SO, this is probably like the 40th thread on covered pickups, but I looked through the first 4 or so pages of the customizing section among other things and had no luck.

I have a 1997 Gibson Explorer, literally everything is how it came 11 years ago except the speed knobs and strings obviously.

So, I was planning on getting covers on it for the sake of awesome, and most likely just paying a guitar repair-shop to do it for me since I wouldn't want to ruin it personally. >>; Anyways my problem is- do all gibson pickup covers fit all stock pickups in Gibsons? Because I've seen plenty of covers on sale on the internet and in shops, but I don't know if they would even fit on my guitar in the first place or not. I'm assuming they would, but I hate assuming things. Anyways, any help on this would be appreciated.

Oh and I'm most likely getting scre*** over by the shop, since they said it'd cost about 120 bucks or so to install these covers. >> That sound right or..
anyways, thanks.
My main squeeze is a
Gibson Explorer '76 Reissue
120??? is that with the cost of the covers or what???

and to be more on topic, im not sure if all gibson covers fit, but i do know that covers can come in many different sizes and shapes, and while it may look right on the internet, make damn well sure the dimensions are right.
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you're getting screwed over. They're just soldered on.
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yeah, covers: $20, Soldering Iron and solder (if you don't already have one): $30.
$50 at the most if you do it.

Covers: $20, $120 for them to do it,
$140. You could save about $100 by doing it yourself

Which one do you chose? All you need to do is:
Quote by guitarcam123
yeah, covers: $20, Soldering Iron and solder (if you don't already have one): $30.
$50 at the most if you do it.

Covers: $20, $120 for them to do it,
$140. You could save about $100 by doing it yourself

Which one do you chose? All you need to do is:


For 120 dollars, you could go out and buy brand new pickups with covers. (I'm assuming you don't want to do this- just putting it into prespective).

If you're really worried, measure the pole spacing of your pups, then compare/ask for the specs on the covers you're looking at.

EDIT: http://www.guitarpartsresource.com/covers_humbucker.htm
Watcha think? 3 sizes.
Actually on the link you provided there are only two sizes if you are going by pole spaceing. Just measure the bridge poles unless you want the no hole covers, which IMO would not be the way to go.
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Hm. The only problem being with me doing it myself is the fact I haven't used a soldering iron in about 7 years, and I wouldn't want to f*** anything up. I know there isn't much TO mess up, does anyone happen to have a sorta guide to soldering on these covers?

I've also been hearing (at least, I think..) about having to coat the pickups in a sort of wax or something along those lines, again are there any tutorials around for this whole process or?

I tried Youtubing it up, and then I found a site that said another alternative to coating the pickup had something to do with electrical tape....

Again, I r noob at this, and I don't exactly want to ruin my first/probably only Gibson.
My main squeeze is a
Gibson Explorer '76 Reissue
Last edited by DedlokM44 at Nov 16, 2008,
Okay, so. I found off that site ya just posted that I'd need to get the "Modern" style ones, since those have the same sizing as my neck and bridge pickups, one step down, I'll most likely wait until I get paid this week before I order any of this though. Where would I find like, the other stuff I need? I mean like a soldering iron and all that, and then I guess I'd need a wax of some sort for the top of the pickup..? from what I've read I've gathered that much at least. =/
My main squeeze is a
Gibson Explorer '76 Reissue
Lawl. Six replies, and nobody has mentioned that they need to be wax-potted? Nice.

Dedlok, you're absolutely right. Covered pickups are dipped in wax before behind loaded into the covers - it's to prevent microphonic feedback between cover and pickup, and is essential. Honestly, your best bed is so sell the current pickups on eBay, then buy some covered ones. Even if you're a master pickup winder and manufacturer, potting and covering big-name pickups will kill their resale value.

Also, another thing that nobody has mentioned, is that they WILL alter your tone. CordEW can give you the specifics, but they'll take the edge off the growl that you probably love. I prefer the tone of open pickups to covered, myself.
I have heard that about covering them on any big name, like Gibsons and whatnot, but in all honesty I don't plan on getting rid of my Explorer any time in the near future. The guy at Daddy's said covering them would kill the money value too, but I really don't mind that. I got a 1,500 dollar guitar with case, used, for 650. It's value isn't very high any more anyways for a Gibson. Of course it is only a 1997, so it doesn't have an age-based value yet.. hrm.

Either way though, I've been getting very confused on how like, half of people say covers affect tone, and others say they don't. The most plausible argument I've heard so far is low quality covers and humbuckers will be affect greatly, and higher quality ones will not, hence why I was going to by the Gibson brand chrome covers somewhere.

EDIT: Okay so I found this sort of tutorial on installing covers, does this sound correct to everyone here? And is the electrical tape method a bad idea? http://www.specialtyguitars.com/pickupnotes.html)
My main squeeze is a
Gibson Explorer '76 Reissue
Last edited by DedlokM44 at Nov 16, 2008,
Okay, so. I caved in and bought myself a set of Genuine Gibson chrome covers off that website, and found that the home depot nearby carries a 40W soldering iron for like 17 bucks and it comes with a bunch of extra tips and whatever. Paraffin wax is carried in grocery stores apparently, since it's used for canning, so now I just gotta wait for the shipment to come in from Ohio for my covers.

I'll try to get pics before and after if I get this all to work out right. =]
My main squeeze is a
Gibson Explorer '76 Reissue
There are a few different string spacings for pickups now days. Original PAF's were spaced with 49.6mm spacing. A few years later Gibson switched to 50mm spacing and they is what they used for many years and it's the "industry standard" for humbucker spacing. Modern Gibson pickups use 49.2mm spacing and "F-spaced" pickups use 53mm spacing.

If your pickups have modern Gibson spacing then what you need is 49.2mm spacing for the holes.

Here are the things to pay attention to when you are pickup covers

Plastic and wood covers have absolutely no effect on tone

All metal covers will reduce the pickups output
All metal covers will reduce background noise
All metal covers will reduce high end
All metal covers will give the pickup a looser bass response

Chrome covers (or gold plated brass) will have a very noticeable effect and your guitar will have significantly less high end and a looser bass. Generally chrome covers cause your tone to lacks definition and bite. You may also notice a drop in output.

Plated nickel or gold plated nickel silver covers will have a slightly noticeable effect on high end but you will have to be listening to hear it. Overall tone will be a bit spongier and there will be slightly less bite which can be good or bad depending on what you want to play.

Raw nickel will have a very small effect that will only be noticeable on nice amps with clear high end. They are the best choice for people that simply want to block out background noise without altering their overall tone.

You might find that you don't need to pot the pickup. I'd suggest putting the cover on and then trying the pickup to see if it gives you feedback. If it doesn't feedback then don't repot the pickup. If it does need potting be sure you keep the wax a cool as possible. The melting point of the pickup bobbins isn't very much higher than the melting point of wax so if you aren't careful you can destroy a pickup when potting it.

When installing covers you need an 80watt soldering iron. 60 watts can do it if you have the right technique but it's difficult and 40 is just too small. Oh, and don't use a soldering gun, those create an electromagnetic feild that can demagnatize your magnet.
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Last edited by CorduroyEW at Nov 17, 2008,
Thanks for all the good information on that one post. o: In all honesty if the output is lowered that isn't a big deal to me, when I play with my friends or just practice I hardly have to turn my amp up past 2 or 3, and this is only a little Roland 20x. How can you tell if the pickup is raw nickel or not, since it'd look the same as a nickel finish one, wouldn't it?

I heard however too much heat on the pickup can ruin it too, so wouldn't the 80w soldering pencil/iron have a greater chance at doing that? (Mind you I don't solder much any more, so.)

Anyways I really appreciate all the info, albeit some of it between different people seem to contradict one another. >< Oh well, I'll know in about 4 days when the covers arrive.
My main squeeze is a
Gibson Explorer '76 Reissue
Think of it like baking a cake. When you turn the oven up to max temp the outside of the cake will burn and the inside will be raw. When the oven is at a low temp the outside and inside cook much more evenly. When adding covers you need to heat the cover enough to burn the solder into it without cooking the inside of the pickup. To do that you need more heat. With a low wattage iron you will cook the inside of the pickup before the outside gets hot enough for the solder to stick.

In terms of telling the difference between chrome, nickel plated, and raw (also listed as blazed) you simply have to read the descriptions. Typically blazed covers will say as much and, as luck would have it, blazed covers tend to be a little cheaper as well. Not many places sell raw covers, I get mine from Japan but I'm told that the mojotone covers are good too. I've never used them myself though...
Not taking any online orders.
I see. The ones I've ordered are Gibson Pure covers, have you personally heard anything negative of their covers in particular?

I see what you're saying about the soldering iron though, I'll try to look around for a 60-80w then, since my dad, friend, and even I'm still half decent at soldering.

I've heard electrical tape can be used as a substitute for the paraffin wax, is there any backing to that statement or?
My main squeeze is a
Gibson Explorer '76 Reissue
^it's a question of whether they are nickel or chrome; Gibson sells both. If you got the Chrome ones I might see if you can send them back and get nickel instead. If you got nickel then you should be happy with them.

I have never tried electrical tape inside the cover. I do think it'll work to help prevent microphonic feedback but I don't know how much it'll help. I still think you should try it without potting 1st. Not potting the pickups when you add a cover will give the pickups more of a singing quality that many people like. So try it and if you get feedback then pot (or try the electrical tape).
Not taking any online orders.
I see. My reasoning behind the duct-tape is that it was listed as a secondary option on the Specialty Guitars website for covering pickups, but yeah if anything I'll try without that first, for all I know it could be just fine.

I may end up seeing if I can return the covers I ordered then, as I got the chrome ones purely because the rest of my hardware is already chrome, and assumed the nickel finish ones would look out of place.

Either way I'll know in about 2 days if express mail really works. lol. Thanks again man.

From what you're saying though, will chrome covers heavily drop the treble (clarity, or whatever you happen to call it) on the guitar? I mean a minor drop isn't much of a set back, even if it is noticable, but would it sound like mud basically? =/
Again I hardly ever crank my amp so any "high-end" changes (If that involves sound output and clarity) won't matter too much to me, the most i've had my amp up to was 4 and that was more than loud enough.
My main squeeze is a
Gibson Explorer '76 Reissue
^The difference is noticeable but it isn't huge. It is big enough that I refuse to sell chrome covers to my customers because many don't realize the change in tone that it causes and they are frequently unhappy after they have them installed.

On the other hand many people prefer the thicker mid range and rolled off treble that chrome offers. Also lots of people like the loose feel to the bass so it's possible chrome could be right for you.

If you want to keep your tone as close to possible to what it is now then get nickel. If you want a smoother, darker, more mellow tone then go with chrome. If you can't send the chrom back then you might as well try them out.
Not taking any online orders.
Hopefully this doesn't count as hijacking the thread, just a question.

Gold pickup covers have the same effect you two are talking about right? (I mean "gold plated", I'm assuming it's brass or something?) I like the sound of thickening up the mid-range, and I really don't like my tone too bright.
I see. I may just try the chrome out, and if they aren't that good, I'll put them on my Epiphone which I was gonna give to a friend soon. xD

If the chrome isn't my thing, then I may get a second set of nickel, thanks again for the useful info. =]

But yeah I really only got the chrome ones since my other hardware is chrome, ah well. lol

But yeah strato, there's something about gold covers up on one of his posties.

My main squeeze is a
Gibson Explorer '76 Reissue