How to Setup, Repair, and
Install Electric Guitar Pickups.
There are tons of different kinds of electric guitar pickups and pickup configurations. Most electric guitar pickup problems are either caused by damage or improper pickup placement and height. The majority or electric guitar pickups are "floating pickups." A floating pickup is mounted to the guitar on a pickguard or a pickup ring with a spring placed in between the pickup frame and pickguard or pickup ring. The spring allows the pickup to "float" in place. The pickup can be raised or lowered in relation to the body by tightening or loosening the mounting screws. Tightening the screw forces the pickup frame toward the pickguard or ring by compressing the springs. Loosening the screws will do the opposite--thus, a floating pickup. A floating pickup allows you to create different tonal qualities by adjusting the height of the pickup.
A hard mounted pickup, on the other hand, is bolted directly to the body. The pickup's height is not adjustable at all. The height and placement of a hard mounted pickup is set when the pickup cavity is routed during construction of the guitar. You might ask why would any want a non-adjustable pickup. Well, direct mounted pickups give the guitar more sustain. The pickup is vibrating with the body because it is permanently attached to it. Floating pickups basically don't even touch the body at all. This is the main reason why many expensive, modern electrics have direct mounted pickups.