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Discussion Starter #1
I finally got around to setting up my new to me Les Paul. Original owner had 9's on it. Played ok but the strings were dead so I replaced them with 10's. Now my low E buzzed so I fixed that with a truss rod tweak. Plugged my pride and joy into my Univalve and blech. Weak and anemic. Started fiddling with the tone pots and then the eq on the amp. Still blech. Not pleasent tones. Put it away and started thinking about replacement pick-ups, pulling the circuit board out etc. Couldn't sleep that night so started surfing and found an article by Dirk Wacker (great name...for someone else) and he had a very simple set-up tip.

1) Set the pole pieces to match your radius (in this case 12"),
2) With the high and low E strings held down at the last fret measure the distance from the top of the pick up to the bottom of the string.
3) Low E should read 3/32", High E should read 1/16".
4) Rock out.

Completely changed the sound of my guitar. From weak and annoying to ballsy and full. The measurements are just meant to be a starting point but they worked for me as is. Totally transformed my guitar. Try it before buying new pick-ups. You might be surprised.
 

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I've experienced almost the same situation. I bought a used Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro and installed it in one of my guitars. I was instantly in love with it. So I bought another for my #2. It just didn't sound the same. No "balls". I found an article on the Seymour Duncan website about setting pole heights. What a difference! Now my #2 sounded better. Turns out the previous owner of the pickup in my #1 had set the poles for his guitar, which was close but not perfect for mine. Now they both sound awesome!
 

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well that is interesting/good news ! My Les Paul has been apart for a few weeks as I'm putting new pickup rings on it - first set of rings I ordered turned out to be much too tall - they look cool though -gold metal with arched bottoms - just too tall ! Now waiting for next set of plastic rings to arrive in mail from L + M. I will definitely tweak the magnet height when it goes back together! thanks, Jim
 

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1) Set the pole pieces to match your radius (in this case 12"),
2) With the high and low E strings held down at the last fret measure the distance from the top of the pick up to the bottom of the string.
3) Low E should read 3/32", High E should read 1/16".
4) Rock out.

Completely changed the sound of my guitar. From weak and annoying to ballsy and full. The measurements are just meant to be a starting point but they worked for me as is. Totally transformed my guitar. Try it before buying new pick-ups. You might be surprised.
Did you measure your starting point? Would be interesting to see from where to where you changed it.
When I do my setup, I generally try to judge with the ears, but I do use measurements as a starting point.
 

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I've messed with pickup height just eye-balling it with good results. On my PRS S2, the only adjustment I've made is the action - it sounds great.
 

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I adjust each pole height according to what I hear, and sometimes it is not in line with the radius to make it sound balanced.
 

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I adjust each pole height according to what I hear, and sometimes it is not in line with the radius to make it sound balanced.
Exactly. You can use the height to compensate for weaker strings (sometimes it's due to scale length e.g. low E on a short scale bass is always weak/flabby, and others it's just due to the resonance of the pickups/guitar). Just like with setups (action), I don't believe in a universal optimum height rule for a given string
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Did you measure your starting point? Would be interesting to see from where to where you changed it.
When I do my setup, I generally try to judge with the ears, but I do use measurements as a starting point.
I did but can't remember now. I'd say the pickups are a slightly higher and then the pole pieces are higher again.
I have a Les Paul Traditional that I thought sounded pretty good, but looking at it right now the pickups are very low, almost even with the pickup rings. I'll try the set up on it this weekend and compare results.
 

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I haven't touched the pole pieces but I have raised my pickup significantly and then tilt the bass/treble side to get a balance I like between the two. I did this for a buddy once. His guitar sounded weak and gutless so I raised the bridge pickup significantly and it now had a rip roaring sound!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Ok, update. I got out my 2011 Traditional Pro (57 Classic pups). The neck pup was almost flush with the pickup ring (8/64" from the fretted string - my action gauge reads in 64ths so I'll use them to keep consistent). The bridge pup was 10/64ths. It played OK. I had no problem with it. The tone was balanced and sounded OK. I raised the pups to 6/64 bass - 4/64 treble and it was a different animal. Higher volume, more mids and the bridge pickup was less "trebly". This was all with a clean amp. If anything that setting is a little too "boomy" so there is probably a sweet spot if I back it off a bit.
I added some gain and the amp really came alive. No pedals whatsoever and it sounded awesome! Great crunchy rock tone, you know, the LP "sound". Didn't even bother plugging in a pedal. THAT was the sound I've been looking for. I put the pups back to where they were and got the same old "nice" LP. Sounded more like an acoustic than anything. Raised the pups back up and that's where they'll stay. Didn't bother to mess with the pole pieces.
 

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thank you for the update. And yes, adjusting them makes huge impact! Really happy for you that you found "new guitar" hiding in your closet :)
 

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thanks for the good info - just put new pickup rings on my Les Paul and had a close look at things while it was apart - the pole pieces were following the radius nicely, and the strings were sounding quite even, then I experimented with height and side to side tilt of the entire pickup - this makes a huge difference! Thanks
 

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Getting info in the electric world, just found this :
 
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