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Taking the cover off neck pickup with 4-way switch

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by AngelStrummer, Apr 17, 2021.

  1. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

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    I want to take the cover off the neck pickup of my CV50s, which has a 4-way switch in it.

    The trouble is the cover has a wire connected to it.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

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    Won’t that that make it more susceptible to hum, and risk its windings being damaged from being touched while handling to remove cover and while playing?

    Have you considered using a plastic cover?

    If it is waxed, it might be stuck and need a judicious amount of heat to ease its removal.

    ...using a pair of diagonal cutting pliers to carefully snip that cover grounding wire?

    ...and ready with a heat gun or hair dryer or brief touch to cover with soldering pencil, to soften the wax on the cover?
     
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  3. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    Yes, two. Why? And, don’t.

    Or at least, proceed with caution.

    Is it to try and get the neck to sound clearer, less muddy or more defined?

    I’m no expert and I’ve never done it, but I do know that neck pickups can be easy to wreck when trying to take the cover off, due to the wax potting not wanting to let go. That’s why people use heat guns, hair dryers, soldering irons etc. to try and soften the wax. I guess it will depend on particular pickups and their degree of potting though.

    And also that with the cover off, it’s very easy to damage / break the winding wire. I believe you can get clear plastic covers though.

    The wire grounds / earths the cover. In traditional non series / parallel setups there’s usually just a tiny, thin wire on the pickup base connecting the cover to the actual pickup ground / earth. But, for the series / parallel mod, you need a separate earth for the neck cover. Hence your extra wire.

    So, if you do remove the cover, that ground / earth wire would be removed from the circuit too. It most likely goes to the back of a pot. Just unsolder it from there.

    Good luck.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
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  4. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    Is the ground wire from the cover a separate wire all the way to the back of the pot? Or is it tied to ground someplace else?

    Theoretically you could remove the cover with the wire still attached and remove the other end at the pot.
     
  5. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    So:

    1. The wire to the cover is a separate ground. Just unsolder that wire from the pot, and unsolder it from the cover. If you don't have the cover you don't need a separate ground wire.

    2. I don't know what kind of cover you have, but if you want a clearer sound, a nickel silver cover is almost as good as no cover.

    3. With no cover at all, you might get a string caught on the pickup and you might damage it.
     
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  6. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks. Yes I'd like to try without the cover to see if it sounds clearer.

    So if I understand correctly and assuming I go ahead, perhaps even with a plastic cover to protect the windings, would taking that ground / earth wire out of the circuit be safe?
     
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  7. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks all. So I assume that if were to use one of those "open top" covers (which look quite cool), I wouldn't need that separate ground wire either?
     
  8. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    Yes, totally safe. That particular wire is only there for grounding the cover. So, no cover means no need for it.

    Also, it’s possible to get ‘open top’ covers, which protect the windings, offer a little shielding and look cool by exposing the pole pieces. Never tried one, but apparently they open up the sound too.

    You end up with something that looks like this, but costs a whole lot less (link reflects my location, sorry, but gives you the idea).

    https://store.kandashokai.co.jp/c/gr426/gr427/gr438/00434-00101844

    Here’s one example of the actual cover.

    https://www.philadelphialuthiertool...ated-metal-open-style-tele-neck-pickup-cover/

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  9. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks man. So no ground / earth wire for an open top cover either?
     
  10. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

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    Usually there is a cover ground and a pickup ground. Sometimes they are connected and sometimes they are landed to the controls grounds separately but doesn’t matter.
     
  11. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi again.

    You’d need to transfer the ground wire to the new cover. In theory.

    Where exactly is it attached to the cover now? Is it coming off the cover tab that goes through the base? You’d have to take it off anyway to remove the cover, and you could just stick it back there on a new cover.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  12. dougstrum

    dougstrum Friend of Leo's

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    I've removed a couple of covers; it's a delicate operation. I have a 50/50 success rate. It makes a difference but not sure it's worth the trouble. I wrapped tape around uncovered neck pickup to keep high E from getting caught on the bobbin.
    A plastic cover would be the trick. Without a metal cover the covers ground wire is superfluous~
     
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  13. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

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    In theory, understood. What about in practice? If the normal cover touches the poles, then wouldn't an open top cover not need the ground / earth wire, just like a plastic cover?

    Right now the wire is attached to the centre cover tab that goes through the base of the pickup.
     
  14. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    You don’t actually need it for sound or safety (“it” being the neck cover ground only!).

    But, if you want shielding, you need it. The open top covers do, if my understanding is correct, still provide a degree of shielding. Depending on where you are playing, that could matter.

    Personally, since it would only take a moment, I’d keep it.

    Also, removing the wire completely means unsoldering both ends. Since the other end is probably grounded together with other wires on the back of a pot, removing it will (probably) also mean resoldering / reconnecting, or at least reflowing those other wires it was grounded with at the pot. So, just removing it from the current cover and soldering it to a new cover seems like the least work / easiest approach. To me anyway.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  15. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Afflicted

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    I did this last weekend.

    De-solder the ground wire, use the iron to heat the cover. It didn't take much heat to loosen the cover from the wax so start slow and don't over do it.

    Install the new cover Bend the tabs in place then use the iron to heat it again, just a bit.

    American Deluxe in the middle before
    IMG_20210327_171109.jpg

    And after

    IMG_20210411_154630.jpg

    Someone will correct me if I'm wrong but you need that extra ground wire to make use of the 4 way. At least whenever I see a 4 way there's either an extra ground wire on the neck pickup or an extra on the bridge.
     
  16. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    You're overthinking it.

    Depending on your pickups (you never mention what) you might not get any noticable difference in tone. If you have a nickle silver cover already I'd ask why bother?

    What you're asking is safe if you have all a hint of experience. You're not going to get electrocuted.

    Open cover will still require the ground. Just because it has the open top doesnt excuse it from certain properties.

    Plenty of discussion on tdpri on those types of covers. Look up antiguateles excellent breakdown on eddy currents, covers, pickups, etc. Great insight from knowledgable people in those discussions on this subject.
     
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  17. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    If you want an uncovered neck pickup, don’t waste your time and tempt fate — just buy an uncovered one (such as Rob’s Cavalier ones). Yes you will get better tone but watch out when bending your high E string as the uncovered sides under the top bobbin, even though taped, can snag the string. Nasty things can result if it digs into the winding... Ask me how I know this!
     
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  18. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

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    Or maybe practice by removing and modifying the cover on a spare and relatively cheap pickup that you have left over from another project?
     
  19. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks all for your useful contributions, all very helpful.

    Update: I've now changed the pickup cover to an open top cover, as you can see in the picture below.

    It took a while because I had to fit the new cover twice - the first time, when I soldered the ground wire to it, the switch would only go bridge/bridge/neck/neck. So I de-soldered the ground wire, took the cover off, re-taped the windings, slightly widened the cover, put it back on carefully and re-soldered the ground wire. Also my soldering skills are amateurish, at best...

    Now it works perfectly and it is noticeably clearer than before. Not night and day (which I wasn't aiming for), just worth the effort and I'm very pleased, both with the mod and with what I've learned. Looks cool too.

    Open Top.jpg
     
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  20. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    I've used those open-top Tele neck pickup covers from PLS on a couple of Teles. They're very nice!

    I buy the cheap nickle-silver un-plated version - they polish up beautifully and age very gracefully :).

    Like this one:

    Unplated Metal OPEN STYLE Tele Neck Pickup cover - Philadelphia Luthier Tools & Supplies, LLC


    .
     
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