SG Standard Pick Up Adjustment

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by JoeRockHead, Nov 30, 2021.

  1. JoeRockHead

    JoeRockHead New Member

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    On my new SG Standard the pickups don't have rings (I guess you call them) which keep the pickups parallel with the strings. Instead the pickups are parallel to the guitar body and at about a 20 degree angle from the strings. When using the suggested pickup measurements from Gibson as a starting point, where do i measure? The tops of the poles? Or the closest point the pick up cover comes to the strings? 16382937561891530299650960906400.jpg
     
  2. gypsyseven

    gypsyseven Member

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    In this case i would measure the middle of the pickup cover…
     
  3. JoeRockHead

    JoeRockHead New Member

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    That would have the points i mentioned pushing up the strings
     
  4. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, forget about measuring, just use your ears.
     
  5. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Well-Known Member

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    I agree with plankton above. Ultimately you are going to use the audible results for the final adjustment, so one starting point is as good as another. In this case if I was going to measure, I would go by the pole pieces, but as the OP points out, it may not be possible with the geometry of the angle. I have read where others have leveled the pickup with a bit of careful bending of the ear tabs or placing foam blocks under the pickup, so that is a possibility if you can't get what you need with things as they are. The good news is, once you get them set you won't have to worry about it again. It will be time well spent.
     
  6. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Top of the poles/screws. But as mentioned above, ears are better so use it as a starting point. Parallel or not is of no consequence.
     
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  7. JoeRockHead

    JoeRockHead New Member

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    Thanks. I did only expect to measure as a starting point.
     
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  8. MR D

    MR D Active Member

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    Everyone does their own thang.....I set the Neck P-Up at 4/64TH's (.093" +/- .10") in the Middle of the P-Up to bottom of the Low 'E' when fretting the 22nd Fret ! Then set the Pole Pieces to match the fret-board radius...or another way to set the pole pieces....have each string RING at the same volume on each strings 'E' note in the 1st octave (Low/High 'E" OPEN)....

    FME, that 2nd method of Pole Piece setting should get the pattern of the pole pieces to pretty much match the fret-board radius.

    Bridge Pickup I do pretty much same thang !
     
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  9. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    The starting points for me are always bridge pickup pretty close to the strings and neck pickup level with mounting ring/pickguard.
     
  10. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Some pickups seem to need to be level with the strings more than others....

    In my experience, the Gibson 490R and 490T can really benefit from leveling.
    The classic 490R & 498T setup in early Standards does too.
    I don't know about the '61 sets or those in the newer standards.
    The Mini humbuckers in my 2012 SG special don't seem to be affected by the angle.
    and they don't have any pole pieces anyway. Mini hums rip. I didn't bother trying
    to level them.

    The '57 classics I installed in my faded special seem to sound awesome at any angle.
    P'ups from other makers (such as SD or Lindy Fralin, Bare Knuckles etc) might not
    be so sensitive either.

    But I like to do it, so I use foam under the rear coil of each p'up.
    Others on this forum have bent the brackets using a needle nose plier, and that works too if you do it right.

    I don't think it does any harm, and it makes it easier and more logical when you
    measure the distance to the strings.

    good luck with your project and let us know what you think once you get it the way
    you want it.
     
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  11. Decadent Dan

    Decadent Dan Active Member

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    Are you talking about a tone thing with the brighter sounding coil having the same distance or an output/magnetic thing?
     
  12. gypsyseven

    gypsyseven Member

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    I guess the humbucking pickup was designed to be parallel to the strings…some pickups need it more than others..
    But the main thing is to get the tone your after. No matter how your pickups or guitar is set up…
     
  13. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    The root of the problem is there is way too much neck angle when they set the neck to the body.

    I’ve noticed that on Custom Shop guitars this not an issue. Maybe with the CS models being more expensive that is one of the details they get right.
     
  14. gypsyseven

    gypsyseven Member

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    I thought it could be that the cavity routing is to small for the pickup?
     
  15. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    As said before, your ears are the best tools to get to the sweet spot. It might be the worst for someone else, but who cares. That is why prescribed measurements don't work ... for half the people.

    Here's how I do it.

    I set the bridge pickup (pole) height to about 1/8" or ±3mm distance from the bottom of the unfretted strings. If it sounds good, I leave it there. Too hot ? Go one turn of each screw at a time to lower it where I want it. Test clean AND with dirt/OD. Once I have that one at the sweet spot, I go to the neck pup.

    ANY neck pickup will sound boomy if adjusted too high.

    Neck tone has to be different from middle position. Many people have the neck pup adjusted so it gives the same tonality as middle position. Not good. Neck pup has to be adjusted so middle position gets a quacky or almost acoustic tone. You'll know what I mean when you get there. So, I raise the neck pup until it starts to sound boomy. Notes will seem to be overwhelmed with too much bass. Now I lower it a full screw turn and compare it to middle. If it sounds the same, the neck pup is still too high. I go on until I hear three different balanced tones out of the two pup. I tell you, my two humbucker equipped guitars have their neck pickup buried lower than their plastic rings and they sound clear and musical.

    That is a fun thing to do. Take your time and you will find the sweet spot for each pickup.
     
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  16. gypsyseven

    gypsyseven Member

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    Nothing left to say!
     
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  17. MR D

    MR D Active Member

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    BTW, you may want to add a Pick-Up Mounting Ring to the Bridge Pick-Up to level the Bridge Pickup w/Strings...there is a 'How to' on this ETSG website and a lot of people do this...I've done this to one particular Bat-Wing SG Standard and it worked out well....as usual I am unable to post a picture.
     

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