The height of your pickups is crucial to your tone. I find that the better the quality of the pickup the more difference the height makes to the tone. Correct Pickup Height Adjustment is an essential part of your sound.
There is, of course, no correct distance from the string so the measurements I’ll give you are a guide and a great place to start. I recommend you set your MrGlyn’s Pickups to these heights when you instal them but feel free to tweak them to your own taste after.
The principle of Pickup Height Adjustment is, the closer to the strings the pickups are the louder and more dynamic the sound, further away is more compressed and quieter.
But there’s another factor. Pickups work by magnetism, if a pickup is too close to the string the magnet will attract the string and cause a strange wobbly sound called a wolf tone. This is much more pronounced with single coil pickups and on the bass strings on the higher frets. These ‘wolf tones’ are sometimes called ‘Stratitis’.
The pickup height is measured from the top of the pickup pole (or cover) to the underside of the string when fretting the highest fret.
Here are my recommend heights:
About MrGlyn’s Pickups
MrGlyn’s Pickups is based near Auckland, New Zealand.
My name is Glyn Evans. I have been a full time pickup winder and luthier since 1995. I wound my first pickup under the guidance of legendary guitar repairer Ted Lee while studying guitar making/repair under him at City of Leeds College of Music in the North of England. There’s something about the physics that really appealed to me. I went straight home, built my own winding machine, bought some wire and started experimenting.
In those pre-internet days there just wasn’t any information available on how to make good pickups. I made pickup after pickup, I wound and I listened. I made notes of every variation both good and bad so I could learn what was happening. Looking back I think that time was invaluable for developing an intuition for making pickups. Whenever I came across a result I didn’t understand I swatted up on the physics; there’s a lot to learn. I wrote all the experiments down in a notebook, I still have the notebook and I’m still adding to it.
I love hearing my pickups played live or on recordings; it feels good to have played a very small part in that sound.