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real world differences between covered and non-covered pickups?

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  • real world differences between covered and non-covered pickups?

    I read the non-covered ones will be brighter, is this true or do they sound the same in reality?

  • #2
    There is a difference. It is comparable to switching between 500 and 250k volume pots.

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    • #3
      I personally prefer my pickups (humbuckers and P90's) covered.

      But astethically and tonally .

      -Erlend
      If somethings important- send a PM. I might be offline for long periods. Rock on!!!

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      • #4
        ^^ I've actually never A/B tested a pickup with and without a cover.

        I've heard people say, that the cover dampens some of the high end. But my metal covered P90's sound mighty fine to me- I don't want any more highs .

        -E
        If somethings important- send a PM. I might be offline for long periods. Rock on!!!

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        • #5
          Yup, the covers do dampen the highs a little. Think of it as rolling back the Presence control on the amp a little bit.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Erlend_G View Post
            I personally prefer my pickups (humbuckers and P90's) covered.

            But astethically and tonally .

            -Erlend
            I agree on the aesthetics. I really love the way covered pickups look and think it looks good on both a modern style guitar and classic style guitar.


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            • #7
              Ever notice that rock players who favor fuzzy aggressive distorted tones tend to prefer the tone of humbuckers with the covers off?

              And jazz players who favor warmer but cleaner tones tend to prefer the tone of humbuckers with the covers on?

              There's a reason for that and real virtuosos are probably more sensitive to subtle nuances of tone than the rest of us.

              I've also noticed that a lot of the guys who started the whole thing of removing the covers from their pafs in their 50's Les Pauls (Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck...) now play with the covers back on again.

              Maybe they got tired of hearing the extra sizzle. and now prefer a warmer tone.

              I do. But I also like the look of exposed coils. Especially if they're double cream or zebra.
              Last edited by Lewguitar; 10-30-2020, 01:47 AM.
              “Practice cures most tone issues” - John Suhr

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              • #8
                I read nickel covers change the tone less than chrome covers do, which is why Suhr Thornbuckers come with nickel. Pete Thorn said he didn't hear much difference between the uncovered and nickel covered ones.

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                • #9
                  I've never done an A/B to test the difference, so I'll just agree that I've HEARD it knocks a little high end off. I like the look of covers much better, but I tend to buy uncovered zebras if I think I might be swapping magnets. Taking covers off is a pain for me.

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                  • #10
                    A/Bing would be the only way to know for sure. We've all probably read the same reports and watched the same comparison videos, and as such we regurgitate the same narrative. I've watched the videos and it seems like yeah, covers dampen the highs a tad, but is it different than a slight twist on the tone knob or on my amp EQ? And if it is different, does it matter? I'd have to try it on my own setup to know for sure.
                    Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                    Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
                    http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Erlend_G View Post
                      ^^ I've actually never A/B tested a pickup with and without a cover.

                      I've heard people say, that the cover dampens some of the high end. But my metal covered P90's sound mighty fine to me- I don't want any more highs .

                      -E
                      I think the metal cover affects humbuckers more than P90's. For one thing, the polepieces of a P90 are not covered. They project through the top of the cover.

                      But a humbucker has two rows of polepieces and only the screw polepieces are uncovered. The non-adjustable polepieces are hidden under the metal cover.

                      In any case, the effect of a metal cover is subtle enough that some people don't hear any difference at all.

                      And some do.
                      “Practice cures most tone issues” - John Suhr

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                      • #12
                        I’ve put open covers (covers the sides of the bobbins but still exposes the top) and it made a significant notable difference in the tone, almost more than a full cover. I’ve also noticed my gold covered models seem slightly brighter than chrome and uncovered versions of the same model. (I A/B tested this swapping out in the same guitar)

                        Covers make a difference. That’s why the Gretsch Filtertrons have those particular slots in them - I believe it’s even part of their patent. It affects the magnetic field, and in so doing, the resulting sound.
                        Originally posted by Demanic
                        Incompetence is widespread in a world that rewards mediocrity while punishing excellence.
                        Originally posted by GuitarFanatic
                        I am currently using Skullcandy headphones I found in the garbage.
                        I did find the DS-1 in the garbage.
                        I once found a guitar amp in the garbage, a Peavey Studio 110. It caught fire at the first gig I played it at.. But it was at the end of it, thank god.

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                        • #13
                          Depending on the metal used, yes, covered humbuckers do affect the tone slightly, usually by softening the highs. In my personal experience, I find the highs softening most noticeable with pick attack specifically. This being said, you could get a similar effect by just adjusting the screw poles and pickup height for either type. Which one I prefer depends on what style of music I am playing.

                          Regardless... I prefer covered humbuckers aesthetically any day of the week hehe...

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                          • #14
                            The pic below shows the induced electrical response of a Gibson style HB with and without cover, during one of the experiments archived in my data.

                            Note that the test was done without guitar cable, hence the high pitched resonant peaks, above 7khz on this linear scale. Through a guitar cable, the peaks would be lower pitched.
                            Click image for larger version

Name:	Cover VS no Cover HB.jpg
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                            In a Gibson style HB, the screws coil is in many cases a bit darker and weaker than the one with slugs. EHV (RIP) did describe once the screws coil as a boomer while the slugs coil would be the tweeter.

                            With a cover, here, this difference is a bit less noticeable (and the Foucault currents due to the cover affect the coil with screws as well). Without cover, the difference between coils becomes way more obvious.

                            The overall difference between cover and no cover is anyway of 1dB to 1.5dB @ resonant frequencies.

                            Of course, thie pic would vary with a humbucker whose screws and slugs coils are less distinctively different (such HB's exist too).

                            As shown by the impulse response screenshot, a cover also makes the attack a wee bit slower and with a tad less amplitude - because of eddy currents, once again.


                            As stated by our fellow members, the kind of alloy constituting a cover defines its sonic influence, as well as its thickness. There's obviously good and bad covers. Those with chrome slightly rise the inductance, BTW. IOW, they make a pickup a tiny bit stronger with more mids.


                            For those who would like to go further, let's post a tribute to someone else's work, whose results match those found here:

                            http://kenwillmott.com/blog/archives/246

                            http://kenwillmott.com/blog/wp-conte...r_Geometry.pdf

                            FWIW (my 2 cents). :-)
                            Duncan user since the 80's...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by uOpt View Post
                              There is a difference. It is comparable to switching between 500 and 250k volume pots.
                              while i agree there is a difference between covered and un-covered, i hear the difference between 500k and 250k pots as much more significant

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