Apr 15, 2015

Metal Humbucker Pickup Covers Review

          Looking to change the look of one or more of my guitars, I decided to take a chance on some cheap metal pickup covers from Amazon for new style without a lot of work or money.  Worth the low price?  Maybe...

          There were a couple qualities I was hoping for in these pickups.  First, durability, that they would hold up to shipping and to being scratched with a pick.  Second, that they wouldn't affect the tone or sound significantly or add hum.  Third, that they would actually improve the looks of the guitar overall.  And most importantly, that they would fit well in the guitar.

          First I chose to try installing them into my Schecter Omen 6.  Note the unfortunate use of the word "try".  The pickups covers were just a hair too big, and the corners too square to fit within the cavity or the pickup rings.  Even after some adjustments and trimming to the pickup ring it became clear that they would not fit without modifying the body at least a bit.  Not willing to do this for some slightly questionable pickups, I surrendered that project.

          Fortunately there was another suitable candidate for this project, and a much less expensive one as well.  Although only having one humbucker to change, I could install the cover into my Rogue Rocketeer HSS style guitar.  Unlike the Schecter, the routing was wide enough to accompany the pickup with it's new cover, although the pickup ring still required some sanding to fit, the pickup was perfectly flush afterwards.

           I'd like to say, "happily ever after" at this point, but that's not quite true.  Because unfortunately, the pickup covers are spaced for Floyd Rose bridges, and thus 42 mm rather than 40mm and did not quite line up with the pickup poles.  Sigh.  On the bright side, the difference is relatively minimal and only visible up close, with no effect on the sound.

          Speaking of the sound, how exactly did these pickup covers do?  In terms of changing the tone... pretty well.  The difference was minimal at most, and seemed to just take a little of the "bite" off of the attacks, which isn't a bad thing.

          How about promoting feedback or hum?  Before installing the cover, I put a strip of Gorilla Tape (thick duct tape) on the inside of it to provide a layer of insulation between the pickup and the metal.  That was simple enough and seemed to do the trick - hum is not a problem at all, though there is a slight increase in feedback from the cover vibrating at high volumes.  Not much of a problem.

The Good:
     Very inexpensive, under $8 for the matching pair
     Pretty well made and relatively good-looking and durable

The Bad:
     Took a month to ship
     Some increase in feedback
     Doesn't fit in a lot of guitars

          Overall?  For cheap pickup covers these are alright, about what I expected to be frank.  The quality was surprisingly good for the low price, but the simple fact that it didn't work without modification in one guitar, and didn't work at all in the other is more than a little disappointing.  I'd say if you have a 42mm bridge guitar with F-spaced pickups, this is a fine choice for a cheap change of style.  Otherwise... it's okay but you could do better.

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