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Wood pickup covers?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Metaldood19, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. I saw a pic of a bass recently that had what looked like a wooden pickup cover over the entire pickup. There were no holes for poles or anything either. Wouldn't this affect your tone? If not then, im totally going to look into getting some. They look sweet
  2. devo_stevo


    Aug 2, 2006
    Northern Utah
    Builder: Brumbaugh Guitarworks
    Wood covers have zero effect on the tone of your instrument. Wood is not magnetic.
  3. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    As long as the wood over pole peices is very thin, it should have no affect. However if thick wood it will have an affect. Take any magnet. Feel how well magnetic thing sticks to it. Put thick wood between magnet and the magnetic item and feel how well it holds to magnet. Not as well of course. This is in part due to the extra distance from magnet and in part due to magnetic fielk having to pass thru the wood.

    With pups that have individually adjusteable pole peices one can ussually make little tweaks to treble content or add to or eliminate muddyness by adjusting the pole peice height relative to pups top cover. With other pups you cant do this. You can only adjust overall pup height. If the pole peices have to sit a good 1/8 inch or more below the pups top cover, your not going to get the same tone out of them as you will if the tops of the pole peices are flush with the top of pup cover or a little above it.

    Good makers of pups with wood covers I'm quite confident make the wood cover as thin as possible over the area of pole peices so they dont have to be significatly below pups cover top surface. Probably around the same thickness of cover as found on plastic pup covers with no exposed pole peices.

    How well a magnetic field can travel thru a object, be it wood, plastic or rock, etc various non magnetic materials, will of course affect the strength of the magnetic field on the other side of the object even when the 3 test materials are same thickness. So again to have wood covers means thin ones and not using super dense wood.
  4. rythman6969


    May 29, 2007
    I make my wooden covers 1/16" thick on top. It doesn't matter what wood you use. There will be no change or an un- noticeable amount .
  5. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Usually a little thicker than plastic, but no more than 1/8" is best. Wood gets too flimsy if it's too thin and is hard to work with, unless you are using pre cut veneers. 1/16" is good.

    Having exposed poles is totally unnecessary.

    One thing to keep in mind is even non magnetic metal, like aluminum, can adversely affect the tone of the pickup. The more conductive the metal, the more affect it has. Non magnetic stainless steel is the best material. The most common metal covers are nickel silver, and even they change the tone somewhat.
    mcbc likes this.
  6. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Hm, I wonder how much the various metal covers available from, say, Schaller, change the overall tone - and they really have a wide range of covers available, unless it's all just nickel silver thinly plated with ruthenium, copper or such.
  7. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV

    Here's George Furlinetto's FAQ page. You can click on the question about wood pup covers and see his thought on the subject. Some other interesting stuff there, as well.
  8. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Nickel silver, if it's thin enough, doesn't do whole lot. When you start plating it, it can darken the tone a bit. The main thing you hear is a flattening of the resonant peak.

    Brass sounds about the worst of common pickup cover materials. It's funny too, because nickel silver is a form of white brass. I guess adding some nickel, which is magnetic, and zinc changes it. DiMarzio actually put a thin piece of brass on top of the coils in the Model One. This was probably used to smooth the tone out.

    Seth Lover, who invented Gibson's humbucker, specified stainless steel for the covers. But Gibson went with nickel silver. EMG uses stainless steel for their metallic pickup covers.

    You can get around the tone altering artifacts by cutting slots into the cover, as seen on the Gretsch Filer'trons and some of the DeArmond-Rowe pickups. This breaks up the eddy currents.
  9. Interesting, I'll definitely look into these. I'm upgrading my six real soon and thought these looked cool. I'll be hitting up the guy from THG Knobs to craft me a truss rod cover and a new set of knobs and I noticed he also makes these. I might have to get some now! Thanks for all the responses and info!
  10. Damn that's sexy. Im definitely getting some now. I didn't realize how popular they were until now.
  11. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Wooden covers can look nice on the right kind of bass.

  12. mixx80


    Nov 2, 2009
    Endorsing Artist:Lakland Basses
  13. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    These seem to work fine...


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