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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Pickup height question

Contributing Member

Kansas City, Mo.

counting it all joy
Jun 21st, 2015 07:10 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

So what is an optimal height for humbuckers and for single pups?
Can humbuckers be set to low? If I was to put them near flush with the pickgaurd what would be the result?

Contributing Member


Jun 21st, 2015 07:31 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Personally I don't think humbuckers can be set too high, short of rattling against the strings. Single coils suffer "stratitis" and get wonky when set too high. I generally follow the nickel/two nickel guideline and tweak to taste. I prefer a slightly lower middle pickup on a Strat.

I have read quite a few accounts of folks who prefer low humbuckers, so there is no real guideline.

Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

Jun 21st, 2015 07:34 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The only way that I know of is to sit and play your guitar and adjust the pickup up and down.

Yes, there's measurements and the old two nickels thing... but you just gotta spend some time with it.

Contributing Member

C-C-R is one letter

better than B-B-Q. Tastier too!
Jun 21st, 2015 07:46 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Here's a good starting point...the below info assumes you have proper neck relief, proper radius on the bridge saddles, and proper action at the 12th fret.

The neck pickup should be about 1/8" from the strings. The bridge pickup should be about 3/32" from the strings.

Take this measurement while lightly fretting both E strings at the highest fret on the neck, and adjust both ends of the pickup up or down so the E-strings' polepieces match the measurements above.

That is a starting point. Little adjustments up or down from there can make a big difference with some pickups.

Here's a cool tip. If you don't have a little steel rule with 32nd-inch markings, all is not lost :o)

Get out your hex key set, and use the 1/8" and 3/32" keys as gauges. Rest a flat side of the key atop the polepiece and adjust the pickup up or down so the opposite flat side on the key just touches the bottom of the string...while fretting the string at the highest fret.

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 09:52 PM, Jun 21st, 2015)

FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Pickup height question

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