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Pickup inhibiting string sound...how does it sound?


BluesWithoutBlame

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A couple of things I wondered about.

 

Typical single-coil with the pole pieces, are they factory set at the different heights on the pickup, or did the tech set them individually and then adjust the pickup as a whole?

 

can I readjust them?

 

I noticed when tuning my guitar after changing strings (and I went a little up in gauge on my 3rd string) playing unamplified that the 3rd string sounds a little "sitar-like" and if it was a voice would be like talking in the back of your throat. It is definitely EITHER the string rubbing/hanging up at the nut or bridge OR the pickup magnet for that string is inhibiting it. I tried adjusting them further away (pickups as a whole) starting with the bridge PU (some improvement I think), middle PU (a little better) and slightly on the neck PU (not much...but it was furthest away to start).

I haven't yet had the chance to hear it amplified (kinda dumb of me adjusting without rechecking that each turn...but it was late and I have neighbors). I cn get it pretty much back where it was, but I would love to hear someone that has experience with this describe as descriptively as possible WHAT that sounds like when the string is being affected too much by the magnetic field.

 

IF I let it ring out, (though it doe's NOT "ring", more like a weird slightly muffled sounding string) I "think" I hear a ever so slight increase in pitch while it is sustaining. I haven't timed the sustain (from pluck to no sound) maybe that also would be a clue.

 

I also use a dab of "nut grease" on the bridge and nut where the string passes. One other thing...the nut, the string seems to be sunk pretty good in there, that COULD be doing it too I guess.

 

Any advice apreciated

====================================================

Check out my original music at

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/jacker

 

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice,

but not in practice."

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Originally posted by Guitar55:

Could it be fret buzz from higher up on the neck? Do you need a truss rod adjustment?

Thanks for the suggestion...but it definitely isn't fret buzz. Either it could be the nut is holding the string too tight (??...I'm guessing here, don't really know if this could do THAT sound), or it is the PU magnetism doing it.

As far as I can tell.

====================================================

Check out my original music at

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/jacker

 

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice,

but not in practice."

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Originally posted by BluesWithoutBlame:

A couple of things I wondered about.

 

Typical single-coil with the pole pieces, are they factory set at the different heights on the pickup, or did the tech set them individually and then adjust the pickup as a whole?

 

can I readjust them?

 

...

 

Any advice apreciated

There's a thread somewhere where ellwood talks about moving the individual polepieces and IIRC it sounded like a lot of trouble and the results weren't amazing. I gather that he didn't have screws on top of each pole piece though.
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Originally posted by Vince C.:

Originally posted by BluesWithoutBlame:

A couple of things I wondered about.

 

Typical single-coil with the pole pieces, are they factory set at the different heights on the pickup, or did the tech set them individually and then adjust the pickup as a whole?

 

can I readjust them?

 

...

 

Any advice apreciated

There's a thread somewhere where ellwood talks about moving the individual polepieces and IIRC it sounded like a lot of trouble and the results weren't amazing. I gather that he didn't have screws on top of each pole piece though.
Right Vince..good memory! ya it was my SRV Strat.. I wanted more gain on my rear pickup so I had the treble pole pieces moved way up toward the strings! HUGE MISTAKE!!! it sounded like a sick thin sitar with asthma!! and ya dont have screwable pole pieces had to dig and melt out the wax holding and dampening the pole in place... THEN had to have them repositioned to NEAR factory height..got a little more gain on them but WHAT A TOTAL PAIN IN THE BUTT THAT WHOLD THING WAS ...NEVER AGAIN BRO!
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I would think if the string were allowed to vibrate freely that you should get accurate tone. Many of us already know that single coils reproduce a truer sound and 'buckers fatten it up a bit. Also, a very strong magnetic field can throw a string out of tune, so it's also gonna distort is vibrational range.

 

Slightly OT, but has anyone tried that trick with using the magnetic strip on an old credit card as a pickup? I've heard it sounds thin but true, but I've never seen it done.

Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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It was in Popular Mechanics or some such mag years ago. The magnetic strip should have enough juice to work, for a while at least, as a pickup. Dunno how it's wired, or quite how it's done, just that it can be done.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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Well...let me give a warning to you all here, in case you are in a similar position.

 

The weird thing is, I USUALLY would have done this..it is SOP for me, but for SOME reason (subconsciously wanted to make myself go into this deeper?) I did NOT measure my "setup-by-a-guitar-tech" pickup heights both sides of each ickup.

 

I measured the bridge one, and didn't write it down, :-) SMART....

 

Now I've adjusted them up and down, about 20 times. I think "Oh...that's okay now, even better" and then I played into a small personal effects box I use with headphones to practice and my patches (that I know pretty well now) sounded harsher and different.

 

Maybe that is okay, since the main reason for changing was the G string sounding weird without amplification. It sounds better now.

 

Though (because I am really concentrating on it) I notice now a "chunka-chunka" sound from my pick attack that I don't remember hearing before.

 

Think I need to try it out at volume, but also I am going to bring a small philips screwdriver to band rehearsal tomorrow night.

====================================================

Check out my original music at

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/jacker

 

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice,

but not in practice."

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I suggest that you check out the Kinman Pickups website (kinman.com) as they have a section on properly adjusting pickup heights for optimal gap between the string and pole piece for best tone while avoiding Stratitis (i.e. sick tone of the string too close to the pu pole).

 

FYI, I am also enclosing below other areas of guitar setup you can check:

 

Guitar Adjustments:

 

1. Check the neck curvature and adjust it as follows. Tune the guitar and then put a capo on the first fret, depress the highest fret of the Low E string and with a .010 inch feeler gauge, check the clearance between the top of the 8th fret (i.e. 8th fret is about half way down the neck) and the bottom of the low E string. If the gap is less than .010 inch, the truss rod is too tight, which causes the neck to bow up toward the strings. Correct this by gently turning the truss rod screw counter-clockwise, no more than 1/8 turn at a time. If the gap is more than .010 inch, the truss rod is too loose, which causes the neck to bow away from the strings. Correct this by gently turning the truss rod screw clockwise, no more than 1/8 turn at a time. Retune, recheck and adjust to get a .010 inch gap, which will allow the neck to be set up for a low action, but still with enough bow to prevent fret buzzing. Note, if the truss rod is hard to adjust, dont force it. Rather, loosen your strings to alleviate pressure on the rod, then try to adjust it, then retune and check. When you have completed this adjustment, remove the capo.

 

2. Next, if your guitar has a trem, tune the guitar and check the amount of tilt on the trem bridge plate. If you have changed string gauges, the new strings may have moved the amount of tilt on this bridge plate, which can inhibit up tremming or down tremming. I set up my trems as recommended by Fender by measuring the gap between the bottom rear of the trem bridge plate and the top face of the guitar body. I try to get this gap to about 1/8 inch, which allows adequate tremming in both directions. To increase the gap, loosen the tension on the trem springs by removing the rear cover plate and turning the trem string bracket screws counterclockwise, then retune the guitar and re-measure. To decrease the gap, tighten these screws, retune and re-measure.

 

3. Next, with a straight measuring edge, check the string height gap from the top of the highest fret of each string to bottom of the string. Adjust the string saddles to get proper clearances. For my taste, I set the gap of my unwound strings (i.e. Hi E, B, and G) a little over 1/16 inch and the wound strings (D, A, Low E) about 3/32 inch (the wound strings need more clearance as their vibration path is wider). I use the above gaps as a guideline but I am striving to get a clean acoustic tone with no buzzing over the entire neck at the lowest possible string heights, so let you ears guide you. It is amazing how much easier and cleaner a guitar plays and sounds after a more uniform string height adjustment.

 

4. Lastly, check the string length/intonation of each string with an electronic tuner. Do his by playing the 12th fret harmonic note and then comparing it to the 12th fret octave note when played. If the note plays sharp compared to the harmonic, the string is too short so lengthen it by turning that string length bridge saddle adjustment screw clockwise. If the note plays flat compared to the harmonic, the string is too long so shorten it by turning that string length bridge saddle adjustment screw counter-clockwise. Retune and check until the intonation of each string is on.

 

5. After you set the intonation, it can change your string heights so go back to steps 3 and then 4 to recheck and readjust string heights and lengths if needed.

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Thanks Lancer! I ran across that link the other day, but didn't pay as much attention to it. Gonna look at it again.

 

Also thanks for the procedure, I have changed gauges (not type, but individual) adjusted trem bar, checked intonation. Looks good on that stuff, I think it really is mainly PU height now.

I'll check that site again though!

====================================================

Check out my original music at

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/jacker

 

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice,

but not in practice."

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