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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Lace Sensors De-mythed

Next 20 Messages  
Power Trio


Apr 27th, 2015 10:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

I bought my 89 EC Strat new with Gold Lace sensors.

Fender supplied instructions on the pup height with wordings as if it didn't matter as to its height.

I took this as the bible and never touched the pups.

we played a larger venue this past weekend much larger than I normally play at.

during the sound check my board guy says my
neck pup and middle sounded too weak.

he told me to raise them up. I fought him on it but in the end tried it. it did make a difference unlike what Fender advertised it as.

so if you have LC's do try to adjust them as you do with a normal pup and see how it sounds regardless of what the booklet says

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Apr 27th, 2015 11:33 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have found LCs need to be closer that standard single coils. What I understood the Fenderspeak to be was that they can be set closer to the string without the distortion and magnetic dampening of standard PUs much like some actives.

They will get weak if too far away.

Contributing Member

Irishman in Paris

Forget Tone - go with Note Choice
Apr 27th, 2015 02:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yup, I also understood they could be as close to the strings as you could comfortably put them. Just like a regular pickup, output will fall off as you move them away from the strings.

Contributing Member


Apr 27th, 2015 07:23 PM   Edit   Profile  

Pickup type, height, and string material all make a difference in tone and volume

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Apr 27th, 2015 10:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm a big fan of Lace Sensors.
I know there tend to be two distinct camps on these pickups, (love 'em or hate 'em) but I'm firmly in the love camp.

I have tried a number of different combinations (colours, if you will) to find the ones that suit my "style".

I actually have the same configuration in 3 of my strats yet each guitar has its own tonal character (different tone woods/necks etc.)

I too have found that (thanks to Smark, where ever you are) the pickup height is crucial to getting LS's to sound their best.
I think I have mine set even slightly higher than what Lace recommends.

I also think that (purely conjecture on my part) people who have tried LS's and didn't like their performance, may have adjusted the height to what a "normal" pickup might be and therefore didn't get everything the LS's have to offer.

Contributing Member


Apr 28th, 2015 09:04 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for the heads up on this. I'm going try adjusting the dual Gold Lace Sensors in the bridge of my 1991 Jeff Beck Strat and see if I like the sound better (the neck and middle Gold Lace pups already sound great).

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Apr 28th, 2015 11:12 AM   Edit   Profile  

Standard Fender Strat pickups, if set too close to the strings, will cause the out of tune, warbly tone known as "Strat-itis" where the strong magnetic strength pulls the string out of tune, and snubs sustain.

What Fender meant is that Lace Sensors don't do this, so it doesn't matter how close they are to the strings. They didn't mean it didn't matter to tone.

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Apr 28th, 2015 03:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

Many years back I built up a Strat in shell pink for my then step daughter. It got a set of VanZandt PUs and it played wonderfully with me behind the wheel.

When she played the guitar it was harsh, icepicky and non-musical. I swapped in a set of LC golds and wow, instant success. The VanZandts now reside in my 3-tone Am Dlx.

Some people hate the LCs but they can fix some ills that I thought were not fixable.



Apr 29th, 2015 05:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

Lace Golds are some of my favorite pups.

Guitar Fool
Contributing Member

Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
Apr 29th, 2015 06:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

big fan also... I have found them to be a bit quirky as far as height to strings...

the Red one especially...
to me, if it gets too close it starts to sound a bit mushy..and loses its balance between the highs and lows.
maybe its an output thing...the red's have the highest ohm rating of all of them at 14k, with the blue coming in around 12... it can be a bit twitchy as well..

another thing, the closer to the strings they are the greater the chance of getting in the way of picking..depending on your picking style...

I'll set them as far away from the strings as I can get away with

playing clean, the lace pups can sound a bit sterile and compressed....some amp tweaking can usually correct...

but I think they really shine when u put some hair on em with a pedal...;-0

Power Trio


Apr 29th, 2015 07:31 AM   Edit   Profile  

ive been playing with them all week.

they were all set at 8/64ths by the factory I brung them all up to 3/64ths

any higher and the strings hit them

I have practice tonight will see how they sound in real world setting and I can tweak them on the spot if need be

I have a feeling another 8th turn or about 5/64ths will be optimum.

also with this guitar I never ever run the vol wide open as it can sound too cloudy. I find the tone to be sweetest at 5-7

(This message was last edited by Power Trio at 09:35 AM, Apr 29th, 2015)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Apr 29th, 2015 06:16 PM   Edit   Profile  

Just out curiosity I measured the pickup heights one of my strats (one that already out).
Alder body, Maple neck/fb.
When I installed them I didn't really use measurement, I just guessed at a starting point and then adjusted up & down by ear and never put a ruler on it until now.

The LS's I have in it are Light Blue - Neck/ Hot Silver - Middle/ Burgandy - Bridge.
These are all hotter than the Golds (FWIW: Lt. Blue - 8.0k; H.Silver - 7.1k; Burg - 8.9k)

The measurements I have are:
N = 5/64 Bass side & 3/32 Treble side
M = 3/32 B & T sides
B = 3/32 B & T sides

The Lace recommended height is .170" from bottom of string, or the thickness of 2 dimes and a nickel. No idea what that is in a fraction.

edit to add:
Hah! just found 2 dimes and a nickel in some US coins I still have!
Their combined height is 5/32".
So there you go!

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 08:22 PM, Apr 29th, 2015)


Atlanta, GA USA

"Life is good when you love your tone."
Apr 30th, 2015 02:02 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've been playing Lace Sensors for many, many years, and I have only one rule for setting them up... Get them as close to the strings as possible. Fender really screwed up with the original set of instructions they supplied. That is pretty much what led to the many early opinions that Gold Lace Sensors were sterile. Set them up too low and that's what they will sound like.


Emerald Isle

May 5th, 2015 03:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

Used Lace Golds in an '89 Strat Plus for over 2 decades. Found it hard to adjust to anything else for a while. Mine were as close to the strings as possible without causing extraneous handling noises.

Contributing Member


May 12th, 2015 12:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

Do any of you LS fans have any tips for pup height in order to maximize classic strat "quack" in the 2 & 4 positions?

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

May 12th, 2015 01:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think balance is very important to get nice quack.

I like to start with the bridge PU and set up a nice solid tone. Move to the middle PU and set the height to get just slightly less output than the bridge PU. Set up the neck PU for the same approximate output as the middle.

Check your work for string rub.

If a bit high and you get contact at the neck PU lower it then reset the others for proper volume balance.

This always seems to work for me. You can move the middle up and down a bit and see if it affects your quack.

I also do a single note test on the 12th fret of the low E string. Make sure you have no weird harmonics or distortion. If you do, go lower. (more an issue with non-LC PUs) The note should ring clearly and not flutter or warble.

PUs might have to be just slightly higher on the treble side for good balance across the strings. The larger wound strings excite the magnetic field a bit more and tend to be louder. Best to lower the bass side rather than push the limits on the treble side of the PU.

Contributing Member

Irishman in Paris

Forget Tone - go with Note Choice
May 12th, 2015 02:16 PM   Edit   Profile  

My two cents on quack...

1) Middle pickup should be higher, rather than lower.

2) Treble/bass balance for each pickup is important (i.e. height of pickup relative to the low-E and high-E strings). Too much bass in the balance may lose quack.

Contributing Member

QLD Australia

May 13th, 2015 03:35 AM   Edit   Profile  

"Do any of you LS fans have any tips for pup height in order to maximize classic strat "quack" in the 2 & 4 positions?"

Hey pombrio,
Not sure I've maximized quack but I play mostly clean and mine quack as well as any other strat pup I've owned or played.
Hot Golds are still my all time favorite pups and I have them set at Low E 4/32, high E 3/32 for all three pups with the strings fretted at the last fret.
I find this gives a full tone with classical glass and quack.

Contributing Member


May 13th, 2015 07:38 AM   Edit   Profile  

All good tips for me to experiment with, thank you. My '94 EC strat has the stock LS Golds. I've tried high and low settings over the years with varying results. I usually have my guitar volume knob around 7 and tone knob around the detent notch at 5 (which would be close to 8-10 on a standard tone knob). I find this setup makes it easier to switch to my tele without having to adjust my amp settings.

When using the 2 & 4 positions, the EC TBX tone knob comes in handy. I'll raise the tone knob to around 7-8 which seems to help improve quack.

Interestingly, I just looked at Lace's website. For these Lace Sensors, he states this "ADJUSTMENT TIP: For optimum tone and output from our Sensors, we recommend adjusting the height to .170" from string to pickup, or approx. the height of 2 dimes and a nickel. (REMEMBER string thickness applies to height - use bottom of string closest to pickup for measurement.)"

Yet, for the "hotter" Hot Gold Lace Sensors, he suggests the even closer settings that I linked below.

I realize it comes down to individual preference and tweaking, it's just food for thought.

Hot Gold Setup

Power Trio


May 13th, 2015 10:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

Pom you made some great points on the EC strat.

I too keep the vol at about 5 gas it to 7 for a solo. TBX 4-7 and boost barely at most times off.

most people don't know how to play the EC strat correctly and dime everything then say the pups are muddy or sterile

this guitar puts out a lot of power even with the boost on a low setting, more power than most amps can handle while still be able to stay toneful.

when im running thru my 69 VL I like to open it up more and use input 2 to compensate

when im playing thru an unfamilair amp say in the studio and I can also back it down using my EQ pedal

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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Lace Sensors De-mythed

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