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Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505821 09/26/05 03:49 AM
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Philip O'Keefe Offline OP
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From any angle you want to consider it... what do you prefer?

I'm thinking about possibly pulling the covers on my Les Paul pups (Epi Limited Editon in trans red burst) as well as the pickguard.

I just pulled the pickguard off my cherry red Casino, and IMO, not only did that cure the "thump" aganst the body when my hand anchors to it, it also made it LOOK better.

I just thought this might be interesting to see what other people's preferences are.

GP Island
Re: Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505822 09/26/05 04:13 AM
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In the 70s I took the covers off of all of my humbuckers. Since then I haven't bothered, but most of the pickups that I have bought since then didn't have them to start with. I know that it makes a difference in tone, I don't remember if it was so drastic. And I have only done this with Gibsons, probably with stock Gibson pickups. So I can't speak to the newer Epis or other brands.

I think the only guitar that I currently own that has them are the 57 Pre Aged Gold Top Les Paul, and the Phat Cat P-90s that I had put in the 336. I figure the extra shelding couldn't hurt the P-90s, and on the Pre Aged, it's a part of what the axe is. (Though if I played out a little more, I'd put Phat Cats in it....)

Bill


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Re: Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505823 09/26/05 09:23 AM
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Bluesape Offline
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I have the covers off on some guitars, and I find that occasionally my first string gets caught under the bobbin, as i use a very low action. Sonically, I find them a bit more airy than with covers. Pickguards have their place, but I have several guitars without them, and wouldn't add one. I think wood looks nicer than plastic or any other pickguard material.


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Re: Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505824 09/26/05 11:30 AM
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Pappy P Offline
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Does anyone know why they created pup covers to begin with.

I never liked the way they looked.

I was always suspect of anything added for athestics (looks).

Re: Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505825 09/26/05 11:46 AM
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Blue Strat Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pappy Pappadopalus:
Does anyone know why they created pup covers to begin with.
I believe that Seth Lover (the designer of the Humbucking pickup at Gibson) put the covers on to prevent noise. As a side effect, the covers roll off some of the treble frequencies that the pickup would normaly put out.

I'd say leave the covers on and just change pickups if you don't like the sound. It's got to be a lot easier to just swap out the entire pickup.

The pickguard on a Les Paul has to go! It just gets in the way. Same with the ES-335 or Casino.


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Re: Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505826 09/26/05 01:02 PM
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Dr. Ellwood Offline
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How does the pick guard on a Les Paul get in the way? get in the way of WHAT?

Re: Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505827 09/26/05 01:58 PM
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Caevan O'Shite Offline
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I took the pickguard off from my Les Paul "Classic Premium Plus", partially to emphasize the nice flamed maple top 'n' cherry sunburst, but also because I play fingerstyle; and even if I do use a pick, I hit the strings, not the top of the guitar!

I've left the pickguard on my translucent ruby-red, plain-maple-topped Les Paul Studio "Gem" with the P-90's; it looks better with it on, it just looks 'right' that way. Don't really need it, though I still don't use a pick on that one, either.

(I once had my flat-top acoustic at a big house party- three floors plus the basement and front 'n' back yards full of college students- and it kinda got borrowed by some guy without my knowing it and he was flailing away with one of those huge plastic triangular Fender picks, and he left these ridiculously ENORMOUS diagonal scars in the guitar's top, both sides of the soundhole, in spite of the pickguard; man, I was p!$$3d, but, what ya gonna do? Really can't change it- wouldn't be worth the expense or time, and it might not sound the same after a refin like that would require...)

As for pickup covers, the material they're made from can make a HUGE difference. Seth Lover was very particular about this, that's why they specified "German Silver" for the original Gibson P.A.F.'s. They were part of the design for function, not at all as a purely cosmetic concern: they sheild the pickups from stray electrical interference, making them quieter, and they protect the delicate coil-wire from physical damge and corosive elements like sweat, rain, beer, soda, chili, wing-sauce, cigarette-smoke...

Since then, many makers have made their P.A.F.-copies with all manner of metal covers (often cheap and crappy), and they'll usually sound better with their covers removed.

If a pickup is thoughtfully desingned with covers in mind, it should sound fine with its covers intact.

If you go to remove your metal covers from humbuckers, be very carefull, as the covers are sometimes connected in various ways, and you don't want to accidentally damage the coil-winding.


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Re: Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505828 09/26/05 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ellwood:
How does the pick guard on a Les Paul get in the way? get in the way of WHAT?
It gets in the way of me playing! ;\)


BlueStrat
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Re: Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505829 09/26/05 02:58 PM
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The pickup covers to indeed roll off some of the high end. But the pickups were actually designed by Gibson to be used with the covers on.

Humbuckers will be "hotter" without the pickup covers because the pickup covers interfere with the changes to magnetic fields caused by the strings just a little.

From what I've read (and experienced) the pickup covers do help shield from noise. I had to switch during a gig from a Washburn guitar with open coil humbuckers to my LP Studio because of a hum/buzz we could not stop.

Aesthetically, I think the pickups look better on most guitars with the covers on. But some guitars look better with the covers off. It just depends on the guitar. The Washburn I had looked much better without the pickups covers.

I have never taken a pickguard off of a guitar and left it off. I don't have any guitars that benefit from having the pickguard off.


Born on the Bayou
Re: Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505830 09/26/05 03:56 PM
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Dr. Ellwood Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Blue Strat:
Quote:
Originally posted by ellwood:
How does the pick guard on a Les Paul get in the way? get in the way of WHAT?
It gets in the way of me playing! ;\)
Ok, your must do all fingerstyle then!What year LP and 335 do ya have?

Re: Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505831 09/26/05 04:24 PM
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Blue Strat Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by ellwood:
Quote:
Originally posted by Blue Strat:
Quote:
Originally posted by ellwood:
How does the pick guard on a Les Paul get in the way? get in the way of WHAT?
It gets in the way of me playing! ;\)
Ok, your must do all fingerstyle then!What year LP and 335 do ya have?
No, I use a pick most of the time, unless I'm playing my P-bass, my banjo, or my Yamaha classical. I don't own either a Les Paul or an ES-335. I've got a Strat, a Tele, an Epiphone Del Rey, a Danelectro '59-DC, and a Rogue ST-3 strat copy. \:\)


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Re: Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505832 09/26/05 05:01 PM
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Dr. Ellwood Offline
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"No, I use a pick most of the time, unless I'm playing my P-bass, my banjo, or my Yamaha classical. I don't own either a Les Paul or an ES-335. I've got a Strat, a Tele, an Epiphone Del Rey, a Danelectro '59-DC, and a Rogue ST-3 strat copy"

OH!ok well if you dont own those...then why oh why would you take them off? how much time have you spent playing either of them to be able to say one way or the other? I think Im getting confused here!

Re: Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505833 09/26/05 09:12 PM
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Philip O'Keefe Offline OP
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Well, I think I'll leave the pup covers on... they're bright enough already for my tastes, and anything that doesn't mess with the tone in a negative way AND still contributes to lower noise is IMO, a "good thing" for a guitar that primarily gets used in the studio.

As far as the LP pickguard, I have mixed feelings. I don't want to screw up the top, but I don't know how much that would happen even if I pulled it off. And I'm not sure how "lame" it would look sans pickguard but with the pup covers still on... I suppose five minutes with a screwdriver would allow me to actually see it both ways... ;\)

The pickguard is going to stay off the Casino though. Functionally I think it's better without it on there (less extraneous noises from my hand hitting it and the "thump" being transferred through the body) and IMO, it looks MUCH better without it on there. \:\)

Thanks for the opinions / votes - I appreciate it!

Re: Pickguards and pup covers - on or off? #1505834 09/27/05 04:25 AM
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Blue Strat Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by ellwood:
OH!ok well if you dont own those...then why oh why would you take them off? how much time have you spent playing either of them to be able to say one way or the other? I think Im getting confused here!
My Del Rey is very similar to a Les Paul DC in body shape. It's an Arch-top electric just like an LP is. No pickguard, and I wouldn't want one on it. If I were to get a LP, the only kind I'd want a pickguard on would be one of the juniors or specials that have a flat-top. Call it personal preference. ;\)


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