Pick-up imbalance

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Pick-up imbalance

Postby Simon C » Fri May 07, 2021 9:04 am

Hi everyone.

I've had my L2K Tribute for nearly a month now and am really enjoying it.

A couple of things I have noted:

The bridge pick-up seems quieter than the neck pick-up. Is this normal? Is it by design? Currently I'm getting round it by adjusting the volume pot and am probably not going to use the pick-up selector switch during a song. If the forum thinks it is normal / by design then I'll stick with it. If it's unusual then maybe it's worth adjusting something: would that be neck pup lower or bridge pup higher or something else?

A further thing I've noted, but which is less obvious. When soloing the bridge pup the A string seems quieter than the E (and maybe the D and G) between the 4th and 9th frets; playing on open strings and on the 1st 3 frets seems fine. I don't notice this when soloing the neck pick-up. I was thinking about raising the pole pieces on the bridge pick-up under the A string a little, but thought I'd check here 1st. If I do adjust them presumably I wouldn't need to raise them far, otherwise I would end up with the open A and first few frets sounding too loud. Any thoughts?

A couple of qualifiers:

I've been a P-bass player only for a number of years, so having 2 pick-ups is new to me.
I am going on what my ears hear, I haven't checked with a meter.
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Re: Pick-up imbalance

Postby Ken Baker » Fri May 07, 2021 9:54 am

Simon C wrote:The bridge pick-up seems quieter than the neck pick-up. Is this normal? Is it by design? Currently I'm getting round it by adjusting the volume pot and am probably not going to use the pick-up selector switch during a song. If the forum thinks it is normal / by design then I'll stick with it. If it's unusual then maybe it's worth adjusting something: would that be neck pup lower or bridge pup higher or something else?


Totally normal. The reason is that the string excursions over the bridge pickup are smaller than the excursions over the neck pickup. So, given more-or-less equal pickup heights, there will be a lower amplitude signal from the bridge pickup than the neck pickup. You can adjust the pickup heights and pole piece heights to compensate. In fact, a lot of L-2000 owners lower the neck pickup quite a bit.

A further thing I've noted, but which is less obvious. When soloing the bridge pup the A string seems quieter than the E (and maybe the D and G) between the 4th and 9th frets; playing on open strings and on the 1st 3 frets seems fine. I don't notice this when soloing the neck pick-up. I was thinking about raising the pole pieces on the bridge pick-up under the A string a little, but thought I'd check here 1st. If I do adjust them presumably I wouldn't need to raise them far, otherwise I would end up with the open A and first few frets sounding too loud. Any thoughts?


You're on the right track; adjust the pole pieces as needed. Note of caution: Sometimes with new pickups the pole pieces will seem stuck in place. This is because of wax potting used during manufacturing. Fully insert the correct sized allen wrench, turn the pole piece in a little bit to loosen, then adjust as needed.

Ken...
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Re: Pick-up imbalance

Postby Simon C » Fri May 07, 2021 11:44 am

Thanks for the quick response and for the information Ken.
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Re: Pick-up imbalance

Postby bdgotoh » Fri May 07, 2021 9:42 pm

I always have to adjust pickup heights and pole pieces to get the tone I want. These are wonderful pickups - not only the height and poles but the angle of the pickups is adjustable.
I use the poles to get the string balance right on both pickups, then use pickup height to get the outputs balanced. Once everything is the same volume I play with pickup heights to get the overall tone I want.

That last part can have a surprisingly large effect on tone.
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Re: Pick-up imbalance

Postby Simon C » Tue May 11, 2021 10:26 am

So I did a bit of adjustment over the weekend. In case the amount I changed them helps or enthuses anyone one else who is a bit reticent to fiddle with settings (and so I can remember):

I lowered the neck pick up by about half a turn on each of the 3 screws. This gave a much better balance between the 2 pick-ups.

I raised the poles under the A string on the bridge pick-up by about a quarter turn. The volume on each string is now pretty close. It could do with maybe a smidgen more (I think a smidgen is a bit less than "a tad" ;) ), but it's good enough for now. If you haven't fiddled with the pole pieces before, I was surprised by how strong the magnets are - they pretty much pulled the allen key out of my fingers the first time I tried.

The volumes are better balanced. Soloing on the bridge pick-up sounds better. The tone with both pick-ups on is singing now - or at least it would be in the hands of someone who can play well.

I'll leave it where it is for a couple of weeks then maybe do that smidgen on the bridge pick-up A string.

Cheers,

Simon
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Re: Pick-up imbalance

Postby jglunt2112 » Tue May 11, 2021 12:19 pm

Thanks for sharing this, Simon. I know it's encouraging for me to know. I used to rely on my luthier for setups and things like this, then I moved 300 miles away from him way out in "the sticks." Now I have to do this stuff myself, so I appreciate advice from those who have done it. It's good you're relying on your ear to get the tone and balance that sounds right to you. Though I wasn't there at the time :D , it's been rumored that Duke Ellington once said: "If it sounds good, it is good." Tribute L2Ks are great basses. Seeing yours makes me wish I still had mine..Jim
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Re: Pick-up imbalance

Postby Simon C » Tue May 18, 2021 2:44 pm

Thanks Jim, it's good to know that others think the info is worth sharing. As you say the Tribute L2Ks are great basses.
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Re: Pick-up imbalance

Postby Simon C » Fri Jul 23, 2021 12:14 pm

...an update on this one.

I raised the pole pieces under the A string on the bridge pick-up a further half turn - so a bit more than I thought I would need to. So 3/4 of a turn in total (I'd previously raised it a quarter turn). It has been there now for a couple of months and I haven't felt the need to fiddle any more.
Last edited by Simon C on Sat Jul 24, 2021 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pick-up imbalance

Postby Ken Baker » Fri Jul 23, 2021 8:16 pm

Thanks for getting back & letting us know how your adjustments have gone.

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Re: Pick-up imbalance

Postby bigtone23 » Fri Jul 30, 2021 8:47 pm

It's interesting how each bass can have unique adjustments to get the pickups and strings balanced.
I always get the strings balanced out nicely and then adjust the pickups. Typically, with 2 pickup basses, I end up raising the bass side up a touch on the bridge pickup and then drop the bass side a touch on the neck pickup. This way my (B) E & A have a touch more of a tighter kick to them.
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