Staggered pole piece pickups

Discussion in 'Pickup Joint' started by alan s, Feb 11, 2019 at 2:44 PM.

  1. alan s

    alan s Squier Talker

    Age:
    67
    39
    Jan 21, 2019
    Lincolnshire UK
    Hi all
    I am new to modding guitars and in the past few days I have fitted Wilkinson MWVS pickups to my Affinity and all new pots and a new 5 way switch.Now it is finished ,although I like the sound of the pickups,in my ignorance of pickups I bought some with staggered pole pieces,after making adjustments to p/up height they are sounding pretty good ,however,I am finding the G string more powerful than the others and its starting to displease me a bit.
    The original p/ups were not staggered BTW
    My query is this ..is it possible to reduce the height of the G pole on the p/ups? by filing or something,I have read that some poles can be adjusted but these do not appear to be so,maybe I will swap the with some none staggered ones at a later date.

    Best wishes

    Alan
     
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  2. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-holic

    Sep 27, 2014
    Canada
    Lower them.....then it won't matter as much, and they will sound nicer too...

    I meant to comment on the thread where you changed them, and I didn't want to seem rude....but it's weird you replaced cheap ceramic pickups.....with cheap ceramic pickups? Wouldn't you want a nice alnico upgrade? IMHO the MWVS sound no better than stock Affinity pickups.....
     
  3. Eddie

    Eddie Dr. Squier

    Age:
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    Nov 5, 2016
    New York

    Looks like it received some positive reviews:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015Y1TOO2/?tag=squiertalk-20
     
  4. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-holic

    Sep 27, 2014
    Canada
  5. fadetoz

    fadetoz Squier-holic

    Age:
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    Jun 29, 2011
    IA
    With some pups you can adjust the poles but I've never done it.
     
  6. Jay Jackson

    Jay Jackson Squier-Meister

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    Sep 1, 2018
    sanluisobispo CA (3401
    have you tried to heat the pole first with a soldering iron to soften up the wax poting can you see the poles on the back of the Pickup many of the fully closed back pickups the pole peaces are full leingth and cant be adjusted down. I would guess you could file then down slow and easy pressure but that will take some time
     
  7. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Squier-holic

    Feb 16, 2018
    North Central NC
    Good advice, except I don't think filing will work on hardened magnet iron.
     
  8. alan s

    alan s Squier Talker

    Age:
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    39
    Jan 21, 2019
    Lincolnshire UK
    Yes,like I said being a novice at the modding game,I thought I would just try my hand at it,the Wilkinsons do sound pretty good,and yes,I did read the comments of Amazon buyers,if it wasn't for the overpowering G string I would be totally happy with them,but it will bug me in the end,I know :(:(
    I've just ordered a set of Alnico V 's with none staggered poles,maybe they will be better :D:D
    BTW the pickups are now only just above the p/guard so won't go much lower

    Thanks for the replies

    Alan
     
  9. Jay Jackson

    Jay Jackson Squier-Meister

    Age:
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  10. Caddy

    Caddy Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    Nov 29, 2010
    Indiana
    This is one of the things I never will understand. That stagger on Strat pickups was designed back in the 50's when strings were of a much heavier gauge and all sets came with a wound third string. Now that the string gauges normally used are much lighter and don't have a wound third, why have they not at least changed the stagger to match that? Or done away with the stagger altogether? Other pickup seem to work just fine without being staggered.

    I used to record with one of my Strats with the staggered poles and not only could hear the imbalance, but could visually see it in my DAW. Once recorded I could look at the wave and easily see which notes had been played on the third string (they were louder and had higher peaks). Finally got tired of that and pushed the poles down to where they were all even. Problem solved. Never have bought another set with staggered poles since, all non'staggered for me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 11:49 PM
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  11. alan s

    alan s Squier Talker

    Age:
    67
    39
    Jan 21, 2019
    Lincolnshire UK
    Hi Caddy
    I never thought about it when I ordered them,but now I know :cool:
    I don't think I will be trying to push them down ,having just done some research into staggered poles it does not seem to make sense to make them staggered if the output is going to be affected as much as it does.
    A lesson learnt for me :(:(

    Alan
     
  12. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Squier-holic

    Age:
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    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
    I have pushed them down before with Alnico 5s in a Squier Standard.

    Use a wooden dowel rod .
     
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  13. fadetoz

    fadetoz Squier-holic

    Age:
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    Jun 29, 2011
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    Idk if this will help in your case or not

     
  14. VMamp

    VMamp Squier Talker

    Age:
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    Jan 28, 2019
    United Kingdom
    That video relates to Alnico pole piece PU's. Ceramic magnet based single coil pickups either have a single magnet which is mounted directly under the soft iron pole pieces or two smaller magnets mounted either side of the pole pieces which are longer and extend under by about 3mm. You can, with care, tap the pole piece down on the dual magnet type but the pick up needs to be on a bench and the two ceramic magnets carefully removed. You cannot do this if it is the type with a single bar magnet as the pole pieces are sat on it. The only thing you can do is remove the magnet, risk breaking it as ceramic bar magnets ar are very brittle, tap the pole piece out and shorten it by sawing a section off the top. Easy to cut with a junior hacksaw.



    Regards Alnico v Ceramic, there are some excellent ceramic based pickups.
     
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  15. Caddy

    Caddy Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    Nov 29, 2010
    Indiana
    Yes, mine were alnico as well. Easy enough to do though. Wouldn't work out well with single magnet ceramics.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 7:51 PM
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  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Squier-Meister

    165
    Jan 10, 2014
    Michigan
    .

    Staggered pole piece pickups with modern strings give you the classic Strat clean tones.

    Lower the middle pickup until the top of the bobbin cover is level with the pickguard, the neck a 1/16th if an inch higher, and the bridge until you get volume parity switching between neck and bridge. If the E vs e tones are unbalanced, then raise/lower one vs the other side.

    If you look at old pictures/videos of Hendrix, Clapton, or new videos of players like Keith Urban/etc you'll see more lower pickups than higher.

    Turn up the amp knob for your volume.

    As for ceramic vs alnico -- either one can sound better/worse than the other. Often cheap import pickups are hand-wound while the expensive big brand typical-favorite pickups are machine wound. So use your ear not the price.

    Also, pots and caps matter as much as the pickups -- they are a system. I've seen people go through half a dozen swaps of boutique pickups and never measure nor change the pots. I used to swap pickups until I figured them out.

    .
     
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  17. fadetoz

    fadetoz Squier-holic

    Age:
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    Jun 29, 2011
    IA
    I have a few sets of staggered pups and never noticed an issue.
     
  18. alan s

    alan s Squier Talker

    Age:
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    39
    Jan 21, 2019
    Lincolnshire UK
    Thanks guys for all the useful information,there really is a wealth of knowledge here,and the video is very interesting,thanks.
    My pickups are cheap single bar magnet type ceramics,so I will not be able to push them down as in the video.
    VMamp refers to taking the pole pieces out and swawing off a smallpiece,I wonder,would it be possible to do this without removing them from the pickup if they are held in a vice maybe,but I'm not too concerned as I have some alnicos on order without the stagger ,so will give them a go when they arrive.
    I really would not have known any of this without all you knowledgable folk on here
    My thanks once again

    Alan
     
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  19. VMamp

    VMamp Squier Talker

    Age:
    71
    19
    Jan 28, 2019
    United Kingdom
    The problem with filing down the pole piece in situ is removing the swarf from around the pole pieces afterwards....lol!

    I use a stanley knife blade and gently cut under and along each side of the magnet to remove it, use a bit of masking tape and mark the face of the magnet so it can be replaced with the original orientation.

    You are Lincolnshire, I can send you some pole pieces and magnets, I have a draw full........lol
     
    alan s likes this.
  20. alan s

    alan s Squier Talker

    Age:
    67
    39
    Jan 21, 2019
    Lincolnshire UK
    Hi VMamp
    Thanks for your kind offer of pole pieces and magnets,yes I see the problems with the swarf,suppose I coated the pickup lightly with Vaseline or grease to collect the swarf,it would make cleaning easier maybe,just an idea ;)
    I think before taking any action I will try the alnicos when they arrive,hopefully soon,but I have to say I do like the sound of the Wilkinsons,just wish I had researched more about them,oh well .:D

    Alan