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darkandrew

Why can't guitar makers line up strings and pickups?

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I recently [almost] bought a rather nice Ltd superstrat but after the deal fell apart I happened to notice in the pictures that I had that the pickup pole screws and slugs were way out if alignment with the strings. I know that the taper between the bridge and nut width will mean that the distance between top and bottom string will reduce as you move away  from the bridge and towards the neck and I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about the way the pickups or bridge is installed that results in the strings going to one side or the other and not being central to the pickup. Is it just down to lack of attention to detail or is there more to it than this? Similarly, is it purely aesthetic or does it affect the sound too? Just to add, it doesn't just appear to be the more budget friendly guitars, I've also noticed this on guitars at twice the price or more.

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Edited by darkandrew

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It's poor making /QC, to be honest.

As you say, with off the shelf pickups, then it is often the case that the E to E pole widths aren't going to exactly match the string E to E spacing at the positions the guitar design place them.  But what you WOULD expect is that the pickup would be central to the strings, which the above are not.

If the strings are offset on the fretboard too, then it is often just that the neck is simply at a bit of an angle in its pocket.  Loosening the neck, pulling it straight and retightening will often line everything up.  However, if the strings are equidistant from the edges of the fretboard, then either the bridge, or the pickup routs or the positioning of the pickups within those routes is slightly out of line.

Is it going to affect the tone greatly?  Well, in that you can raise the pickup one side to compensate, then probably not that anyone would ever notice.

Hope that makes some sort of sense :)

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Actually, just spotting your top photo, the bottom E is indeed closer to the edge than the top E.  Realigning the neck to correct this (a slight tug at the headstock towards the treble side) would probably get the alignment at the pickups closer.

Edited by Andyjr1515

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That could well help a bit but the positioning on the neck (I've attached another cropped close up of the neck) doesn't appear as wayward as that over the pickups. I've also attached a cropped close up of the bridge as that appears to be bang-on central to the body when you look at the 3 and 4 saddles' position straddling the central seem of the top. To me, it looks as though the pickup routing is off-centre which I find hard to understand as I would have thought this would have been 100% CNC manufactured at this mid-range price-point.

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Hmmm...bit looking at the pickups vs the top centre line, I would have said that those are also spot on centre of the pickups.  Curious.

But as I say, it really won't make much difference to the tone.

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