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Author Topic: Pickup Spacing?  (Read 28295 times)

TheyCallMeVolume

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Pickup Spacing?
« on: August 10, 2012, 05:23:19 PM »
So, for a Les Paul, I know that the "standard" pickup spacing is 50mm, but everywhere I look I see people saying that it doesn't matter, or 53mm is so much better, or 50mm is better, or 53mm in the bridge and 50mm in the neck is the way to go. So which do you think is best?

Philly Q

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Re: Pickup Spacing?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2012, 05:39:18 PM »
There's nothing mystical about it, just measure the actual distance between your E strings above the bridge pickup, and go for whatever's closest.

I can't say any more than that, really.
BKPs I've Got:  RR, BKP-91, ITs, VHII, CS set, Emeralds
BKPs I Had:  RY+Abraxas, Crawlers, BD+SM

TheyCallMeVolume

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Re: Pickup Spacing?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2012, 05:54:19 PM »
Well it measures to about 51mm, so 50 would be closer than 53, but I've seen people go with 50 for 53 and vice versa, so I just didn't know if there was some rhyme or reason to have the spacing smaller or larger, especially with something like a measurement of 51mm.

Slartibartfarst42

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Re: Pickup Spacing?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2012, 06:41:54 PM »
I know EXACTLY what you mean. The other night when I ordered the Emeralds for my PRS I measured the strings and they were 51mm apart so I naturally ordered a 50mm spacing. I then got an email from Tim later that evening (I swear that man works 24 hours a day!) to say that PRS guitars with a trem are actually 53mm spacing even though their pickups only use 50mm spacing. I was confused so I measured the strings again and it is certainly only 51mm so I then measured the strings on my Jackson as that has a Floyd Rose so I KNOW it's 53mm and guess what - it measured at 51mm! I've gone with Tim's advice and changed it to 53mm spacing but it is rather confusing.
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TheyCallMeVolume

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Re: Pickup Spacing?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2012, 08:24:18 PM »
I know EXACTLY what you mean. The other night when I ordered the Emeralds for my PRS I measured the strings and they were 51mm apart so I naturally ordered a 50mm spacing. I then got an email from Tim later that evening (I swear that man works 24 hours a day!) to say that PRS guitars with a trem are actually 53mm spacing even though their pickups only use 50mm spacing. I was confused so I measured the strings again and it is certainly only 51mm so I then measured the strings on my Jackson as that has a Floyd Rose so I KNOW it's 53mm and guess what - it measured at 51mm! I've gone with Tim's advice and changed it to 53mm spacing but it is rather confusing.

Exactly, I just don't know which way to go or what to do, as there seems to be a general rule of thumb for everything but then logic kinda comes in and screws you up. 50mm seems to always be recommended for LP's, but so many people have 53mm, so I just don't really understand why. And Philly, I believe I saw a post from a while back where you said you have/had 53mm pickups in a LP and an SG, is that right?

itamar101

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Re: Pickup Spacing?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2012, 08:42:21 PM »
I know EXACTLY what you mean. The other night when I ordered the Emeralds for my PRS I measured the strings and they were 51mm apart so I naturally ordered a 50mm spacing. I then got an email from Tim later that evening (I swear that man works 24 hours a day!) to say that PRS guitars with a trem are actually 53mm spacing even though their pickups only use 50mm spacing. I was confused so I measured the strings again and it is certainly only 51mm so I then measured the strings on my Jackson as that has a Floyd Rose so I KNOW it's 53mm and guess what - it measured at 51mm! I've gone with Tim's advice and changed it to 53mm spacing but it is rather confusing.

Exactly, I just don't know which way to go or what to do, as there seems to be a general rule of thumb for everything but then logic kinda comes in and screws you up. 50mm seems to always be recommended for LP's, but so many people have 53mm, so I just don't really understand why. And Philly, I believe I saw a post from a while back where you said you have/had 53mm pickups in a LP and an SG, is that right?

50mm for stop-tail or string through, 53mm for trems. That the general rule and there are very few exceptions. Not that it really matters.

TheyCallMeVolume

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Re: Pickup Spacing?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2012, 08:58:05 PM »
I know EXACTLY what you mean. The other night when I ordered the Emeralds for my PRS I measured the strings and they were 51mm apart so I naturally ordered a 50mm spacing. I then got an email from Tim later that evening (I swear that man works 24 hours a day!) to say that PRS guitars with a trem are actually 53mm spacing even though their pickups only use 50mm spacing. I was confused so I measured the strings again and it is certainly only 51mm so I then measured the strings on my Jackson as that has a Floyd Rose so I KNOW it's 53mm and guess what - it measured at 51mm! I've gone with Tim's advice and changed it to 53mm spacing but it is rather confusing.

Exactly, I just don't know which way to go or what to do, as there seems to be a general rule of thumb for everything but then logic kinda comes in and screws you up. 50mm seems to always be recommended for LP's, but so many people have 53mm, so I just don't really understand why. And Philly, I believe I saw a post from a while back where you said you have/had 53mm pickups in a LP and an SG, is that right?

50mm for stop-tail or string through, 53mm for trems. That the general rule and there are very few exceptions. Not that it really matters.

But if there are no exceptions, or very few, then why do I see so many people with 53mm in a LP or an SG or something of the sort? I mean, is it just because some people don't care, a preference, etc? Just trying to figure it out.

itamar101

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Re: Pickup Spacing?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2012, 10:13:14 PM »
I know EXACTLY what you mean. The other night when I ordered the Emeralds for my PRS I measured the strings and they were 51mm apart so I naturally ordered a 50mm spacing. I then got an email from Tim later that evening (I swear that man works 24 hours a day!) to say that PRS guitars with a trem are actually 53mm spacing even though their pickups only use 50mm spacing. I was confused so I measured the strings again and it is certainly only 51mm so I then measured the strings on my Jackson as that has a Floyd Rose so I KNOW it's 53mm and guess what - it measured at 51mm! I've gone with Tim's advice and changed it to 53mm spacing but it is rather confusing.

Exactly, I just don't know which way to go or what to do, as there seems to be a general rule of thumb for everything but then logic kinda comes in and screws you up. 50mm seems to always be recommended for LP's, but so many people have 53mm, so I just don't really understand why. And Philly, I believe I saw a post from a while back where you said you have/had 53mm pickups in a LP and an SG, is that right?

50mm for stop-tail or string through, 53mm for trems. That the general rule and there are very few exceptions. Not that it really matters.

But if there are no exceptions, or very few, then why do I see so many people with 53mm in a LP or an SG or something of the sort? I mean, is it just because some people don't care, a preference, etc? Just trying to figure it out.

They probably just don't give a shite. Otherwise, im stumped because it makes no tonal difference whatsoever. Also, I've never seen a 53mm on a LP. Only 50mm on a Floyd guitar.

Philly Q

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Re: Pickup Spacing?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2012, 11:01:15 PM »
Also, I've never seen a 53mm on a LP. Only 50mm on a Floyd guitar.

If you buy a Gibson guitar with a 490T, 498T or 500T bridge pickup, that has 52/53mm polepiece spacing (although Burstbuckers and '57 Classics are about 50mm)


50mm seems to always be recommended for LP's, but so many people have 53mm, so I just don't really understand why. And Philly, I believe I saw a post from a while back where you said you have/had 53mm pickups in a LP and an SG, is that right?

It's true, I had a 53mm Rebel Yell in an LP and a 53mm Riff Raff in an SG.  But I also had 50mm Crawlers.  And I have 50mm Cold Sweats, 53mm Emeralds and a 53mm VHII all waiting to be used at some point....

Historically, vintage Fender guitars have really wide string spacing at the bridge saddles - about 56mm.  Vintage Gibson guitars were much narrower.  Modern guitars like Fender American Standards and new Gibsons have become much more standardised at around 52 to 52.5mm, so the "perfect" polepiece spacing for a bridge pickup is really about 51mm (which, it so happens, is DiMarzio F-spacing!)

Does it make much difference?  I don't think so, but I suppose there's an argument that with 53mm spacing all six strings are well within the magnetic field of the polepieces, so maybe that's "better"....?

The only time it would really matter to me would be on a Strat with a vintage style bridge - then I would definitely want a 53mm humbucker, because the E strings would be totally outside the polepieces of a 50mm pickup.

BKPs I've Got:  RR, BKP-91, ITs, VHII, CS set, Emeralds
BKPs I Had:  RY+Abraxas, Crawlers, BD+SM

ericsabbath

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Re: Pickup Spacing?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2012, 11:48:00 AM »
asian made bridges are usually 51-52mm
I think gibson bridges sold separetely aren't notched, unless they came in a guitar, and the spacing will depend on stock pickups
as said, the  Gibson "XXXT" models are 52mm
most fixed bridge guitars I had, aligned much closer to 53mm pickups than 50mm
and I've had problems a couple times with les paul copies that had misplaced bridges... a bridge that's 1mm out of place to one side can mess everything up

the higher E strings in my jap hurricane lp copy (wide spaced stock gotoh bridge) loses some sustain with 50mm pickups, unless I bend the legs a bit to get the pickup to the right, or align the strings over the saddles
the stock pickups were also 50mm and the E string was almost out of the bridge pickup right edge, so it DID lose volume, sustain and tone
doesn't make any noticeable difference when you have a 53mm pickup with a 50mm bridge, though

as most of the guitars in the market have wide spaced bridges, I tend to order 53mm
that's actually the first time I only have 50mm pickups (riff raff, black dog, mule, warpig, and VHII's by next week), but some were used,so I didn't have much of a choice  :D
Riff Raff, Mules, Black Dog, VHII's, Cold Sweat