Ive been facing some issues when recording with my Ibanez GRG 170DX. I noticed this recently, as I got a Scarlett Solo interface. When I record my guitar, the input volume from the lower E string is much more than the high E string. If I increase the input volume on the Solo, the parts with the low string starts clipping.

Because of the lower volume on the high strings, tapping and hammer on and pull offs don't sound clear.

I read in some places that it could be because the pickups need to be remagnetized. I haven't changed my strings in a few months, so could that also be a cause?

PS: My guitar is around 6 years old.

Edit: I checked Reaper, and even tried Audacity, this issue persists on both of them. I even plugged in my guitar to my Zoom G3X processor and the issue exists here as well, so the issue is probably with my guitar and not my interface.

Update: I changed my strings to a new set, theres a lesser difference now, but its still there, if Im picking with the same force, the low E string gives a -12dB output but the high E string gives -18dB output.

  • Do you experience anything like this behavior through an amp?
    – Yorik
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 18:38
  • Also, is the instrument gain knob at Unity Gain (probably at around 12 o'clock position)? If not, set it to unity and then try to attenuate using Reaper
    – Yorik
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 18:53
  • @Yorik when my effects like distortion are turned off this, I observe this behaviour. I checked even with my processor, the same issue is there. When I add any effects with compression it isn't very noticeable, but I won't to fix the problem and not do a workaround. Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 9:20
  • Regarding my second comment, this is not a workaround, this is how you chain devices. Unity gain would leave the signal untouched, which is what you want. Regarding the first, again, do you have this problem through a normal amp?
    – Yorik
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 15:32
  • @Yorik yeah the issue was there if set on the clean channel on the amp. On distortion it wasn't noticeable probably because the signal is highly compressed. I solved the issue, I've explained my solution in the accepted answer Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 16:50

8 Answers 8


This is almost certainly not anything to do with pickups needing remagnetising - that is a very rare thing, especially these days.

There are two far more likely causes that you can quickly check and fix:

  1. It is almost certainly something in your recording chain rolling off a lot of your treble response, so check every component carefully. This includes tone pots inside your guitar. When you turn your tone control fully one way then fully the other sites anything change? If not, the tone pot is faulty. Does anything different happen with all pickup selector positions?

  2. Pickup distance to strings - this is far less likely, but easy to check and amend. Is the treble end of your pickup much further away from the strings? Turn the screw to raise it up. This will make a difference, but possibly not as much as you describe.

Even if you can't find a cause, you could add a bit of treble boost to cure the problem.

  • My recording chain is my guitar->Scarlett Solo->Reaper. So I don't think the issue is with that. Ill check the pickup selector positions and the tone pot and see if it changes. Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 14:09
  • Well worth checking all your settings in Reaper as well. It's very easy to drop in an eq rolloff by accident.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 14:32
  • The volume issue was on the raw input without any track fx Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 17:01
  • The height of the pickup can make a big difference, depending on the type of pickup. A mm or two of height on the treble side can increase the volume quite a bit. I often have to adjust pickup height to get an even volume across the strings on new guitar setups. Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 20:11
  • I checked Reaper, and even tried Audacity, this issue persists on both of them. I even plugged in my guitar to my Zoom G3X processor and the issue exists here as well, so it is probably with my guitar and not my recording chain. How can I adjust the pickup distance? My guitar has the factory Ibanez Infinity pickups, so Im not sure if its adjustable. As someone suggested in another answer, the issue may be with my strings cause some are from a different set. I'll see if changing them fixes the issue. Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 20:09

I fixed my issue, thought I would post my solution here in case anyone faces a similar issue. Thanks everyone for the suggestions, some of them helped. I made two main changes:

  1. I changed my strings to a new set because earlier it was a mix of different string gauges.

  2. I found that my action adjustment on my bridge was a bit higher on the High E string side than the Low E string side. This probably caused the strings to be far away from the pickups, so the volume was less. After lowering this and checking the volume I found it to be back to normal.

Initially I didn't suspect it was a pickup distance issue as my pickup height is not adjustable. Turns out the bridge height was, which is what caused the issue. As pointed out in the comments, my pickup height was actually adjustable, I just wasn't aware of how to do it. For anyone else facing this issue, I would recommend a combination of adjusting their bridge and the pickup height since a balance of both would be needed to fix the volume issues while not resulting in fret buzz.

Thanks for the help!

  • 1
    Your pickup height is adjustable. It is the mounting screws that hold the pickups in the brackets., the middle ones in between the four corner screws. For the single coil, it is just the mounting screws that adjust the height. Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 20:33
  • I think I must have missed this comment, but you're right, it is adjustable. I suppose the right way to fix it is a mix of adjusting the bridge height and the pickup height. Thanks! I'll edit my answer. Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 19:17

To add some potential solutions:

  1. You can try getting a compressor (between guitar and recording device) to even out the levels from different string volumes. Keep in mind that this could change the tone, which might not be a bad thing. Doesn't cure the problem at its source but I'd say this is a common work around.

  2. Could be string gauge. Especially if you have a mixed set of lighter gauge strings with heavier bottom strings. But I would assume that you know what strings you're using. See: How does string gauge affect a guitar's sound and playability? If you do change the gauge of the strings I recommend getting it set up because it would affect the tension on the neck (therefore string height, potentially leading to playability issues).

Hope that helps! Best of luck

  • I have this exact problem due to heavy gauge flat wound strings on the low end. In an amplifier, the signals are compressed and eq'ed to balance the response, but recorded raw the difference in output is revealed. EQ and banded compression are a great solution for recording DI guitar.
    – Alex Y
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 18:13
  • @AlexY I think this may be the problem I'm facing, because some of my strings are from different sets. Ill change to a fresh set soon and see if it fixes the problem. Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 19:54
  • @RogerWang, when I add any FX the problem isn't noticeable, its only prominent in the raw tracks. That does affect the tone in case of tapping cause it sounds like the tapping parts have been boosted and its got a bit too much of distortion. Ill try to change my strings and see if it fixes the problem Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 19:56
  • I changed my strings to a new set, theres a lesser difference now, but its still there, if Im picking with the same force, the low E string gives a -12dB output but the high E string gives -18dB output. Is it natural for this to happen? Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 14:21

I have now the same problem as above and I think I might figure it out. I purchased acoustic strings (phosphor bronze wound), which will lead to a slow tone on the higher strings. I can't tell exactly the physical explanation, but I didn't find this solution on this thread and I think it may be useful.

  • The explanation is that the bronze in strings is non-ferromagnetic so the electric guitar pickup doesn't detect it. The strings have a thin steel core that gives a weak signal.
    – ojs
    Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 23:03


I’m going to raise the bridge on my Prestige, too. That or change to Active Fishman Fluence pups.

You all possibly missed the mark: this is in fact a common problem on Ibanez’s with their trademark Basswood tone wood bodies. Also, it might be aggravated by the stock DiMarzio pickups, made just for Ibanez. I’ll note that Ibanez has now moved wholly to Tone Zone / Air Norton, and moreover for Prestige’s are using white ash (a brighter livelier wood), or mahogany, as often as basswood. My hunch is that they knew this was a systemic problem and on the expensive axes have moved to correct it.

My 1986 Roadstar II had this exact same problem, by the way: deader spots on one midrange string and then esp the most treble string. Also basswood.

I’ve seen an EQ pedal being offered as solution, but I shall try raising the treble end of the pickup before spending on that or the Fishman actives, or a SD passive pup with far more treble response in the neck.


I know there will be players that may not believe this however just two days ago we faced the same problem in the shop (not the first time either). There was testing, pole-piece adjustments, pickup changes pot changes just to be absolutely sure these were not the culprits. The issue in the Haywire Custom Shop was that the "B" string on a Les Paul we were working on was so much lower in volume than any other string. After trying all the above tests there was one more test to try. The next step was to exchange places with the "B" and high "E" strings and plug it up again. Surprised to see, NOW the volume issue moved to the high "E" string. Conclusion: Not enough steel in the string to activate the pole piece in order to hear the string. Yes, that's right. The string was devoid of the proper ingredients to activate the magnet. String manufacturers are now taking shortcuts. This is a very worrisome development in the industry. In over 45 years we have never seen this issue.


Highly doubt it's the remagnetized thing. It could be:

(a) The distance between the strings and the pickup is too much/too little, in which case you could try adjusting the pickups.

(b) You're using pedals/software that, for whatever reason, is artificially amplifying the bass (though I'm certain you would've realised this by now if that were the case).

As someone else stated, you could probably get away with countering this by using a Treble Boost, unless the discrepancy in volume is big.


Guitar pick-ups do not all sound the same, some are bright, some are not so much. Add to that, the weight of the strings,(heavier strings generate more signal) the distance between the strings and the pick-ups, and even the place where the string is picked, (noticeably brighter close to the nut). All this needs to be balanced out in order to achieve an even response. Another possibility is a defective pick-up which would require replacement. Also might be a good idea to check the capacitor in the tone circuit.

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