I get the question about optimum pickup height adjustment quite often and am happy to respond to all the new players who have discovered JBE pickups and the significant difference our pickups offer over other brands. So, forgive me for re-posting an earlier blog on the topic, albeit edited a bit.
The answer to the pickup height question is that there is no “best” or “right” height. We recommend a starting distance between the top of the blade and the underside of the string of 3/32″ on the high E side and 4/32″ on the low E side. This gets you well into the ballpark and probably onto the infield (to extend the metaphor). Now it is up to you as the player to determine what YOU want to hear. The guiding principle is ‘LET YOUR EARS BE THE JUDGE”.
Every musician has something to say by their playing style. Some players want highly responsive touch sensitive performance with the pickups set high, others want a bit less tactile response and don’t want to drive the amp as hard and prefer a lower setting…some players even crank our pickups all the way down to better suit their playing styles. It’s all good!
Experiment a bit. You will notice that JBE pickups are more responsive to height adjustment than just about any other pickups on the market. Set them and then put them to the test in the “heat of battle” (live performance or full band practice). This will allow you to see how they react outside of the confines of the studio, basement, or bedroom, and give you the best idea of what (if any) changes to make. Keep experimenting until you dial them into YOUR style and amp settings.
Also, don’t be afraid to change your amp EQ. Remember, JBE pickups are delivering more usable frequencies and high fidelity tone to your amp than your stock pickups. It just doesn’t make sense to hamper the expanded tone of JBE pickups with the same old amp settings just because this was formerly “your tone”. Get over it! Your tone has now improved immensely with JBE’s in your guitar or bass. So why limit it by old amp EQ meant to coax the best tones from your former low-fi pickups?
You may want to readjust too if you switch to different string gauges. Even ¼ turn of the height adjustment screw changes tone, performance, and feel. So, go slowly as you dial-in the best settings for your playing. Also be sure to adjust so that you have a good balance between front and back pickup positions as well. Have fun!