Pole Spacing and String Misalignment - Picture


I have had a beautiful wide neck Stratocaster made from Warmoth parts complete with their wide spaced vintage hardtail bridge. The string spacing on the bridge is 2 1/4". This is very a comfortable width to play on. Unfortunately I could not find any off-the-shelf pickups with pole pieces that would align with the strings (including blades). After about 8 weeks of buying and trying badly aligned pickups I have found a manufacturer that will make me a customised pickup to fit the bridge. The name is http://www.vintagevibeguitars.com/ in Oregon. I have purchased off-the-shelf pickups from them before (which are amazing!!). This is the first time I have ever ordered a customised size. I live in the UK and the price, including shipping and insurance, is only $78. I will write back with feedback after they are installed. Meanwhile if anyone has been having the same alignment problems - this is one possible solution.


F space did not work. The 'Vintage Hardtail Bridge' that Warmoth is selling is 1/8" larger than F space. In all fairness to Warmoth they do point this out. Its just that I had no idea that it would be impossible to purchase an off-the-shelf pickup to accomodate this dimension.
When you say "f spaced pickups did not work" did you mean that they don't line up perfectly under the strings, or that they are so misaligned that they sound terrible? If its the former, it's not necessarily any big deal at all.
Basically it's only a problem if the pickups sound unbalanced because of the misalignment, ie, the high E string is too quiet. You don't mention anything other than measurements, so it's not clear if you just expect perfect visual alignment or you're unhappy with the string to string balance of the sound.
I have a hardtail Warmoth that was drilled for the vintage hardtail bridge, ie the wider one, and I have Fender SCN pickups in that guitar with absolutely no adverse affect to the sound.
I'm always amazed (the bad amazed) at how hard this seems to be to "get." You see a glossy magazine ad for a $5000 custom shop Gibson, and they can't even bother to Photoshop the pix so that the strings go over the poles - much less pick out an example where the builders (accidentally) got it right? :icon_scratch: No wonder PRS is kicking their ass. For some circuitous reason, I recently got myself to the Fender page and was looking at the pictures of the scalloped-neck Malmsteen Strat:

If you poke "Enlarge Image" you'll see that the high E is falling off the edge of the fingerboard, and both the E and B strings miss the bridge PU polepieces completely. If you poke the closeup of the neck joint, you'll see the worse anti-finishing of frets imaginable - every $200 Ibanez blows this poodle away, those frets are so rough you could use 'em to file your teeth sharp and eat a missionary.... :hello2:

If they can't even be bothered to fake making their exemplars look remotely playable, just imagine what might show up if you fire off a few grand to Musician's Friend or such -
Hoo-Ray, Warmoth!... etc. :blob7:
Those frets do look awful......
And your quite right, those strings are nowhere near the pole-pieces.

Bad times......  :sad:
Custom shop, my arse..... :icon_scratch:

I made a Warmoth black korina strat a couple of years ago and ordered it drilled for a vintage style hardtail bridge. I had not noticed that the Warmoth drilling was for the wider vintage bridge and wondered why the two hardtail modern style bridges I had did not quite line up. Once I had read a bit of advice on the net I realised that they were different sizes and I managed to source a vintage sized bridge here in the UK and it all fitted ok. I used a standard Wilkinson pickup set that came pre-wired into a strat pickguard. I have since sold the guitar but I did not have any problems with the strings being mis-aligned with the pickup poles.

I can thoroughly recommend Vintage Vibe pickups though - I had a pair of humbuckers made for my Warmoth all mahogany tele and they are brilliant.