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Adjusting Pickups: The "Sweet Spot" with Soundclips

FretsAlot

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Jan 22, 2003
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931
Pardon the necro-bump, but I wanted to ask a question about this method as I'm awaiting delivery of my first set of (used) boutique PAF-clones.

I recently tuned my original BurstBuckers in my '57ri 'blacktop' by ear for even string volume by adjusting the pole pieces. I was pleased with the result and it was the first time I'd ever adjusted the pole pieces on any guitar. I did this in part as pre-tuning of those pickups to compare them to the PAF-clones I will put in this weekend.

I'm intrigued by Roy/Roadrunner's approach to tune them for the sweet spot in terms of individual note bloom. For those who have followed this approach, what was your impressions of 1) string-to-string relative volume comparison; and 2) the balance in the neck-only vs. bridge-only volume comparison?

Thank you in advance,

Fretsalot/Scott
 

Ron

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Joined
Aug 3, 2001
Messages
848
This is a pretty old thread, but is there any chance these clips could be reposted, Roadrunner? I played around with the pickups on my R8 but I'd like to hear these clips to be sure I'm listening for the right stuff. Thanks!
 

PHILBERT

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Nov 25, 2006
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1,659
Maybe I'm crazy, but I run my pickups on the low side where the bass just starts to fill in. I listen for a full tone on the top (unwound) end, and just enough bass on the low end to balance all string definition. This is where it all comes together...for me. Any higher and it gets harsh and loses focus. Any lower and it gets lifeless and drab sounding. But when I look at pictures of what others have done, I am a lot lower than most everyone else. Shit, I can even hear the minor changes from the neck moving in different weather conditions...and dial the smallest fraction of a turn to get the pickups lined up again. Does everyone else hear that stuff and do the same?

Sweet spots on my volume and tone knobs can be found in several places. The sound just lines up, as everything stands out very balanced when those spots are dialed in just right. I even tested my ears by doing adjustments in the dark and then checking where it landed when it sounded right. I keep coming to the same spots, so maybe I'm not crazy after all. :hee
 

Black58

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Oct 28, 2005
Messages
10,139
Maybe I'm crazy, but I run my pickups on the low side where the bass just starts to fill in. I listen for a full tone on the top (unwound) end, and just enough bass on the low end to balance all string definition. This is where it all comes together...for me. Any higher and it gets harsh and loses focus. Any lower and it gets lifeless and drab sounding. But when I look at pictures of what others have done, I am a lot lower than most everyone else. Shit, I can even hear the minor changes from the neck moving in different weather conditions...and dial the smallest fraction of a turn to get the pickups lined up again. Does everyone else hear that stuff and do the same?

Sweet spots on my volume and tone knobs can be found in several places. The sound just lines up, as everything stands out very balanced when those spots are dialed in just right. I even tested my ears by doing adjustments in the dark and then checking where it landed when it sounded right. I keep coming to the same spots, so maybe I'm not crazy after all. :hee

Nah, you ain't crazy, Phil. :salude .. I too, have managed to "get an elephant up on rollerskates"!; An' the neck will tell me, by way of the guitar NOT doing what it DID do, that it needs a little nudge one way or the other. :jim


.. btw, I'm currently wrestling with getting the tailpiece studs sonically back on track, after knocking the bushings (Retrospec, vintage-length) in a bit deeper, as per vintage-spec. :nut .. I took slot location pics with my phone and measurements, beforehand, but that shit seems to have gone half-way out the fuckin' window, as the threads aren't in the same place, so the slots ain't gonna be EXACTLY in the same place! .. Good GAWD, it sucks, how easy it is to have the sound "tip over" on these things; That, and also constantly makin' the mistake of tweaking one side in a direction, when I should actually be tweaking the OTHER side in the OPPOSITE direction! :##
 

PHILBERT

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Nov 25, 2006
Messages
1,659
Nah, you ain't crazy, Phil. :salude .. I too, have managed to "get an elephant up on rollerskates"!; An' the neck will tell me, by way of the guitar NOT doing what it DID do, that it needs a little nudge one way or the other. :jim


.. btw, I'm currently wrestling with getting the tailpiece studs sonically back on track, after knocking the bushings (Retrospec, vintage-length) in a bit deeper, as per vintage-spec. :nut .. I took slot location pics with my phone and measurements, beforehand, but that shit seems to have gone half-way out the fuckin' window, as the threads aren't in the same place, so the slots ain't gonna be EXACTLY in the same place! .. Good GAWD, it sucks, how easy it is to have the sound "tip over" on these things; That, and also constantly makin' the mistake of tweaking one side in a direction, when I should actually be tweaking the OTHER side in the OPPOSITE direction! :##

Oh Jeeze, Black. You got it worse than me! :laugh2:

About as far as I have gone on the tailpiece was change the studs, and I did try the Retro long studs and went all the way down to the bottom. The studs stuck up a little, so I know I hit wood. Didn't like the tone at all. Tried several adjustment and bailed. Stock studs sounded better, and aftermarket Brass much better. Bushings? That takes guts! I'm not that brave. :dang

My new Les Paul has all the wrong hardware (all modern and chrome), including a Nashville bridge, but DAMN! It is so good sounding! The ONLY thing I might change is the bridge. My Nashville to ABR-1 modification (where I filed the Nashville brass posts down so the ABR-1 fit snug) did wonders for my SG. Gave it bigger balls. It was good before, but kicks total ass now. Very percussive, as well. One of my best! Might give my LP that extra punch, not that I'm unhappy with it now. :headbange

I wouldn't go too crazy with the hardware. You can lose it if you get lost in all that. :pop

:fall
 

Black58

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Oct 28, 2005
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10,139
I wouldn't go too crazy with the hardware. You can lose it if you get lost in all that. :pop

:fall

My only concern is the reasonably correct material and the reasonably correct size/shape/color.
.. an' that the shit's set up RIGHT. :ganz That is all. :2cool

... Any thought beyond that, I intentionally blow the in-line fuse between my wallet and my brain, that I installed 10 years ago. :jim
 

PHILBERT

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Joined
Nov 25, 2006
Messages
1,659
Guts

.. an' a coupla beers (couldn't figure out a good way to do it,
sittin' on the toilet, to keep from shittin' myself)! :wah .. :hee

Boy, you love that "shitter". :rofl

I just got off of it myself. I feel 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter! :applaude
 
Last edited:

DrewB

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Jul 15, 2001
Messages
1,439
This is a pretty old thread, but is there any chance these clips could be reposted, Roadrunner? I played around with the pickups on my R8 but I'd like to hear these clips to be sure I'm listening for the right stuff. Thanks!

I'm hoping for the same thing. I shared this link with a friend so he can try it, but the sound clips would help him a lot.
 

roadrunner

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Aug 25, 2001
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Sorry guys, I have no idea where those clips went. They were on Soundclick, I think. They're long gone from my music computer.
 

Skydogfan81

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Dec 13, 2006
Messages
910
Bummer, was just coming back to this! Thanks RR for all the in depth studies! (I still have some PAF challenges saved)
 

Triburst

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Feb 12, 2006
Messages
4,353
Actually, I had archive copies of these clips, and I sent them to Roadrunner last night. I would have posted them for him, but Roadrunner will be able to edit his own posts, and correct the links to wherever he puts them (if he got my e-mails), so the clips would be in context with his notes about them.
 

FretsAlot

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Jan 22, 2003
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Thanks again for posting those, I was pleased to see that I understood a couple of weeks ago what RR had described to listen for. The clips validated my understanding.

Fretalot/Scott
 
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