The pickup height can be adjusted to either increase/decrease the output from the pickup. If you read the section on how pickups work (see guitar pickups) you’ll know that the strings are magnetised by the pickup and then the output is generated by this magnetised string moving back and forth across the pickup itself.
If the pickup is moved closer to the strings, the degree to which the strings are magnetised is increased, which in turn increases the output generated by the pickup. On the other hand, if the pickup is moved further away from the strings, the output generated by the pickup is reduced.
When Should You Adjust the Pickup Height?
The pickup height could be adjusted due to one of a number of reasons:
- One of your pickups is significantly louder than the other pickups.
- Some of the strings are significantly louder than others.
- You want to increase the output generated by the pickups to increase the amount of distortion you can get (although not by much).
- Some of your strings sound distorted when you strum/pick hard and you want to stop this.
Pickup Height Adjustment
It’s actually very simple to adjust the height of the pickups. The arrows in the above image point to the screws that are used to adjust the height. It’s important to note that there are in fact two for each pickup, which allows the pickup to be adjusted so that the height is different at either end (i.e. the pickup doesn’t have to be flat).
Turning these screws in the clockwise direction will raise the pickups closer to the strings, increasing output generated by the pickup.
Conversely, turning these screws in the anti-clockwise direction will lower the pickups, decreasing output generated by the pickup. Please note that lowering the pickups also comes with the risk that the pickup is detached from the scratch plate, or guitar.
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