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Raise pickups myself


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I'm new to guitar playing. I bought a standard Strat.

 

I got a Top Hat amplifier. Strat sounds grat throught it. A friend brought a Les Paul by and the Top Hat sounded even more fantastic with the master and pre all the way up.

 

I was told I could get better distortion by raising my pickups. Should I do this myself? Would it be better to add a little gain from a distortion stomp box I own?

 

Joe

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Let me make sure I understand...

 

You're brand new to guitar playing.

 

You've got a new STRAT and a TOP HAT amp.

 

You want to raise your pickups yourself... for more "distortion".

 

*****************

(in the voice of an "upset Dad")...

 

Young Man... I'm not sure if you are old enough to raise pickups yourself. Pickups take a lot of work. They need to be brushed every day, and walked, and the water dish has to be filled and the cage cleaned out.

 

Your mother and I are not going to be the ones to take care of raising your pickups if after two weeks you're "bored" with them. This is a big responsibility. Are you saying you "PROMISE" to raise them the right way?

 

OK then, we'll start this on a trial basis. But if your grades drop, or we find out that you're skipping school just to be with your pickups... well, it's back to the store with them. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

****************************

 

Ummmm... OK seriously. You're kinda a lucky dude. A Top Hat amp is an expensive but very nicely made amp. I would guess that adding some sort of overdrive unit to your rig would make that amp sound very bad, (good).

 

Since money is no object, I'd suggest a tasty product like a FullTone FullDrive II. MMMMMM. Good.

 

For more options check out harmonycentral.com's reviews of effects... lots of good opinions there.

 

Raising the strings TOO MUCH may actually cut down the sustain on your guitar because the magnets in the pickups, (yeah they're made of magnets... who knew?), slows down the string vibrations when they're too close. If you're not sure about this, ask a good guitar tech to set up your pickup height to a "good" level.

 

Good Luck with your new TOP HAT and STRAT.

 

guitplayer

 

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Guitar Forum CD Info

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This message has been edited by guitplayer on 06-30-2001 at 08:36 PM

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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Well my Dad's about 88 and my mother's 82.

 

Been playing piano professionally for about 36 years so I though I could use a change.

 

I been playing acousitic guitar for about 5 years but from my perspective that seems like just starting out.

 

I've wanted a Strat since I saw Jimi Hendrix at some tent in Framingham Massachusetts. I didn't like the sound of the Pod or the Johnson so I got the Top Hat.

 

It was a guitar tech who recommended raising the pickups. Since raising the pickups didn't seem like rocket science, I thought I might be up to the task.I'll take your advice. I'm using a Tech Sans amp on occassion for a little extra boost and it does sound pretty good. I got to be careful though, because the amp sounds so good, some things actually take away from the sound.

 

Just looking for the best advice.

 

thanks,

 

Joe

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Hi Joe.

It has always been my opinion that a Les Paul sounds better on Heavy Sustain type distortions. Having two coils so close together cancels some of the upper mids and highs, giving you a smoother sound when heavily distorted. Humbuckers also tend to have more output thus giving the preamp more gain. Strat single coils give you a lot more edge(and 60 cycle hum) when heavily distorted.

I hope this helps.

 

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KHAN (Always hopeful, yet discontent)

 

www.floydtribute.hpwebhost.com

So Many Drummers. So Little Time...
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It's best to follow the recommendation of Fender as far as pickup height. You can raise the pickups up to a point but when the magnets start getting too close it causes a phenomenon called "string pull". This means that the magnets are starting to exert too much attraction on the strings as you could guess. It causes intonation problems and usually it makes the tone of the guitar worse as I understand it. Have a look around on the Fender website for technical support infromation. There is a complete set up guide for Fender guitars there.

 

------------------

Mac Bowne

G-Clef Acoustics Ltd.

Osaka, Japan

My Music: www.javamusic.com/freedomland

Mac Bowne

G-Clef Acoustics Ltd.

Osaka, Japan

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Thanks guys for the advice. I'm going to check out that Fender website. Great to have an online resource.

 

I'm also resigning myself to buying another guitar that would be like a Les Paul,just got to find the money.

 

thanks,

 

Joe

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Hey Joe (no Hendrix pun intended)...

 

You won't get the same characteristics of the Les Paul out of your Strat just by raising the pickups. The DC resistance of the LP's humbuckers is quite a bit higher than the Strat single-coils. Higher resistance results in more output. While raising the single-coil will give you a higher output, you will actually be losing tone (as explained by others above), and you will never achieve the output of a humbucker. It's just the nature of the pickups. The Strat pickups run around 6K ohms, while the Humbuckers are probably closer to 10K ohms (maybe more, depending on what model of LP it was).

 

A possible solution (other than shelling out $$$ for another guitar) is to replace the bridge pickup of your Strat with a stacked humbucker. The stacked HB is the size of a sigle-coil, so no mods to your guitar are necessary. You will be able to get those thick, heavy distortion sounds, and still have the original neck and middle single-coils for clean tones. Kinda the "best of both worlds". I have one of my Strats set up this way (although I tend to stick to the neck pickup on all my Strats).

 

I've wanted a Strat since I saw Jimi Hendrix at some tent in Framingham Massachusetts.

 

Hey! Only a little ways up the road from me! Are you from the area?

 

Well... good luck to you. If you're anything like the rest of us, you will be searching for the perfect tone forever!

 

 

This message has been edited by Scott from MA on 07-01-2001 at 09:30 PM

Scott

(just another cantankerous bastard)

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Scot, I'm living in Boston. A bit of a trip from Middleboro.

 

Thanks for the info. I really appreciate it. You're right of course about the pickups. I was just hoping. I will be buying another guitar just for those tones though.

 

Joe

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Originally posted by jtegan@tiac.net:

I'm living in Boston. A bit of a trip from Middleboro.

 

Nah... about 20 minutes away. I live right at the end of the T line. I used to be in Boston all the time, but with the demise of my last band, I haven't been out much lately. I don't go there unless I'm playing (can't stand the traffic!).

 

Anyway, nice to see another person from MA on here. There's a couple of us sneeking around these forums. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

Scott

(just another cantankerous bastard)

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