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Thread: A Fender pickup pole piece adjustment question

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    Senior Member Silvertone Jockey's Avatar
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    A Fender pickup pole piece adjustment question

    Hello, its been awhile. I hope everyone is enjoying a life of health and prosperity, or a least still getting two feet on the ground in the morning.

    I have an Fender custom shop pickup in the bridge position of the only guitar that I actually play almost daily. Anyway I love that pickup, have no idea what model it is or any info other than it has a custom shop logo on the bottom. This pickup just has pole pieces, no bar magnet. It's only issue is the bottom e string has less gain the the rest of the strings. I play 11's so there is a fat wire. Can I just push the pole piece closer to the string to get more gain out of just that string? Thanks to all for the excellent advice that I have always received here.

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    Supporting Member mozz's Avatar
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    Fiber bobbin? No. Plastic bobbin yes. Could be the magnet is weaker. You may end up lowering the other E side to try to even it out.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Most of the time you can, BUT...

    The pickup is likely potted. That pole piece is likely a magnet. Any tiny anomalies or texture in on the surface meeting the potting component is fused pretty securely. Also, the coil is likely wrapped directly around the poles. I've changed flat poles to a modern stagger on several pickups, but I did ruin one once in the attempt. I moved the pole beyond the coil a tad and when I tapped it back in place I severed the coil. Being as the magnet wire is right against that pole and there is likely a hard wax holding everything in place it's the end poles that pose the most at risk for this sort of thing. If you love the pickup you would be better off enlisting the services of a pro to handle this. They would surely put the pickup in a potting wax and then adjust it while it was soft. Or, they would research the pickup for turns and wire gauge and then re-pole the low E (and possibly the A) string poles with a stronger magnet and rewind the pickup. My $0.02 on the matter is that the pickup adjustment is biased at the ends and bridges are radiused, so it should be possible to strongly favor the low E. Perhaps there is something in your gear that is cutting off LF above much of the low E strings frequency coverage.

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    "I'm just going to perform a bit more scientific investigation, turn it up to 11 and rip of the knob." überfuzz

    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "If you build it, it will hum..." Justin Thomas

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    Senior Member Silvertone Jockey's Avatar
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    Glad I asked. I didn't explain that correctly. It's the high e string thats weak. I don't remember it being potted when I changed to cover on it. Also don't remember if its fiber or plastic bobbin.

    I don't know how or why but that single coil pickup has the best metal sound of all my guitars. Humbuckers sound mushy in comparison. I would definitely be bummed if I damaged it trying to mess with the pole piece

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    Even warmed up the wire can break. I tried this and failed. The reason was the wire was wound directly against the pole piece and there was some internal corrosion on the pole piece surface, despite the wax potting. Just a slight and controlled movement was enough to kill it. It was a pickup I liked, but when I rewound and remagnetized it the sound was very much improved.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    High E or low E, it doesn't matter to the coil or the risk factor. I have the same gripe with a weak sounding high E. The guitar I use is rather dark and fat for a strat build. A light guitar. I attribute it to the acoustics and the high E just doesn't kick the wood like the other strings. I use 10's with an 11 replacing the high E (if you can call them 10's now ). That works out pretty well for me.

    If I were you I would investigate the pickup and try to discover what it is (in case you DO need to replace it) and if it's staggered. Rather than move the end poles I might move the other poles to alter the stagger profile, leaving both E poles alone. I would think a modern stagger would work for you. It depends on your bridge radius. This is what I'm calling a modern stagger. The real pickup guys here may have a different term.

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    Or... Actually, I wouldn't move any of them!!! The reason is that you're playing metal with this thing so it's probably a bad idea to do anything that loosens parts in the pickup and compromises the potting. You risk microphony. So, again, I would suggest a professional.

    Proceed at your own risk.

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    "I'm just going to perform a bit more scientific investigation, turn it up to 11 and rip of the knob." überfuzz

    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "If you build it, it will hum..." Justin Thomas

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    Supporting Member Tone Meister's Avatar
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    Lindy Fralin or Brian Porter would be willing and able to handle this. Fralin is in VA and Porter is located in ID.

    Lindy Fralin Pickups
    Porter Pickups

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    Supporting Member mozz's Avatar
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    By the time you pay a custom winder to fix a problem like this(with no guarantees), you might as well buy a new pickup. Put a pair of vise grips on it, twist slightly each way, pull up slightly. If it dies, buy new. If there is a winder living near you, he may have a guass meter to check the pole strength.

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  9. #9
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mozz View Post
    ...you might as well buy a new pickup.

    ... If it dies, buy new.
    But the OP said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Silvertone Jockey View Post
    ... have no idea what model it is or any info other than it has a custom shop logo on the bottom.
    But I bet you could measure the DCR and email a picture and that spec to a custom shop and find out what it is.?. Anyway, I'm with you. I would try to ID the pickup and then if I could I would attempt a manual adjustment to the one I had, knowing I could replace it.

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    "I'm just going to perform a bit more scientific investigation, turn it up to 11 and rip of the knob." überfuzz

    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "If you build it, it will hum..." Justin Thomas

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