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Thread: Lower pickups, clearer sound

  1. #1

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    Lower pickups, clearer sound

    Lower pickups, better (clearer) sound and easier tuning.

    Does it make sense?

    Gave my SR5HH to a luthier to set-up lower action, adjust neck, check frets and adjust intonation.

    He said he has to lower the pickups because they were too close to the strings and magnetizing them which also reduced sustain.

    Yes, it feels and sounds great and has more clarity although I had the pickups set to factory specs.

    Anyone know the ins and outs of pickups and proximety to strings?

    BTW, love the lower action.
    MM Stingray 5 HH (200?)
    MM Stingray 5 H (2009)
    Ser# E56442 & E73138

  2. #2

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    if strings are too far away from the pickups, they don't "sense" enough field change to produce decent volume.

    if strings are too close, the field is too strong and damps the motion of the strings, muting sustain.

    from the FAQ:

    The factory specifications for the pickup height is 6/32" or 4.76mm from the top of the plastic between the pickup covers to the bottom of the G string. The angle of the pickup is set fairly level, so the larger strings are naturally a bit closer. If you haven't already adjusted the pickup or changed to a very heavy gauge string set, you shouldn't have to do any adjustments on the pickup.
    Last edited by maddog; 03-02-2009 at 06:46 PM.
    -Tom
    Fret more, worry less.

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    Blank-Plank Egyptian Smoke Bongo4H "Nefertiti"

  3. #3

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    I learned a while back that the EBMM factory is staffed by people smarter than I am when it comes to basses. Therefore I pay attention to stuff like factory specs and no longer try to screw around with things trying to "improve" them.

    My pickup height, string selection and action are as speced from the factory and the bass is flippin' perfect. I love it. A lot.

    Unlike any of my previous basses, every last one of which I screwed around with and none of which were just right.

    At some point, one learns when it's time to leave well enough alone.

    These guys really, truly do know what they're doing. I don't say that lightly. There are many, many idiots in this world... after all, the definition of IQ is that 100 is AVERAGE.

    The EBMM brain trust is not on the left side of the bell curve.

    BTW, are you SURE the pickups were set to factory spec? Did you measure with an appropriate ruler (one graduated in 32nds)?
    Last edited by adouglas; 03-02-2009 at 07:07 PM.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by maddog View Post
    if strings are too far away from the pickups, they don't "sense" enough field change to produce decent volume.

    if strings are too close, the field is too strong and damps the motion of the strings, muting sustain.

    from the FAQ:
    ive tried some small things, in the end I just take it to my luthier, hes a great guy, and I trust him...he sets it up for me
    MM SR5 HS Dargie Delight 1 of 15
    MM SR4 HH ltd. 2005 Buttercream 1 of 13
    Candy Apple Red Bongo 5 HH Fretless

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frantic Slayer View Post
    ive tried some small things, in the end I just take it to my luthier, hes a great guy, and I trust him...he sets it up for me
    From now on me too.

    Maddog shares the luthier's opininion and the FAQ confirms that.

    What I know now is that the bass sounds better than it did before, includidng when I bought it new. I am loving this low action. It was a minor adjustment at first having the pickups so low (because I rest my thumb against the pickup and on top of the B string) but like everything else you get use to it.

    With a great bass like the SR, you can't go wrong and it has the ability to be set up as we individually like it and still sound and feel great.
    MM Stingray 5 HH (200?)
    MM Stingray 5 H (2009)
    Ser# E56442 & E73138

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by jar546 View Post
    From now on me too.

    Maddog shares the luthier's opininion and the FAQ confirms that.

    What I know now is that the bass sounds better than it did before, includidng when I bought it new. I am loving this low action. It was a minor adjustment at first having the pickups so low (because I rest my thumb against the pickup and on top of the B string) but like everything else you get use to it.

    With a great bass like the SR, you can't go wrong and it has the ability to be set up as we individually like it and still sound and feel great.
    Maybe he lowered the strings to where hefelt they belonged and then noticed your pickups were too close so lowered them. Same space from string just lower into body.. And what you really love is the lower strings..

  7. #7

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    No, he lowered them before he lowered the strings. the distance the pickups were lowered was greater than the distance the strings were lowered too.
    MM Stingray 5 HH (200?)
    MM Stingray 5 H (2009)
    Ser# E56442 & E73138

  8. #8

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    Cool, everyone has a different taste when it comes to setup and it looks like you have found yours, congrats.
    Stingray HH 5 natural maple DOB 05-02-06
    Mark Bass LM II

  9. #9

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    hey quick question for you guys...

    In FAQ, there is few items that mention string and pickup height... but it's confusing for me...

    FAQ #23
    I just bought a new Music Man bass, what is the recommended string height on the neck and over the pickup?
    If your truss rod is adjusted properly, the string height above the 12th fret should be 3/32 from the bottom of the string to the top of the fret. 6/32" or 4.8mm from the bottom of the string to the top of the pole piece on your pickup.

    FAQ#33
    Could you tell me Music Man's StingRay factory settings for relief, string height, and pickup height?
    First of all - almost all of the adjustments to string height can be made with the truss rod. Turn clockwise to raise the fretboard (resulting in lower action), counter clockwise to lower it. The factory string height for our basses is 3/32" or 2.4mm between the bottom of the string to the top of the fret on both the E and G strings at the 12th fret. The G string can be slightly lower due to the fact that it is the smallest string. Of course, tightening or loosening the trussrod affects the bow of the neck, which is how desired action is generally best achieved.
    The factory specifications for the pickup height is 6/32" or 4.76mm from the top of the plastic between the pickup covers to the bottom of the G string. The angle of the pickup is set fairly level, so the larger strings are naturally a bit closer. If you haven't already adjusted the pickup or changed to a very heavy gauge string set, you shouldn't have to do any adjustments on the pickup.



    My question... In #23, they take mesurement from the pickup pole, et in #33 they take mesurement from pickup plastic cover?? Well, if I'm looking at my bass (sterling 4 strings with single H ) pole is higher than the plastic cover... So this might change the mesurement???

    Or maybe difference is too small to notice a difference.. But pole are at least a good 1/32 higher than the plastic cover??

    Any idea what reference to take, pole or cover?

    Thanks
    Vincent
    Last edited by vguilbault; 03-04-2009 at 04:32 AM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by vguilbault View Post
    hey quick question for you guys...

    In FAQ, there is few items that mention string and pickup height... but it's confusing for me...

    FAQ #23
    I just bought a new Music Man bass, what is the recommended string height on the neck and over the pickup?
    If your truss rod is adjusted properly, the string height above the 12th fret should be 3/32 from the bottom of the string to the top of the fret. 6/32" or 4.8mm from the bottom of the string to the top of the pole piece on your pickup.

    FAQ#33
    Could you tell me Music Man's StingRay factory settings for relief, string height, and pickup height?
    First of all - almost all of the adjustments to string height can be made with the truss rod. Turn clockwise to raise the fretboard (resulting in lower action), counter clockwise to lower it. The factory string height for our basses is 3/32" or 2.4mm between the bottom of the string to the top of the fret on both the E and G strings at the 12th fret. The G string can be slightly lower due to the fact that it is the smallest string. Of course, tightening or loosening the trussrod affects the bow of the neck, which is how desired action is generally best achieved.
    The factory specifications for the pickup height is 6/32" or 4.76mm from the top of the plastic between the pickup covers to the bottom of the G string. The angle of the pickup is set fairly level, so the larger strings are naturally a bit closer. If you haven't already adjusted the pickup or changed to a very heavy gauge string set, you shouldn't have to do any adjustments on the pickup.



    My question... In #23, they take mesurement from the pickup pole, et in #33 they take mesurement from pickup plastic cover?? Well, if I'm looking at my bass (sterling 4 strings with single H ) pole is higher than the plastic cover... So this might change the mesurement???

    Or maybe difference is too small to notice a difference.. But pole are at least a good 1/32 higher than the plastic cover??

    Any idea what reference to take, pole or cover?

    Thanks
    Vincent
    Good Question Vincent, I have a Sterling 4H as well, the pole pcs on my A and D strings are also higher than the pole's on the E and G, not sure how this will change the dimensions as well. Having said all this, I have had my baby for one full year (March 2008) I store it in my case when not using it. The set up was checked when I purchased it and as far as I am concerned it has not needed any adjustments since that day. I will admit I am a little leary about making any adjustments myself, but the way this seems to be going, it may never be an issue for me. Wonderful Product
    2008 Sterling 4H Trans/Gold Maple

  11. #11

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    CGK,

    I just picked up my new sterling a week ago... BUT strings were very high... Way higher thant the factory 6/32, and neck relief was too high also... So i decided to give a try and ajust it...

    I tried with a mesurement tape, but it's not accurate... A friend of mind is well equipped in machinery, so he'll make myself a 3/32 and 6/32 hashwood "spacer jigs..." so it will easy to ajust...

    If i'm not able to ajust it correctly, my baby will have a "rendez-vous" with the musical instrument doctor...

    Vincent

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by vguilbault View Post
    CGK,

    I just picked up my new sterling a week ago... BUT strings were very high... Way higher thant the factory 6/32, and neck relief was too high also... So i decided to give a try and ajust it...

    I tried with a mesurement tape, but it's not accurate... A friend of mind is well equipped in machinery, so he'll make myself a 3/32 and 6/32 hashwood "spacer jigs..." so it will easy to ajust...

    If i'm not able to ajust it correctly, my baby will have a "rendez-vous" with the musical instrument doctor...

    Vincent
    Sounds like a plan, I do have a small 6" (x 1/4" wide) steel ruler measured in 1/32" which I have used as a reference.
    1 CDN quarter is approx. 0.060/0.062" x 3 = 0.180/0.186" close to 6/32". A CDN dime is approx. 0.044/0.046" tck x 2 = 0.088"/0.92" close to 3/32" you can try and use them until you get your spacers. Not sure what the US equivalent is other than 27% more $.
    Good Luck
    2008 Sterling 4H Trans/Gold Maple

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by GGK View Post
    Sounds like a plan, I do have a small 6" (x 1/4" wide) steel ruler measured in 1/32" which I have used as a reference.
    1 CDN quarter is approx. 0.060/0.062" x 3 = 0.180/0.186" close to 6/32". A CDN dime is approx. 0.044/0.046" tck x 2 = 0.088"/0.92" close to 3/32" you can try and use them until you get your spacers. Not sure what the US equivalent is other than 27% more $.
    Good Luck
    Spark plug gap feeler gauges work for this, too, and they are cheaply available at just about any auto parts store.
    Gordon in Austin
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    Live it or live with it!

  14. #14

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    Its not that critical. I take it as about 4 or 5/32 from the G polepiece and 5 or 6/32 from the E polepiece, or if you are measuring from the plastic case, add another 1/32 to it.
    The middle poles are higher but thats to compensate for the neck and saddle curvature. They should be similar in height above the polepieces, thats the important thing.
    Whether its 4, 5 or 6/32 its not going to be a disaster, you shouldn't hear any isues with string dampening in the magnetic field. Trust your own ears and your technique.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Heeley View Post
    Its not that critical. I take it as about 4 or 5/32 from the G polepiece and 5 or 6/32 from the E polepiece, or if you are measuring from the plastic case, add another 1/32 to it.
    The middle poles are higher but thats to compensate for the neck and saddle curvature. They should be similar in height above the polepieces, thats the important thing.
    Whether its 4, 5 or 6/32 its not going to be a disaster, you shouldn't hear any isues with string dampening in the magnetic field. Trust your own ears and your technique.
    I'm with you
    2008 Sterling 4H Trans/Gold Maple

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