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string over pickup


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What @ScottR said. The poles/mags of a pickup have a pretty loose magnetic field so you can get away with a lot. Some poles/mags have more focused fields than others, however I'm not sure of the differences. You can get away with a lot.

Point in case is the old Japanese Aria Pro II basses; their pickups internally had a narrow pole/mag spacing in the armatures which was fine for the SB-1000 and other narrow-spaced basses. When they went to more "normal" string spacings, they used the same pickups so there was a distinct lack of alignment between the poles and the strings. They did this for a number of years in thousands of production instruments which sold well, many of which are very collectible today.

Without checking my specs sheets, this is how 16mm (I think) on the poles centre to centre compared to 18mm string spacing.


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