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Wow, type of PU cover makes a difference!

el84ster

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Sep 10, 2001
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1,388
I just got a pair of the 1st RS Fralin pickups and thought they sounded great. In my messing around with them, I accidentally scratched the nickel on the cover a bit (I ordered a set with the shiney covers) and to my surprise I saw what looks like copper under the nickel plating. I was under the assumption that since RS's aged covers are all nickel, their shiney ones would be too.
So I had a pair of solid nickel covers laying around and decided to put those on the pickups...
Wow, what a difference. I had no idea how essential to the PAF sound is a cover made with the right materials. !!

So if you have the shiney-covered RS fralins (or any other pickup with only a nickel plating and not not nickel underneath) you owe it to yourself to try a more authentic cover. I had no idea. But I see now it's an essential part of that sound. As it says on Symour Duncan's site the type of metal changes the Q of the pickup. Yeah, he's right! Even my wife can hear the difference.
 

softail_bob

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Apr 22, 2003
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I also ordered a set with the new nickel covers and would be interested to know if they are different than the aged covers. If so I may need to change my order to the aged covers. I just thought the new covers would look better on my R9. I'm also curious to see if these pickups will live up to all the hype they've been getting around here.

Bob
 

rsrelic

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Jun 26, 2002
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Our aged covers are made just for us and are solid nickel silver with no plating. Our New covers come from Allparts and are the same covers used by most pickup makers. They are solid nickel silver that are copper and nickel plated. I have no idea why you would copper plate over nickel, but I do know you can't polish out the rough stamped solid nickel covers we use for our aged covers. For the record I've never heard a difference unless the covers were chrome plated.

Roy:rsrelic
 

moonweasel

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Jan 20, 2004
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Ive got aged RS covers on my 69 LPC that are damned nice for the record.
 

Mystic

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Aug 9, 2006
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Our aged covers are made just for us and are solid nickel silver with no plating. Our New covers come from Allparts and are the same covers used by most pickup makers. They are solid nickel silver that are copper and nickel plated. I have no idea why you would copper plate over nickel, but I do know you can't polish out the rough stamped solid nickel covers we use for our aged covers. For the record I've never heard a difference unless the covers were chrome plated.

Roy:rsrelic
The nickel plating will only stick to copper. The crome covers are nickel underneath the crome (hows that for wierd?)

The base metel isn't nickel, it is a metel called german silver.
German silver is not made of silver.
Can it be more confusing???
No it can't...................
 

ElfinMagic

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Jun 25, 2006
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Um, it does not make a difference. Seth Lover himself would have told you that.

Trust me, you would NOT be able to tell the difference between a plated nickel cover and a non-plated nickel cover.

The covers are only there for microphonic suppression. Taking them off also does nothing to the tone.

As for plating the nickel with copper, then nickel again? It's a hell of a lot easier to polish-out a plating than to polish out the bare stamping.
 

Macleod

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Sep 30, 2002
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The covers are only there for microphonic suppression. Taking them off also does nothing to the tone.

As for plating the nickel with copper, then nickel again? It's a hell of a lot easier to polish-out a plating than to polish out the bare stamping.

The first statement, I cannot believe. It's known that covers can actually cause microphonics. Seen it many times.
It's my belief that covers were originally used for additional shielding and coil protection.
I polish rough-stamped covers all the time to a mirror polish, with the DMC's I use. They start out satin and dull, and end up like a mirror.
Then again, I was a master polisher in the knife-maker's guild. I polished steel every day for many years.

Interesting thing to note about nickel-silver...
While brass covers will dramatically affect tone, nickel silver has only a slight effect.
Funny thing is: Nickel silver if made of brass and nickel.
 

softail_bob

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Apr 22, 2003
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Sometimes I wonder how often perceived tone changes are purely phsychological. Nevertheless, electricity can be a little mysterious.......

:pop
 

Zhangliqun

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Jul 16, 2001
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5,204
Wolfe is right. I've potted many a pickup and tried to get away with not double-potting after the cover is put on and -- BZZZZZT!!! Wrong answer! Squeals and whistles like I never potted the coils.

He's also right that the original purpose of covers was shielding and coil protection.

RS is also right. Nickel silver covers (as in the composition of the body of the cover, NOT the plating) are the way to go. Brass covers are tone-killers.
 

softail_bob

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Apr 22, 2003
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Zhang,

Are you saying there is an audible difference between nickel silver and nickel silver plated covers?

:hmm
 

Zhangliqun

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Jul 16, 2001
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No. Only that there is a big difference between covers made of brass and covers made of nickel silver, regardless of the plating.
 

Jason Lollar

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Jul 26, 2001
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its not nessecarily plating or not plating thats making the difference, the thickness of the cover and the exact mix of material certainly does make a difference.
I have plated covers that have less effect on the tone than solid nickel silver covers that are reportedly exact copies of PAF covers.
Covers do have an effect on the outcome- it can be demonstrated if you really wanted to expend the effort. I have done it, I know wolfe has done it to some extent.
This is where the imported brands of pickups often fall on thier face in comparison to someone that pays attention to thier product- the covers are often too thick and they never have any consistancy from batch to batch.
 

dju

Member
Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
126
so, with all of this talk about covers, who would be a good source for the non-tone sucking covers? did a search with no conclusive answers.
apparently allparts is off the table.
thanks,
dj
 

grimlyflick

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Oct 27, 2005
Messages
1,235
so, with all of this talk about covers, who would be a good source for the non-tone sucking covers? did a search with no conclusive answers.
apparently allparts is off the table.
thanks,
dj

I got my covers from Fake58 and to my knowledge they are nickel silver and have had minimal effect on the tone of my pick-ups.
Can anyone else verify this? :salude
 

In The Light

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Mar 31, 2005
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609
Currently Gibson only uses German Nickel Silver base metal covers on all their pickups according to their website. Has this always been the case, or did it change from time to time, as we know Gibson is famous for? Because, the "definitive" PAF history site http://www.provide.net/~cfh/paf.html states the following:


"Early P.A.F. pickups as used on the 1956 lapsteels and 1957 Les Paul Standard had brushed stainless steel pickup covers (brushed to make them look nickel plated). This quickly changed to brass covers with a nickel plating. If the cover was gold, the brass was first nickel plated and then gold plated."


So, are "holy grail" PAF pickup covers BRASS or are these not accurate cover details? Btw, that looks a lot like Brass metal color on the inside of those covers and maybe not the gold-plating.


Gold-plate '59/'60 PAFs
59 PAF pickups & covers.jpg
 
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spidey

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Nov 21, 2003
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I don't pretend to understand the science but I understand the covers effect the tone because they effect the capitance?????
 

Zhangliqun

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Jul 16, 2001
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Guitar Jones 50mm covers are non-tone-sucking. Unfortunately in my experience that is not the case with their 49.2mm's.

But also unfortunately it has been difficult to get anything at all from Guitar Jones in anything like a timely manner lately. They always seem to be out of stock. I think I can get an amen from Wolfe on that.
 

spidey

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Nov 21, 2003
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I don't pretend to understand the science but I understand the covers effect the tone because they effect the capitance?????

I believe that in basic terms, using a cover cuts some of the highs.
 

Mitchell

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Feb 20, 2002
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But also unfortunately it has been difficult to get anything at all from Guitar Jones in anything like a timely manner lately. They always seem to be out of stock. I think I can get an amen from Wolfe on that.
I tried to reach them a couple of years ago and just gave up on trying. Ive heard good things about the pickups though..
 

In The Light

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Mar 31, 2005
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Interesting how nobody seems to care to comment about how the worst type of pickup covers (brass) were reportedly used on the "holy grail" "Burst" PAF pups, as I detailed above. Any comments or insights at all? It's a pretty loaded concept - Les Paul tones that most are chasing using BRASS covers? That would be ironic. Experts? Anyone?
 
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