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Haywire Custom Guitars: Why Radius Pole Pieces On Guitar Pickups?

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Haywire Custom Guitars: Why Radius Pole Pieces On Guitar Pickups?

Haywire Signature Guitars – The F-335 Custom

Haywire Signature Guitars – The F-335 Custom

image Haywire Custom Guitars F-335 Semi Hollw guitar with pole piece under each string

Radius Pole Pieces On Guitar Pickups

Because, a pole piece is adjustable for a reason. Take advantage of it. It’s much better to radius each guitar pickup pole piece in your guitar pickups than leave them flat if they’re adjustable. Why is this done? There are several reasons for doing this. Think of the poles as an EQ.  Why do you use an EQ?  Think about it for a while. First, guitars are almost never set up when sent from the factory to the music store.

Guitars Are Almost Never Set Up When Sent From The Factory To The Music Store

A complete set up is part of the process performed in a good custom guitar shop. In order to complete the set up radius each adjustable pole piece. Second, each guitar neck on an electric guitar has a radius. In a proper set up the strings will have the same radius as the neck. Where sound and frequencies are an important issue to the player we’ll use pickups with adjustable pole pieces. The third and most important reason is that if the strings and neck have a radius and so should the guitars pickups to reproduce accurate tone.

Sound consistency is important in setup as well as playing. Just as it is necessary to keep the same distance from the fret to the bottom of the string, it is just as important to maintain an equal distance from the string to the top of each pole piece. Why? Equal distance of strings to pickups gives equal volume and therefore a more consistent volume level for each note played. The results are more even frequencies, more consistent sound, better tone, less unwanted feedback, even volume, more responsive pick up control, better sustain and more clarity in the overall sound.

Pickup Poles Must Follow The Neck Radius Just The Same As The Strings

All that’s needed to accomplish this is a set of pick ups that are adjustable. How can you tell? A visual inspection will tell you instantly if they are. A good example is a typical humbucker pick up. Let’s take the one that Seth Lover first introduced. Seth’s most famous humbucker design (U.S. Patent 2,896,491) was the P.A.F. (Patent Applied For) designed while he worked at the Gibson guitar manufacturing site in 1955. This pickup was used in a wide range of Gibson guitars, most notably the Les Paul guitar model. If you notice and look closely- you’ll see that the humbucker is adjustable.

The Humbucker Has Adjustable Pole Pieces

Most Humbuckers have six poles, therefore you’ll adjust each one. You can see there are six pole pieces visible through the metal cover. One under each guitar string. They have slotted tops for a screwdriver blade. These pole pieces are actually long machine screws. When the screws are turned clockwise they travel away from the strings.  As a result, if turned counter-clockwise they will rise closer to the strings. This is most noteworthy because the neck has a radius. Therefore the poles must follow that radius the same as the strings.

All that is necessary is to adjust the guitar pickups screws so that the are about 1/8 inch from the bottom of each string. In a good set up this is the last step performed. You’ll find the sound will be enhanced from this small detail that makes a big difference to a discerning player.

Haywire Custom Guitars profile image Rick Mariner

Radius a pole piece with the strings

More by: Haywire Custom Guitars

image Haywire Custom Guitars F-335 Semi Hollw guitar with pole piece under each string

Radius Pole Pieces On Guitar Pickups

Ordering From Haywire Custom Guitars

If you would like to order this or any other custom guitar, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your guitar needs.

About the Author:

Mr. Rick Mariner Owner and Founder and CEO of Haywire Custom Guitars Inc. He is a member of The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (A.S.I.A.) as well as a guitar player. Rick holds a bachelors degree from University of Md. and a Masters degree from George Washington University. Rick developed his exclusive 8 – Point “Gig- Ready” guitar process that allows for Custom Guitars that are “GIG-READY”. With Rick’s many years of development and guitar set-up experience, Haywire Guitar shop “Builds satisfied players… one Haywire guitar at a time”.

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