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  #1  
Old 08-30-2019, 08:24 AM
RockyRacc00n RockyRacc00n is offline
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Default pick stabbing the pickup on a stratocaster

This might be a weird question, or it might be "that happened to me too" question. I play mostly acoustic but once in a while pick up an electric guitar, most recently, a stratocaster.

I find that when my pick happens to be picking/strumming over one of the pickups (mostly around the middle pickup) the pick stabs the pickup. It's throws me off. Does/did this happen to any of you?

The pickup sticks up from the body towards the string and I guess depending on how far it sticks up, there is little room between the strings and the pickup and if my pick happens to reach too far in towards the body, that's when I end up stabbing at the pickup. I don't think my pickups are any higher than usual.

Does this indicate some kind of bad technique on my part?


EDIT: Thank you everyone for your responses. I see that what I described is a shared issue with others. Well, that makes me feel a bit better. I will try tweaking the pickup height and see if I can get used to that.
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Last edited by RockyRacc00n; 08-30-2019 at 11:25 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-30-2019, 08:46 AM
ChrisN ChrisN is offline
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Lots of people don't like a middle pickup for the same reason. Some strat-type owners simply lower the middle pickup to take it out of the equation (but some love the sound of that pickup, so don't).

I've watched pros play between the neck/middle and between the middle/bridge, depending on what sound they're going for (softer, or more twang) and what pickup or pickups are selected. I try to do that.
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Old 08-30-2019, 09:17 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Yes, you're not the only one. Even happens on two-pickup guitars. One solution has been mentioned, lowering the middle pickup and accepting that it's solo'ed sound/volume will not match the others. Some Strat players make little use of the middle pickup alone, so for them it's not a sacrifice.

Another solution is lower all the pickups on your Strat. Having pickups too close can effect sustain and even cause out-of-tuneness as the magnets in the poles interact with the strings, so one needs to keep them far enough away to prevent that. But you don't have to stop there. Some guitars and some setups work better even lower than that. Yes, volume goes down, but you do have an amp with a volume knob! Yes there's a timbral change, but it's not necessarily a bad one, and if you use gain or other effects they can compensate even for a change you want to counter there.

If you make a measurement of your current string to pickup pole height and write it down before making changes, there's no reason not to try that.

Yes, in an ideal world, your pick only needs to catch the string at about midpoint in it's diameter and not any further, such as below it. Those who want the upmost in speed and clarity aim for that. On the other hand (or in yours or my hand) one is not always so accurate in the heat of battle.
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  #4  
Old 08-30-2019, 10:26 AM
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raysachs raysachs is offline
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I've been playing strats for more than 40 years and I have no idea how I've avoided even thinking about the possibility of this, but I never recall it happening. People also complain about the strat's volume knob location being in the way when you're picking or mostly strumming down by the bridge - never had an issue with that either.

But I get it. I had a dual humbucker PRS where the leg cut (waist) of the guitar was quite far forward (as they are on Les Pauls) and in my typical seated position, it caused me to pick over the neck pickup all the time and I was always hitting it with the pick. It didn't throw off my playing, but I'm pretty reliant on the neck pickup and you could hear the clicks through the amp. That was the least serious problem I had with that guitar - it's position also caused me to have to twist around quite uncomfortably to get good access to the upper frets. I ended up selling it because I couldn't get comfortable playing it.

Not every guitar is for every player. I can't comfortably play dreadnoughts anymore either...

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Old 08-30-2019, 01:35 PM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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Hi Rocky - some great comments so far. I've never had a problem with the middle single coil on a Strat but I do not like the middle pickup of a 3 humbucking guitar. You're not alone.

Do you play standing up or sitting down? If you only play in one of those positions try it both ways to see if you still have the problem.
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Old 08-30-2019, 01:43 PM
RickRS RickRS is offline
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No Strat in my arsenal, but I can mess up on my G&L ASAT Telecast style. It's got a "box" bridge setup, and every once and awhile I wind up picking on the bridge plate running parallel to the 1st string when intending to get that string.

Embarrassing when that happens.

I also hit the pickup selector on the ASAT when strumming chords. I turned the control plate around and rearranged the volume and tone so the volume is where pickup selector was and the pickup selector is were the tone was, as Bill Kirchen does. He does it so he has easy assess to his volume control.

Last edited by RickRS; 08-30-2019 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 08-30-2019, 01:55 PM
roylor4 roylor4 is offline
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Yep, not alone. Hit the humbucker all the time on my Blueboy.

One simple solution to try is to shorten or lengthen your guitar strap. This will change the guitars position relative to your body and if your picking hand stays in the same place this may solve it.
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  #8  
Old 08-30-2019, 05:58 PM
Steel and wood Steel and wood is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raysachs View Post
I've been playing strats for more than 40 years and I have no idea how I've avoided even thinking about the possibility of this, but I never recall it happening. People also complain about the strat's volume knob location being in the way when you're picking or mostly strumming down by the bridge - never had an issue with that either.

But I get it. I had a dual humbucker PRS where the leg cut (waist) of the guitar was quite far forward (as they are on Les Pauls) and in my typical seated position, it caused me to pick over the neck pickup all the time and I was always hitting it with the pick. It didn't throw off my playing, but I'm pretty reliant on the neck pickup and you could hear the clicks through the amp. That was the least serious problem I had with that guitar - it's position also caused me to have to twist around quite uncomfortably to get good access to the upper frets. I ended up selling it because I couldn't get comfortable playing it.

Not every guitar is for every player. I can't comfortably play dreadnoughts anymore either...

-Ray
Yep, same. (Long time Stratocaster play it never occurred to me but I can see that it is possible, particularly if you played with a heavy hand).
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Old 08-30-2019, 06:23 PM
Steel and wood Steel and wood is offline
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Thinking about it more, I use a teardrop shape pick (no pointy end) which might go some way to why it happens for some players.

Just a theory.
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Old 08-30-2019, 06:25 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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Hasn't happened to me for over 40 years. I intentionally adjust my pickups lower than many people I see. In my experience, pickups that are too close to the string are louder but often lose sustain and tone. I like sustain!
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  #11  
Old 08-30-2019, 08:45 PM
Puddleglum Puddleglum is offline
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Yes. I was away from electric guitar for many years, and I used to always play Strats. When I got back into it I noticed immediately that I was digging the pick into the middle pickup, and I never recall that happening before in all my years of playing. It was very distracting. Solution: I got a Les Paul.
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