POLL: Ashtrays & Pickup Covers -- Do You Play With Them in Place?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Jeremy Crockett, Oct 3, 2022.

  1. Yes -- The covers never leave my bass.

    64 vote(s)
  2. No -- I do not leave them on when playing, but I do like the esthetic.

    118 vote(s)
  3. Yes -- Ashtray/bridge cover ONLY while playing.

    44 vote(s)
  4. Yes -- Pickup cover ONLY while playing.

    19 vote(s)
  5. No -- I do not have them nor would I EVER have them.

    141 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. ELG60

    ELG60 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    One of my regular basses has them, others don't.
  2. I took them both off my P almost as soon as I got it.
    I think they're in a drawer somewhere.
    I think......:blackeye:
  3. Nope. Never.

    All the covers that I have for the basses that came with them are neatly packed away and labeled, just in (very unlikely) case that these instruments go up for sale...
  4. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    With my 1965 Jazz that I bought in 1966, I got it with the pickup covers in place. By the time I started touring in the early 70's I had removed the neck one and had scraped those silly open-cell foam mutes off the underside of the ashtray so I could actually get some sustain in my bass. I thought that giant F on the Ashtray looked cool.

    Me in 1972 with the ashtray in place. That's my Standel amp peaking out from behind the guitar player:

    Unfortunately my '65 Jazz was stolen along with all my touring gear in 1976 and it wasn't until 1985 that I found another Jazz that had the same neck profile, shape, and radius (60's slim C-shape with 7.25" radius). As soon as I played it, it felt like home.

    Was working PT at a music store as I had gone back to college in 1985. A fellow brought this mint condition Olympic White, 1982 Jazz with a white bound maple-neck, in and it still had the pickup covers in their plastic bags. They had never been pulled out and mounted. The feillow traded it in towards an Aria Pro II with active electronics. The guy taking it in immediately put the covers in our accessory case for sale separately and put the bass on the wall. A few days later I tried it out and a month later it was mine.

    So I've never had the pickup covers on this bass and I wouldn't put them on it. This bass also has the 70's era pickup spacing (4" center to center) and has a slightly brighter sound than my '65 did. I love being able to change the sound I get out of my bass by moving my plucking position. Up but the neck or over it gives me a very dark and warm sound. over the bridge pickup itself gives a very percussive and bright sound. If I dig into the strings over the bridge pickup, my bass will growl all day long. And I can get every sound in between those two extremes just by changing my had position. If I put covers on it, they would just get in the way. So I no longer play a bass with pickup covers and if I got another bass that had them, I would take them off.
    Here's me in 2019 with my '82 Jazz that I bought in 1985:
  5. dangevans

    dangevans Guest

    Mar 26, 2014
    If they come with them, they stay- makes no difference to me, and never get in the way no matter how I play. In fact, the pickup cover on my Rick and Jazz Bass is very handy for pick playing- rest my hand on it and anchors it quite well.
    ...And, for the record, I do not care whether other people use them or not- just play, baby! :)
  6. Grizelda100


    May 16, 2020
    San Diego
    I'm very interested in the opinions here.
    I just scored a 51 reissue P and I was just about to order covers...
    I can see the point of the bridge cover because I like playing with foam under the strings. But I don't know about the pickup cover. Thats a great spot to pluck that would be taken away.
  7. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx!

    Oct 31, 2006
    Western Hemisphere
    yes and no. Some of my basses have them, others do not. What I like about them is that it forces you to attack the strings in a certain place (James Jamerson anyone?) thus producing a particular tone.
  8. bwildt


    Mar 21, 2017
    Wichita, Kansas
    I like the look, but don't use them except for this bass. It's a Fender Sting Artist. I was going for a retro country look at the time, whence the covers and the aged pearloid pickguard.
    Fender Sting-02.JPG
    mikewalker and Jeremy Crockett like this.
  9. higain617


    Sep 12, 2013
    Ashtrays are for cigarettes and I don't smoke.
  10. Orcutt Outlaw

    Orcutt Outlaw Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2020
    Orcutt, California
    I always have them on when playing. I typically playing wearing long sleeve shirts or a jacket that would otherwise come in contact with the strings if I did not have both covers on. I also employ some type of foam mute that fits under the ashtray. I can rest my hand on the pickup cover since I play below the neck.

    The fact that Leo Fender put the covers over the pickups means he did not want you to play directly over the pickup!
    Rivoli and mikewalker like this.
  11. ThudThudThud


    Jun 4, 2010
    One manufacturer produces NEW basses with these covers, and in those cases it's to replicate something they haven't done themselves for decades. Seems to me the bass buying public has spoken.
  12. Sub41


    Jul 13, 2006
    North FL
    I like the look, but they get in the way so mine are in the parts box.
    Jeremy Crockett likes this.
  13. Jeremy Crockett

    Jeremy Crockett Amiable Crank

    Absolutely beautiful!
  14. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    I love the look, but y'know, I like to have easy access to all the real estate between the neck and the bridge.
    mikewalker likes this.
  15. Plectrum72

    Plectrum72 Supporting Member

    I specifically put them on a Fender sunburst P. It also has flats and I usually play that one with a pick. It's fun and pretty, but it's the only one I have with any type of covers. The rest of my basses came without covers and that's how they'll remain.
  16. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    I have the bridge cover on one of nine Fender basses. I did buy both for a Jazz bass build but did not end op using them.
  17. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    I thought this was settled in the 80s, Leo got a lot right, but this ain't it ;)
  18. I have my Jamerson Bass, P with La Bella 1954 flats, foam mute under the bridge cover, and I have the pick up cover as well. I did that to see how it was playing a bass like James did. I have run a pickup cover over the neck pickup of one jazz, like Larry and Marcus, some for hand position. The rest of my basses don't have covers.
  19. oren

    oren Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Salem, OR
    There’s a reason they used to get used as ashtrays. Just sayin’.
  20. dieggsy


    Sep 5, 2022
    TL;DR: Came for the covers. Stayed for the bass. Kept the covers. Might take off the covers. I'm sure I'll go through phases. It's all fine.

    Recently got an AVRI 64 Jazz. I actually was drawn to it because of the look of the covers, but thought I'd absolutely hate playing with them on. Turns out, I just didn't really mind much. And I liked just about everything else about the bass. And so I'm keeping them on for now cause I think they're cool and idk, they add to the "vintagey-ness" or something. But I'm a mere bedroom musician so you know. YMMV. Maybe I'll eventually take them off. I'm not really worried about it either way.
    mikewalker likes this.