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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Bridge cover (aka "Ashtray"): Steel? Copper? Copper plated steel?

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by zmix, Mar 11, 2017.

  1. zmix

    zmix TDPRI Member

    17
    Mar 28, 2015
    New York, New York
    I've been trying to source a correct bridge cover, and I've seen a few older covers (mid 1960s) which have some wear in the chrome plating and you can see that there is copper beneath the chrome.

    Copper is non magnetic, but steel is, and so a steel cover will influence the field around the pickup, whereas a copper cover will simply provide electrostatic shielding. All of the aftermarket covers I've seen are advertised as being made of steel...

    Were the Telecaster bridge covers originally made of copper, or are they copper plated steel?


    Here is the underside of a mid 1960s bridge cover:


    [​IMG]
     

  2. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Tele-Meister

    162
    Mar 5, 2017
    West Virginia

  3. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2009
    Minnesota
    I can't give a definitive answer, but most if not all metals have a flash undercoat over the base metal so that the plating (nickel, chrome) will 'stick'. I doubt there is solid copper there. If you scrape it away you'll find steel. Unless it's copper...

    edit: uncle Bob just beat me
     

  4. zmix

    zmix TDPRI Member

    17
    Mar 28, 2015
    New York, New York
    That makes sense, I'd been aware of electroplating processes and the need for certain metals to allow proper bonding...

    So, are the bridge covers magnetic? (Meaning does a magnet stick to them - not "are they magnetized?"..!)
     

  5. Ron Garson

    Ron Garson Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    72
    May 18, 2003
    UK
    Yes, a magnet sticks to them.
     

  6. Tedzo

    Tedzo TDPRI Member

    Age:
    65
    54
    Jul 1, 2016
    Georgetown, Ca
    Here's my ashtray from my 1953 blackguard....and yes, I used it as an ashtray before I knew it was called an ashtray. Can't remember what I was smoking.


    ashtray.jpg


    IMG_6859.JPG Highly Magnetic.
     
    lycheelassi and Major Gruber like this.

  7. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Dec 29, 2010
    Illinois
    It takes the internet to find out if a cover is magnetic? There are magnets all over that thing, try it. :rolleyes: :lol: :lol: :lol:
     
    Uncle Bob likes this.

  8. zmix

    zmix TDPRI Member

    17
    Mar 28, 2015
    New York, New York
    I acquired and installed a bridge cover on my Telecaster... in spite of the internet rumors, I measured an INCREASE in output from the bridge pickup of several dB, and also the "sensitivity" was increased dramatically.. when finger picking the guitar now sounds exactly like a lapsteel.. when I remove the cover the tone is much thinner and flatter, less rich and with a less firm "footing", if you know what I mean...

    Even placing the cover over the pickup while a note is sustaining causes an audible increase in level...

    Not a subtle difference...
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017

  9. zmix

    zmix TDPRI Member

    17
    Mar 28, 2015
    New York, New York

    The internet is a very handy tool when you have a question about something that you don't have in your possession, but using the internet, you can locate a group of helpful people who do...
     
    Twisted Kerle likes this.

  10. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 24, 2012
    Colombes France
    Great point, thanks. I asked myself many questions about the bridge cover and its variations of shape (size of the openning) and wondering if there were any documentation about it (never found any), but I didn't think about magnetism. Reading this post, I can't help but thinking of the Albert Collins amazing tone, always keeping the cover on…
     
    lycheelassi and Twisted Kerle like this.

  11. pbenn

    pbenn Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 6, 2007
    Toronto
    The repro covers don't seem to have the last 1/16" of the French curve at the mouth of the bell.
     

  12. zmix

    zmix TDPRI Member

    17
    Mar 28, 2015
    New York, New York
    The brand new "Genuine Fender" telecaster bridge cover I bought in 2017 does...

    72 Tele Hood ScoopR5256710.jpg
     

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