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Pickup Questions


RLHofer

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Are pickups wired such that a pickup can be turned around in it's cavity(still wired as original) and still sound the same? Or, are some/all pickups wired such that the end of the pickup nearest the fat 6th string(for example) needs to stay in that proximity to the 6th string due to the way the pickup is wired? I ask for a purely aesthetic reason. On my bargain basement 60's tribute Gibson LP, the two pickups sit at different angles relative to the strings. The back(bridge?) pickup sits at an angle roughly parallel to the strings. The front(neck?) pickup, however, sits at an odd angle in relation to the strings. It just LOOKS odd when I look down at the guitar. If turning the front/neck pickup around won't affect the sound, I will probably do so as it would then be roughly parallel with the strings(similar to the back/bridge pickup)... IF the wiring is long enough to allow me to do so. Thanks in advance.
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If this is regarding pick-up height on each side of the strings...that's adjustable and the bass side should usually be lower so the thicker strings don't come out of the amp with too much power compared to the overall sound.

 

Pick-ups aren't supposed to be equal in distance from the strings on both sides. IMO the pickup that appears parallel (not slanted) is not properly set-up and that's the one to be concerned about.

 

There is no need to take out and reverse the direction of a pick-up to make it higher or lower on one side - the adjuster screws do that.

 

 

Been round the block but am not over the hill...

 

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I have heard of guys turning their pickups around and their reason was to move the poles further from the bridge or further from the neck...so my guess is it will change the sound as you will be moving the poles...I would leave the wiring as is, if possible, as you may want to reverse the decision...

 

+1 on using the adjustments already available as opposed to turning the pick up around... :cool:

Take care, Larryz
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if you are referring to the tilt of the pickups which i think you are then all you would need to do is put some foam in the pickup cavity to create the angle you want. i wouldn't reverse the pickup. the problem is the springs on Gibson pickups cannot adjust tilt.

 

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I think Guitarzan seems to most closely understand what I'm talking about. I hear what you are saying, Bartholomew, but that's not the "issue" I'm seeing with the pickup. I should point out that I wasn't even thinking of what you described, but I certainly will now; you see, I'm really a newbie with many things guitar-related(62-year old newbie) and have many holes in my education. Thanks for the info.

 

LarryZ, same as with what Batholomew said.... I hear ya, hadn't thought of it, don't even care to open up the pickup and have someone 'splain to me. At my point on the guitar scale, it'll be a while before just learning to play takes a back seat to understanding how to manipulate nuances of pickups to get "that" sound. LOL Thanks to all for the info.

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I'm only two years older than you RL and I probably wouldn't be able to hear those nuances either LOL! One thing you might consider is having a set up done by a local guitar store tech. A good set up will cost about $60 bucks and I'll bet they'll make that pickup look the way you want it to in the price...the guitar will almost always look, sound and feel better after a good initial set up. Pick out the strings and gauge you like best before taking it in... :cool:
Take care, Larryz
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You can easily adjust the pickup height and angle with just a small phillip's-head screwdriver. Very often, on Gibson guitars, the rear/bridge pickup is raised higher from the body, and may look like it's a little more aligned with the strings. If one side of the pickup is noticeably higher than the other, the whole thing can look slightly askew, but it really isn't. Usually, you would adjust the height of the pickups to balance their output.

 

I've seen a few (very few) Les Pauls with the so-called "Peter Green" mod, where the neck pickup is reversed, such that the pole pieces are nearer to the bridge than the neck - don't bother trying it. There were a number of factors in that particular vintage LP, which helped to create his unique tone, flipping the pickup is just money thrown away. You're better off with a good set-up.

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

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OK,

 

are you referring to the two coils of the humbucker-pickup being angled in relation to the strings, so that the neck-pickup's inner/slug-coil is further down away from the strings, with its screw-coil higher and closer to the strings, while the bridge-pickup has both coils flatly parallel to the strings?

 

Or do you mean the bass-side is lower down away from the strings, while the treble-side is closer?

 

I'm guessing that you meant the first...

 

If so, I can tell you that on my Gibson Les Paul, the pickup mounting-ring, or bezel, for the neck-pickup was cut at too shallow of an angle, resulting in its slug-coil being further away beneath the strings than the adjustable screw-coil.

 

I corrected that by carefully bending the metal brackets by which the pickup is mounted to the bezel; but y' know what? I found that it sounded MUCH more to my liking the way it was with the slug-coil farther from the strings, so I put everything back to the way it was before. I suggest that you might leave well enough alone! :thu:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Caevan,

 

I think your first take on my "issue" is correct(gee, it'd be nice if I'd have taken a picture, eh?). The pickups are P90's with no rings. It may well turn out as you have described, liking the sound better as the pickup originally sat. I think I WILL take the guitar in and have a setup done, including dressing the frets. I'll have the pickup situation looked at then. It may be that Guitarzan's suggestion of using some foam to affect the pickup's positioning in the cavity is all that is needed. Again, maybe the sound will suffer.... it's a complicated world sometimes. Thanks again for all the info, guys!

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Aaaaah, OK, I thought you had humbuckers there.

 

I'm not sure how turning the pickup around will change it's angle relative to the strings; it's the shape of the route, the hole routed in the wood, that is dictating that angle. You'll note that the pickup-cover fits pretty snugly in there, with little or no room around it; they're often tight enough in there that tacky lacquer sticks to the unseen portion of a P-90 "soap-bar's" plastic cover, and they can even be a bit resistant to being removed. The Les Paul that I had that came with P-90's was the same way you describe-

 

-that is, if you're meaning that front-to-back, neck-to-bridge, it's angled beneath the strings.

 

Turning the P-90 neck-pickup around- if it can be turned-around with the wiring- may indeed have a subtle effect on the sound of the middle/both-pickups-on position of the toggle-switch, as it will change the polarity of the magnets of the two pickups relative to each other. You might even like the resulting change in sound when both pickups are on, though you also might not notice much of a change, either. But I do not think that you will get any visual/cosmetic satisfaction at all.

 

 

Do NOT get the two bar-magnets within a P-90 pickup switched around randomly within its assembly, they are laid out with respect to polarity and having them opposed will instantly make the pickup very weak and thin sounding, as if its coil were severely shorted-out.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Along the same lines; why is the single coil bridge pickup angled on a Strat?

 

To pick up more twang (nearer the bridge) on the upper strings.

 

Leo liked that jangly sound...Don't forget the Tele's bridge pup is angled too. Then you have the lefties turning the whole world upside down reversing the concept. On a side note, you have the opposite idea on a Mosrite (i.e. angling the neck pup)...LOL! :cool:

Take care, Larryz
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Along the same lines; why is the single coil bridge pickup angled on a Strat?

 

To pick up more twang (nearer the bridge) on the upper strings.

 

Leo liked that jangly sound...Don't forget the Tele's bridge pup is angled too. Then you have the lefties turning the whole world upside down reversing the concept. On a side note, you have the opposite idea on a Mosrite (i.e. angling the neck pup)...LOL! :cool:

 

Yhup; and he (Leo) was going for a sound like that of his pedal and lap steel guitars, as well. Throw in the "Synchronized Tremolo" bridge with the Volume-knob located for easy volume-swells, and his Stratocaster could occasionally double as a steel, particularly on recording sessions.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Caevan,

 

I think your first take on my "issue" is correct(gee, it'd be nice if I'd have taken a picture, eh?). The pickups are P90's with no rings. It may well turn out as you have described, liking the sound better as the pickup originally sat. I think I WILL take the guitar in and have a setup done, including dressing the frets. I'll have the pickup situation looked at then. It may be that Guitarzan's suggestion of using some foam to affect the pickup's positioning in the cavity is all that is needed. Again, maybe the sound will suffer.... it's a complicated world sometimes. Thanks again for all the info, guys!

 

i was thinking humbuckers but i see you have p90s. My former Godin LG sp90 had small springs under the pickup to hold the p90 snug when making height adjustments , since the springs were small they offered no real support if the pickups were up high. however as i raised or lowered the pickup i could affect tilt slightly with slight turns of each height adjustment screw. it was not ideal but it didn't force me to modify it.

i would have preferred some foam that didn't shift but it still sounded great.

 

 

 

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For what it's worth, here's a link to essentially the same guitar for sale on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/2011-Gibson-60s-Tribute-Les-Paul-Gold-Top-/251728897024?pt=Guitar&hash=item3a9c362400 One of the pics shows the guitar from the side and you can see how the neck pickup is slanted.

 

Yeah, that's pretty typical for a Les Paul equipped with P-90's. It's dictated by the routed cavity for the neck-pickup, and the threaded metal inserts that the mounting-screws thread into. I wouldn't worry about it, and there's really nothing that you can do about it that wouldn't be majorly invasive surgery and modification with very little practical results in return.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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F One of the pics shows the guitar from the side and you can see how the neck pickup is slanted.

 

My faded SG had a slanted neck pup, the only thing I could find wrong with that is looking at it from the top while playing, and never getting it parallel to the strings. But sound wise I could not discern any sound difference.

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...I wouldn't worry about it, and there's really nothing that you can do about it that wouldn't be majorly invasive surgery and modification with very little practical results in return.

 

It was never about anything "practical" with me, merely the aesthetics of looking down and seeing a wonky pickup. By all accounts, I think it best I just let sleeping dogs lie and SOMEhow find a way to sleep at night. LOL Thanks guys. :2thu:

 

 

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...I wouldn't worry about it, and there's really nothing that you can do about it that wouldn't be majorly invasive surgery and modification with very little practical results in return.

 

It was never about anything "practical" with me, merely the aesthetics of looking down and seeing a wonky pickup. By all accounts, I think it best I just let sleeping dogs lie and SOMEhow find a way to sleep at night. LOL Thanks guys. :2thu:

 

 

Hehhehhehh... ! I KNOW what you mean! :D Certainly been there, done that! :thu:

 

That's one sweet guitar you've got, I must add. I really miss the LP with P-90's that I used to have...

 

http://i566.photobucket.com/albums/ss103/CaevanOShite/66797GibsonLesPaulRubyGemwithBen-1.jpg

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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...I wouldn't worry about it, and there's really nothing that you can do about it that wouldn't be majorly invasive surgery and modification with very little practical results in return.

 

It was never about anything "practical" with me, merely the aesthetics of looking down and seeing a wonky pickup. By all accounts, I think it best I just let sleeping dogs lie and SOMEhow find a way to sleep at night. LOL Thanks guys. :2thu:

 

 

Not a problem, just nickname it your Sleeping Dog guitar...just tilt your head back and close your eyes and make those blues dog facial expressions while playing in ecstasy LOL! :cool:

Take care, Larryz
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