Are Duosonic the same as Fender Stratocaster pickups?

The basic difference is Duosonic pickups have flush magnets on top and slightly raised on the bottom. The alnico magnets are all .625″ long magnet as compared to the Stratocaster poles that are staggered. The bridge pickup is usually south polarity and wound clockwise (TL-TG) and the neck pickup on a Duosonic is north polarity and wound counter-clockwise (TL-TC). The early Duosonic pickups are wound with […] Continue Reading

What is the dark waxy material on my old Fender pickups?

Leo Fender used an industrial wax that included lamp-black. I believe using lamp black which is a form of carbon is conductive and might add to the sound of the older pickups. It’s just a thought but it was also used to identify pickups that have been completed and to cover the lighter string used to wrap coils. The early Broadcaster, No-Caster, Telecaster, Esquire and single […] Continue Reading

Do guitar companies design their own pickups?

Many companies such as Fender, Gibson, Guild and Gretsch have designed and build their own pickups. They can use other outside companies to make pickups for a clients particular need or sound. DeArmond made many pickups for other companies such as Gretsch and Guild Guitars during the 50s and 60s. Since I can recall the Carvin Guitar Company has made their pickups and sold them in […] Continue Reading

I had an old “Mighty Mite” single coil that was damaged and the coil was very hard to remove, how come?

Mighty Mite pickups were made at a Southern California company called Turbo-Jet and the bobbins were wound using a bondable wire. After the bobbins were wound, the coils were heated in ovens and the special insulation would bond to each other making a solid coil. The coils were difficult to remove if the bobbin needed rewinding or turns needed to be removed. There are other bondable […] Continue Reading

What guitars had the first pickups?

There is controversy to this subject which I am currently researching. From around 1920-1924 Lloyd Loar worked for Gibson and some of his early pickups were said to be found by Walter Fuller when he joined Gibson around 1933. Lloyd Loar left Gibson earlier to form the Vivi-Tone company and had taken pickup designs with him. Several players stated that some of the early phonograph cartridges […] Continue Reading

Who first commercially used pickups as a standard item?

Probably the first commercially that used an electromagnetic pickup was Rickenbacker with the Frying Pan guitar with horseshoe magnet pickup. Dobro and National instruments started becoming electrified even thought the demand was not that great. Around 1935 while working at Gibson, Walt Fuller started making the ES-150 Pickup (Charlie Christian as it is called) and using it on the ES-150 Guitar. At that time the same […] Continue Reading

Who invents guitar pickups?

Often guitar companies design pickups in house and use engineers to design and work on projects. At times the owner of the company will use his name as the inventor even though they didn’t design the pickup. Often times a pickup design may be used with no patent on the design and later be patented by some other company that applied for it. Often a company […] Continue Reading

How can I tell if I have a newer or older type Gibson pickup?

This can be quite involved if you’re not an experienced collector or have knowledge with regards to the history of various models. There have been many changes throughout the history of Gibson pickups. There are many styles and models of Gibson pickups and I would suggest having an experienced collector look at your instrument. I’ve often looked at photos, but it is hard to determine the […] Continue Reading

What is the history of the Charlie Christian pickup? The ES-150, EH-150 and other custom pickups?

I have general information about the ES-150 Gibson pickup nick-named “The Charlie Christian” pickup. There are several models with different specifications that I am currently researching. There are bobbins fabricated in different shapes, different blades, various cobalt steel magnets used and several coil specifications to be evaluated. The ES (Electric Spanish) models and EH (Electric Hawaiian) models along with Mandolins and custom instruments use the same […] Continue Reading

Were pickups designed by employees of a guitar company?

Many of the pickups designed at Fender were designed by Leo Fender and I’m sure suggestions were issued by players and employees. The same goes for the many models designed at Gibson by Walt Fuller, Guy Hart and especially for Gibson’s most successful pickup, designed by Seth E. Lover, the “Patent Applied For” humbucker. Seth was very much into Amateur Radio and liked experimenting with inductors […] Continue Reading