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Jackson USA Adrian Smith Signature - Pickup Heights

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  • Jackson USA Adrian Smith Signature - Pickup Heights

    I recently purchased a Jackson USA Adrian Smith Signature San Dimas SDM - with the DIMARZIO SUPER DISTORTION / DUAL SAMARIUM COBALT NOISELESS SINGLE-COIL STRAT pickups. In trying to remove the plastic pick guard cover, I had to loosen the screws that adjust the pickup height. Unfortunately, I didn't measure the height before doing this. I reset the heights according to the manual, but the humbucker is louder than the single coils. Is this normal? Does anyone have a recommendation they use? This is what the manual says:

    Bass side:
    - humbucker - 4/64" (1.6mm)
    - Standard single coil - 5/64" (2mm)
    - Noiseless single coil - 8/64" (3.6mm)

    Treble side:
    - humbucker - 4/64" (1.6mm)
    - Standard single coil - 4/64" (1.6mm)
    - Noiseless single coil - 6/64" (2.6mm)

  • #2
    Sorry for the duplicate post. When I first hit Post I received an error.


    • #3
      Their spec for the humbucker is a lot closer to the strings than I ever run. The JB humbucker will have more output than the single coil (most humbuckers do) so to balance you’ll probably have to lower the humbucker and raise the singles. Note that the Jackson manual states “the optimal distance will depend on the type of pickup and the players preference” so that goes to show there will be a lot of variability from their spec. Feel free to experiment, you won’t do any damage unless you get the pickup so high its hitting the strings. What I do it experiment first with the humbucker, move it high close to the strings, see how it sounds with your amp setup/eq settings and strumming style. Then lower it a bunch to get it far away from the strings and see how it sounds again. Do again like halfway between the two settings (which will probably be closer to a more normal height) and play it again to see how it sounds. Once you find something that you like, then fine tune the height of the bass side and treble side so you can then balance the lows and highs of the pickup (as an example, I’ll set the bass side height so I get a good ‘chug’ distortion tone, and then if I find that the pickup is a little bright/harsh on the treble side, I’ll lower the treble side a little to diminish the amount of highs; it’s ok if the pickup is a little ‘slanted’). Once you are done with the humbucker, then raise/lower the single coils until you feel you have a closer balance to output matching of the humbucker. Again when adjusting the single coil height, you can fine tune how close it is to the strings on the bass side and also adjust height on the treble side to balance the output. I find that the bass side of the single coil has more output (logical as the strings are thicker and vibrate more) so a lot of my single coils are set up with the bass side lower/farther from the strings than the treble side (again, ‘slanted’ a little). Again, you have lots of leeway to adjust to your preference/amp/playing style, feel free to experiment.


      • #4
        Sorry about the mention of the Duncan JB, I looked at the spec on line of the green one when I was searching for the manual, and remembered that I have the USA SDM like you with the Dimarzio (and I also have the USA SD with ebony fingerboard and Dimarzio). My comment about the humbucker having more output than the single still applies.


        • #5
          Thanks MountainDog!


          • #6
            but you don't want the humbucker to be the same volume as the others.
            when you split the coils, it will be too quiet


            • #7
              Dan Erlewine's book, "How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great!" (3rd edition), comes with an accompanying DVD that demonstrates setups. In the segment where he's setting up the Strat, he presses down the low E and high E strings at the last fret, then he sets all the pickup heights uniformly as follows:

              Low E side: 1/8 inch clearance above the polepiece
              High E side: 3/32 inch clearance above the polepiece

              Then he suggests lowering the bass side of the neck pickup a little bit further than the above, to avoid "Strat-itis" (

              I follow these measurements and I like the results as-is. Use them as a starting point and adjust the heights according to the way it sounds to you.

              These measurements can be ignored with EMG pickups, where EMG suggests raising the pickups as high as possible without interfering with your playing.


              • #8
                I didn't know this model allowed coil splitting on the DiMarzio.


                • #9
                  In this day and age, it is practically safe to assume that many humbuckers come default with 4-conductor, for various wiring options including coil splitting. Each company might color their wires differently but all the functionality should be there. See linked image below.

                  Last edited by Number Of The Priest; 01-13-2020, 09:09 AM.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by scanfield View Post
                    I didn't know this model allowed coil splitting on the DiMarzio.
                    You may have a point with that.
                    I didn't look up the factory switching configuration. I've just gotten so accustomed to every guitar with a 5-way switch doing some kind of coil splitting.


                    • #11
                      As delivered, these have the 5-way for bridge, bridge+middle, middle, middle+neck, neck. The coil tap wires of the DP100 humbucker are taped off/not connected to anything. If one wanted to coil tap the bridge, one could change out the tone pot for one with an integral pull/push switch and connect the coil tap wires to the middle pole of the switch and the other side of the switch to ground, and use this as the DP100 coil tap select without changing the visual appearance of the guitar.


                      • #12
                        I just joined the Jackson Adrian Smith USA Club!

                        But the previous owner had modified with other pickups, and I plan to restore it to factory spec. I am having trouble finding the Samarium Cobalt singles and Adrian Smith white pickguard with 2 knobs and 10 screws. Does anyone know where I can order these? Jackson was of little help with the pickguard.
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