It is currently Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:48 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
Post subject: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:22 pm
Offline
Hobbyist
Hobbyist

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:32 pm
Posts: 66
Hi, does anyone know the correct setup height for Custom Shop 54 pick-ups? Fender has a guide to setup a strat. Should I follow the "standard" or "vintage" settings? The standard setting has the pick-ups relatively even whereas the vintage settings have the treble strings closer to the pick-ups than the bass strings. Meaning, it's higher on one side. Which should I follow? Are the CS-54's considered vintage or not? Thanks.


Top
Profile
Fender Play April 2019
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:26 am
Offline
Rock Star
Rock Star

Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:53 am
Posts: 4105
Those measures are just recommendations or "guidelines" as the guide says, so it doesn't really matter which one you start with.
Most pickups sound quite different when they're 'high as they can without buzz/warble/stratitis' vs 'low almost pickguard level', and the optimal height (aka sweet spot) can mean different tone for different players.

Pickup height can take some time when one is new with the procedure. Aim for balanced volume between individual strings and individual pickups. Play with that for some time (days/weeks/month), then dial in the changes that suit you.


Top
Profile
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:10 am
Offline
Hobbyist
Hobbyist

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:32 pm
Posts: 66
Hi,

Thanks for your reply. I know it's a guide. Thanks for reminding me. Too bogged down with specs. There has to be a reason why Fender setup is lower on the wound side. Like you said, to avoid magnetic wobble or something.

There were times when I forgot to check pickup height and I could not intonate the low E and A strings. So I followed the instructions and I find the bridge pickup too clanky. Maybe I should use the guide and then fine tune by ear. I've tried having the height equal and it sounded nicer.

But would you think the CS-54's were standard or vintage? I read elsewhere that older vintage pick-ups have stronger magnetic pull on strings.


Top
Profile
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:51 pm
Offline
Professional Musician
Professional Musician
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:28 pm
Posts: 1502
Location: SoCal, US
Standard practice is normally to run lower on the bass side, simply because the bass strings vibrate more widely... it's the same reason you might see people run the string height spec at 4/64 for the treble side, but maybe 5/64 or even 6/64 on the bass side, particularly if they tune down.

A good starting point is 1/8"-5/16" on the bass side and 3/16"-1/8" on the treble side, adjust to what sounds and feels good to you.
You may encounter issues attempting to set the intonation if you go too high, even before you get the "warbling"

_________________
-- Rich


Top
Profile
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:59 pm
Offline
Hobbyist
Hobbyist

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:32 pm
Posts: 66
Thank you. The spec is a good guide. I'll follow that and perhaps bring down the bridge pickup a little more to avoid ice picking. Would that sound reasonable?


Top
Profile
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:52 pm
Offline
Rock Icon
Rock Icon
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:48 am
Posts: 26021
Location: Tombstone Territory
Two methods for minimizing the "ice-pickiness" of a Strat's bridge pickup:

1 -- wire the bridge pickup to your lower tone control by adding a jumper wire to the pickup selector.
2 -- add a steel base plate to the bottom of the bridge pickup's bobbin.

In the case of a particularly unruly bridge pickup, use both remedies conjunctively.

Arjay

_________________
"Here's why reliability is job one: A great sounding amp that breaks down goes from being a favorite piece of gear to a useless piece of crap in less time than it takes to read this sentence." -- BRUCE ZINKY


Top
Profile
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:43 am
Offline
Hobbyist
Hobbyist

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:32 pm
Posts: 66
Thanks for your reply. Base plate sounds like a good idea. I looked up the internet and there's quite a bit of work to do. I'll probably go with pickup height adjustment. But the bridge pickup is clanky.


Top
Profile
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:06 am
Offline
Rock Icon
Rock Icon
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:48 am
Posts: 26021
Location: Tombstone Territory
The CS 54 pickups were designed to mimic an actual Strat built back then and to understand the situation you need to consider the available contemporary amps. In the early/mid '50s Fender amps (with their stock Jensen speakers) did not have the frequency response of today's gear. Thus, treble and bass tones were abbreviated and limited by technology. Leo was well aware of this fact as he began design of his solid-body "spanish" guitars. Pickups were deliberately wound to produce tones that were capable of cutting through a stage mix that frequently included a steel guitar, a couple of fiddles, an upright "whorehouse" piano, some horns, plus drums and a bass. So the first Strat pickups (and those for the Tele) were perhaps the most trebly pickups ever produced. The CS repro coils, when used with modern amplifiers and speakers, are often maligned as being thin and tinny when in point of fact they were deliberately voiced this way. Try plugging your guitar into a vintage Fender tweed amp -- that combination will usually sound pretty tasty. Then repeat the test with a blackface or silverface Fender -- with their scooped-mids frequency response your guitar will probably sound quite bright, perhaps overly so.

Arjay

_________________
"Here's why reliability is job one: A great sounding amp that breaks down goes from being a favorite piece of gear to a useless piece of crap in less time than it takes to read this sentence." -- BRUCE ZINKY


Top
Profile
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:49 am
Offline
Rock Star
Rock Star

Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:53 am
Posts: 4105
I'll take off my (imaginary) hat and take a deep bow, that's just about the best description of the vintage pickups idea/use I've ever read.
A little addition (and an explanation to why I still think there are no "too bright" pickups): when I grew up, the audio equipment was portable radios and C-cassette players, with very little bass response - so all my idols played bright so bright. :wink:

@Bauzer, Arjay's first suggestion for taming the bridge pickup is easy; you just add one little jumper wire to get the T2 shared for middle & bridge pups.


Top
Profile
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:33 pm
Offline
Hobbyist
Hobbyist

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:32 pm
Posts: 66
Retroverbial wrote:
The CS 54 pickups were designed to mimic an actual Strat built back then and to understand the situation you need to consider the available contemporary amps. In the early/mid '50s Fender amps (with their stock Jensen speakers) did not have the frequency response of today's gear. Thus, treble and bass tones were abbreviated and limited by technology. Leo was well aware of this fact as he began design of his solid-body "spanish" guitars. Pickups were deliberately wound to produce tones that were capable of cutting through a stage mix that frequently included a steel guitar, a couple of fiddles, an upright "whorehouse" piano, some horns, plus drums and a bass. So the first Strat pickups (and those for the Tele) were perhaps the most trebly pickups ever produced. The CS repro coils, when used with modern amplifiers and speakers, are often maligned as being thin and tinny when in point of fact they were deliberately voiced this way. Try plugging your guitar into a vintage Fender tweed amp -- that combination will usually sound pretty tasty. Then repeat the test with a blackface or silverface Fender -- with their scooped-mids frequency response your guitar will probably sound quite bright, perhaps overly so.

Arjay


Hi Arjay,
That's solid infomation!! You're the master. It makes sense now. I've tried lifting the bass side to same height as treble and it sounded more balanced. Then, I thought, but this is out of spec. On the neck pickup, lifting the bass didn't sound right (too dark). The spec I am using is Vintage style as below.

Texas Specials 8/64" (3.2 mm) 6/64" (2.4 mm)
Vintage style 6/64" (2.4 mm) 5/64" (2 mm)
Noiseless™ Series 8/64" (3.2 mm) 6/64" (2.4 mm)
Standard Single-Coil 5/64" (2 mm) 4/64" (1.6 mm)
Humbuckers 4/64" (1.6 mm) 4/64" (1.6 mm)
Lace Sensors As close as desired (allowing for string vibration)


Top
Profile
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:42 pm
Offline
Hobbyist
Hobbyist

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:32 pm
Posts: 66
jmattis wrote:
I'll take off my (imaginary) hat and take a deep bow, that's just about the best description of the vintage pickups idea/use I've ever read.
A little addition (and an explanation to why I still think there are no "too bright" pickups): when I grew up, the audio equipment was portable radios and C-cassette players, with very little bass response - so all my idols played bright so bright. :wink:

@Bauzer, Arjay's first suggestion for taming the bridge pickup is easy; you just add one little jumper wire to get the T2 shared for middle & bridge pups.


Hi jmattis,
My pickups are hooked up that way already. As in, Volume, T1 for neck, T2 shared by middle and bridge. I moded the thing a little by putting in an Emerson .047uF shared by all 3.


Top
Profile
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:07 pm
Offline
Rock Icon
Rock Icon
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:48 am
Posts: 26021
Location: Tombstone Territory
I should also mention that Leo's original spec for the Strat's tone cap was .01uf (usually a ceramic disc type). Most modern Fender wiring configurations rely on a .047uf cap. Personally I prefer the Russian-made, paper-in-oil axial type of .022uf -- it seems to have less insertion loss and provides smoother (more linear) roll-off characteristics. The .033uf also works quite well.

Rawk on!

Arjay

_________________
"Here's why reliability is job one: A great sounding amp that breaks down goes from being a favorite piece of gear to a useless piece of crap in less time than it takes to read this sentence." -- BRUCE ZINKY


Top
Profile
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:13 pm
Offline
Rock Icon
Rock Icon
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:48 am
Posts: 26021
Location: Tombstone Territory
Bauzer wrote:
You're the master.

No sir, I'm not.

That honor belongs to "The Martian", a beloved forum member who passed away a few years back. He'd forgotten more about pickups and pickup wiring than most of us will ever know.

I sure miss him (I think we all do).

:(
Arjay

_________________
"Here's why reliability is job one: A great sounding amp that breaks down goes from being a favorite piece of gear to a useless piece of crap in less time than it takes to read this sentence." -- BRUCE ZINKY


Last edited by Retroverbial on Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
Profile
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:23 pm
Offline
Hobbyist
Hobbyist

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:32 pm
Posts: 66
Retroverbial wrote:
I should also mention that Leo's original spec for the Strat's tone cap was .01uf (usually a ceramic disc type). Most modern Fender wiring configurations rely on a .047uf cap. Personally I prefer the Russian-made, paper-in-oil axial type of .022uf -- it seems to have less insertion loss and provides smoother (more linear) roll-off characteristics. The .033uf also works quite well.

Rawk on!

Arjay


I replaced the no load T2 with an audio taper pot. My vol pot is 500k linear taper. T1 and T2 are audio taper at 250k. I am able to cut the clanky sound on T2 by rolling off a little. It's not ice picky but more like tin can sound. I hope that makes sense.


Top
Profile
Post subject: Re: CS 54 pickup height question
Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:23 pm
Offline
Rock Icon
Rock Icon
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:48 am
Posts: 26021
Location: Tombstone Territory
Have you tried tweaking your amp's tone controls?

Arjay

_________________
"Here's why reliability is job one: A great sounding amp that breaks down goes from being a favorite piece of gear to a useless piece of crap in less time than it takes to read this sentence." -- BRUCE ZINKY


Top
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours

Fender Play April 2019

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: vic_peacock and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: