So I decided to adjust my pickups and pole pieces…

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by Space1999, Jun 7, 2021.

  1. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

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    BGood really got me thinking about my pickup height and pole piece height. So I decided to “educate” myself on this subject and I started in the most foul of all places…YouTube. :facepalm:

    I watched a Pro supposedly lower a pu only to watch the pu screw raise instead of the pu lower and strum the guitar and say “Now doesn’t that sound fuller!” :rofl:

    A conspiracy theory video based on Seth Glover’s original patent for the humbucker. :squint:

    Then many videos which were obsessed with the B string or the G string pole piece height. :drool:

    It was Gibson TV which had this video that gave me the answers that worked…



    After that, it was the experience of practicing it, failing, trying again, and then gradually producing results that eased my shaking hand clutching my metric ruler and allowed me to relax and use my eyes and ears as well.

    Pat
     
  2. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    :laugh2:
     
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  3. soulman969

    soulman969 Well-Known Member

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    IME his last tip carries the most weight and also has the most value. Each of us hears what we hear and likes what we hear or doesn't like what we hear. Our ears are the final judge.

    But that's not to say the rest has any less value either.

    Pickup and pole piece heights can vary a great deal from guitar to guitar because we are typically playing different pickups in each of them but each should also have a beginning point to work from which is more often than not the factory suggested heights. Starting there we can then raise or lower to taste depending on the type of pickup itself.

    Humbuckers often require different height adjustments than single coil pickups or P90s and the output of a pickup also comes into play so there really is no magic formula other than if it sounds right to you then it is right. Our ears are often the best measuring instrument we'll ever need to nail this.

    I also favor his suggestion regarding the use of coins to measure the clearance of the pickup or pole piece below a string since they're very easy to slide under the string to act as a "feeler gauge" for string heights. I keep a small jar of coins on my bench and use them for my height adjustments.

    I tend to think of adjusting pickup heights much like making soup or chili or a pasta sauce. There may be a basic recipe for it but every chef adjusts it to taste adding or subtracting ingredients here and there 'til he gets the results he wants.
     
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  4. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    The one tool I've bought from Stewed Macaroni is this. https:amazon.com/StewMac-AN5988-Pickup-Clearance-Gauges/dp/B06XS3B9J2/
    [​IMG]
    No, they're not bloody Allen keys they're round pieces of bent brass. Ridiculously priced bent brass, that costs the same on their site once you factor in shipping.
    As a *baseline* I use the middle two gauges. Hold the E / e string down at the last fret and "feel" it. Thicker one for the bass side, thinner of the two for the treble. This at least sets a decent playable starting point. I've got another thing made by a machinist somewhere that I had to email the guy for that I like maybe a bit better.
     
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  5. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

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    Stewie also makes the handy dandy String Action Guide.
    It does everything you need to do on a guitar.

    I was gonna blow $25 on it but I got use to a metric ruler and feel.

    Pat
     
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  6. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Music Nomad has one that's as good for much less.
    Truth be told, I don't care much for StewMac, they have a cultivated clientele that just ain't me.
    I bought that pickup gauge from Amazon at the same total price as it would have been from SM which included their (mandatory) FedEx shipping. This allowed me to stay off their mailing list lest I somehow be tempted to buy a country club membership to make buying their marked up merch worthwhile.
    Plenty of other sources for tools etc. At the time, I was just looking for a short cut to make setups a bit more efficient and it was the only game in town for this specific tool.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021
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  7. AJ6stringsting

    AJ6stringsting Well-Known Member

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    I love Stew- Mac, their prices are sometimes, outrageous, but man they have, at times, specialty tools you can't find anywhere else.
     
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  8. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

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    I love their Guitar Grease. It just fixed a problem I had with a Bigsby on my Swingster. That and the coated wire for nuts.

    Truth is, they have tools that I would love to own, like their fret dressing set.

    I use their neck guide all the time. Thing is made of like 1/4” aluminum.

    Pat
     
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  9. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Is that all it was? Shoot man I should have told ya to grab some Super Lube! between that, a pencil, and some Boeshield I'd be good to go.
    You mean this stuff?
    Should have bought a Neck Check! U.S. made goodness for less! I've got their Fender / Gibby model and their short scale Fender along with the Fret Rocker that was bundled with the F/G.

    Sometimes outrageous? On sale 20% off a Fender / Gibby notched straight edge is $86.79 plus shipping!

    The Neck Check is under $25 regular price and you get a fret rocker!

    Those gauges I mentioned above were superseded by a tool machined by a guy named Larry who did his business by word of mouth. I happily paid for his craftsmanship.
     
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  10. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I pulled the spring and measured it and it was 7/8” (standard Bigsby size)

    So when I put it back in I use coated the top and bottom of the spring.

    The strings were hanging on the nut, so out came the Mitchell’s and I increased the width in a few places.

    Dear viewers, if you have never used this stuff before, be careful! It will chew through a nut!

    After that everything was everything. :)

    Regarding the price of that neck gauge, yeah my @$$ is a little chapped after you showed me additional options. Thanks Raiyn.

    Pat
     
  11. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Was the plastic washer gone?
    I'd have tried the pencil first, presuming plastic or bone nut. I haven't encountered that issue on a Tusq. I'm hoping you didn't go too nuts with the width, that's problems all on its own.
    Sorry about that, it was more to illustrate that there are other resources than Cheesy Mac.

    I had to disabuse a fellow elsewhere of the notion that the Stew Mac roller bridge is "the only one with a 12" radius"
    Screenshot_2021-06-12-16-03-54.jpg

    Oh? What about this one?
    Screenshot_2021-06-12-16-07-01 (1).jpg

    "But that's metric!" you cry as you ready the torches. Ah yes, but this one isn't
    Screenshot_2021-06-12-16-10-22.jpg

    This is the part where I tell you that I sourced two of the metric ones, brand new from different vendors and platforms for <$60 each shipped. They want like $96 before shipping. Sure the GA is "cheaper", but it damn sure ain't the only game in town with it's generic self.
     
  12. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

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    No there are permanent rubber pads on top and bottom.

    Yes it has a Tusq nut. I traced the noise back to the nut eventually which explains all the weird noises at the body.

    I did take a pinch of width out for a few strings because my higher gauge strings did not fit well in the slot.

    I use a marker or pencil whenever I am filing or using the Mitchell’s so I know how deep or wide I am increasing something. Once the marker line is gone I know to stop.

    No more hang ups at the nut and no more clicking sounds.

    I am becoming a believer!

    BTW Do you have to take the Bigsby apart to put the TP Roller bar in or do they both just snap in and out?

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
  13. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    The roller bridge is a Tone Pros and it'll install like any other T.O.M. with "locking" grub screws at the posts.

    The other stuff like the Callaham string through bar and the front bar with the ball bearings (I forget the maker's name) will require disassembly of the Bigsby.

    Wait, what?
    20210613_145931.jpg
    There's a plastic washer that you put under the spring in that pocket. Where do you get rubber?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
  14. dasherf17

    dasherf17 Member

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    To me, anyway, turning screws isn't rocket science, nor is listening for results in the even-ness of of a strum (finding out which string sticks out in the mix)...for some reason that made sense to me if the notes in the strum were even.
     
  15. dasherf17

    dasherf17 Member

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    I don't use S/M as much as I used to...I mainly used them when I started finishing my Les Paul kit and found myself accumulating 5 more Projects throughout the year...+...I find their ColorTone sprayables good to use...tried others' products, but haven't gotten used to them. Got a few tools there, but yeah, the prices were pretty "up there".
     
  16. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    That's one area I will certainly defer on. I can make 'em sound good, I can mod them, but making the finish nice? Not my department if you catch my drift.
     
  17. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree,

    I feel that a guitar should sound like a guitar. It is a G string centric instrument and the unevenness of the projection of the individual strings make it sound like a guitar.

    In other words, I don’t try to get absolute evenness out of a guitar’s string output. It just doesn’t sound natural to me.

    Pat
     
  18. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

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    OK so I am a little embarrassed. I have always thought that the orange plastic washer at the bottom of my Bigsby spring cup was rubber.

    I guess because it looked like a pencil eraser color rubber, I don’t know. I never even touched it before. Duh-huh…

    But it is plastic as you predicted Raiyn.

    IMG_1187.jpeg

    Pat
     
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  19. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    No need to be embarrassed, mine is a white plastic but that orange might have thrown me too. I've seen that color in a flexible washer format (plumbing comes to mind) so yeah, I get it.

    I thought you were saying you had (black) rubber washers in there or that somehow the tip cover was on the spring... Ya had me confused there for a bit.
    :cheers:

    EDIT: If you've got ≈$10 and you want to try something different give the Reverend Soft Spring a look
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021

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