Q: How close should pickups be to the strings?
A: The string is the signal source for the pickup. You will get the best and fullest tone by setting your pickups as close to the strings(signal source) as possible without physical or sonic interference.
You may hear this multi-tone or warbling sound if the pickup is too close to the string. Fret the low E string at the 15th fret and listen for it. If you do not hear it raise the pickup till you do. Then lower the pickup slowly until it just disappears and you get a clean , pure single tone. That is where you want it.
Your middle pickup can be closer to the string than the neck pickup and the bridge pickup can be closer still. That is because the string gets tighter towards the bridge and is less affected by magnetic pull.
"Most" humbuckings and P-90's with bar magnets under the coils do not have stratitis. It mainly applies to single coils with actual magnet polepieces. However it is these magnet polepiece type pickups that produce the clear, natural and glassy tones that we all love so much.
Rio Grande also offers many "true splitting" humbuckings with magnet polepieces. These include the Muy Grande, Halfbreed, Tallboy, and Babybucker.
Q: Will standard pickup covers fit on Rio Grande Strat pickups?
A: Depending on how old the pickup is and which model it is will determine the cover/color situation.
Halfbreeds…….YES…but the magnet holes will need to be slightly enlarged.
Muy Grandes….Ones made since Spring of 2005…YES…but the magnet holes will need to be enlarged to just a bit more than 1/4".
The early Muy Grande had a large top that was the size of a cover so a cover would not fit over it. It was available in either a white, black, or crème top to match the two other pickups.
In 2005 we improved the Muy Grandes so that they will accept covers.
We sell all our pickups with covers so it is no longer a problem.
If buying used pickups or pickups without covers you must inspect the Muy Grande top to see if it is the same size as a cover or will just barely fit through a pickguard. If so you will not be able to install a cover. Any pre 2005 Muy Grande Strat pickup will not fit into a cover. All pickups are dated on the bottom.
If it is considerably smaller a cover will fit but you will have to enlarge the magnet holes to do so. We also supply covers if necessary.
Rio Grande pickups are available in many other colors including White Pearl, Crème Pearl, Brown Tortoiseshell, and six different colors of sparkle. See this website for more info and photos
All fancy topped (pearloid, tortoise etc) Rio Grandes will not accept a cover.