Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums
Sign in to follow this  
morecowbell!

Pick -up cover removal

Recommended Posts

Ok, so I've had an Epi les Paul custom elite for about a year now, and although i love the way it sounds, im wanting a hotter, crunchier bluesier tone out of it like early Clapton recordings (Beano in specific). IM considering removing the covers from the pickups, but is it worth it, and if so should i have it done professionally or is it a do-it-yourselfer? And, will it ruin the value of the guitar at all?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go for it.

 

Values on Epiphones don't change much no matter what you do to them.... [rolleyes]

 

 

 

Seriously, I would just pull the pickups out and install something that suits your tastes.

You might be amazed at the difference a set of 57 Classics makes.

If you screw up the factory pickups, you'll have to buy something anyway, eh?

 

 

 

If you ever sell the guitar, put the originals back in it and let 'er go.

Put the GOOD pickups in another guitar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually removing the covers is easy to do and easy to put back on. They are usually just held on with a bit of solder. I removed the chrome covers from my SG.

 

 

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, Andy, it's easy enough.

But my experience has been that somebody who has NEVER soldered (most young guys) is gun-shy.

Learning on a pickup is a bad move, eh?

 

Us old guys had chances to solder all kinds of stuff over the years.

An electric guitar may be the LAST consumer electronics product that it's even feasible on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it changes the sound at all.

 

[thumbup] I agree. And if you are not happy with the sound of your Epiphone

the best thing you could do to improve it would be to replace the pickups

entirely. We put a set of Duncan 59s in my father-in-law's Epi Les Paul and

he was astounded at the difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pickup makers will tell you that having a cover over a pickup will produce eddy currents which can reduce some of the high end. My experience is that unless you have the hearing of a dog most you won't notice the difference. The average human ear only hears up to about 20 kHz. The average rock star that's been standing in from of a 100W Marshall every night can't hear as well as you can right now.

 

Always trust your ears.

 

While removing the covers isn't imposable (I use an exacto knife, not a soldering iron)it's just not going to do what you want. If you're looking for a big tone change it's best to just swap the pickup.

 

BTW, you'll notice that the new Clapton Beano Burst has.... covers! [biggrin]

 

http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-Custom/Eric-Clapton-1960-Les-Paul.aspx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But my experience has been that somebody who has NEVER soldered (most young guys) is gun-shy.

Learning on a pickup is a bad move, eh?

 

I learnt on my Les Paul.

 

[cool][cool]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree it's all about your comfort level. The young guys have to learn too and learning is doing, making mistakes etc... so that there is another generation of caution givers when we are all gone. If it were a vintage or high value guitar I wouldn't have mentioned anything past what you did Neo.

 

I noticed a change in the output and tone on my SG when I removed the covers that I liked. Normally I call BS on some of this stuff but I noticed a difference on my personal instrument through my rig. I'm not saying that I could hear the difference on an album or something like that.

 

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, Andy, it's easy enough.

But my experience has been that somebody who has NEVER soldered (most young guys) is gun-shy.

Learning on a pickup is a bad move, eh?

 

Us old guys had chances to solder all kinds of stuff over the years.

An electric guitar may be the LAST consumer electronics product that it's even feasible on.

Ya, the soldering was my main concern. I recieved a soldering iron for christmas, and never bothered to open it. But, i gave it a try for this particular mod, and i have no idea why i was so gun shy. it wasnt hard for this particular mod at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ya, the soldering was my main concern. I recieved a soldering iron for christmas, and never bothered to open it. But, i gave it a try for this particular mod, and i have no idea why i was so gun shy. it wasnt hard for this particular mod at all.

 

Before I bought my soldering iron, I removed the covers on my Les Paul just with a pocket knife to cut through the solder. However now, I know that I could have easily cut the pickup wires doing this so obviously I wouldn't recommend it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be willing to bet, if somebody wanted to, of which I'm sure has been before, and used a computer or some kinda of other scope,

That would prove more. Until otherwise, I think it is more for looks, than anything else...

If I had more time, I bet if you looked it up on the internet, you could found out the answer.. I'm just to lazy today..smiley-sleep027.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be willing to bet, if somebody wanted to, of which I'm sure has been before, and used a computer or some kinda of other scope,

That would prove more. Until otherwise, I think it is more for looks, than anything else...

If I had more time, I bet if you looked it up on the internet, you could found out the answer.. I'm just to lazy today..smiley-sleep027.gif

 

 

 

Well I decided to look and around and see what I could find and pretty much ended up with what is listed here. A little bit of opinion both ways. As I said I'm not usually one to buy into these sort of things but have to say I did notice a difference on my 62 SG Reissue. I also think of this in a logical sense as well. I would say that the difference would vary quite a bit determined by what type of metal was used, the magnetic properties of the metal as well as the resistance and capacitance of the metal. This in conjunction with the differences in the pickup it is covering.

 

In my case the pickup cover does have some slight magnetic properties and is definitely conductive. So I have a piece of metal that reacts to a magnet and is soldered to the base of the pickup thus being part of the circuit ground and acting as a shield. By removing this i would be changing the magnetic field and shielding around the pickup it's self. So in theory there should be some kind of alteration to the sound of the pickup. To my ears the pickup sounded a bit brighter and had a little more "Gain" for lack of a better term.

 

I think it has to do with the capacitance it creates. Capacitance can also be noticeably heard in the use of different cables and cable length. Given this and all the variables I think that peoples results will vary.

 

Just my opinion. If I ever get the time or if someone is game it would be interesting to get 3 or 4 different recordings with and without the covers and set up a poll to see how many people can hear the difference.

 

Now I do know for a fact that gold strap buttons sound better than chrome. There is no debating this!msp_biggrin.gif

Andy

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ya know, I never put that logic behind it at all..

Sounds plausible to me....

There again, the cover from which years are going to make a difference, with being made out of slightly different material grades thru the years??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I've heard that different cover materials color the sound.

 

German silver something or other - nickel content, blah, blah, blah...

 

I dunno.

I'd like to see some science to back that up. [-(

 

 

Too many variables for me to put much stock in the effect of the covers.

When you put the pickup back in the guitar, is at exactly the same height?

 

What about the strings - surely you swapped the strings too, eh?

I can't see slacking the strings enough to pull a pickup without replacing them.

New strings + slightly different positioning = different sound.

 

[thumbup]

 

I dunno.

You guys say you hear it - good enough for me... [blink]

 

 

Another thing -

I read an article about this years ago that offered a perspective few of the younger guys have.

Think back a few decades - say the 1960s - and you're touring the world with your Gibson.

You MIGHT have a spare guitar as a backup, but it's not likely.

You're having troubles with a pickup, so you (or somebody you know) pull it out to see what's up.

Are the windings separated, can it be potted - or taped up so it will work?

Pull the cover off of it so you can see what's up with the windings/bobbins, etc.

 

Got another gig down the road tonight, and you gotta travel, but you do whatever you can.

Maybe swap the neck for the bridge pickup, and use only one during your gigs.

Stick the pickup back in the guitar - IT WORKS - so you don't mess with it until you can do it right.

You DAMNED sure don't solder the cover back on, not just yet...

 

Proper repairs were hard to do back then.

There were no Seymour Duncans or DiMarzios.

No mail-order houses.

No internet.

Few guitar dealers - and few of them sold Gibsons.

If they did, they weren't gonna let you have a pickup outta one of theirs.

NOBODY sold replacement humbucker pickups to the public.

 

Well, you're playing gigs all the while and people are seeing you play with no covers.

Just like so-and-so who played here a couple weeks ago.

Fans and hobby players are seeing a trend - the pros are pulling the covers off their pickups....

 

 

Sorry - to me it's still no different than throwing a hubcap off your pristine 1963 Chevy Corvette.

What does it do - save you a couple pounds?

Is the car faster?

Handle better?

Does EVERYBODY start yanking the hubcaps off their classic cars before they go on display at the car show?

 

 

Epiphone pickups are crap.

Have been for decades.

If you think you want to do something different, just put in a good quality pickup.

I've put Gibson ceramic 496/500 in Epiphones and they sounded way better.

(And I HATE ceramic pickups....)

The covers are a cosmetic choice.

 

I've put lots and lots of 490/498 in various Epiphones and they were great-sounding guitars.

That's what the owners told me anyhow - when they brought the guitar to me it usually didn't work at all...

 

$.02 from some guy on the Internet...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Neo I get what your saying and agree. Definitely agree with the history etc.. I too would like to see some real science as well but for now we only have conjecture, theory and personal opinions. I have no proof other wise.

 

My point is that there are many variables all with more or less subtleties that can effect the tone and output of a guitar. Fluctuation in voltage to a tube amplifier, brass nuts, aluminum tailpieces, rosewood fingerboards...on and on. Maybe the Epi pickup is a POS but the Gibson PU in my SG isn't and as I said I noticed a difference. And yes you can take a pickup out without changing strings, Slack the strings as much as possible, capo the first fret and remove the tailpiece (Unscrew the studs if there is not enough slack to slip it off).... On a strat slack the strings, capo the first fret, tape also works and remove the neck. Since you don't have to take the pickups out of the rings to remove the covers then the height wouldn't change... So an apples to apples could be done pretty easily.

 

Some people don't have the extra bucks to replace a pickup and there is nothing wrong with a little experiment to see if something makes a difference or not. To me it's no different than the aluminum tailpiece theory or direct mount pickups, chips in tube screamers, yada yada... I myself am pretty honest and discerning before I would propagate something that I didn't think made enough difference to at least try. Even if it really doesn't and it is purely placebo if the people who do it feel or hear something different and they are happy with the result then they saved themselves a bit of money by not buying a new pickup.

 

my.03 from some other guy on the internet.[biggrin]

 

 

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be willing to bet, if somebody wanted to, of which I'm sure has been before, and used a computer or some kinda of other scope,

That would prove more. Until otherwise, I think it is more for looks, than anything else...

If I had more time, I bet if you looked it up on the internet, you could found out the answer.. I'm just to lazy today..

 

 

 

All you can find are other forums, nothing concrete. The real test would be a blind one. Just like the gas vs charcoal debate. Everybody says charcoal is the way to go. Food network had a blind taste test. Gas won. With a blind cover on vs off test, I would bet most people can't tell the difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All you can find are other forums, nothing concrete. The real test would be a blind one. Just like the gas vs charcoal debate. Everybody says charcoal is the way to go. Food network had a blind taste test. Gas won. With a blind cover on vs off test, I would bet most people can't tell the difference.

 

 

I agree...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

interesting what discussion can come from a guy and a pickup cover. nice points about what it was like back then with no parts and techs and such. also nice points about what makes a difference or not. but there is something else different today that we didn't have back then. back then when all lp's were origional and all amps were hand-wired and such. but today we have something no one could have guess or predicted, we know every minute detail or what is in a particular axe or amp. we know every wire, every contour, every brand and construction of the pots and caps, what the paper in a speaker cone is made from and by who and the glue properties, we know EVERY MICROSCOPIC DETAIL of a les paul or vintage gibson enough to rival the knowledge to build a rocket or replicate dna. not just because someone took a cover off a pickup, but they also unwound it and studied the wire. because they measured and studied the magnet strentgh. because they not only research the magnet materiel, they researched the construction and postulated the effects on the parameters that effect tone and experimented and altered all of these. we KNOW a gibson pickup sounds better that an epiphone pickup because we know the magnet materiel, the magnet wire gauge, the coating of the wire, the thickness and dialectric properties of the bobbin materiel, NONE of which we would ever know because they would NEVER think to tell us what exactly is beneath the cover because no one would think any of this would ever matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have an opinion regarding the pickup-cover question, but Eric Clapton did:

 

"You've probably heard about me taking the covers off my pick ups. The improvement soundwise is unbelievable."

 

Quoted from "The Gibson Les Paul Book", page 27.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have an opinion regarding the pickup-cover question, but Eric Clapton did:

 

"You've probably heard about me taking the covers off my pick ups. The improvement soundwise is unbelievable."

 

Quoted from "The Gibson Les Paul Book", page 27.

 

I agree... it's totally unbelievable.

 

http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-Custom/Eric-Clapton-1960-Les-Paul.aspx

 

You'd think for $30,000 Eric could have at least told Gibson to take the cover off the bridge pickup so it would get that amazing tone change.

 

Always trust your ears.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have an opinion regarding the pickup-cover question, but Eric Clapton did:

 

"You've probably heard about me taking the covers off my pick ups. The improvement soundwise is unbelievable."

 

Quoted from "The Gibson Les Paul Book", page 27.

 

Check out page 21 of that book where Seth Lover says all the covers were for was shielding. The pole pieces are nothing more than marketing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try digging, brushing, or blowing the lint/dust/whatever out of the windings of unprotected pickups.

Then try getting the pickup to work after you've damaged one of those tiny little wires...

 

[cursing]

 

That's all it took for me to make sure every pickup I own is PROTECTED by a cover.

How good does a pickup sound when it's thrown in a junk drawer because somebody fxcked it up?

 

[blink][angry]

 

 

 

30 years of facts, logic, experience (and repair costs) have convinced me - not trends or fads.

 

Same goes for Gibsons BurstBucker 1 & 2 being unpotted (originally).

Microphonic squeal will make a believer out of you in a fraction of a second - unless you're a slow learner.

 

[woot]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

You'd think for $30,000 Eric could have at least told Gibson to take the cover off the bridge pickup so it would get that amazing tone change.

 

 

That statement was made by Clapton in 1965

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...