How to Set Pickup Height on a Les Paul Guitar

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How to Set Pickup Height on a Les Paul Guitar
Set Pickup Height on a Les Paul Guitar (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

All Les Paul guitars have a pickup, a magnetic device that converts the string vibration into electrical signals. On Les Paul guitars the height of the pickup effects the volume, signal-to-noise ratio, tone, sustain, intonation, fret buzz, compression, comfort and string-to-string balance.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Phillips head screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Decide what type of effect you want. If you want a loud, percussive, focused and bright sound, the pickup needs to be close to the strings. The further away the pickup is from the strings the more smooth, warm and balanced the sound is.

  2. 2

    Press your hand down on the base of the neck to see how far the pickup is from the strings. The pickup is located at the base of the neck on the body of the guitar.

  3. 3

    Turn the middle screw clockwise on the side of the pickup you want to raise. Only raise the pickup a little at a time. Never raise the pickup all the way at once.

  4. 4

    Find the right balance for your style. Play the treble and base strings separately to make sure the volume is balanced.

  5. 5

    Experiment with different heights until you find the sound you want. Play chords with all six strings. Hold them to see if the volume fluctuates.

Tips and warnings

  • If the pickup is too close, the magnetic strips pull the bass strings toward it. This makes them out of tune.

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