Pickup height adjustment

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Pickup height adjustment

Postby GaryL » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:43 pm

A while ago there was a post about pickups on the Gretsch NC. To me I could not hear much difference going from both pickups versus the neck pickup only. Also, I could not understand turning down the treble pickup a little when using 2 pickups. It seemed to me I wanted to turn the treble pickup up ( make it louder). Recently, I changed strings and decided to play with the pickup heights. I removed the shim under the neck pickup lowering it a good 1/8 inch or more. On the treble pickup I raised it about the same. This really helped me. Now turing down the treble p/u when using both makes more sense and when I use just the bass pickup there is more of a difference in tone.
What lead me to doing this was playing a great Gretsch 6120 where the interaction with the volume knobs was great and really effected the tone. Anyway.... that's where I am today.
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Re: Pickup height adjustment

Postby guitarchuck » Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:14 am

Gary,


Here's what Paul Yandell said about Chet's 59 Country Gentleman's pickup height:

"I once measured the distance on Chet's old Country Gentleman from the top of the bars on the bass side to the bottom of the 6th string and found it to be 0.2170 inches or 5.52 mm, and the same on the treble side, I didn't measure the back pickup but he had the screws up."
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Re: Pickup height adjustment

Postby t hollifield » Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:49 am

Gary, I had the same experience with my 6122-1959 I couldn't hear much change in the tone from the neck pickup and both pickups. I have a 6119 tenn. rose and a 6122n and both of them changes a good bit from the neck pickup to both pickups. I never said anything because I didn't want to sound critical so I sold the '59. because I didn't think to try what you did. One other thing I didn't like was the 17" body, but I really liked the stronger pickups and I miss the cutting power they had. I played it at church where they had an organ and an electric keyboard and It would cut through better than anything else I played. It's hard to get everything you want in one guitar isn't it. May be I'll try again someday. I think I would like to have a 16" body 6122-1959 with controls like a 6120 but I know there's no such thing.so the search goes on. Thanks, Terry. p s, I'm glad I'm not the only one who had this problem.
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Re: Pickup height adjustment

Postby GaryL » Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:53 pm

Hi Terry and Chuck,
I'm not sure how my pickup heights measure on my NC and what I did helped me a lot . Also, I can change it back very easily if I change my mind. I think I will raise the treble pickup a tiny bit more, but I need longer screws. I LOVE my Gretsch NC 6122 and would not let it go (although I might trade it for an orange one). As far as the 6120 pickup heights are concerned - they are really close to the strings and I don't have to adjust the screws. TV Jones site shows a schematic of the filtertrons very close to the strings. 6122-1959 and 6120 - both awesome guitars.
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Re: Pickup height adjustment

Postby OOwl » Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:44 am

guitarchuck wrote:Gary,


Here's what Paul Yandell said about Chet's 59 Country Gentleman's pickup height:

"I once measured the distance on Chet's old Country Gentleman from the top of the bars on the bass side to the bottom of the 6th string and found it to be 0.2170 inches or 5.52 mm, and the same on the treble side, I didn't measure the back pickup but he had the screws up."



Is anyone here doing this? I could not get my neck pickup to adjust down this low. I got it almost to 5mm but then the bridge pickup was way to loud and it would barely adjust down at all. Also, the output was real weak on the neck pickup, being so far from the strings. I wonder if Paul was talking about Chet's Dynasonic 6120? I have read that he thought those pickups pulled the strings too much so he had them low/far from the strings. I also understand Chet had high action (I'm guessing much higher than mine), so maybe that's how he got that much space between the pup and strings.
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Re: Pickup height adjustment

Postby Norm » Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:38 am

This is what setting the main pickup section (the pickup itself, not the poles) is all about as I see it. This is largely speculation but I think I'm correct.

When both pickups have the same output due to the positioning of the pickups themselves the treble pickup doesn't have as much "oomph" as the fingerboad pickup because the strings vibrate in a wider field over the fingerboard pickup.

When Chet first wired up his D'Angelico he used a single Gibson P-90 at the fingerboard. That is a pretty hot pickup. He noticed that other guys liked the mellow sounding Bigsby pickup which has a much lower output so he put one of those at the fingerboard and moved the P-90 to the bridge.

What he had stumbled on was that there was more volume balance between the two that way. He could turn the treble pickup down a little and there was no jump in volume if he switched from one to the other in mid song.

Along comes the Filter Tron and his favorite 59.
He noticed that there was a notable difference in volume if he switched pickups mid song because the pickups had the same output. Drawing on his invention by accident, he had Shot Jackson double the output on his bridge pickup. It had a little more volume than the fingerboard pickup so, again, he backs off on the treble pickup so there is minimal difference in volume if he switched pickups mid song.


This gave his gentleman a distinctly improved tone and clarity when both pickups ran together and no one was any wiser why this was. A 'secret weapon' as it were...

He preferred running his pickups full out (except for backing off a little on the treble pickup) and controlling his volume from his amp.
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
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Re: Pickup height adjustment

Postby Norm » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:59 am

A footnote to my earlier post on this subject

I think Chet briefly had two P-90's on his D'Angelico before replacing the fingerboard unit with the mellower Bigsby pickup and, as pointed out in the other post, got a more even, balanced sound volume wise as he switched from one to the other
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
Norm
 
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Re: Pickup height adjustment

Postby guitarchuck » Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:51 am

OOwl wrote:
guitarchuck wrote:Gary,


Here's what Paul Yandell said about Chet's 59 Country Gentleman's pickup height:

"I once measured the distance on Chet's old Country Gentleman from the top of the bars on the bass side to the bottom of the 6th string and found it to be 0.2170 inches or 5.52 mm, and the same on the treble side, I didn't measure the back pickup but he had the screws up."



Is anyone here doing this? I could not get my neck pickup to adjust down this low. I got it almost to 5mm but then the bridge pickup was way to loud and it would barely adjust down at all. Also, the output was real weak on the neck pickup, being so far from the strings. I wonder if Paul was talking about Chet's Dynasonic 6120? I have read that he thought those pickups pulled the strings too much so he had them low/far from the strings. I also understand Chet had high action (I'm guessing much higher than mine), so maybe that's how he got that much space between the pup and strings.


Oowl,
I have mine set like this. I set my G6122-1959 Country Gentleman like this right after I bought it new. Paul measured Chet's actual 59 Country Gentleman down at the Hall of Fame right before Gretsch started building the prototype for the re-issue.
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Re: Pickup height adjustment

Postby Norm » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:39 pm

I had two Tennys before I got my current 6122 on which I put a super tron at the fingerboard.

Those twelve screws on the Filter-Trons are like pre-set volume controls in a way

When I had just Filter Trons on my guitars I would raise the screws on the bridge pickups to be much closer to the strings than the fingerboard pickup screws were. I raised the poles on the fingerboard pickup too but not so much. On both pickups I kept the E and A and to some extent the D wound string poles down some to make up for the naturally louder note using the thumb pick on finger style made.

Just out of curiosity I just had a look at the bridge pickup on my 6122. I have the TV Jones Filter Tron that meters to 8K like the 6122-59 pickup. What I saw was that I had left the polepieces pretty much stock Except that I had raised the poles on the first and second string. This makes perfect sense to me. I wanted to bring the volume up just a little on those two strings to balance them closer to the volume of the wound third I prefer...again to make the volume of the notes more even with the other strings when the strings are played together.

Reading the other posts I noticed one guy said he didn't notice a lot of difference switching from both pickups to his fingerboard pickup.

That makes sense. There will be some difference and the difference will be the mellowness of the Supertron gets a dose of clarity when both pickups are combined. That is what sets the 6122-59 apart. It's not a Big Dramatic Change when you switch between the fingerboard pickup to both pickups combined but it gives the guitar a remarkably full bodied tonal range particularly if you run the guitar volume full out and control your output volume at your amp.

Another thing we must take into consideration... Most of the posters on the chetboard are getting up there in years and as one gets older your hearing starts losing its ability to hear high tones (and overtones) clearly. There may be a more notable tonal change when you throw that switch that younger ears can hear that you no longer can. Chet even mentioned his hearing fading when it came to hearing high tones and overtones.

Not saying that's a factor in this discussion but I am saying it is a True Thing.
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
Norm
 
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Re: Pickup height adjustment

Postby OOwl » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:24 am

So Norm, if I understand correctly from your earlier post, you were saying that Chet's bridge pickup would have actually been louder if you switched to it w/ all volumes maxed. So he backed off the bridge pickup volume so that it equaled that of the neck pickup when switching from one to the other. Is that right?

If so, I imagine part of the "secret weapon" is that lowering the bridge pickup's volume would also soften it's tone a bit. One will notice generally treble loss as the volume knob is rolled down towards zero, unless there's a capacitor on the pot to retain the highs.

...of course, one set like that then he generally left it in the middle position.

Please disregard this if it is incorrect. I'm just trying to clarify. I guess there will be some speculation regardless.
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