DIY Jobs : Remove Your Guitar’s Pickup Covers

Pickup covers – some people love ‘em, some people hate ‘em, but luckily you don’t need to live with them if you are one of the latter!  Removing the cover from your guitar’s pickup is a job so simple that even I could bungle my way through it.  Don’t believe me?  Alright, I’ll show you mister!

Before embarking on this DIY adventure make sure you are aware of the likely outcome of your endeavours.  While removing the cover may make your guitar look way more awesome, it will also affect its tonal characteristics. Most of the time, removing the cover will make your guitar sound brighter and more lively.  It will also most likely invalidate your warranty!

If you don’t have a problem with any of that then let’s have a go!  I’ll be using my cheapo Vintage V100 for this example.  I always found the tone of this guitar a little too mellow for my tastes, so I’m hoping the guitar will have a little more BALLZ by the time i’m finished! ;)

Step 1 : Remove the pickup(s)

Get rid of your strings and remove the pickups.  If your pickup has enough wire length you can get away with just flipping it over and resting it on the guitar body.  Make sure and protect the finish by placing something between the pickup and the guitar – things are about to get messy!

Step 2 : Fire Up the Soldering Iron

In the photo below I’ve highlighted the two blobs of solder that are holding the cover in place.  In order to remove the cover we’re going to need to get rid of these – duh!  So, using the tip of your soldering iron heat up the solder until it softens and wipe it away with a thick cloth.  Be careful not to burn yourself – molten metal on your skin = bad times!

Remove Guitar Pickup Cover

Luckily for me, mine had such a pitiful amount of solder that I was able to just snap it off using a flat screwdriver – good times!

Step 3 : Remove the Cover

Gently push the cover away from the baseplate using your screwdriver.  The only thing holding the cover in place now is the wax so it should come off fairly smoothly.  If you’re having trouble, try heating the pickup cover slightly with your soldering iron to soften the wax.

Clean Up the Wax After Removing the Pickup Cover

Step 4 : Clean Up the Mess

After removing the cover you are going to be left with a fairly standard looking pickup with the rather obvious exception being that it is coated in nasty looking wax.  There are a number of ways to remove this but I decided to just chip away at it with a small flat screwdriver.  I used my fingernail to remove any wax on top just to ensure I didn’t scratch any of the nice, shiny finish.

Be very careful at the end of the pickup where the wires protrude, you don’t want to accidentally chop one of these in half!

Step 5 : Reinstall

Give them a quick clean with a cloth and pop them back into your guitar, being careful to ensure they are placed exactly as they were before.  Restring and admire your handywork!

The Results

Guitar with Pickup CoversGuitar with Pickup Cover RemovedTo be honest i’m a little indifferent as to whether it looked better before or after, it’s much of a muchness really.  What has improved (for me) is the tone of the guitar – it’s definitely a lot brighter now and i’m really happy with the new sound.  Result!

Leave any tips below if you think I missed anything :)

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