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Wooden pickup covers. How thick?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by budman, Jan 26, 2005.


  1. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    I've never attempted making wood pickup covers. I'm guessing the tops have to be pretty thin for the magnetic field to be able to penetrate. True? And lets say you have the word "Bartolini" extruding from the top of the plastic pickup cover. Would you sand that down flush with the top so you can get a snug fit against the inside of the wood cover?
     
  2. rusty

    rusty

    Mar 29, 2004
    Singapore
    I think that the plastic covers have to come off first before you put on the wooden ones... no?
     
  3. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Neither the wood nor the plastic have any significant effect on the magnetic field. How much material you remove is up to you-- the smaller you make your "core" (the pickup), the smaller you can make your shell. I've heard of someone milling Barts down to the bobbin, but I haven't seen it.
     
  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    That's ideal if possible, but the problem is that Barts and some others are potted into their shells.
     
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    It would be easier and nicer if you were to get some pickups from Carey Nordstrand that do not come with the word "Bartolini" extruded on the top. Bartolini I think are designed so that 1/4" from the strings is optimum I believe. I wouldn't want to make the wood shells much thinner than 1/8" thick for durability reasons and so that leaves you with very little room under the strings.

    They used to be embossed. Think of the space you would save!

    There are probably some others (Aero, of course) that sell the pickups without shells.
     
  6. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    The pickups in question are Bart soapbars. The plastic cover is pretty thin and I think it's glued on. I'm at work and I don't have the pickups in front of me. Seems like it might be more hassle than it's worth to get them off. The thing I don't want is a wood cover that's too thick. I wouldn't want a block of wood just a millimeter or two under the strings when the pickups are raised to a height where you have a proper magnetic field around the strings. I guess I'll have to find that happy medium.
     
  7. The one set I've made were for a set of single coil J pups. I took off the plastic covers and held them inside the wood covers with foam rubber. The top of the cover was in .030-.040 range.
     
  8. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    The clearance between the top of the cover and the string is a major concern, and yeah, I don't want to go too thin with the shell. The pickups are already bought and paid for. While I'm not really big on wooden covers. They do look nice in most cases. It's just that there's a little too much black Bart surface area on these particular pickups for my tastes and it takes away from the beautiful walnut top. I could, as Pilot suggested, mill the plastic cover all the way off the top.
     
  9. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    That's thin. I'm thinking a minimum .1".