The Infamous Pickle Jar Pearly Gates

Posted on by Peter

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Seymour W. Duncan and Billy Gibbons have been friends for a long time, and they’re always kicking around interesting ideas. Once upon a time Billy and Seymour had a particularly wacky brainwave: test just how hardy the Pearly Gates humbucker is by submerging it in water and seeing if it would still work. 

So they decided to try it: they submerged a very early Pearly Gates pickup into a pickle jar and tested it to see if it still had a signal. “Yes, Seymour rose to the occasion to test whether a pickup would continue to function underwater,” Billy says. “We submerged a very early example of the Seymour Duncan “Pearly Gates” model humbucking pickup into a simple Mason jar, wired to an output line to allow checking performance.” It still worked – so they decided to pop the a lid on the jar and test it again some other time. That was in May 1978. After three years they took it out again and it still read perfectly. So they popped it back in, like some kind of tonal time capsule waiting to be reopened again in the future. 

The pickle jar lives in Seymour’s office, and he and Billy still take the jar out every now and then to test the pickup. It looks pretty gnarly by now, covered in some kind of gross brown stuff that smells like a wet yeti at low tide, but it still works perfectly. 

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Written on December 16, 2015, by Peter

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