Exactly what should be effect of lowering the neck pickup on a semihollow jazz guitar? (besides of it lowers the volume)

I am using clean jazz tone with a very little reverb, and no other effect. I am lowering the neck pickup, and besides of the volume is lower a bit, what change should I hear?

Added info:

  • Instrument: Ibanez AM 93 or better: Ibanez AM 93 Lefty
  • Neck pickup: Factory Super 58 Custom, according to Ibanez specification.
  • Strings: D'Addario Chromes Flat Wound, Light, 12-52
  • 1
    What a strange comment. The question was not "What will be the effect?" instead it was "What should be the effect?". Does it makes sense now, or should I explain in detail why "What should be the effect" can not be answered by "just trying". Jan 8, 2016 at 16:56
  • I am lowering the neck pickup...what change should I hear? - If you don't know what's going to happen, why have you decided to lower it?
    – Vector
    Feb 19, 2018 at 4:05

4 Answers 4


" experienced players know how great of a difference pickup height can make. They talk of pickup height in terms of finding a “sweet spot” where pickups sound their best and are most responsive and dynamic. Often, but not in any case always, this means lowering your guitars pickups. Guitar techs even apply a term, Stratitis, to the negative effects of having pickups too close to the strings" From: https://bgmb55.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/tuning-your-sound-balancing-your-pickups/

  • This should be a comment, not an answer.
    – Caleb
    Oct 11, 2015 at 23:51
  • 1
    +1 for the stratitis mention- I wondered what caused that. No idea why someone downvoted this answer. Oct 13, 2015 at 9:31

If I remember correctly, lowering the neck pickup should produce a darker, less treble-y sound as you're getting less of the attack of the string.

As the other answer touched on, it's worth just doing a little bit of research into pickup height and what the effects are, as well as experimenting yourself seeing as it's easily reversible if you don't like the effect produced. Remember you can also lower or heighten just one side of the pickup, so you can effectively get a very treble-y sound from the higher strings if you heighten the pickup there and also a much darker tone from the lower strings if you lower that side of the pickup.


It would help to know what type of pickups you are using. There are many types of humbuckers and single coils as well as active and passive pu's. For instance humbuckers can be found with different magnets and windings each of which can dramatically affect the tone and volume. The pickups on a Gibson es-175, which many talk about as a quintessential jazz guitar are already dark and somewhat subdued. I have found that lowering them effects the volume more so than the tone. I agree with the previous answers lower them your self or raise them, you can always turn them back to there previous height. Just remember that raising them to high can cause the magnets to pull your stings downward.

  • You are completely right, thanks for warn me. I was going to add this information, but somehow I forgot it. So here it is, and I am also going to edit the question to add this information: Instrument: Ibanez AM 93 Neck pickup: Factory Super 58 Custom, according to Ibanez specification. Oct 15, 2015 at 17:28

Raising pickup will make it sound more characteristic for position. So neck position will become more fat and bridge will have more treble. Lowering should do opposite. Set best for you.

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