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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Advice about raised A pole



Sep 30th, 2015 11:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

My 1958 is a real beauty. Playability is superb. Sound is sweet, except from the E string is a bit low compared to the A string. The A got raised poles closer to the string of course. I have tried to even out, but got a little worried when i heard some studio work the other day. I can hear the E string good when using headphones, and on loud studio speakers, but on say a small docking speaker it is almost gone.
Now I thinking maybe replace the pickups. Bad move?

raised A pick

uncle stack-knob
Contributing Member

united kingdom

Sep 30th, 2015 11:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yes,bad move.
The raised "A" which was around '57 and some of '58
requires setting in a certain way.
I see from your pictures that you have already made adjustments such that the bass side of the pickup assembly is lower under the "A" string,or at least gives that impression,but is the polepiece really lower?
Try starting again,but be aware that constant stressing of the assembly can cause the windings to fail,so go steady.
Start out by setting the WHOLE assembly LEVEL beneath the strings. Using a practice type amp at moderate volume and a flat setting, sound each string open,and listen to the volume imbalance.
Usually you will then find that you need to lower
the pickup UNDER THE "G" and raise it a little UNDER THE "D".Now set the "E" string response,then
set the "A" response,usually by lowering it.
DO NOT endeavour at this point to set the poles as close to the strings as possible,what you are doing is trying to achieve an acceptably even response.Once that is achieved as much as can be,then you may consider raising the assembly a little closer little by little,listening for loss of clarity or unacceptable single string dominance
as you proceed.
My '57 is much the same,and strung with T.I. flats it evens out nicely.
If the pickup is difficult to raise and lower,then have a competent tech who truly understands these old ones look at the height adjusting "foam" under the pickups.
To this day,Fender will supply you with the correct "foam" for the job.Don't mess around with "make do methods",use the right stuff,the bass deserves it.
Also have a look at the tops of the polepieces and see whether there is still the old lacquer on the tops of them.This can sometimes create an exageration in sound response if it is present on some,and not others.
Getting this balance just right takes a little time,but can be done.


(This message was last edited by uncle stack-knob at 01:36 AM, Oct 1st, 2015)



Oct 1st, 2015 12:51 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thank you Stack-Knob.
Good advice. I always appreciate when you reply, and share.
I sure wish there was a good luthier over her in Norway, who has a big hart for vintage basses.
I will carefully try to do the job my self with amp set up flat, and as you suggested.
The bass is strung with LaBella flats. Jamesrson 110 on the E string. I really like em, but maby they are not for this bass?

If I can't get this right my self. Is there a good tech/luthier you can recommend over here in Europe or Scandinavia?




Oct 1st, 2015 01:18 AM   Edit   Profile  

This 57 I found on the net has probably a good starting point, if I understood Stack-Knob correct?

1957 pickup setup



Searching for L40278.
Oct 1st, 2015 06:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

As USK said, try the T.I. flats... They have a .100 E going with a (comparatively) thin .070 A, so that might take care of balancing things out!

(This message was last edited by liverbird at 08:33 PM, Oct 1st, 2015)



Fender Bass Collector
Oct 1st, 2015 07:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have an original 57 and an AVRI 57, love them both. Wouldn't trade the pup out for anything. Just recorded 12 track CD, no complaints from engineer, or the band for that matter.

Good luck.

PS. Consider reducing the tension on your neck from those 1954 strings. I have heard stories of them warping necks. I just back off a half turn.

uncle stack-knob
Contributing Member

united kingdom

Oct 2nd, 2015 02:04 AM   Edit   Profile  

Arild, what you show in the pictures of the other '57 there is a good indication of the setting needed. Of course,small differences are bound to be required on each and every bass.



Oct 2nd, 2015 11:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

Have done my best today to get pickup in right position.
Check the link please.
I tried to do as Stack-Knob advised me to.
Testing on low volume. amp set flat. (Using a small Phil Jones briefcase.)

affprod- Still got the Labellas 1954 on it, but I see you're point.
They can be really hard to some necks. I almost killed a Fender Jazz bass Special.

liverbird- sure wish they had made T.I flats 105 on the E string. Great strings but I can't get use to 100 on the E string.




Oct 2nd, 2015 11:28 AM   Edit   Profile  

This is photo of the pickup.
Angled the best I could do to get all of the strings sound even.



Contributing Member


Oct 9th, 2015 12:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

"liverbird- sure wish they had made T.I flats 105 on the E string. Great strings but I can't get use to 100 on the E string."

I do too! About 5 years ago I ran into a NOS TI Jazz Flat set of strings with a .050 G string. It was awesome. To bad they do not make them any longer. The package had dust on the outside but was unopened. My favorite set would be .050-.105


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Jun 30th, 2016 05:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

I recently rejoined the FDP and was looking around this morning for some past topics I might revive and hopefully add something that might help.

I saw this one and because I have used raised-A pickups my entire career...I love the enhanced midrange they give...I thought I might offer that when I'm setting up my pickups, I always use headphones and a headphone amp. I just hear better this way.

Arild, you started this thread late last year and now it's eight months later. What ever happened? Any improvement?




Jun 30th, 2016 12:45 PM   Edit   Profile  

George- I belive I got it as good as it gets now.
I have been doing some recordings using the 58, and I think the bass sounds nice and even now. The producer was very satisfied with the bass sound.

Before I played the bass in studio, I did some home recording with Logic on my Mac. Tried to find the perfect set up that way.
I also used headphones plugged in to my Tascam basstrainer.

Jepp! Sounds good now.


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Jun 30th, 2016 12:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for the update. I was hoping the news would be good and it is.

I know I love raised-A poles and have never had any trouble dialing them in.

I'm working right now with one of the Journeyman Custom Shop 1957 P-basses and the raised-A pickups on this bass are nothing short of spectacular, clearly a cut above any reissue raised-A split coil I have ever played and I think I've played them all. The pole tips are beveled like the early originals.


(This message was last edited by edmonstg at 03:44 PM, Jul 1st, 2016)



Fender power to the people!
Jul 5th, 2016 08:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

Being able to raise or lower each end of split P pups has always given them a great edge when it comes to eveness.
I have never had a raised A pup, but I have sat and wondered what they were thinking.
My best guess is that they wanted to compensate for the different string heigth with the 7 1/4 FB radius.
The thing that I don't get with that thought is why the D wasn't also raised, if that was the idea behind it.


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Jul 5th, 2016 09:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

My understanding is that the idea behind it was to strengthen the midrange at the expense of the bottom end...the E-string... to protect the bass speakers players were using back then. It was routine to find E-strings the size of telephone poles in the 1950s and bass players were complaining about blowing speakers.


FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Advice about raised A pole

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