Metal pickup covers, will they work

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by dezisapunk, Oct 11, 2020.

  1. dezisapunk


    Oct 8, 2019
    Hey y’all,
    So i wanna make some pickup covers outta anodized aluminum, cuz I got it dyed to look gold (looks real good) I just aint sure if that would mess with anything cuz of the pickups magnets.
    So, does anyone know if this’ll work?
  2. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Gibson humbuckers have been potted in metal covers forever. I don't see why it would be a problem.
    TerribleTim68 likes this.
  3. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  4. Eddy current losses in non-ferrous metals are still a concern. Bill Lawrence went out of his way to minimize these losses in his pickup designs. If you don't absolutely need the metal for shielding, I would avoid using anything close to the magnetic field around the pole pieces and strings area.
    wraub likes this.
  5. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    This is also true... My bad for not mentioning this, I should have. I posted pre-coffee.

  6. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    They will work just fine. They may have some impact on the sound but positive or negative or even audible is for you to determine.
    TrustRod and RBrownBass like this.
  7. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    When you say "pickup covers" do you mean flat metal caps glued on top? Or full formed shells that surround the pickup and are connected to ground? Either way, aluminum shouldn't affect the pickup's sound much at all.

    I've made bass pickups with aluminum top caps on them. Cool looking thin aluminum plates epoxied down. Purely cosmetic. I haven't been able to hear any effect on the sound from them.

    I also make my standard pickups with a brass shell; all around the outside but not on the top. The shell is connected to ground and becomes part of the shielding. Adding the shielding shell does have a small effect on the sound. It reduces some of the stray background noise, making the pickup a bit quieter on the high end. But in a good way; the sound is clearer and cleaner.

    It's real easy to test for yourself. Lay your bass on the bench, plugged in. Slip the piece of aluminum plate in on top of the pickups, under the strings. See if you can hear any difference with the plate in or out. For extra fun, hook a wire to the plate and connect it to ground on the bass. That makes it part of the shielding. See if that makes any difference.
    wraub, Matt Liebenau and Reedt2000 like this.
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