Tips & Tricks – Adjusting Your Pickups: Fine-Tune Your Sound

Posted on by patricia

Adjusting Your Pickups: Fine-Tune Your Sound

Most guitars have screws around the pickups for adjusting pickup height. Most guitar factories adjust the pickups to a median height, but why not find the best height for your tone? While you can’t change the character of a pickup, you can make small adjustments that will fine-tune your sound.

A good place to start is about 1/8″ (about two pennies) away from the strings.

If you want more output, raise the pickup closer to the strings. But be careful; get too close and the pickup’s magnetic field can pull too hard on the strings causing an unpleasant sound and interfering with string vibration. If you need more output than that, you’ll need a higher output pickup.

If you want a softer sound, with less output, lower the pickup. Go too far away and the vibrating strings will barely disturb the magnetic field, and the quality of the sound will begin to suffer. If you want a cleaner, sweeter sound, it might be time for a new pickup.

If you want a little more bass, you can raise the bass side up and lower the treble side. More treble? You guessed it, vice versa.

There are other times to consider adjusting your pickup height: If something else has changed, what used to be a perfect pickup height may not be perfect anymore. Are you using different strings, or is your guitar set up with different action? Have your style, pedals, or amp changed? These are all times to consider tweaking your pickup height.

Try this tip out and let us know what you think!

Written on October 26, 2010, by patricia

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Comments (3)

  • patricia 9 years ago

    I just switched from a george lynch screamin demon pu to a pearly gates pu. the pinch harmonics on the d,a,and low e strings are a lot more easier to get, but the g,b,and high e strings have suffered in the transition. I used to have no problem gettin those strings to scream but now they don’t really respond that well making it harder to get those harmonics especially on the g string at the 9th fret pos. also unrelated there is a dead spot at the second fret g string pos. all this is very upsetting any ideas on how to solve these problems would be extremely helpful. thank you for your time

  • patricia 9 years ago

    it was very interesting to read. I want to quote your post in my blog. It can? And you et an account on Twitter?

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