Question, re: pickup height, Riviera P93

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by Apostata, Dec 4, 2019.

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  1. Apostata

    Apostata New Member

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    Hi all,

    I've been proceeding with my Riviera for a while now and, with my guitar instructor, have been making small moderations. I got it used and the previous owner liked his action heigh and his string gauge heavy (11s), so I've had the truss rod adjusted and 10s put on to make it easier for me to maneuver on the fretboard.

    One thing he's pointed out is the height of the bridge pickup and how he feels it interferes with the playability (and overall tension). He's had to adjust the height of the screws so that they are as low on the pickup as possible.

    My question, for anyone who has a P93, is your bridge pickup as high as mine? I'm assuming this is as it originally was meant to be. Photo attached. [​IMG]
     
  2. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    p93setup.jpg
    The pickup height is fixed by the spacer between the base and the guitar's top. Your bridge seems awfully low, (like decked?) and you are eliding the tension bar on your Bigsby. I suggest that some attention to those issues might prove efficacious.
     
  3. Apostata

    Apostata New Member

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    Hi @Biddlin - I may need some hand-holding here to understand your response. When you say my bridge seems low -- what exactly does that mean? When I look at your layout, your bridge pickup spacer seems to be lower than mine, however that could be the angle of the photograph. Also, and this speaks to my newbie-ness, not sure what you mean by "eliding the tension bar."

    Thank you for your patience. I'm attaching another photo to show how close the E-string is to the pickup. pickup.jpg
     
  4. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Looks like you need a thinner shim under that bridge pickup.
     
  5. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    dtp93.jpg
    A: the strings should be under the tension rollerbar for proper tension with Bigsby, although jazz players like myself sometimes elide the bar for a softer feel on the fretboard.
    B: When setup at the factory, the bridge height is more like the above photo.



    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Unlikely, but if so he'd probably have to make one.
     
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  7. Apostata

    Apostata New Member

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    That's what it looks like to me, but I guess part of me is curious what the default bridge pickup spacer height is supposed to be (and, if what I have was some sort of custom job...why?)
     
  8. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    5/32"
     
  9. Apostata

    Apostata New Member

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    Interesting. I've looked closely at the spacer and it seems that it lifts ever so slightly on one side, meaning that it is higher on one side than the other.

    Side question: where did you find your specs?

    spacer-l.jpg spacer_r.jpg
     
  10. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I measured my fresh out of the shipping box Riviera P-93.
     
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  11. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Active Member

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    When I had one it was set with a very high bridge at playing action, but yours seems lower. These are production guitars so the neck angle is going to dictate how much adjustment room you have. The angle on this one might have just been a hair under spec making the playing action a bit lower (relative to the body) than the target for the model. I would say just take the shim out, place sand paper on a flat surface and sand that surface that touches the pickup by 2-3 mm, maybe more if you think it needs it. You just want to make sure you don't get lower than the middle pickup since that will mess with your pickup volumes.

    It might seem a little extreme to start sanding a piece of your guitar, but honestly, that's the whole point of a shim. They are "supposed" to be the right thickness for the specific guitar that they are on, but in the case of a production guitar they just go with an average of what works. (This is not a dig on Epiphone, this would be true of most guitars.) So honestly, IMO, slack the strings, take out some sand paper and go to town. Personally I would start with a low grit (120 or so) and work up to 400. The surface will be hidden by the pickup so it doesn't need to be pretty, just straight.
     
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  12. Apostata

    Apostata New Member

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    I'm glad you're saying this b/c yeah, as a beginner it does seem a little extreme, but that also speaks to how much lies ahead for me to understand about guitars in general. It makes sense that a production model (vs. custom, I assume) is going to have a baseline spec with allowance for slight imperfections. I'm not sure I'm confident enough to do the pickup removal myself, but I live in a city with a crapload of luthiers, so one way or another I'll give it some thought. Thank you.
     
  13. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Active Member

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    No problem. If you are technically capable in any way it is a really easy thing to do. It is literally two screws... just put it back in the right way. With the slant on the cover, this will be obvious, but you would laugh if you knew how many times I put a pickup back in backwards and only noticed when the strings were back on ahahaha. In any case, there is nothing wrong with bringing it to a luthier/guitar tech to get it done if you are not comfortable and have the money for it. They might tweak a few things while they have it. It literally can't make it worse (unless you take it to a charlatan).

    As for how much there is to know about guitars, there are a few little issues that you learn through the years (buzzing or electrical stuff), but in general they are very simple little machines. The bigsby is a bitch to re-string at first, but you'll get the hang of it eventually. Again, it's not a technical thing, just hard to get the ball to stay in while trying to get the string under the bar and to the tuner ahahah, such a frustrating design--sounds great though!
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019 at 11:26 AM
  14. DaveInSoCal

    DaveInSoCal Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, my suggestion would be to have a professional setup done, especially being a "newbie". The best way to learn what a good setup looks like is to have a "pro" do it so you know you have a good baseline.

    Also if you are in the beginning learning stages, a properly setup guitar will make playing much more intuitive and enjoyable.
     
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