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ES-339 Neck Pickup Alignment


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Folks

 

I have a new-ish ES-339, bought a few months ago from a dealer here in Canada. I notice that the neck pickup does not lie parallel to the strings, but is angled upwards at the bridge end of the PUP. I checked a few other -339's at a dealer, and thet all seem to be the same. Looks odd ... don't think it affect tone, but it must be having some effect, since the front of the pickup is lower than the back. Other than putting some from of padding under the pickup, I cannot see a way to fix this little detail.

 

My questions: Do any other -339 owners have the same "feature"? Can it affect tone - before I start fiddling around, removing screws, etc.

 

Many Thanks for advice, Larry

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Gibson is too cheap to get some flat pickup rings. The neck pickup on the 339 needs a flat pickup ring and there's no way to make it right otherwise.

 

If you want to fix it, get a bridge pickup ring and sand the underside of it flat so it's about 3/16" thick. That'll make it perfect. That's what I did and it worked great.

 

[thumbup]

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They're all like that. It annoyed me so much that I removed the pickup and ring. I reversed the ring (I reversed the pickup in the ring too to keep the poles in the original direction).

This fixed the situation. It had no effect on tone. It is much more pleasing to the eye.

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Thanks everyone, some good suggestions. I'll try sanding down a new bridge pickup ring. By the way, the tilting DOES affect levels. We measured them with a crude app on an iPhone, and the difference was measurable (normal vs taped parallel). So I have to believe that magnetism is closer to the strings, probably effects other things, slightly - intonation, tuning. Damned dumb design flaw, Gibson!

 

Flipping the pickup ring (and pickup) is not a perfect solution for me - the PUP is just out of level, pointing the other way .

 

Larry

 

They're all like that. It annoyed me so much that I removed the pickup and ring. I reversed the ring (I reversed the pickup in the ring too to keep the poles in the original direction).

This fixed the situation. It had no effect on tone. It is much more pleasing to the eye.

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Hi I've the same annoying thing on my CS-336 a more expensive guitar than ES-339.

It's very strange the way Gibson works. My CS-336 has a lot of small defects, and my Les Paul Studio '60s Tribute Limited Run is near perfect, and it cost the half.

 

Thanks for the suggestions.

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I have a FLAWLESS Epiphone LP, made in Korea, better build quality than the -339, although it doesn't sound as good, of course.

 

Funny how that works. I've played some awfully sweet Epiphones where I thought their construction was arguably better than their Gibson counterpart. But -- a big BUT -- the Gibson's blow the Epiphone away in sound quality.

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Folks

 

I have a new-ish ES-339, bought a few months ago from a dealer here in Canada. I notice that the neck pickup does not lie parallel to the strings, but is angled upwards at the bridge end of the PUP. I checked a few other -339's at a dealer, and thet all seem to be the same. Looks odd ... don't think it affect tone, but it must be having some effect, since the front of the pickup is lower than the back. Other than putting some from of padding under the pickup, I cannot see a way to fix this little detail.

 

My questions: Do any other -339 owners have the same "feature"? Can it affect tone - before I start fiddling around, removing screws, etc.

 

Many Thanks for advice, Larry

I know my 339 is like that -- and seems that all others I played and have seen are like that too. I agree with your app in that one can hear the difference in tone quality (or at least volume) from string to string.

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If anyone is interested, the app I use on my iPhone (iPod Touch) is RTA Lite (Real Time Analyser). Pretty good little app, and free - also useful when you want to check your band's sound spectrum, make sure the EQ is balanced. etc.

 

Larry

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  • 2 years later...

Folks

 

I have a new-ish ES-339, bought a few months ago from a dealer here in Canada. I notice that the neck pickup does not lie parallel to the strings, but is angled upwards at the bridge end of the PUP. I checked a few other -339's at a dealer, and thet all seem to be the same. Looks odd ... don't think it affect tone, but it must be having some effect, since the front of the pickup is lower than the back. Other than putting some from of padding under the pickup, I cannot see a way to fix this little detail.

 

My questions: Do any other -339 owners have the same "feature"? Can it affect tone - before I start fiddling around, removing screws, etc.

 

Many Thanks for advice, Larry

 

I bought a used Epiphone ES-339 in September 2013 from someone who bought it new about a year before. I also notice that the neck pickup is not parallel to the strings. The bridge side of the pickup is higher than the neck side. Very strange that this is so common.

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Yep if you want it done right you have to have either the Japanese,Chinese or Koreans do the work. It ain't going to happen with a USA firm these days which is sad. The whole thing makes me sick as I compare the Gibsons of the late '50's to todays guitars. To sum up you MIGHT get a really nice Gibson however the odds are that you will not get a really nice Gibson......this whole thing with the pickup should be a non-issue but only points out lack of follow through on the part of Gibson's line manager at the time of said guitars time of manufacture........jim in Maine

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It was up to the line inspector to not have signed off on that guitar of yours until that issue with the pickup was fixed.........a little thing but darn these guitars are not cheap especially in our current economy............sorry for my rant but my much beloved USA has got to start getting all of these 'little' things right otherwise the other countries WILL get it right..............jim in Maine

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Many of my Gibsons over the years have had this, so much so that I'm not sure if it's a defect or just "The Gibson Way."

 

In either case it doesn't bother me and I just ignore it. Many years ago I leveled one, found it made no difference in anything and haven't bothered with it since.

 

Danny W.

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Yeah, this is very common. On my L5 (new in 2010) the neck pup was slanted as you said. But knowing it didn't affect the sound or anything else I wasn't going to mess with it. Taking Larry's position that this is the Gibson way. At some point I took it to my tech to have the setup tweaked and that leaning pup bothered him so much he fixed it for me! I ain't complainin'.

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  • 1 month later...

Yeah, this is very common. On my L5 (new in 2010) the neck pup was slanted as you said. But knowing it didn't affect the sound or anything else I wasn't going to mess with it. Taking Larry's position that this is the Gibson way. At some point I took it to my tech to have the setup tweaked and that leaning pup bothered him so much he fixed it for me! I ain't complainin'.

 

I think it's an intentional part of the design. The tilt/cant compensates for the additional height of the polepiece screw heads to properly align with the flat top of the polepiece slugs on the secondary bobbin.

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  • 1 month later...

I referred to this thread a while back and was also convinced it was a mistake (in my case on a ES-359), but then I got another Gibson (ES-330) and it has the same slant, only the whole neck P-90's housing is molded to be slanted (obviously quite on purpose). This tells me it is NOT a mistake, it's how they're designed. While there may or may not be a difference in tone if the pickup is flat or slanted, the difference isn't necessarily good or bad, just different. It seems to me Gibson intended for it to be slanted. If you like the tone with it straight or just like the look of it straight, go ahead and change it, it's your guitar. But for anyone like me who noticed it and wondered, "hmm is this supposed to be like this?" I'd say the answer is yes. Play it and enjoy it, or take it apart and change it to suit your preferences if you think you know a better method of seating the pickup. Gibson thinks it should be slanted, however.

 

:-)

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But weren't the P-90s found on ES-330s designed for guitars such as the ES-175, which has a different top design and geometry to a 330? This leaves the neck pickup on a 330 lower at the front and rising up to meet the strings at the back, which looks a little peculiar. I don't know about the recent reissues, but my Japanese Casino has this design and I'm not desperately keen on the appearance of it. My vintage 330 has after market replacement covers that run parallel with the strings and it looks noticeably better for it.

 

At the end of the day Gibson is a manufacturer with a profit to make, and it's easy to understand why they would use an existing part that does the job just fine rather than have a new part made up specially. Whether that should extend to a pickup ring that costs a few cents to make I don't know, but I can see the logic.

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I referred to this thread a while back and was also convinced it was a mistake (in my case on a ES-359), but then I got another Gibson (ES-330) and it has the same slant, only the whole neck P-90's housing is molded to be slanted (obviously quite on purpose). This tells me it is NOT a mistake, it's how they're designed. While there may or may not be a difference in tone if the pickup is flat or slanted, the difference isn't necessarily good or bad, just different. It seems to me Gibson intended for it to be slanted. If you like the tone with it straight or just like the look of it straight, go ahead and change it, it's your guitar. But for anyone like me who noticed it and wondered, "hmm is this supposed to be like this?" I'd say the answer is yes. Play it and enjoy it, or take it apart and change it to suit your preferences if you think you know a better method of seating the pickup. Gibson thinks it should be slanted, however.

 

:-)

Nah - They don't have any flat pickup rings in their shop. The 339 has a fairly sharp curve in the top from the bridge to the neck. That's why using two pickup rings with the same slant doesn't work. A 335 doesn't have so sharp a curve and so you can get away with two rings with the same slant and it's not so noticable. Les Pauls don't have hardly any curve from bridge to neck, so they're fine. Figure it out from there. They sure can't be all "designed that way" if they're all designed different, no?

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Wow good point! I didn't know the ES-330 also used recycled plastics... So I guess that's "the Gibson way" huh, reuse what you have and don't spend a dime more than is absolutely necessary? Innovation costs money after all... maybe after the latest price increases they'll put money into new plastics ya think?

 

;-)

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