• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

Polepieces

mojodelic

New member
Joined
Jun 20, 2021
Messages
16
Every Gibson I've ever bought (I've bought a few) came new from the factory with the pickup polepieces perpendicular to the strings. Just got a new Les Paul Std (60s so with 61R/T) and the polepieces have been adjusted- some as mush as a full turn above the others, & not following the 12" radius but for example the A string was higher than the others on the Bdg. The tape was intact from the online store so I must believe that this was done at the factory.

My understanding is that polepiece adjustment is very rarely a good idea so I've never messed with them; only overall height. Anyone else seen this? Just curious...
 

poor man's burst

Active member
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
244
Adjustable polepieces are here to be....adjusted. Otherwise, Gibson wouldn't have bothered to make pickups with adjustable polepieces since the early '50s.
This is something that any guitar owner able to hold a screwdriver could do. This allows to adjust the balance between the strings, specially between the plain string, which sounds much louder than its adjacent wounded string (usually the G and D strings).
Be careful though 1) not to slip with the screwdriver and scratch the pickup or the guitar
2) Not to turn the screws too deep into the pickup and strip the thread.
3) Not to unscrew the polepiece too close to the strings and disturb the string vibration. This is more a concern for the low E string and the A string.
 

mojodelic

New member
Joined
Jun 20, 2021
Messages
16
I appreciate the responses but if you read my OP- I wasn't asking if it can or should be done; but why after all these years did Gibson suddenly start doing it. I thought perhaps someone had seen or heard a reason (maybe part of the new setup process, like Plekking). My first Les Paul was bought in 1977 so I'm not a newb. Not in love with the A5s anyway so I'll probably put Throbaks in there I was just curious.
 

charliechitlins

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
392
I don't understand what "it" is that you feel Gibson has done?
Adjusted the pole pieces?
Leaving your pickup pole pieces alone on a new guitar is not unlike never putting air in your tires because that's how they came from the factory.
Do you leave the strings on because that's how it came from the factory?
 

mojodelic

New member
Joined
Jun 20, 2021
Messages
16
I'm going to respectfully leave this conversation. The debate about polepiece height is akin to Maple vs. Rosewood, Ginger vs. Mary Ann, etc in other forums. I thought I asked a reasonable question & expected the same. You don't have to prove how smart you are by using condescending analogies.

I'll just do what I should have in the first place, I'll ask Gibson.
 

charliechitlins

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
392
And what will the answer get you?
You will either find out that the pickups were specifically adjusted to the factory set-up strings, etc. and the ears of tbe person who set them; or that they are set randomly with the knowledge that it is impossible to adjust pickup pole pieves for somebody you never met, several months and several hundred (or thousand) miles away.
The answers you are getting are not so much condescending, but a reflection of the fact that you are asking an absurd question and have nothing to gain by knowing the answer.
 

darkwave

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2001
Messages
346
Re-reading your post it is now apparent that you were asking if there was a change in factory setup process. Yes - I agree that they've typically been perpendicular and this seems like an odd change.

I believe the part of your post that triggered response was this: "My understanding is that polepiece adjustment is very rarely a good idea so I've never messed with them". My personal take is that they are "unadjusted" as delivered, since it results in unbalanced output. all of mine are adjusted to balance the output of each stringnot match any prescribed slot pattern or match the fretboard radius. My choice, not right or wrong. Your choice is equally valid - for you.

- Douglas C.
 

charliechitlins

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
392
Re-reading your post it is now apparent that you were asking if there was a change in factory setup process. Yes - I agree that they've typically been perpendicular and this seems like an odd change.

I believe the part of your post that triggered response was this: "My understanding is that polepiece adjustment is very rarely a good idea so I've never messed with them". My personal take is that they are "unadjusted" as delivered, since it results in unbalanced output. all of mine are adjusted to balance the output of each stringnot match any prescribed slot pattern or match the fretboard radius. My choice, not right or wrong. Your choice is equally valid - for you.

- Douglas C.
Now THAT is a diplomatic and balanced answer!
 

renderit

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,403
I guess I still can't figure out WHAT the question is.

Mine have been all over the place all the time height wise when received and later.

Can it not be perpendicular to the string?

I will respectfully leave this to those asstrolig, astron, people that look at the stars.


Ginger
 

wildschwein

New member
Joined
Apr 18, 2015
Messages
6
From Guitar electronics for musicians by Donald Brosnac
 

Attachments

  • Pickup height.png
    Pickup height.png
    295.6 KB · Views: 29

wildschwein

New member
Joined
Apr 18, 2015
Messages
6
Well...that's not all good information.
You don't say why though? Although it's older It's an excellent book. I have followed the method outlined there for years and it has always worked for me (for various reasons) but it all depends on what you're after. Trends change too. In the '70s the general MO was for people to modify their guitars and individualise them -- and the Brosnac publlication largely works witihin that context. Craig Anderton also produced a number of books for the same publisher that included 'Electronic Projects for Musicians' and 'Home Recording For Musicians'. The 'For Musicians' books still have some following today although there are things about them that are outdated.

Anyway, even if Gibson are shipping them this way it's no problem to flatten the poles down. For the OP the answer lays with Gibson themselves -- they have a contact support page on their website:

 
Last edited:

darkwave

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2001
Messages
346
Well...that's not all good information.
Not sure what's "not good" in there? I do similar with a few little personal tweaks - but I don't see anything misleading?

My tweaks are to:
1) Instead of picking each string I pull it away from the fretboard a bit and release. Slapping against the frets seems to limit it to a more consistent amplitude than my picking does. I believe I read about that here.

2) I plug my guitar into an old tape deck and use the VU meter as a visual level reference. That way I'm not distracted by a thin high note versus a full low note when judging level.

This may not be critically accurate, but most of my guitars are set up with this method so I benefit from the consistency overall.

- Douglas C.
 

brandtkronholm

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
2,359
I guess I still can't figure out WHAT the question is.

Mine have been all over the place all the time height wise when received and later.

Can it not be perpendicular to the string?

I will respectfully leave this to those asstrolig, astron, people that look at the stars.


Ginger

Nope.
Let's get freaky.
Natalie-Schafer-was-the-only-millionaire-from-Gilligans-Island-1200x900.jpeg
 

charliechitlins

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
392
You don't say why though? Although it's older It's an excellent book. I have followed the method outlined there for years and it has always worked for me (for various reasons) but it all depends on what you're after. Trends change too. In the '70s the general MO was for people to modify their guitars and individualise them -- and the Brosnac publlication largely works witihin that context. Craig Anderton also produced a number of books for the same publisher that included 'Electronic Projects for Musicians' and 'Home Recording For Musicians'. The 'For Musicians' books still have some following today although there are things about them that are outdated.

Anyway, even if Gibson are shipping them this way it's no problem to flatten the poles down. For the OP the answer lays with Gibson themselves -- they have a contact support page on their website:

I don't think the idea of getting the pickup as close to the strings as possible, then adjusting the poles is a good blanket statement.
Some might prefer keeping the pickups further from the strings.
It depends on the pickups and the desired sound.
High output pickups, for instance, can be sweetened by putting them further from the strings.
This stuff is all personal taste.
I, for instance, prefer my low E to be relatively loud.
I don't play big chords, preferring to let the bass player hold the bottom, but when soloing, I like to thump the low E and have it really pop through the mix.
So...maybe stating that that could be a starting point would be more appropriate.
 

Señor Verde

Active member
Joined
Jan 13, 2005
Messages
530
I've read many times that Gibson almost didn't have adjustable poles for humbuckers, but they added them just as a selling feature. Don't know if that's true. I also read where Robben Ford never adjusts the poles on his pickups and a lot of people think he's a tonemeister. I used to set them to the arch of the strings, but based on a thread here from Roadrunner, many years ago, I adjust them more or less like he suggested and tweak as needed. Bottom line I learned is, #1-adjusting them doesn't hurt anything. B- You can always adjust them back the way they originally were and #3- Not everyone will agree on how they should be adjusted.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ADP

darkwave

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2001
Messages
346
I don't think the idea of getting the pickup as close to the strings as possible, then adjusting the poles is a good blanket statement.
Some might prefer keeping the pickups further from the strings.
It depends on the pickups and the desired sound.
High output pickups, for instance, can be sweetened by putting them further from the strings.
This stuff is all personal taste.
I, for instance, prefer my low E to be relatively loud.
I don't play big chords, preferring to let the bass player hold the bottom, but when soloing, I like to thump the low E and have it really pop through the mix.
So...maybe stating that that could be a starting point would be more appropriate.
Okay - I missed that comment. I adjust the overall pickup to a height where it "sounds good" by ear, as you implied. AFTER that, I adjust the inner four polepieces to account for string balance.

Yeah - pickup height does have a tonal impact (subtle, but noticeable). Polepieces standing way tall sound a little different than those buried in the coil as well. All of this is free to tweak, just don't let it overshadow actually playing and enjoying the guitar though... I like getting things to work their best, but I try not to get caught up in the chase where it becomes a scapegoat or distraction.

-Douglas C.
 
Top