

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Hi all,

I have a 2nd hand Riviera P93 and it's come to my attention (via my guitar instructor who has made some adjustments to it -- the previous owner liked his action high and his string gauge heavy) that the bridge pickup is a little high -- as in the spacer connecting the pickup to the guitar top is too thick. Can anyone who has a P93 tell me if this looks odd? One of the reasons for the concern is that the (low) E-string is buzzing on the pickup and the pickup screw can't be adjusted any lower.

I'm a newb, so I don't mind hand-holding in order to understand what's going on.

49168894738_499395be6a_c.jpg

pickup.jpg

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The bridge actually looks a bit low- if that's where it's set for high action, then the neck angle must be off.  The simplest fix here is to simply take out the spacer and sand it down a wee bit- probably only need to take off  1/16" to stop the buzzing.   Don't worry about sanding it down too much, because you can always adjust the pickup upward.  

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7 minutes ago, Yorgle said:

The bridge actually looks a bit low- if that's where it's set for high action, then the neck angle must be off.  The simplest fix here is to simply take out the spacer and sand it down a wee bit- probably only need to take off  1/16" to stop the buzzing.   Don't worry about sanding it down too much, because you can always adjust the pickup upward.  

Thanks for the suggestion, re: sanding. Question:  aside from raising the strings, what effect, positive or negative would raising the bridge have on tone or playability?

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2 hours ago, Apostata said:

Thanks for the suggestion, re: sanding. Question:  aside from raising the strings, what effect, positive or negative would raising the bridge have on tone or playability?

Would be a change in both regards + and -..

on the plus, it will probably be a bit more resonant as the strings will have more room to move when played.

on the minus, it won't play as easily as it does with lower action.   

As is the case with ALL guitars, getting the action set to what "you" like is a balancing act that is determined by a players preference/touch and the guitars capability to support that setting. (things like high frets, truss rod response, how the slots in the nut are cut/regulated, all key ingredients into how the action can be set.)

What works for me, might not work at all for you, proper setups are crucial and it's a bit different for every one.

Find a good/reputable setup tech, who would be able to take it beyond what your teacher can do.  Trust me when I say, some setup techs are head and shoulders above others.  So finding a real good one is always a great thing to have on  hand.

Edited by kidblast
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Ideally, string height (action) should take into account your playing style- if you're a heavy strummin' rhythm sort of guy, or a finger-picker, then you want the action on the high side.  If you're into note-by-note melodies halfway up the fingerboard and beyond, lower action is better.  Don't be afraid to adjust the bridge height yourself- you can't really break anything.  If you want a good starting point, put a capo on the first fret and raise/lower the bridge until you get 4/64ths inch (about the thickness of  a quarter) at the 12th fret for the treble E string, and 5/64ths (just a wee-bit thicker than a quarter) for the low E (measuring from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of each string).  If anything buzzes at those settings, then  take it to a luthier.  99% of guitars should be able to handle those settings without buzzing.  

Edited by Yorgle
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20 hours ago, Apostata said:

Thanks, @kidblast - I appreciate the context, and yeah, I hear you on the subjective aspect of what, ultimately, "works". As a beginner I'm figuring that out for myself. 

I think the P90s w/dog ear mounts offer a bit of a side challenge too, since they can only go "So" low before you're faced with what you're finding on that bridge pickup.

Normally the pickup height setting would be quite a bit more flexible but those mounts do make for a different situation.

Good luck!  I'm sure you'll sort it out,, patience and perseverance wins.. 

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Apostata - Not sure if this helps, but here is a pic of my Epiphone Riviera Custom P93 guitar. If you are a newbie as you say, I agree with others here and strongly suggest that you go to an experienced guitar tech for a professional set-up. A good tech will ask you what your concerns are and how you like your guitar set, then take measurements upfront, explain everything he intends to do during the set-up and provide you with the measurements for how he set your guitar when you pick it up. Have the tech put a fresh set of strings on with the gauge you want to use.

If your pickup height is a concern, you can purchase dog ear shims of different widths to adjust the pickup height to your preference. I bought a set from Lollar when I purchased replacement pickups for my guitar. I believe Fralin also sells them. They are very easy to install. If you buy a set, you can experiment with different pickup heights and see for yourself the trade-offs for raising or lowering the pickups.

Good luck!

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