How to Replace Guitar Pickup Covers

Written by wade shaddy
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How to Replace Guitar Pickup Covers
Pickup covers are easy to change and customise your guitar. (guitar player image by bright from Fotolia.com)

Installing customised pickup covers, especially large chrome humbuckers, is a trendy way to upgrade your guitar. Not only that, guitarists know that changing the cover on the pickup changes the guitar's sound. It is easy to remove and install new covers, or even leave a cover off to give your guitar a custom look and sound.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Soldering iron

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove the strings from your guitar. Unscrew with a Phillips screwdriver and remove the four screws that hold the square plastic pickup retaining ring to the guitar. Pull off the retaining ring.

  2. 2

    Grab the pickup with your fingers, and lift it straight up and out. Hold the pickup with one hand and unscrew the two screws on either side of the pickup that hold two springs on and remove them. Turn the pickup upside down, and lay it on the guitar.

  3. 3

    Insert a utility knife between the pickup cover and the metal plate on the bottom. Use the knife to cut through a small bead of solder that is holding the pickup cover to the plate on both sides.

  4. 4

    Hold the pickup by two small brackets at the bottom with one hand. Pull on the cover with the other hand. Rock the pickup back and forth to loosen the wax as you pull it free.

  5. 5

    Slide the new cover in place exactly like you took off the first one. Lay it upside down and use the soldering iron to place a small dot of solder on both sides, where you cut the old one off. Screw the springs back on.

  6. 6

    Drop the pickup back into the guitar body. Screw the retaining ring on. Tighten slightly the two spring-loaded screws. Put the strings back on.

Tips and warnings

  • This procedure is for dual-coil humbuckers. Other single-coil pickups, like Fender, typically don't have covers and are rarely, if ever, changed. Fender pickups are changed as a complete unit.
  • The pickup remains hooked to wires. Do not pull too tight on them when you are working on the pickup.

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