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I know that pick-up height is fairly subjective and depends on many variables, but I find the factory set-up on my new H-530 to be less than desirable. The Bridge p/u is situated fine, but the neck is seemingly far too low perhaps 1/4-5/16" below the strings. The guitar still sounds good, but I've always heard P-90s do best between 1/16" and 1/8" below the strings. I believe this is J. Lollar's recommendation as well and I've ordered a few shims to bring the neck p/u up. I play mostly R&B, blues, gospel, soul what would you more experienced H-530 owners suggest?

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I find I like the tone with the pickup height further away from the strings, but I purposely try to avoid the sound of the pickups getting “saturated”. In fact, I have Lollar “‘50’s wind” (lower output model) pickups, so I’m probably on the other end of the spectrum from you in terms of the tones I prefer.  1/16” would definitely be too close for me, even with the low output pickups. But as you said, it’s subjective. Kinda like asking how much salt is the right amount on scrambled eggs. If you like the tones better with the pickups at 1/16” gap to the strings, go for it. 

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3 minutes ago, cobo said:

I  me, even with the low output pickups. But as you said, it’s subjective. Kinda like asking how much salt is the right amount on scrambled eggs.

With the output difference it might be how much salt if you use two eggs or three eggs.

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I always go by ear.  Plug the guitar in and adjust the pole heights a little at a time while playing.  When it sounds good to your ear, you all set.   Key is to start low and work your way up.  Bit tricker with dogear P90's because you cannot really adjust the whole pickup.  But you can adjust the poles. 

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Thanks for all your thoughtful replies. I've taken the advice of many and ordered some shims. I'll experiment with some different heights and go with what sounds best to my ears. I have a pickguard ordered and have made a few minor modifications. Once I'm through I'll post pictures.  Needless to say, I'm loving the tones I'm getting with this guitar!

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When I had my new 530 setup by my tech, I gave  him a set of Lollar's P90 shims and asked him to set it up in his best judgment. 

Here's how he did it (the downside to the raised pickups was that the pickguard which I also had him install was too high and interfered with my right hand technique (such as it is), so after this pic was taken I took it off):

 

 image1.jpeg

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I try not to have the neck too close to the strings because the magnets have a greater affect on them at the neck vs the bridge. I have an ES225 with the original set up from ‘57 and both pickups are pretty far from the strings. I raised the bridge poles until I felt like the volumes complimented each other between the neck and bridge. On my 150 the pick up is probably 1/4” when fretted at the 22nd fret.  I have a special that is a bit closer but I cannot get it farther away. IMO if it sounds good then it is good. First raise the pole pieces then go from there. It’s easy to get a little overpowered at the neck and things get muddy. I rock the neck in solos all the time and the pickup doesn’t have to be super close to get some good breakup on a single channel amp without pedals. P90s are very powerful with their two magnets, more so than an HB pickup. I bet your 530 is a killer guitar, it’s such a classic set up, have fun experimenting that’s what it’s all about!

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On 5/16/2021 at 2:59 AM, rockabilly69 said:

I like bridge P90s as close as I can get 'em to the strings, then I balance the neck from there!

This, yep.

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