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  • Pickup height and tuning

    Okay, I've noticed that my Fernandes Strat sounds out of tune even when my Snark clip-on tuner says it's spot on. When I check tuning by using 12th fret harmonics, it's off, even though my intonation is as close to perfect as I can get it. If I tune using the 12th fret harmonics my guitar sounds much better. Then I ran across this:
    . . . if you have a Strat you want the bridge pickup as close to the strings as possible, . . . the neck and middle have to be a little further, with the bass side angled lower than the treble side to avoid the oscillating effect that happens when the pole pieces are too close and makes the string vibrate out of tune. (This is a very common problem and most people think their intonation is out. . . .
    Here's the page: http://www.guitartechcorner.com/tipsandtricks.htm
    So, is this what's happening to me? As I mentioned in another thread, I have the treble side of all three pickups set 1/16" (about 1.6mm) from the pole pieces with the string fretted at the last (22nd) fret and the bass side 3/32" (about 2.4mm).

    There's also this from the DiMarzio Forum http://www.dimarzioforum.com/forum/i...p?topic=3542.0
    Depends on how close and what type of PUs, but as a general guideline TOO close is not good.
    The magnetic field can affect your tuning, sustain and add a kind of funny vibration to your notes in some places of the neck (Stratitis).
    Ceramics magnets are more prone to that but some PUs with Alnico magnets can do that too if set too close to the strings. SCs are usually worst offenders than HBs.
    Last edited by DeepEnd; 08-21-2014, 08:36 PM.
    Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
    Member of the IBANEZ ACOUSTIC ASSASSINS
    Proud Member of The Alvarez Alliance
    Person-2-Person on the Web

  • #2
    Sounds like your pups are too close. Try dropping each side a couple of 64s.
    Listen...

    Comment


    • #3
      I mentioned stratitus in your other thread.

      It is what you described in the OP for this thread and it's caused by the magnetic pole pieces pulling on the string as if you were bending a note.

      Some single coil pickups use actual magnets for the pole pieces and are the worst offenders where humbuckers usually have the magnet underneath the coils.


      you can't control the wind but you can learn to sail

      contentment is true wealth

      Comment


      • #4
        This is from Fender's website

        http://www.fender.com/support/articl...r-setup-guide/ PICKUPS

        Set too high, pickups can cause myriad inexplicable phenomena. Depress all the strings at the last fret. Using a 6" (150 mm) ruler, measure the distance from the bottom of the first and sixth strings to the top of the pole piece. A good rule of thumb is that the distance should be greatest at the sixth-string neck pickup position, and closest at the first-string bridge pickup position. Follow the measurement guidelines in the chart below as starting points. The distance will vary according to the amount of magnetic pull from the pickup.
        Bass Side Treble Side
        Texas Specials 8/64" (3.2 mm) 6/64" (2.4 mm)
        Vintage style 6/64" (2.4 mm) 5/64" (2 mm)
        Noiseless™ Series 8/64" (3.2 mm) 6/64" (2.4 mm)
        Standard Single-Coil 5/64" (2 mm) 4/64" (1.6 mm)
        Humbuckers 4/64" (1.6 mm) 4/64" (1.6 mm)
        Lace Sensors As close as desired (allowing for string vibration)

        Comment


        • #5
          Okay, right now I have the pickups set pretty close to the "Standard Single-Coil" settings described in gardo's post except a bit lower on the bass side. Looks like I may have to set things closer to the "Texas Specials" spec if not a bit lower. I'll keep everyone updated. BTW, I don't know if this is what anyone else does but I slide a drill bit between the string and the pole piece to check clearance. Easier than a ruler or feeler gauges.
          Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
          Member of the IBANEZ ACOUSTIC ASSASSINS
          Proud Member of The Alvarez Alliance
          Person-2-Person on the Web

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DeepEnd View Post
            ... slide a drill bit between the string and the pole piece...
            That's a great idea - thanks for the tip.

            Do you know if your pickups have a bar magnet on the underside or if the pole pieces themselves are made of magnets?


            you can't control the wind but you can learn to sail

            contentment is true wealth

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DeepEnd View Post
              Okay, right now I have the pickups set pretty close to the "Standard Single-Coil" settings described in gardo's post except a bit lower on the bass side. Looks like I may have to set things closer to the "Texas Specials" spec if not a bit lower. I'll keep everyone updated. BTW, I don't know if this is what anyone else does but I slide a drill bit between the string and the pole piece to check clearance. Easier than a ruler or feeler gauges.
              Someone gave me a tip on shining a light across the strings and reading the "shadow" on the ruler.

              Comment


              • #8
                Its not crucial that those settings are accurate. As I suggested in the other thread. Drop all the pups a bit. It will cure this AND reduce that brittleness in the tone that you said you dont like.
                Don't pick a fight with an old man,
                If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.


                '' Who, me Officer?''

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DeepEnd View Post
                  Okay, right now I have the pickups set pretty close to the "Standard Single-Coil" settings described in gardo's post except a bit lower on the bass side. Looks like I may have to set things closer to the "Texas Specials" spec if not a bit lower. I'll keep everyone updated. BTW, I don't know if this is what anyone else does but I slide a drill bit between the string and the pole piece to check clearance. Easier than a ruler or feeler gauges.
                  TX specials have staggered poles so getting the 3rd string to clear that pole usually requires having the bass side lower.

                  You'll find the farther the pickup is from the bridge, the more its magnetic pull affects the string because the string is more flexible towards the center. Therefore you can have the bridge pup closer to the strings and have the center and neck farther away.

                  Many here are assuming your issue is the magnets pull on the strings. It may be a combination of issues. One that's often overlooked on guitars is the individual saddle heights for the strings and getting the string heights properly radiused with the fret board.

                  If the center strings are higher then the low E string is from the fret board they may be seeing more of the neck tension leaving the low E string wanged out. I'm usually pretty good with a ruler measuring string radius but I cant get that job done nearly as well without the proper tool. You may want to get yourself some under string radius gauges. You simply set the low and high string to the proper height above the 12th fret and use the radius gauge to set the rest. This one adjustment fixes all kinds of issues you may not know you even have. You can find cheaper ones on EBay but I found these to be highly useful on setups.

                  http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools...us_Gauges.html

                  You may want to check out this Stu Mac site. It lists how many famous guitarists set up their instruments. I'd view the ones for Strats so you get general idea of what the average setup specs are used. They will vary depending on the string gauges and brands being used of course, but its still pretty interesting. This is part of a book Stu Mac sells and can be useful if you're just looking to get better in doing your own setups, building, mods, or doing more serious Luthier work.

                  http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Online...r_guitars.html
                  Last edited by WRGKMC; 08-22-2014, 06:47 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I don't think it has anything to do with your pickups.

                    Set your intonation using the 12th harmonic and compare that to the 12th note fretted. That will tell you how much your string is out. Adjust accordingly.

                    This diagram is for a guitar with a tremolo, but the same thing applies to a hard tail. Get it right and you take a guitar that sounds like uhhhh to a guitar that sounds like ahhhh.


                    See here or see no where,
                    (you might need to control + to zoom into the pic)













                    Check all of your guitars this way.

                    How many times have guitars been sold off because they didn't sound good but really just the intonation was off...we cannot count them they are so many.
                    Rock on, Garth.
                    Last edited by Floyd Rosenbomb; 08-22-2014, 08:58 AM.
                    Besides being a guitar player,
                    I'm a big fan of the guitar.
                    I love that damn instrument.
                    -Steve Vai

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This ^^^ I came down here to say what Floyd said.
                      Remember that the string is not strictly "acoustic" symetrical. The magnets change the physics of the "12th to Bridge" half almost like there was a diameter taper.
                      Last edited by Chordite; 08-22-2014, 05:46 PM.
                      Less is more

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As Floyd and Chordite pointed out, the intonation should definitely be checked. If it were my guitar, I'd lower the pups first. The pickups can actually interfere with setting the intonation to the point were you can't trust the process. You are adjusting to a bent ruler in a manner of speaking.
                        Listen...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mrbrown49 View Post
                          As Floyd and Chordite pointed out, the intonation should definitely be checked. If it were my guitar, I'd lower the pups first. The pickups can actually interfere with setting the intonation to the point were you can't trust the process. You are adjusting to a bent ruler in a manner of speaking.
                          My concern here is that the effect of the pickup is going to be constant.

                          If we lower pickups,
                          then set up the guitar,
                          then raise the pickups back up
                          we are changing the force acting on the string and now we have to, perhaps, reset the setup on the strings.

                          So, I'd just get the pickups into the ballpark that they are going to be and then set everything up.
                          Besides being a guitar player,
                          I'm a big fan of the guitar.
                          I love that damn instrument.
                          -Steve Vai

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            ^

                            Well the way I look at it is this: If the pups are having thaaaaaaaaaaat much of an effect, then they are too close by definition. They interfere with the musical operation of the instrument. I suppose that would mean he's out of your ballpark.

                            My point is, that interference has to be removed to properly set the instrument up. Then he can raise the pups until he finds a balance btw the pull-effect and tone.
                            Last edited by mrbrown49; 08-22-2014, 10:48 PM.
                            Listen...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mrbrown49 View Post
                              ^

                              Well the way I look at it is this: If the pups are having thaaaaaaaaaaat much of an effect, then they are too close by definition. They interfere with the musical operation of the instrument. I suppose that would mean he's out of your ballpark.

                              My point is, that interference has to be removed to properly set the instrument up. Then he can raise the pups until he finds a balance btw the pull-effect and tone.

                              This.
                              At least drop the pups and raise them slowly until you know theiir " bite point" where they start to have a noticeable affect. Then back off a little.
                              ​As much as possible the pup should be just an observer.
                              Don't pick a fight with an old man,
                              If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.


                              '' Who, me Officer?''

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