Why pickups slanted (both ways)?

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by krispp, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. krispp

    krispp SS.org Regular

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    This guitar came with the pickups sloped on both axes: bridge-neck, and low-to-high string. Was it set like that on purpose, or is it random? And how anyway are you supposed to adjust bridge-neck tilt?

    The neck EMG 85, BTW, sounds muffled. Is it supposed to be like that or is it because of how it's set?

    Bridge-neck:
    [​IMG]

    Across strings:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. VBCheeseGrater

    VBCheeseGrater not quite a shredder

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    the high to low string axis is normally intentional, to get more output out of the lower strings than the high strings, since the pickup is closer on the lower string side. Just adjust the screw on either side of the pickup to your liking.

    Too close (almost touching) will sometimes cause problems with both sound and tuning, and too far away will will be too low output.

    The way they are set now looks fine to me, but again it's personal preference.

    edit - the bridge to neck axis is not normal, but common. You might need to check the spring under the adjustment screws. unscrew the pickup ring and pull out the pickup (with the ring) to get to the springs
     
  3. asilayamazing

    asilayamazing SS.org Regular

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    85's are higher output. try lowering it a bit. i have mine just under+/- level with the fretboard. can raise the 81 quite a bit but 85's will sound crappy too close. but they are suppose to be close.

    and what do you adjust the axis or whatever? :scratch:

    the closer on the low strings is for crunch and output and the far away on the high strings give a smoother sound for solos. and less pick noise on high strings.
     
  4. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Yeah the slope of the pup toward the bridge is not likely intentional. Humbuckers are wide pickups with a single screw (along each side) to adjust height, so it's not uncommon for them to tip. Sometimes it takes removing the pickup and adjusting whatever foam or stuff is under, or putting something in there to level it.
     
  5. Stealthdjentstic

    Stealthdjentstic Banned

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    I usually slant mine the other way just a touch.
     
  6. asilayamazing

    asilayamazing SS.org Regular

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    mine too other way on neck bridge level.
     
  7. krispp

    krispp SS.org Regular

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    You'd think they'd figure out a way to hold it level by now... :) I'll try to see what's going on in there. Too bad they don't use a reliable mounting mechanism.

    The 85 is about level with the fretboard on one side (well, one corner), and lower otherwise.

    What?

    You mean closer to high strings, farther away from low strings?
     
  8. Rook

    Rook Electrifying

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    Normally pickups are angled along the axis parallel to the strings (I.e closer to the high string, further from the low or vice versa) in order to balance volume. It's all about volume balance, which is why neck pickups are often just a little further from the strings than the bridge pickup - the string vibrates with a greater amplitude so the output at the neck pickup relative to bridge (assuming similar spec) would be higher. Similarly, the thicker strings are 'more magnetic' so both pickups will usually be a little further from the strings on the bass side than treble so that if you play a chord using all your strings, each note rings out the same. Some companies, like Vigier for example, set all their guitars up in the factory so that each individual pole piece of the pickups is closer or further from the strings relative to output to get completely even response whichever pickup you use or wherever you play.

    The other axis of rotation you mention, along the width of the pickup (as in your first pic) is purely as a result of people using generic pickup rings that don't necessarily follow the profile of their particular body. It happens a lot and doesn't make a massive difference really.


    As for how far your pickups should be from the strings, EMG's use very weak magnets so should be as close as possible without buzz, however passive pickups which use stronger magnets can create magnet pull on the string during normal operation which causes intonation problems or ringing on the string particularly on high frets that makes the guitar sound out of tune. This is more so the case with ceramic based pickups.
     
  9. krispp

    krispp SS.org Regular

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    Fun: The slope here is closer to the bass strings. I guess there are multiple schools of thought on that? As for the bridge-neck tilt, it's not due to flat rings; the rings do seem to match the body surface, with their tops parallel to the strings. It's just the picksup that are sloped.

    I'll see if moving the 85 improves the situation.
     
  10. VBCheeseGrater

    VBCheeseGrater not quite a shredder

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    ^^ yeah, its not always the pickup rings. I saw a new 7321 at GC the other day that had been manhandled, the bridge pickup was sloped much worse than you've got going on on yours, its just the mounting screws/springs and whatnot.
     
  11. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    That's definitely a factor, but the bigger reason IMO is really specific to singlecoil pickups with "vintage" polepiece stagger. This dates back to the early days of unwound G strings. A wound G string is magnetically a lot weaker than an unwound, so a vintage stagger will have the G string's polepiecemuch closer to the string than a "modern" stagger, designed from the ground up for an unwound G. Since the number of players using wound G's today is approximately seventeen, it became common to compensate by running the bass side of your pickups a lot further back than the treble side, buying you a bit more space under that G string and giving you better string-to-string balance.

    With a modern stagger or any pickup with adjustable polepieces, the reasons for doing this are much less. My strat's singlecoils are essentially level.
     
  12. maxz

    maxz Member

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  13. rgaRyan

    rgaRyan Ermahgerd!

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    I have active pups in my Ibanez RGA and the neck pup actually wobbles if you try to move it, the bridge one is fixed in place. Don't know what that means, lol.
     
  14. Rook

    Rook Electrifying

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    I would be one of the seventeen! :lol: On my strat anyway.

    As a tech, I find myself ending up putting the bass side of humbuckers slightly further from the strings than the treble side so that when I play a six (or seven, or eight, whatever) string chord all the notes ring evenly, wasn't really getting into the lineage :lol: I know exactly what you're getting at though and agree. I have on occasion staggered pole pieces all the way along but its tedious and the bass/treble axis is a fair approximation that gets the balance where I like it, it is all, of course, down to taste.

    OP: I can see what you mean from your pics now, your pickups have just fallen into that position I think, it's not something people do intentionally.

    As for being closer on the bass side, again, it could have just ended up that way. Do you like how it sounds? Does the balance suit you? Play a six string chord, if you can hear everything equally or how you like it it doesn't need adjustment.
     
  15. TRENCHLORD

    TRENCHLORD Banned

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    When it comes to bass side vs treble side adjustment, as already said, just use your ears and hear/feel it into your personal preference. The way you set action and the way your frets and bridge are radiused will greatly effect the pickup setting.

    As for the bridge/neck leveling (wobble). Just remember that when fretting higher up on the board you are pushing the string down and changing how it's angle relates to the magnet.
    For the bridge81, I like it to slant inward so that it's angle matches the bass string when the string is fretted at the 12th-15th fret approx.
    I've always noticed a tiny bit more bite like that because it puts the bridge side of the magnet a bit closer when playing on the lower half of the board (frets 1-12), and even above that.
    Many pickup rings are already made to give it the needed tilt if they fit tight.
    If it has some wobble, you can tear off a sliver of electrical tape and carefully place it on the side of the pickup right where the pickup meets the ring on the bridge side of the pickup (on the treble side that would be down by the emg logo).
    This way it can't rock around (p.i.)
    I've also seen people just jam a tiny piece of anything between the side of the magnet and the pickup ring to tighten things up.
     

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