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  1. #1
    Top Of The World
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    08.06.08 @ 04:31 AM
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    pickup height & string tonal balance

    This seems like something so simple but its pretty elusive for me. Of the guitars I own, only 1 has a perfect string tonal "balance" [i.e. where you could play a chord in dirty channel on the amp and all notes ring out nice & true.] It happens to be my Stienberger with a Seymour Duncan Custom Custom in the bridge pocket.

    My Kramer, on the other hand, with a Duncan Custom Custom, doesn't have this same "balance" between the strings and often a chord ends up being a pale representation (if you compare the two guitars on the same chord - D chord, for example) sounding OK but not having that same distictive note-for-note quality to it.

    example: Imagine playing "Unchained" on both guitars on a dirty channel. On the Stienberger with the Custom Custom, each nuance of the chords is easily heard. On the Kramer with a Custom Custom, the nuances of the top octave notes in the chords are lost to the root notes and 5ths of the chords.

    Could this be a pickup height problem? I'm going to check that tonight.
    Any other ideas? Or can the differences between one guitar to another cause this issue more or less? I don't doubt that the guitars themselves could be doing this but what brought this up was that a student brought over a crappy Les Paul knock-off last night and the tonal balance on that guitar was PERFECT (better than any of my guitars) and I'm wondering now how to fix the problem on mine.

    Thanks in advance for any comments.

  2. #2
    Romeo Delight Tranztek's Avatar
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    02.07.12 @ 01:01 PM
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    HIPC,

    Two different guitars with the same pickups most definately can emphasize certain tones over others. Even the same models - I had two Wolfgangs which seemed identical but sounded very different. Pick up height can have some effect (more trebly the nearer to the string and the more magnet pull) but its more the way the strings react to the bodies resonation I would say. The wood can empahsize certain notes more than others in my experience.

  3. #3
    5150 A&Z Guitar Repair's Avatar
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    03.24.17 @ 08:25 AM
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    Donor

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    Here are some tips I use when achieving a balanced ouput...

    String up the guitar, and press the low and high E strings down onto the last fret (nearest the pickups). Measure between the bottom of the E strings and the polepieces. Adjust the neck pickup for a 1/16" gap; set the bridge pickup to 3/32". You might alter it a little depending the technique of the player.

    I also set the pole pieces to match the radius of the fretboard. This seems to help with string to string balance and overall balance.

    More on this can be found in Dan Erlewine's Book, How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great.

    You also want to make sure the bridge saddles are radius the same as the neck. This will help in string to string balance.
    Scott Eivins
    A&Z Guitar Repair

  4. #4
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    07.04.16 @ 08:03 PM
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    That's a good tip, Scott. Thanks!

    I'd have to agree with the earlier post that the wood will make the most significant difference (and for that matter, the specific piece of wood). Evidence can be found in trying out two versions of the same guitar (like a Wolfgang)--one with a maple cap and one solid basswood. Even just a 1/4" maple top changes the complextion of the tone in a BIG way.

 

 

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