My bandmate has a new Gibson semi-hollow body Midtown bass and I think the strings are hitting the metal pickup cover. Just by eyeballing the current heights, they look to be about 2/32" away from the string when the string is fretted at the last fret. He's cautious about changing anything because that's how it came from the store. What's the general height guideline for pickup heights on passive pickups? I'm thinking it should be about twice that much (4/32"). Any opinions appreciated.
1/16" is generally too close for bass strings IMHO, I'm with you. Even if it's not making contact it's probably affecting the string's vibrations magnetically and I also find it hard to get a good volume balance from string to string when they're that close.
They make basses adjustable for a reason and music store employees are rarely experts. "how it came from the store" is of exactly zero value, especially in the kind of sudden heat and humidity we've had in New England the past few weeks. Tell him to be brave! Make small changes and write down exactly what he changed so he can change it back if needed.
If all else fails have him watch this at 6:35 or so. It's a rare gig when I don't feel the need to adjust my pickup height after the first song or two. I've also been known to tweak my truss rod and/or action between sets. Everyone should know the basics of doing an instrument setup IMHO.
Thanks for the answer. He lowered the bridge pickup last night at our jam session and I didn't hear the noise which sounded to me string hitting pickup. Sounded good to me all night.
The bridge pickup is a mini-humbucker in a pickup ring so it could clearly be lowered. The neck pickup is the large Gibson humbucker with the chrome cover and no pickup ring. Can that be adjusted with the 4 screws at each corner of the pickup, or is it non-adjustable (basically screwed directly to the wood)?
I've never personally had one of those big Gibson humbuckers... I think you might adjust the pole pieces via the four screws under each string? If you search by it's nickname, "Gibson Mudbucker" on Google or Talkbass, you should find answers. Also there's a site called Fly Guitars that's a great source of info, although it's more collector-oriented than player-oriented. http://www.flyguitars.com/gibson/bass/