How to Install Metal Covers on a Humbucker Guitar Pickup

Written by lisa wampler
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The classic look of a covered humbucker guitar pickup is unmistakable. It's been around since Seth Lover invented the humbucker in 1955 and has remained popular as original equipment on numerous high-end guitar models and after market guitar pickups. However, due to cost-cutting measures, metal covers are now relegated to higher end pickups; most mid-priced guitars are not equipped with these symbols of vintage guitars. Guitar covers are available for most humbuckers and can be installed in about 20 minutes, giving your guitar a classic look.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Solder flux
  • Wash towel

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  1. 1

    Remove the four Phillips screws holding the pickup ring to the body with a Phillips screwdriver. Remove the pickup from the pickup cavity. Lay a wash towel on the body and lay the pickup on the towel. This will prevent the height screws from scratching the finish.

  2. 2

    Press the metal cover onto the pickup. You do not have to remove the pickup from the mounting ring. The pickup cover should slip between the pickup and the mounting ring. The metal cover should sit flat on the top of the pickup and should extend slightly past the bottom of the pickup's base plate.

  3. 3

    Flip the pickup over so you can see the base plate. Place solder flux on both of the longer edges of the base plate where the pickup cover and base plate meet. Adding solder flux will aid in the soldering process.

  4. 4

    Solder the metal cover's edge to the base plate where the solder flux is. Allow 20 seconds for the solder to cool to ensure you don't create a cold joint., as this joint could loosen over time. Each solder joint should be about one inch in length.

  5. 5

    Replace the pickup back into the pickup cavity and replace the four mounting screws.

Tips and warnings

  • After adding the metal cover you will likely need to adjust the height of your pickups down a little bit to allow for clearance.
  • Most high-end pickup manufacturers will wax pot their pickups after the metal cover is soldered on. This helps to minimise monophonic feedback. You may want to consider this step if you are adding your own pickup covers.
  • Different brands and models of guitar pickups will have different magnetic pole spacing. Most metal pickup covers have holes in the top that allow you to see the pickup's magnetic pole pieces through the cover. If the pickup's pole spacing and the pickup covers' holes do not have the same spacing they will not match when soldered together.

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