Setting up your Hagstrom instrument
Your Hagstrom guitars has an adjustable bridge which allows for string adjustment both horizontally and vertically. It is important to remember that the location of the bridge is a critical factor in assuring correct string vibration and perfect intonation. The bridge on your guitar has been set for optimum performance with the balanced set of strings supplied on the instrument. If you change to different gauges of strings (factory strings are 0.010 – 0.046 gauge), the bridge may require adjustment (as could the neck relief and nut slots). Unless you thoroughly understand the relation between string gauge, bridge height and action, neck relief, nut slot sizing, etc, we do not recommend that you attempt to make such adjustments on the instrument yourself. Instead, take your instrument to a competent service centre. It won’t take long to make the necessary adjustment, and you can be sure that it is done correctly.
The pickups on your Hagstrom guitar or bass have been specially created by us, and designed and formed ideally for your Hagstrom guitar. Each of our pickups are created with a specific tone and character in order to best compliment the instrument. As players have different ideals as to how a guitar should respond and react to their playing style and technique, the pickups on your instrument are set up before leaving the factory to provide players with a well-balanced and dynamic tone. As the height of a pickup works in the same fashion as a hand held microphone, the closer that it is to the source of the sound, the louder that it will be. Ideally, if your Hagstrom instrument is equipped with several pickups, it is essential to setup the height of each pickup to create a perfectly balanced tone when using more than one pickup at a time.
The bridge pickup in your Hagstrom guitar is always hotter (stronger) than the others, in order to provide a stronger lead tones. The neck (and middle pickup, if equipped) has less output than the bridge pickup, which are also specially compensated to control stronger string vibrations normally found at each of these positions on the body. Ideally for a stronger lead tone, we recommend to raise the bridge pickup no higher than 2mm away from the strings (measuring from the top of the screws/slugs (if equipped). If raised higher than this recommended height, it can create buzzing issues (strings vibrating against the pickups) or it can even create a magnetic pull on the strings, which can create feedback issues (common on Semi-hollow or Hollow-body guitars), tuning issues, or even negatively affect the sustain of the instrument. Neck (and middle, if equipped) should be adjusted to a lower position, due to the increased string vibrations that emit from this area. Ideally, we recommend for a neck pickup to be no closer to the strings than around 7-8mm, to create a good balance between the neck and bridge pickup. If your guitar is equipped with a middle pickup, it’s height should be compensated between the height of both the bridge and neck pickups (approximately 4-5mm away from the strings).
As players have ideal tones that they wish to achieve, it can be helpful to sit with your instrument and listen to the tones between each pickup and make adjustments to the height of each pickup to suit your personal taste to achieve your “ideal tone”. Even small adjustments of the height of each pickup will change the initial response and character of the instruments tone when amplified.