Stratocaster bridge pickup pole spacing in relation to vintage spaced bridges

jaymenonjaymenon Frets: 16
edited May 12 in Making & Modding

From what I understand the pole spacing on Strat pickups is a standard 52mm for all three - neck, middle, and bridge.

With a vintage spaced bridge however where the string spacing is 2 7/32” or 56.4mm, I find that the first and six strings lie outside the magnets for the bridge pickup - this is of course further exaggerated by the angle of the pickup, which effectively shortens the pickup relative to the strings. The middle and neck pickups are okay for string to pole piece alignment.

I find that this non-alignment is sufficient to make the 1st string significantly quieter. This is particularly evident in mild overdrive, when the 2nd and 3rd strings yield a nice saturated tone but the first string sounds clean - that's really weird.

It is not so evident why playing clean (and I use my Stratocaster only for clean sounds) so in practical terms it’s not really a problem.

I am curious though - apart from changing to a narrower spaced bridge is there a simple solution?

Pic:

[Imgur](https://i.imgur.com/IG6tKBr.jpg)

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Comments

  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 2578
    'Twas ever thus. So long as the vibrating strings move within the magnetic field of the pickups, a signal will be induced.

    Meanwhile, if the Stratocaster in the OP photograph is yours, it has a neck alignment issue that could do with correcting. 


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  • jaymenonjaymenon Frets: 16
    edited May 12
    Thanks Funkfingers - I prefer it that way since it gives me a little bit of room for finger vibrato on the 1st string. The 6th  doesn’t really slip off the fingerboard.  There is very little room given the rather wide bridge spacing...

     The string polepiece misalignment does however affect relative string volume on the bridge pickup...
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  • CasperCasterCasperCaster Frets: 148
    edited May 12
    I've never had a problem myself, but nowadays I prefer the narrow bridge as it solves the 'strings falling off the fingerboard' problem, and means the strings linup reasonably well with standard spaced buckers in my HSS Strat's (I have SSS strats too)

    Unless you had something custom made (and stock covers wouldn't fit), or something with adjustable polepieces (dimarzio sds-1, Oil City Alligator etc) then I can't see another solution other than the narrow bridge - even then some people complain that with a narrow bridge the neck pickup is now effectively too wide compared to the string spacing over the neck pickup, though pole pieces outside the strings is generally considered less of a problem than the other way around.
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