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What does the cover over the pickup on the old fender P-basses do?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 5intheface, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. 5intheface


    Dec 18, 2004
    I've always kind of wondered but never quite known. It always looks cool though.
  2. it was put to reduce the hum and static noises between the amp and the bass :)
  3. 5intheface


    Dec 18, 2004
    Thank you.

    Does it add to the tone, and does duct tape acomplish the same noise reduction? I only ask because I saw Patrick O'Hearn with duct tape on his bass from '70 with Zappa on Baby Snakes.
  4. I wouldn't know about the duct tape.. but all it does today is get in the way.. (rimes :D) they though look good :)
  5. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Back in the day it was partially for shielding. Now it's purely cosmetic.

    Some people work it into their style like Marcus Miller.

    I play my basses with or without em.
  6. stingray5bbx


    Feb 11, 2005
    not that i was around then.. but it was my belief that the originally P bass had one as a wrist rest because they it was common to play with a pick in kinda of a guitar style.
  7. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    Isn't that what the finger rest on the lower horn is for?
  8. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Yeah, that's what I thought too. I guess in its inception, it was for protection and noise resistance. But what little benefits it offered didn't justify its being in the way. These days we have epoxy wax dipped pickups and more effective shielding. So having the piece is more an esthetic thing. I think it looks pretty cool on the Jazz along with the bridge cover, but have you ever tried to play one with all that metal in the way? Cool looking, yes; but let's face it, it’s a far more effective ashtray! ;)

  9. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    They were handrests, the fingerrest was for playing with your thumb, Brian Wilson-style. I ordered one for my Squier as I usually play a Ric and am used to resting my hand on the pickup.
  10. The purpose of the pickup cover was to cut your hand to ribbons if you ever tried slapping or any other over-the-top wanking on the bass, at the expense of laying it down. :D
  11. IN my experience the only thing it does is limit your tone area...

    over the pickup is where I find the nicest sound on any bass... thats exactly the place you cant find it if you put one of those on, making you play in a trebblier area.
  12. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Or closer to the neck...

    They don't get in the way for me at all, and they're cool-lookin.
  13. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    I seem to remember a Jamerson quote where he said that it was a big part of his sound. That, along with old strings and gunk on the fingerboard. I find that the covers get in the way but if you look at some old pictures you'll see that a lot of guys used to play closer to the neck. With the higher tension flatwounds that were more popular then it makes sense - and sounds good!
  14. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    The pickup covers are very effective at resisting hum that comes from stage lighting and other sources of radiating energy.

    I bit off topic maybe, but concerning the bridge cover.
    The earliest bridge covers for precision basses had a piece of foam glued to the inside to deaden the attack of the strings.

    Why? Because when you play with muted flats, the bass soudns very much like an upright bass. Which was origionally the purpose of the electric bass, and easier to play alternative to the upright bass.
  15. fender_mod


    Jun 23, 2005
    its got alot to do with cosmetics too, alot of people used pickup covers because they thought the pickups were ugly, or so i've heard.
  16. klharper

    klharper Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Are you playing lefty strung righty?
  17. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
  18. jwymore


    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    How could this be unless the cover was grounded?

    I subcribe to the looks only theory and possibly the hand rest theory ...

    IMHO, although I like the look they are definetly "in the way"!!
  19. because it shields the pickup from the waves coming from the lights..
  20. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    Oh now I get it. I was wondering how it could be effective with EMI without being grounded. Blocking the light waves makes more sense. :bag: