May 24

All About Dogear Pickups

If you’re ever looking at purchasing one of our P90’s, chances are, you might have a Dogear Style. Dogear Pickups have a few different qualities to them that might be confusing for some. We thought we’d take some time and shed some light on these qualities, so you can order with confidence.


SHORT, OR STANDARD?

Dogear Standard Side View

One subject of confusion is whether to go with a “Short” Dogear or not. This is pretty easy to identify – observe your guitar! To identify a Standard Dogear, look at it’s covers. Standard Dogear Pickups are parallel with the top of the guitar and have equal height on either side. See below for an example of a Standard Dogear.


Fralin Pickups Short Dogear Side View

Short Dogear Pickups have a slanted look to them. One side of the Dogear slants towards the headstock, tilting the pickup forward. Most of the time, you will notice a Standard Dogear Bridge, and a Short Dogear Neck. If you have this setup, you have a “Short Set”.

If you have a Short Set, you might need “Dogear Shims”. Shims are spacers to raise the pickup closer to the strings. Their purpose is to help you get the pickup to it’s ideal height. Read on to learn how to measure your shim height!


SHIMS:

Lindy Fralin Pickups Dogear Shims

The purpose of a Dogear Shim is to help raise the pickup to it’s ideal height. Since Dogears are Fixed-height pickups, this is the only way to get around it. Sure, P90’s have adjustable pole pieces, but, those are for micro-fine-tuning the string-to-string balance, not adjusting the entire pickup. Let’s dig into how we can measure for Shims, if you need one (or two)!  We have three shim sizes available:

  1. 0.0626″ (1/16″)
  2. 0.1″ (~7/64″)
  3. 0.225″ (~7/32″)

HOW TO MEASURE SHIM SPACING:

Before we talk about Shims, let’s get into pickup height. The ideal pickup height is 1/16″ (0.06″, 1.6mm) from the top of the pole piece, to the bottom of the string- when pushed down at the highest fret. You only have to do this on the Low E and High E string. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Have a ruler handy, and push your low E string down at the highest fret.
  2. Measure the distance from the top of the pole piece to the bottom of the string
  3. Ideal height should be 1/16″.

Repeat this on the High E String.

STANDARD DOGEAR SHIM SPACING:

Since the cover of a Standard Dogear is 7/16″ High, and you need 1/16″ String Clearance, you need 1/2″ from the bottom of the string to the top of the guitar for ideal dogear height. If you measure taller than that, and you need a shim. Simply take the difference and install!

For example, if you take the measurement, and you measure 9/16″, you’ll need a 1/16″ Shim.


SHORT DOGEAR SHIM SPACING:

If you followed the above directions regarding Standard Shim Spacing, you should have no problem with Short Dogear Spacing. The process is the same, but the measurements are slightly different. Take a look at the diagram below.

As you can see, ideally, you want roughly 13/32″ (0.406″, 10.3mm) from the bottom of the string to the guitar’s top, measured from the back of the dogear. This is the easiest place to take a measurement, so bust out those calculators and we hope that this article helps you find the ideal Dogear height!

Tyler @ Fralin Pickups

Tyler Delsack is the Manager of Fralin Pickups and spends his time editing and maintaining the website, designing graphics and ads, and making pickups. He's powered by Jazz Guitar, Vietnamese Food, Hiking, and Beer.

3 Comments

  1. Hi – I have an Epiphone WildKat (No laughing – I swore I would never own an Epiphone but sort of fell for this thing) and thinking about upgrading the P90’s in it. The current pickup housings are chrome. It appears you all don’t offer this in the dogear P90’s. What would be the suggestion in this case? Thanks.

    1. Hey Monty,

      I would say no – or not as much as the coil structure or magnetic structure. All things being equal, there is no tonal difference between Plastic and Fiber Bobbins.

      Tyler

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