How hard is it to remove pickup covers?

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by Vinsanitizer, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer >>> Fridgerator <<< Double Platinum Supporting Member VIP Member

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    I have a black Les Paul Traditional which has chrome plated 57 Classics, and I'd like them to remove the covers so the pickups are black. Is it a PITA to remov them? Is there a special procedure involved. Any risks?
     
  2. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Remove pup and remove the solder on the back side and off goes the cover. Peice O' cake.
     
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  3. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer >>> Fridgerator <<< Double Platinum Supporting Member VIP Member

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    Thanks anitoli. Is there a lot of wax and stuff under there that has to be cleaned off? I might do this later today. It'd be a cool project.
     
  4. JohnnyN

    JohnnyN Member

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    How to:
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yg0qu5IpvE"]The Proper Way to remove humbucker covers - YouTube[/ame]
     
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  5. DirtySteve

    DirtySteve Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    I've removed many covers and it's not as easy as Anitoli made it sound...IMO and experience. You need a hot iron, like 35 or 40 watt. Then when the solder melts slide a razor blade between the cover and the base plate, remove the heat and when it solidifies, pull the blade out.. Or you can cut the solder with a dremel with a cutting wheel, but that doesn't come out as neat. The trick posted above I've never tried.

    Also...I find it easier to clamp the pickup to a board or table (with a cloth between) to keep both hands free. Same thing with installing covers.
     
  6. hazmat7719

    hazmat7719 Well-Known Member

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    A solder sucker or solder wick will also help.
     
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  7. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer >>> Fridgerator <<< Double Platinum Supporting Member VIP Member

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    Well after watching that vid I wonder of the bobbins on mine will be black as I would hope.
     
  8. DirtySteve

    DirtySteve Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Probably.
     
  9. Guitar-Rocker

    Guitar-Rocker Well-Known Member

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    Just temporarily remove one back screw and you can see the color though the screw hole.
     
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  10. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Hot iron definitely helps. I hit mine with 950 degree tip and the solder just liquefied, was easily sucked up by the desolder pump and off they go. :yesway:
     
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  11. DirtySteve

    DirtySteve Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    I guess if your not planning to put the cover back it makes more sense to suck up the solder. I wasn't thinking that way. When I removed covers it was to swap magnets and put the cover back on.
     
  12. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer >>> Fridgerator <<< Double Platinum Supporting Member VIP Member

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    OPERATION: SUCCESS!

    I followed a bunch of things everyone said here. I wasn't prepared on what to do with the wax on the top of the pickups after the covers came off, and my soldering iron was a measly 25 watts, but I managed to do it. Went from chrome covers to a much more pro look. Not the best pic, but this:

    [​IMG]

    2010 Les Paul Traditional, Ebony. '57 Classic and '57 Classic Plus.
    Its serial number dates its birthday to 9/23/2010, which also happens to be my birthday. The guitar will be 4 yrs old this Tuesday, and I'll be..... MUCH older. ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
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  13. Barfly

    Barfly Expert bottle opener.

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    hi Vin,

    after you took the covers off was there a noticeable difference in sound? Small or large difference? Just curious. I had a 70's les paul custom and the previous owner had removed the covers and while I was the owner I always wondered about the difference.
     
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  14. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer >>> Fridgerator <<< Double Platinum Supporting Member VIP Member

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    To be honest I haven't plugged it in yet. I'll do it tomorrow and let you know. While I had the pickups out, I spent some time re-bending the screw plates (whatever you call it) to change the angle of the bridge pickup so that it [finally] sits parallel to the strings. Gibson never fixed that in all these years, so that the top of the pickup is perfectly parallel to the strings; they usually sit so that the front of the pickup is angled more downward. Anyway, I did all that, oiled the fretboard, restrung it, screwed the now protruding pole pieces back down more flush with the top of the pickup bobbin, reset the pickup heights to 3/32" from the strings as a starting point, cleaned off the wax, finger prints and gunk, and then snapped a pic, emailed it to my account from my phone so I could access it on my PC, modified it, uploaded it and replied to this thread.

    Now I need a beer. :D Anyway, yeah - I'll put it through the sound paces tomorrow and post back again.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
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  15. 66 galaxie

    66 galaxie Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Good work Vin :yesway:
     
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  16. JohnH

    JohnH Well-Known Member

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    I had one covered (neck) and one black open one, so I thought id take the other off to get two black. The neck bobbins turned out to be creme!. I like the look now. The sound is a bit more clear and airy, with a bit more external buzz
     
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  17. MarshallDog

    MarshallDog Well-Known Member

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    Looks good Vin. I am surprised there was no wax to clean up, always thought there would be.
     
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  18. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer >>> Fridgerator <<< Double Platinum Supporting Member VIP Member

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    Yeah, there was some wax, but not too much - a bit more on the neck pickup. Both covers were almost completely coated with it on the inside, most of which didn't come in contact with the pickup itself. I decided that the best thing to do was wipe it off with a paper towel and then polish it up with an old dish towel, which worked perfectly. To clean wax from the tiny holes in the coil top and also the slot between the two coils, I used a paper clip and a utility knife blade, respectively.

    On other colored Les Pauls, especially sunbursts, I prefer nickel-plated covers exclusively. But this black Les Paul has a "tuxedo" look to it which I felt would be enhanced by having black pickups to aid the contrast. I was also going for the Peter Frampton and Brian Robertson look. Very classy, I think!
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
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  19. dash8311

    dash8311 Well-Known Member

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    ...and I just installed a pickup cover on my Manlius T-Top in an SG.

    Butterfly effect? :wave:
     
  20. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer >>> Fridgerator <<< Double Platinum Supporting Member VIP Member

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    I tested it for tone today. The bridge pickup actually has slightly less upper treble and sounds a tad more rounded to my ear, but it's pretty subtle. As for the neck pickup? Looks like I toasted it, because now it has less than half the volume. I either got it too hot or I nicked the coils when I used a utility knife to clean wax out from between the bobbin tops. That's gonna cost me. Oh well. Maybe I'll go with the 400 series pickups. 490, 496, 498? Those are kickass rock n roll pickups, ain't they?
     

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