Setting P90 Pickup Height is an essential part of your tone. More than any other pickup they really do like being up close to the strings. In this blog post I’m going to give you some measurements and info on how to measure pickup height. And there’s help for you dogear P90 players too. I’m going to give you some free dogear P90 height spacers.
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How to measure P90 Pickup Height
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. Not easy to describe in words so here’s Roboguy demonstrating to clarify:
Here is the P90 Pickup Height I suggest but I’d like to emphasise these are not set in stone, just a guide. P 90’s do like to be close to the strings but if you prefer the sound of them further away that’s fine – up to you and your ears. The closer a pickup is to the strings the louder it is. More importantly, the more dynamic and touch sensitive it is. So with the pickup further away, your sound is more compressed and less dynamic. There is no right or wrong here but especially for lead playing a P90 close to the strings gives a great sensitivity.
There’s also the matter of sustain. If the pickup is too close the magnetic field it produces can inhibit the vibration of the strings and reduce sustain. So it really is all about finding that sweet spot for you and your sound.
So start with this measurement and then find your sweet spot. I think the other important factor is that when you find what works for you, stop fiddling. It’s all about playing guitar . It’s easy to spend all your practice time adjusting things instead of playing – I’m as guilty as anyone of this.
What about dogear P90’s?
Now, that’s all well and good for soapbar or humbucker size P90’s but if you have a Les Paul Junior or an SG Junior with dogear P90’s it’s not as easy. Dogears aren’t height adjustable but don’t worry I have a plan.
As you can see below I’ve drawn some height adjustment shims for 3D printing. They have a few different heights and the taller ones are angled at 3 degrees to match Gibson neck angles. That way your pickups are kept parallel to the strings. A set of these should be all you need for a 2 pickup guitar. So this set should have you covered.
We don’t all have 3D printers but here in New Zealand larger libraries have 3D printers or there are many businesses offering printing services. I’m not sure how it is where you are but in most places it’s pretty easy to get things printed out. And, of course, having a Mate with a printer is ideal. It’s very easy to get done and it’ a way I can help you out without the delivery costs. I’ve sent this file to players all over the World for all brands of Dogear P90’s.
Dogear P90 height shims for free
If you want the file just get in touch with me and I’ll send it to you, no charge. You don’t have to buy my pickups (though that would be nice), I’m just happy to help out. simply email me at email@example.com
P90 Pickup Height
For pickup demos head to YouTube
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updated 3 April 2023