Rickenbacker International Corporation - Forum

Pickup height & playing style
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Author:  hessodreamy [ Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:54 am ]
Post subject:  Pickup height & playing style

There's a number of people here asking how they "should" set their pickup height, and the response is normally that it depends on personal preference. Fair enough.

But what say we go round the room and people say how they've got theirs and WHAT THEY'RE PLAYING. A lead rocker will probably want a different setup than a jangly vintage rhythm player. I think this would help out people with setup queries more than "I have it set up like this" "well I have it set like this".

Myself, I'm aiming for a bit of jangle with edge. Kinda like mid-era REM. Would love to nail Johnny Marr sounds too. Still working on my own setup so I'm hoping to get setup advice from a variety of players here.

Author:  britinvasion [ Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pickup height & playing style

On my 370 I like the bridge pup as close to the strings as possible , I set the neck pickup as far down as it will easily go and the middle sort of in between. On my 360/12 I set the bridge pickup close to the strings , not as close as on the 6 string 370 , and also lower the neck pickup as far as it will go. On my 620/12 , bridge same as the 360 / 12 , but I have the neck pup a little higher than on the 370 and 360/12. The solid body seems to do well with the neck pickup higher than the semi-hollows for my taste. I play a lot of British Invasion stuff and this set-up has worked well for me. Cuts well with the band when needed , and drops back when called for as well.

Author:  cassius987 [ Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pickup height & playing style

I think the general rule is that the closer the pickup is the more transients you'll get, i.e. those things that lead to the "character" of guitar or bass tone. I feel like if you want a softer sound you back the pickup off, and if you want more aggression you'd set the pickup closer. Bear in mind that neck pickup also affects the setup itself by pulling on one of the most "wiggle-y" parts of the string and so sometimes you have no choice but to back the pickup off a bit, or else get some string noise on the fingerboard. Happened to me with a Toaster once. That's okay, because when you have a neck pickup, it's usually the one you want to sound a bit warmer.

Author:  jfine [ Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pickup height & playing style

Seems like whenever I run across a Ric guitar (I tried a great-looking 360 double-bound at a recent vintage guitar show) they often have a similar problem--the neck pickup is a lot louder than the bridge pickup, and in the instance of that 360WB, the bridge pickup sounded thin and shrill, no bottom end. I assumed that it just needed to be adjusted closer to the strings, so I asked the guy in the booth if he had a screwdriver so I could adjust it, and he told me that the only way to raise the pickup was to remove it and add a shim. Doesn't sound quite right to me, as there were what looked like adjustment screws at either end of the pickup (these were Hi-Gains, BTW.) Anybody else have this problem? I don't remember having much trouble with my old '72 381, but I don't remember those little screws doing much either. I need to have both pickups at the same level when the volume knobs are wide-open. I've played other Rics that sounded great on both pickups, so I don't think it's a design flaw, but it does seem to crop up periodically. What's up with that?

Author:  cassius987 [ Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pickup height & playing style

It would need a shim if it was already as high as it could go off of the foam pad beneath it, that pushes it up. Apparently it was already set quite high?

Author:  BlueRick [ Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pickup height & playing style

I just adjust the p/ups so they're not loose on the body, and that's it. I mostly use the bridge pickup.

Author:  Rickissippi [ Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pickup height & playing style

I guess I'm closer to a lead rocker than a jangly vintage rhythm player, and on my 360, the bridge p'up is high, very close to the strings and the neck is probably almost a cm further away from the strings. I'm either all bridge or in between in everything my current band does. I pretty much never use the neck p'up by itself in my rock band (though I do at home sometimes, fooling around with jazz and stuff).

I asked a similar question on here a few months ago and was surprised to find that - unlike with Gibsons - there did not seem to be a standard or a factory recommendation.

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