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Pickup Height Adjustment

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.

Pickup height adjustment. Mr Glyn's Pickups NZ
https://mrglynspickups.com/

Here are my recommend heights:

Telecaster Pickup height adjustment. Mr Glyn's Pickups NZ
https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/03/29/cruel-mistress-hot-tele-pickups/
Stratocaster Pickup height adjustment. Mr Glyn's Pickups NZ
https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/03/29/bellbird-vintage-strat-set/
Humbucker Pickup height adjustment. Mr Glyn's Pickups NZ
https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/03/29/blue-sky-vintage-humbucker/
P90 Pickup height adjustment. Mr Glyn's Pickups NZ
https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/03/29/black-sand-humbucker-size-p90-bridge/

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.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcDggiRTQyFec5KAVHsC2xA

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“Bellbird”- vintage Strat set

Single NZ$129 for NZ customers, if you’re overseas it’s GST free; NZ$112.17

Set NZ$339 for NZ customers, if you’re overseas they’re GST free; NZ$294.78

AlnicoV – Neck 5.68 KOhms, 2.36H, Middle 5.68 KOhms, 2.36H, Bridge 6.05 KOhms, 2.71H

vintage Strat Pickups

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The Bellbird is a vintage voiced pickup set strongly influenced by the pre CBS Fenders of the early 60’s. Clear and chiming, low powered and pure. Suitable for a huge range of styles, ideal for that traditional tone.

The Stratocaster has been around since 1954 and the legend continues. Reading the internet (!?) tells me there have been good and bad years or decades, guitars to avoid and ones worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’ve been repairing guitars since 1995 so I’ve played a lot of old Strats and analysed a lot of old pickups. Vintage pickups aren’t all great but the good ones are fantastic.

I’ve based my Vintage Strat set on the best of the old pickups I’ve had the pleasure of playing through . So I use AWG42 heavy formvar insulated wire – there’s something about the thickness of that insulation that just works with an old Strat pickup.

I’ve aimed for that old quacking chime that makes Strats wonderfully percussive but with a singing quality that’s so musical. Warm and clear with beautiful almost reverb-like clean tones – that’s what I want out of an old Strat. The neck needs to be fat, round and clear, the middle pickup needs to quack and the bridge a cut through twang without thinness. The all important ‘in between’ sounds in positions 2 and 4 must be balanced and characterful. Nothing says Strat more than these sounds.

The Bellbird set has been designed mainly for clean tones but they’re certainly not afraid to perform with a bit of gain. As part of a HSS set they’re great with one of my ‘Integrity’ humbuckers in the bridge position.

I agonised for months over names for my Strat pickup sets then during a camping trip to Tauwharanui Regional Park I heard my first Bellbird and realised that was the sound I had been looking for when I was designing this set. The comparison in tone between the Bellbird and the more common Tui seemed exactly what I had in my head when designing my Strat pickups. Bellbirds don’t just go tweet, there’s a depth and warmth in the tone. It’s so hard to describe sound and the difference between pickups but I think the difference between the Bellbird and the Tui sum up the difference between my vintage and hot Strat pickups. So I called them the Bellbird and the Tui.

Here are some sound samples recorded clean through a Fender Princeton Reverb-Amp. The overdrive sounds are using an Electroharmonix Soul Food. The guitar is an Alder body Strat with rosewood fretboard strung with D’Addario 10-52’s. All of them with the same guitar, same amp, same settings, no reverb or eq added later.

Bellbird Neck Pickup Clean
Bellbird Neck and Middle Pickups Clean
Bellbird Middle Pickup Clean
Bellbird Middle and Bridge Pickups Clean
Bellbird Bridge Pickup Clean

Bellbird Neck Pickup with Overdrive
Bellbird Neck and Middle with Overdrive
Bellbird Middle with Overdrive
Bellbird Middle an Bride Pickups with Overdrive
Bellbird Bridge Pickup with Overdrive
Bellbird vintage strat set - Mr Glyns Pickups
Strat Cover Options Mr Glyns Pickups
Strat Cover Options

https://www.youtube.com/c/MrGlynsPickups/videos

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