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Could someone pls. tell me what if any effect the metal covers on some humbucker pickups have on the sound?

Thanks.
 

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it would be interesting to know if it matters, I have a build just starting that I have already purchased the pickups and metal pickup rings for
 

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My sample size is exactly one. The covers seemed to smooth things out a bit. When I took the covers off, there was a bit more “bite”to the sound. It was quite a subtle difference and could be just because I was expecting to hear a difference. But it did sound slightly more raw and edgy. It’s tough to describe sounds, but I tried.
 

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it would be interesting to know if it matters, I have a build just starting that I have already purchased the pickups and metal pickup rings for
Same as me, I'm about to buy humbuckers for a build and wondered if this was for real or just another internet myth (about the covers)
 

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My sample size is exactly one. The covers seemed to smooth things out a bit. When I took the covers off, there was a bit more “bite”to the sound. It was quite a subtle difference and could be just because I was expecting to hear a difference. But it did sound slightly more raw and edgy. It’s tough to describe sounds, but I tried.
Yeah, I noticed the same thing when I removed the covers on mine back in the 70s. Then the guitar pick hit one of the windings and that was the end of that pickup. Went to the local shop and said “who rewinds pickups?” the answer from the owner of said shop was “pensioners!”
 
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Interesting timing. My friend built a '59 LP from scratch. He bought some pickups from StewMac that are supposed to be close to the old pickups. He found them to be a little off. He took the covers off and hung them by a thread. When he tapped them with a wooden chop stick they had a high metallic pitch, compared to an old cover he had to compare which had a lower less metallic pitch. From this he deduced they were too hard, so he annealed them, which softened the metal. Now when he taps them they have the same lower tone. He found this made a difference in the tone and he likes them more now.
 

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Some winders don’t pot their humbicjers when they are uncovered. The covered ones will always be potted, otherwise can result in some nasty feedback.
I wouldn’t say “always” regarding potted, covered pickups. I had a set of Seth Lovers that were unpotted and they didn’t have problems with feedback. You can also request an unpotted pickup with covers from a lot of winders.
 

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....so he annealed them, which softened the metal. Now when he taps them they have the same lower tone. He found this made a difference in the tone and he likes them more now.
VERY interesting. I have never heard of this before. Congrats to your friend.
BTW...How did he get the covers annealed (i.e., did he manage to do this himself) ?

I had to look it up...so I copied and pasted (from Wiki)....

Annealing, in metallurgy and materials science, is a heat treatment that alters the physical and sometimes chemical properties of a material to increase its ductility and reduce its hardness, making it more workable. It involves heating a material above its recrystallization temperature, maintaining a suitable temperature, and then cooling.

In annealing, atoms migrate in the crystal lattice and the number of dislocations decreases, leading to a change in ductility and hardness. As the material cools it recrystallizes. For many alloys, including carbon steel, the crystal grain size and phase composition, which ultimately determine the material properties, are dependent on the heating, and cooling rate. Hot working or cold working after the annealing process alter the metal structure, so further heat treatments may be used to achieve the properties required. With knowledge of the composition and phase diagram, heat treatment can be used to adjust between harder and more brittle, to softer and more ductile.

In the cases of copper, steel, silver, and brass, this process is performed by heating the material (generally until glowing) for a while and then slowly letting it cool to room temperature in still air. Copper, silver[1] and brass can be cooled slowly in air, or quickly by quenching in water, unlike ferrous metals, such as steel, which must be cooled slowly to anneal. In this fashion, the metal is softened and prepared for further work—such as shaping, stamping, or forming.
 
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VERY interesting. I have never heard of this before. Congrats to your friend.
BTW...How did he get the covers annealed (i.e., did he manage to do this himself) ?

I had to look it up...so I copied and pasted (from Wiki)....

Annealing, in metallurgy and materials science, is a heat treatment that alters the physical and sometimes chemical properties of a material to increase its ductility and reduce its hardness, making it more workable. It involves heating a material above its recrystallization temperature, maintaining a suitable temperature, and then cooling.

In annealing, atoms migrate in the crystal lattice and the number of dislocations decreases, leading to a change in ductility and hardness. As the material cools it recrystallizes. For many alloys, including carbon steel, the crystal grain size and phase composition, which ultimately determine the material properties, are dependent on the heating, and cooling rate. Hot working or cold working after the annealing process alter the metal structure, so further heat treatments may be used to achieve the properties required. With knowledge of the composition and phase diagram, heat treatment can be used to adjust between harder and more brittle, to softer and more ductile.

In the cases of copper, steel, silver, and brass, this process is performed by heating the material (generally until glowing) for a while and then slowly letting it cool to room temperature in still air. Copper, silver[1] and brass can be cooled slowly in air, or quickly by quenching in water, unlike ferrous metals, such as steel, which must be cooled slowly to anneal. In this fashion, the metal is softened and prepared for further work—such as shaping, stamping, or forming.
He heated them in an oven where he works. He did the calculations and heated them for a specific time then cooled them. Later he boiled them in salt and vinegar so they will age quickly.
 

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I dont remember if it was the pickup wizard or john suhr...but one of the has it posted on their site that the covers dampen the top end

No experience though...ive never taken the covers off of the ones i have
 

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I saw an interview with Seth Lover when he was recounting the development of the PAFs--
he said they tried different metals for the covers--most made not difference--some interfered with the magnetic field though--but he said Gibson used metals that didn't.

However on my LP copy (MIJ--Matsumoku)--the pickups did sound louder without the covers--could it have been my imagination?
Maybe.
 

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I dont remember if it was the pickup wizard or john suhr...but one of the has it posted on their site that the covers dampen the top end

No experience though...ive never taken the covers off of the ones i have
That's my experience. Some pickups can, imo, sound a little harsh with covers removed.

I have no idea if the amount of amp gain being used becomes a factor. I have the gain on my amps at about 2/3rds and the covers on the pickups make my guitars sound a bit more smooth.
 

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what i would be interested in hearing are HB's with screws and no slugs like the DS series Suhr has...take a DSH and an SSH, same guitar/settings and hear what the difference really is...
 

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Would this not depend on what the metal cover is made of? Not all metal is magnetic. I can see magnetic metal covers causing a difference in tone. Is a nickel cover pure nickel or alloy steel with plating. Most likely the former. Gold is obviously plated. One would think you have to move the strings closer to a magnetic cover
 

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Would this not depend on what the metal cover is made of? Not all metal is magnetic. I can see magnetic metal covers causing a difference in tone. Is a nickel cover pure nickel or alloy steel with plating. Most likely the former. Gold is obviously plated. One would think you have to move the strings closer to a magnetic cover
That was Seth Lover's point I mentioned earlier--I would tend to put some stock in his opinions on this...
 

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Oops. Should have said most likely the latter. As in most covers are probably plated
 

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Would this not depend on what the metal cover is made of? Not all metal is magnetic. I can see magnetic metal covers causing a difference in tone. Is a nickel cover pure nickel or alloy steel with plating. Most likely the former. Gold is obviously plated. One would think you have to move the strings closer to a magnetic cover
Yes, I've heard that a raw nickel cover is almost like no cover at all, nickel plated is pretty close to that, and then the chrome and gold covers can attenuate some of the highs a bit.
 
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