Covered vs uncovered humbuckers

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by Macronaut, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. Macronaut

    Macronaut Silver Supporter

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    I did a search and was a bit surprised I found no results concerning covered and uncovered HB pick ups.

    So, I would expect at lest a minor difference but, would like to hear opinions from those that have tried both.

    I am preparing to order a set of SD Pearly Gates for my PL Standard to replace the BB pro/pro+ and am yet undecided as to covered or uncovered. What might the tonal difference be or is it purely esthetics?
     
  2. The Refugee

    The Refugee Senior Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Stevie 202

    Stevie 202 Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    Sure kid...whatever
     
  4. Bobby Mahogany

    Bobby Mahogany Senior Member

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    Mu Standard came with covered pickups.
    I got to have an uncovered pickups by accident.
    My (covered) 498T got microphonic, I went to a music store not knowing anything but to ask for a pickup!
    Good for me the clerk asked what type of music I liked/ played.
    I said Led Zep, Blues, Rock. He handed me an uncovered SD '59 and the rest is history.
    Well, my history anyway!

    Many years later a friend of mine gave me an uncovered pair of '59s he wasn't using.
    I didn't like the tone of the (covered) 490R I had on the neck so I changed it.
    So now I have the Slash thing going. Slash never was a factor in my pursuit of tone.
     
  5. Macronaut

    Macronaut Silver Supporter

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  6. moreles

    moreles Senior Member

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    There are endless threads on this all over the place because opinions about preferred tone vary. There's no "best." For myself, I much prefer covered humbuckers. With the equipment we have now -- notably much better guitar cords, buffered effects, etc. -- I see no need for, and in fact dislike the consequential general over-emphasis on highs. Don't get me wrong -- I absolutely hate "warm" muffled tones, and love harmonics and chime. You just don't need to overemphasize treble by removing covers in order to get what's already present and no longer being filtered out. Most of the PUs I use, covered, give the tone I want. Others. particularly those who want a whole lot of edge and/or treble, prefer the slightly greater brightness coverless. Fair enough. (I also think coverless PUs look like crap, but I wouldn't hesitate to do it if I wanted the tone.)
     
  7. The Refugee

    The Refugee Senior Member

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    Yeah the search function has always been a bit finnicky. I've always found it easier to use a google search starting with "mylespaul" if I want to find something on this site.

    I promise it was in good spirit :thumb:. It would make a bit of sense as to why he did it, the combination was familiar to him (whether subconsciously or not).
     
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  8. SlyStrat

    SlyStrat Senior Member

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    Its not just the treble that changes without covers.
    The pickups kinda turn into microphones picking up your touch more, like pick attack.
    Especially with unpotted pickups.
    On bright pickups I might leave them on.
    I don't care about how it looks. I only care about tone.
     
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  9. BadPenguin

    BadPenguin Senior Member

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    I tend to prefer covered for the neck, uncovered for the bridge. Other then the "Page" connection, which I never knew about tbh, I prefer the neck a bit darker sounding then the bridge, and find that the very slight output drop that may occur, doesn't bother me at all. ("Supposedly" there's a +3db difference with a uncovered pickup.)
     
  10. charlie chitlins

    charlie chitlins Senior Member

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    I have a neck '59 and a bridge Pearly.
    When I got the guitar, the covers were off and in the case pocket.
    I didn't like the way the guitar looked without them so I put them on.
    They were quite tight and the holes sorta lined up with the pole screws.
    I didn't solder the covers on.
    What I got was a pair of very sweet PAF-like pickups that are also quite microphonic, which I love.
    I have a feeling that the covers contributed to the microphonics, but I can't be sure as I didn't play without them.
     
  11. Braciola

    Braciola Senior Member

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    Covered sound way better to me.
     
  12. 1all's Pub

    1all's Pub Senior Member

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    This^^^... except I do care about the looks. :D I just prefer the aesthetics of open coils. I didn’t always—I used to prefer how covers looked until I got the book BOTB... the open coil guitars therein always just stood out as more unique and appealing to me, ever since I have become an open coil kinda guy. 3 of my 4 LPs are open coil.

    In general I find that open coils are more dynamic... covers “round” everthing off kind of like turning the tone knob down to 7 or so. That’s fine, but I’d rather (usuallly, there are always exceptions) retain the option of the dynamic highs and use my tone knob (or amp EQ) to adjust them away if I don’t want them at a given moment. Just seems more versitile this way.

    SlyStrat’s comment, “Especially with unpotted pickups” is especially insightful. Open coils and unpotted make for a very dynamic combo, IMO/IME/YMMV/WAFH! :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  13. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    I like them naked. Something about seeing what's under the hood as it were.
     
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  14. Mr Insane

    Mr Insane Senior Member

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    "They sound brighter or more alive without the covers"

    Because you have to take the old strings off when you take off the covers.

    I took the covers off my Standard for looks, the only sound difference was the new strings.
     
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  15. Duane_the_tub

    Duane_the_tub Senior Member

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    One well-respected winder will tell you NEVER to run your pups uncovered, because invasive foreign substances - especially sweat - will damage the wire. This is one man's opinion, of course, but as I said he is considered an authority on the subject.
     
  16. 1all's Pub

    1all's Pub Senior Member

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    Says who? I never change the strings when I do a pickup swap or remove covers, etc. Just loosen, do the swap/change, and retighten & retune. This way you remove the variable of new strings and get a true apples to apples comparison of before & after.
     
  17. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Oxblood Addict V.I.P. Member

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    I like both. Depends on the application for me.
     
  18. Coldacre

    Coldacre Senior Member

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    covers on. ageing nickel looks the best. the differences in tone can easily be accounted for with the amps treble control, so tone is a non-issue
     

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