Distance between strings and pickups

is Super Fabulous
Joined: 03/06/01
Posts: 1,623
What is the proper distance between the pickups and the strings?
# 1
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 07/06/02
Posts: 5,021
Depends on the guitar and the PU and the gauge of strings you are using.

Fenders are tricky (Cf stratorizing effect) and I thnik they post there setup info on the web.

Normally I do mine by ear, balancing output using a screwdriver and the toggle switch.
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# 2
is Super Fabulous
Joined: 03/06/01
Posts: 1,623
Here's the setup -

Ibanez JS Series
Dimarzio pickups
9 gauge strings

Any "rule of thumb" I can follow?
# 3
Registered User
Joined: 09/23/03
Posts: 1,679
According to the PRS website, "With the high and low E strings depressed at the last fret the measurement should about 2 1/2/32 on the treble side and about 3/32 on the bass side of both pickups."

>Edit: 2 1/2/32 = 5/64 ? <
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# 4
Registered User
Joined: 12/27/02
Posts: 221
To be honest, because you have that trem unit on there, I'd take it to a tech. I don't know how to mess with them but from what I understand, when they're setup they tend to stay in tune for a good while unless you're hard on your axe.
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# 5
pHj33r my v1r1l17y
Joined: 11/29/00
Posts: 3,772
i plug the guitar in and play a few bars, then adjust some of the poles as well as the overall height, and repeat until i find "that sound."

some guitars sound really good when the pickup is almost flush with the body, others sound better with the pickup right on the string. only thing i can say for sure is depress the string at the highest fret (i.e. 21st, 22nd, 24th) and then hit the string hard to make sure it doesn't hit the pole while ringing no matter how hard you're wailing. repeat for each string. but i think that's more common sense than anything else.
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# 6
is Super Fabulous
Joined: 03/06/01
Posts: 1,623
Well, thanks for the replies everyone.

I've heard that the closer you put the strings to the pickups the more tone you lose. I definitely noticed this when I lowered the action of the strings. So I think I'll try lowering the pickups a bit and fumbling around with it to see what happens. :o
# 7
Registered User
Joined: 12/14/04
Posts: 109
correct me if I am wrong:

the closer the strings are to the pick-up, the more "punch" or"attack" they have,
but if the strings are farther away, that increases sustain while losing loudness.
So adjust your distances to your taste.
# 8
Registered User
Joined: 01/10/05
Posts: 68
Pickups that have strong magnets can effect string vibration if too close to the string, costing sustain. My setups have the bridge pickup furthur away from the strings on the higher string side and closer to the lows. Opposite for the neck pickup, plus I angle them.....

Sometimes pickups (humbuckers) can be improperly angled (both "bobbins" are not parallel to the strings when looking down from the side). Even angled mounting rings may not be enough. When this is the case, I make a VERY slight bend in the height adjustment bolts about 1/2" away from the head. This provides added "tilt" to level the pickup with the strings or angle it away for whatever sound you want. This way you don't have to screw the poll pieces way out, which can catch strings, picks, fingers, etc.

You'll find changing these angles will provide better harmonics and a more balanced output accross the strings.
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# 9