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Does plastic cover affect pickup's sound?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Oleg BassPlayer, Aug 11, 2017.


  1. Oleg BassPlayer

    Oleg BassPlayer

    Feb 4, 2016
    Ukraine
    I've seen many discussions where people said that pickup cover can affect sound, and it turned out that it's metal cover that was in question. That's understood as metal is ferromagnetic. But I've never seen a clear and convincing statement that plastic covers don't affect sound, either.

    I'm asking this because currently I'm deciding between these two pups:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The first has the cores brought out, the second one is covered with plastic. So what do you think, could there be any pitfalls with the covered one?
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth

    Jan 2, 2015
    heart of darkness
    I won't abide blackout pickup covers. I need open/bare pole pieces.
    If you think about it, that plastic cover is just separating the strings from the pole piece.
    So even if you adjust the pickup close to the strings, you're still getting extra separation in the same thickness as that plastic cover.

    IOW, a bare pole can get closer to the strings than a covered pole.

    Here's what Ibanez have to say about their Power Span pickups:

    "Developed by Ibanez, the exposed pole pieces of the PowerSpan Dual Coil pickups produce a stronger signal, and increase the response of the higher frequencies without sacrificing low end."

    Electric Basses SR - SR300EB | Ibanez guitars
     
  3. Oleg BassPlayer

    Oleg BassPlayer

    Feb 4, 2016
    Ukraine
    I've thought the same thing. As plastic is amagnetic, increased distance to the strings seems to be the main difference. I just want to replace my old pickup which is too weak, and replacing it with another weak one would be a pointless operation.
     
    gebass6 and Killed_by_Death like this.
  4. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth

    Jan 2, 2015
    heart of darkness
    PawleeP, Gord_oh, Freez and 7 others like this.
  5. Oleg BassPlayer

    Oleg BassPlayer

    Feb 4, 2016
    Ukraine
    These are too good for my sh..tty bass. It's not replacing average with excellent ones, it's more about replacing terrible with acceptable. But I love these ones, maybe I should try them and if I have a better bass one day just take them from the old one and put on it.
     
  6. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth

    Jan 2, 2015
    heart of darkness
    Yeah, but they're only $80. Any decent pickups are going to cost close to that.

    DiMarzio's DP127 are over $90.
     
  7. Nev375

    Nev375

    Nov 2, 2010
    Missouri
    In a word, no.

    The only way plastic could affect the sound is if the vibrating string comes in contact with them and that shouldn't happen.
     
    jfh2112, Charlzm, salcott and 10 others like this.
  8. Oleg BassPlayer

    Oleg BassPlayer

    Feb 4, 2016
    Ukraine
    In local stores, DiMarzio seems to be the only decent option for P-bass-styled pickups, others being Maxtone, Paxphil and other stuff about $25.
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  9. Oleg BassPlayer

    Oleg BassPlayer

    Feb 4, 2016
    Ukraine
    By the way, what do you think of rail pickups like these DiMarzio's?
    [​IMG]
     
    moonshinegtrs likes this.
  10. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth

    Jan 2, 2015
    heart of darkness
    Rail pickups are great. The Seymour Duncan ones are super quiet & high output (but you can select vintage output).

    It doesn't make any sense that a non-ferrous material should affect the magnetic field, but...

    I've tried out many SR series Ibanez with the blackout pickups & they just sound dull to me.
    The PowerSpan pickups in their newer SR300E, SR370E, & SR400EQM sound great to me.
     
  11. Oleg BassPlayer

    Oleg BassPlayer

    Feb 4, 2016
    Ukraine
    I'm just trying to understand how different they are from a traditional poled ones in general. My only experience with rails was with a Kramer electric guitar played through a badly adjusted Line6 combo, and it had too much highs and messy bottom, but of course this is absolutely irrelevant to the subject, that's why I'm asking.
     
  12. bass40hz

    bass40hz Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements but would love a few ;-)
    The bars, or rails as you refer to them, are to keep better string to string coverage, the strings don't have to exactly line up as they do, or not, with poles. There may be other benefits/shortfalls, so I am sure others will offer their opinions as well.
    I've also used TV Jones Thunderblades and they are an awesome pickup, not a P-style but it had bars and it was smooth and hot.
    My experience as with @Killed_by_Death , is that these style pups are hotter, I have a Yamaha 1024X and you would swear its an active bass but its not.
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  13. Shishka Bob

    Shishka Bob

    May 28, 2017
    CT
    There is a difference between linear distance between the string and the pole piece and the magnetic field that the string interrupts. Remember that it is the string interfering with the magnetic field that translates into the sound that the bass makes through the amp. Therefore string distance from the pole piece is less a factor than where the string is in relation to the magnetic field. You have to use your ears, not your eyes. Plastic cover or no plastic cover is really not that big a deal in this regard.
     
    Deak, Honch, Charlzm and 4 others like this.
  14. sotua

    sotua

    Sep 20, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    So... raise them by about a pickup cover's thickness maybe?
     
    Andre678, Steve-Mo and scuzzy like this.
  15. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth

    Jan 2, 2015
    heart of darkness
    Nope, then the plastic is too close & the strings strike it.

    If the plastic cover is 1/16" thick (2/32"), the closest you can get the pole piece to the string is 5/32".
    3/32" is where I want mine!
     
    Oleg BassPlayer likes this.
  16. Oleg BassPlayer

    Oleg BassPlayer

    Feb 4, 2016
    Ukraine
    Yes, raising them the cover's thickness must solve the problem. Unless these additional few millimeters cause inconvenience, and you never know until you try, and you can't try until you buy, and if you buy and use the thing you can't take it back to the store if it doesn't suit you lol
     
  17. bass40hz

    bass40hz Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements but would love a few ;-)
    Order from Sweetwater, you can return anything.
     
  18. Oleg BassPlayer

    Oleg BassPlayer

    Feb 4, 2016
    Ukraine
    I'm not sure they deliver to Ukraine at reasonable price or do it at all, and given the price of delivery it may be cheaper to sell them if I don't like how they feel.
     
    climber likes this.
  19. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth

    Jan 2, 2015
    heart of darkness
    Sweetwater ship to the Ukraine?

    If you decide you don't want an item, because of buyer's remorse, SW will not cover return shipping.

    Yes, G&L will ship to the Ukraine, but it would probably be pricey.
     
  20. bass40hz

    bass40hz Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements but would love a few ;-)
    Killed_by_Death likes this.