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Thread: Original/recommended pickup heights for Cutlass?

  1. #1
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    Original/recommended pickup heights for Cutlass?

    Hi guys,

    I've been looking around but cannot find these specs anywhere..

    What is the pickup heights that Ernie Ball recommends using for a Cutlass SSS guitar?
    When I bought mine the retailer offered to perform a setup, and I'm a bit curious about the pickup adjustments he seems to have made. Would love to know what the guys who built this thing originally thought they should be.

    (Also - how exactly do you measure height? Distance to an unfretted string? Fretted at the 12th? Or something else?)

    Thanks!

    Kasper
    1997 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
    2011 - Reflex - Hardtail - White
    2016 - LIII BFR - HSS - Blueberry Burst Quilt
    2017 - Cutlass - SSS - Vintage Turquoise

  2. #2
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    Different ways of measuring this. DiMarzio (for example) recommend fretting strings at the highest fret and measure distance from bottom of low E and high E strings strings to top of their respective pole pieces. Music Man do it a little differently and measure the bottom of the open E strings to top of the pole pieces.

    Cutlass

    Neck:
    Low E: 8/32" (6.5 mm)
    Hi E: 6/32" (4.75 mm)

    Middle:
    Low E: 7/32" (5.5 mm)
    Hi E: 5/32" (4.0 mm)

    Bridge:
    Low E: 6/32" (4.75 mm)
    Hi E: 4/32 (3.25 mm)

    (mm values are calculated from inch values and rounded to the nearest 0.25 mm)


    Remember, these are a starting piint, not a target. The best sounding balance in volume from pickup to pickup and from low to high strings with any one pickup varies from player to player. Grab a screwdriver and an engineers rule and have some fun.
    An Irishman in Paris...
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  3. #3
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    Thank you for the very speedy reply - this was exactly the info I was hoping to get!

    I know it eventually comes down to personal preferences - but I think it's nice to have a starting point (or something to return to, should I mange to screw it up).

    Another thing; Is this something I should have been able to find myself somewhere on the web page? (to avoid bothering you again in the future with similar questions )
    1997 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
    2011 - Reflex - Hardtail - White
    2016 - LIII BFR - HSS - Blueberry Burst Quilt
    2017 - Cutlass - SSS - Vintage Turquoise

  4. #4
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    I leave it up to preference, but on my Cutlass, I immediately raised my pickups considerably and the thing immediately transformed into beast mode. I wanted more growl out of the guitar and it delivered over and above.

    My Cutlass is at the factory, but I can give a measurement when I get it back. I raised them a substantial amount, which still preserving the clean single coil tone.
    Click for my band



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    Cutlass
    StarryNight #G79870 (12/14/16)



  5. #5
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    Yeah, please do share! That would be awesome
    1997 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
    2011 - Reflex - Hardtail - White
    2016 - LIII BFR - HSS - Blueberry Burst Quilt
    2017 - Cutlass - SSS - Vintage Turquoise

  6. #6
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    I can do that when I get it back. Well, I bought it and it didn’t have the umph of my strat, but then I realized I had raised my strat pickup heights. I did the same to my Cutlass and BOOM the thing just screamed. Don’t get me wrong, factory settings were great, but I just wanted more power from the guitar itself and that did it. Everything just became fatter and thicker and to my ears...better.
    Click for my band



    Axis Hardtail Transparent Purple #89749 (3/28/97)
    Axis Hardtail Transparent Amber #G03900 (10/21/98)
    Reflex Classic White #G71108 (7/14/14)
    Valentine Satin Natural #G77122 (8/26/16)
    Cutlass
    StarryNight #G79870 (12/14/16)



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by KasperFauerby View Post
    Is this something I should have been able to find myself somewhere on the web page?
    Not that I know of. It really is most useful as a factory reference (just so they all leave the factory consistently) and is unlikely to be the best setting for many people. Just don't get too close to the strings with single coils and you can pretty much do whatever you like otherwise.
    Last edited by DrKev; 11-25-2017 at 10:40 AM.
    An Irishman in Paris...
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  8. #8
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    I've never tried this with my cutlass. Guess what I'm doing after work today?


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrKev View Post
    Not that I know of. It really is most useful as a factory reference (just so they all leave the factory consistently) and is unlikely to be the best setting for many people. Just don't get too close to the strings with single coils and you can pretty much do whatever you like otherwise.
    Good advise on getting too close to the strings. Single coils have strong magnets and getting the pickup too close to the string will not only reduce sustain, it can create a wobble effect as well as tuning problems.
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  10. #10
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    Hey radrock, did you ever take those measurements? I just wanted to know how close people are going without killing the tone/sustain.

  11. #11
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    What I use for a starting point on single coils heights is I'll use a nickel on the high E string and a stack of two nickels on the low E string to set my heights. I hold down the strings at the highest fret and adjust the pickup heights until I can just fit in the nickels. I tweak from there by ear until the balance between the highs and lows on each pickup and the volume between pickups sound right.

  12. #12
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    Thanks man, all I need now is a metric conversion of nickel dimensions hahaha...
    Thanks for the info. ��

  13. #13
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    A US nickel is 1.95 mm thick (about 5/64").

    A Canadian nickel is 1.76 mm.

    An Irishman in Paris...
    2005 LE Buttercream Silhouette Special

    Forum Rules and Useful MM Guitar Info
    Required reading - Forum Decorum

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    I do not work for EBMM. I'm just a moderator.

  14. #14
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    Sorry I totally forgot about this thread. I took measurements and pics for you. The pickup heights on the LOW string side are a consistent .50 cm. On the high string side, I have them a little higher at .70 cm.


    LOW E String side bridge pickup
    Original/recommended pickup heights for Cutlass?-size1-jpg



    LOW E String side neck pickup

    Original/recommended pickup heights for Cutlass?-size2-jpg



    HIGH E String side bridge pickup

    Original/recommended pickup heights for Cutlass?-size3-jpg



    HIGH E String side neck pickup

    Original/recommended pickup heights for Cutlass?-size4-jpg
    Last edited by radrock; 06-19-2018 at 10:31 AM.
    Click for my band



    Axis Hardtail Transparent Purple #89749 (3/28/97)
    Axis Hardtail Transparent Amber #G03900 (10/21/98)
    Reflex Classic White #G71108 (7/14/14)
    Valentine Satin Natural #G77122 (8/26/16)
    Cutlass
    StarryNight #G79870 (12/14/16)



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    My BFR Cutlass came with the pickups nearly flush with the pickguard on the low E side neck and just a little bit higher on the middle and bridge pick ups. I don't know if that was intended or not but it sounds so smooth I love it.

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