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Can you tell me what is this?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Saorex, Mar 23, 2004.


  1. Saorex

    Saorex

    Mar 7, 2004
    Quebec, Canada
    Hi. I've been reading a lot on Talkbass recently, and looking at everybody's bass. But I came on something I had never seen before and just can't figure what it is.

    I'm talking about this kind of metal dome some basses have on their pick-ups... Just like on this model:

    [​IMG]

    Could someone tell me how it's called and what it's for?

    Thanks a lot!
     
  2. The official Fender sanctioned name is pickup covers. Not very original so most bass players refer to them as "ashtrays" - most of us take them off and they serve no purpose other than to collect cigarette ashes. I don't smoke so I have a brand new looking set from my first bass - a 1977 Jazz clone.
     
  3. Saorex

    Saorex

    Mar 7, 2004
    Quebec, Canada
    Ok... pickup covers. But what is it for? Protect your pick-ups when traveling? Is it meant to play while it's on? I guess not...
     
  4. I believe they are mostly for decoration. I never seen any practical use for them.
     
  5. hippiesandwich

    hippiesandwich

    Aug 29, 2003
    San Jose
    Affiliated with Looperlative Audio Products
    Wow, is this question making me feel old. :meh:

    The cover that is over the bridge contains the mutes. A piece of foam used to dampen the sound and reduce the sustain. Times have changed, eh?

    As for the cover over the pickup, I always figured it was a way to keep you from diggin in too much and getting the string too close to the pole pieces on the pickups.
     
  6. Saorex

    Saorex

    Mar 7, 2004
    Quebec, Canada
    Ok... and it's possible to play while they are there? Where do you put your fingers?
     
  7. Yes its possible to play with them on. It just might take a bit of adjusting to your technique. Like my RIC for example...the bridge pickup cover doesnt get in my way cause i play really close to the neck.

    Some RIC players take it off though cause its in the area they like to play.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. bigfatbass

    bigfatbass Banned

    Jun 30, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Endorsing Artist: Karl Hoyt Basses
    Will Lee seems to do OK with one in place.
     
  9. Saorex

    Saorex

    Mar 7, 2004
    Quebec, Canada
    Ha! Thanks a lot guys! Now it's crystal clear to me!
     
  10. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Wow, I always assumed it was there to make it hard to change strings :p
     
  11. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    Some guys like to rest their hands on the pickup cover. Take a look at old photos of James Jamerson, he always rested his picking hand on the cover and plucked right in front of it.

    http://www.bassland.net/jamerson.html
     
  12. Ben_P

    Ben_P

    Oct 2, 2001
    Alberta, Canada
    I think they were also used to cut down the noise of the pickups.
     
  13. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Bingo. Give this man a cigar. At least this matches my research into the matter years ago.

    Also true is the mute info in the bridge cover. Little strip of dense rubber foam. Gets you that rubber band sound. First thing to come off on my old Jazz (still wish I had it!!!!), but I never used it as an ash tray. :)

    Arguably, they did very little to nothing... especially on the P which was humbucking by nature, but remember, these designs date back to old-school electronics, where it's all about puting a "sheild can" around anything with an electromagnetic field of any kind... containment.

    Secondarily, they were also for looks, but my information is they were primarily for shielding.
     

  14. Thanks! :hyper:

    Im looking to get a fretless friend for it too...im just trying to scrape funds together. Damn money. :meh: