How does pickup height affect tone?

Beatrice Christiansen asked a question: How does pickup height affect tone?
Asked By: Beatrice Christiansen
Date created: Mon, Jun 14, 2021 7:08 AM
Date updated: Tue, Jun 28, 2022 8:15 AM


Video answer: Pickup height. does it affect your tone?

Pickup height. does it affect your tone?

Top best answers to the question «How does pickup height affect tone»

Your magnetic field “floats” above the pickup, and if your strings are out of the field, you won't get a rich, full tone. That said, backing off on your pickup's height will cause your bass to thin and your pickup to sound a bit “sweeter” – you might like it!

Why Pickup Height Matters:

Set to the correct height, your pickup's magnets create a strong magnetic field that gives your guitar the tone that you love. Set too high, and your pickups can push and pull your strings out of tune. The Magnetic Field is not optimized when the pickup is set too low.

Raise the pickups up a bit too high and your tone will muddy up and be harder to shape with your amp. Conversely, if you lower the pickups too much, you might not have enough signal left over to 'feed' your amp adequately -- luckily, if your pickups are too low for optimal performance, it should be fairly obvious.


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Video answer: How to make better tone? / pickup height secret! / tfgd#5

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9 other answers

On the other hand, when you move a pickup further away from the strings, you will loose some of those ear piercing frequencies but get a lower output volume. Sound Example. Here is an example featuring the bridge pickup of my 1978 Telecaster: Bridge Pickup of a Telecaster - Left: High Pickup Height, Right: Lower Pickup Height

I think the "weaker" part equates to more "open" sounding. It's not driving the amp quite as hard. Raising you pickups makes them sound a little thicker and obviously a little stronger. This drives your amp harder and makes them a little more compressed (the opposite of "open.")

Far more dynamics with lower pickups so you can go from a slight grit with a light touch to lots of growl with a heavy hit. The '69 set I have was slightly troublesome on a non-7.25" radius (i.e. 9.5") as the "G" string magnet is very high and will cause Strat-itus with the pickups even moderately high.

The set-too-high pickup is usually identified by a certain harshness and over-saturation in the guitar's tone in the high and upper-midrange frequencies in particular, along with an unpleasant mushiness in the low-end and lower midrange, coupled with an overall lack of clarity and definition.

Coming from the guitar, I don't understand entirely how bass tone works or depends on the pickups. I know that raising the height increases volume and gets a darker sound, while lowering does the opposite. From what I've seen, the priority in bass is even string volume, but beyond that I don't get it.

In this installment, we discuss how the height of your instrument’s pickups can change both the output and tone of your guitar. Most players are aware of the fact that adjusting your pickup height will affect your guitar’s output, but fewer tend to realize the ways in which such adjustments can affect your tone, too.

Closer pickups will deliver a higher output with a more pronounced and defined high end. But you will not necessarily maximize your sound by just setting the pickups as high as they’ll go. In fact, a higher setting can diminish an otherwise outstanding guitar tone in a few different ways. Most importantly, you can quickly lose a LOT of clarity.

Why Pickup Height Matters: Set to the correct height, your pickup’s magnets create a strong magnetic field that gives your guitar the tone that you love. Set too high, and your pickups can push and pull your strings out of tune. The Magnetic Field is not optimized when the pickup is set too low.

The major factors involved when considering the tonal effect of covering a pickup are: Capacitance; Eddy currents; Noise shielding; The first has more to do with the material and geometry of the pickup, and the last two have more to do with the material of the pickup cover. I’ll touch on that briefly, and then move onto each area in more depth.

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