(5 of 5) How to Set the Pickup Height on a Bass Guitar


Ruler that measures 64ths of an in (or mm)
There are many variations in pickups. In this tutorial, we’ll talk about setting the height of Fender Style double coiled pickups. Now, just like setting the action at the bridge, pickup height is a matter of personal taste, a preference. Almost everybody wants to avoid the following problems with pickups, though:

1. Strings buzzing against the pickup
2. Magnetic pull of pickup affecting intonation.
3. Uneven pickup height.
4. Weak signal (caused by low pickups)

Fret MD Recommended Pickup Heights:
1/8th of an in. (3.18 mm)
Assessment can be done by measuring or by ear.


1. Press down on the very last fret of a string (your E6 string for example).
2. Now use your ruler to measure the distance between the top of the pickup sensor and the bottom of the fretted E6 string.
3. Repeat this for all pickups and then take measurements of the E6 string. All pickups should be even and at the same height. You want to avoid slanted pickups and having pickups set at different heights.

By Ear

Use the pickup selector switch on your bass to alternate between pickups. Play the same chord and listen to how it sounds on different pickups. Does it sound louder in certain positions than others? If yes, then you’ll want to measure and adjust your pickup height.


1. Use a screwdriver to raise and/or lower the pickups to your desired height. making sure that all pickups are evenly set to the same height.

Congratulations! You’re done with the setup. Enjoy the sound and feel of your beautifully setup instrument. If you have any questions or encounter any difficulty with your setup then please feel free to post on our forum. Many people find it useful to see a setup done visually. For this we recommend a Fret MD DVD. Our DVDs are arguably the best in their field, and as a registered Fret MD member, you’ll qualify for extra savings on your Fret MD DVD purchases.

Happy playing!

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