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Thread: The Bizarre Guitar Pickup Encyclopedia

  1. #11
    Axellent Member Mreilander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spellcaster View Post
    Mike, I'd be really interested in any light you can shed on the design of the Japanese pickups. Some of them are really quite distinctive sounding, and I'm wondering if they're regular single coils, or P90's or something else. Is there something about the magnet type or gauge of wiring that gives them that special quality?
    They're really all over the map. and mostly unique unto themselves.




    This pickup, which the web page lists as a Martin copy, I have seen mostly under the Teisco brand. It has small ceramic magnets in between each of the screws and a coupling plate on the bottom. The bobbin resembles a humbucker blade bobbin. Most of the single coils on that page are a variation of this pickup. The beauty ring may differ slightly, but the guts are the same.






    This pickup, I have only seen under the Kay brand. It is a very thin pickup. The bobbin is made of paper, and is wrapped around a rubber ferrite magnet if my memory serves.







    This is probably the most interesting design. It looks like a humbucker, but it's not. It's a single coil, and the screw poles are not going through the coil. The coil sits opposite the screws with little magnets through the coil. There is a piece of steel that couples the magnets to the screw poles. The screw poles are functional and do alter the tone /output when adjusted.

    Here's a pic of one disassembled
    Last edited by Mreilander; 12-12-2016 at 12:44 PM.

  2. #12
    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mreilander View Post
    They're really all over the map. and mostly unique unto themselves.
    And that is one of the reasons there are people who seek out these old guitars.
    They don't have to be playable (& some were barely so when they were new--others were playable)
    They want the pickups--although it seems like a niche market--the people into them are very INTO them.

    In a sense the whole guitar gear/accessories market is a niche market in the big scheme of things.
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

  3. #13
    Axellent Member Mreilander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zontar View Post
    And that is one of the reasons there are people who seek out these old guitars.
    They don't have to be playable (& some were barely so when they were new--others were playable)
    They want the pickups--although it seems like a niche market--the people into them are very INTO them.

    In a sense the whole guitar gear/accessories market is a niche market in the big scheme of things.
    Hey Zontar,
    I accidentally posted before I finished There's more info in that post now if you're interested.

  4. #14
    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mreilander View Post
    Hey Zontar,
    I accidentally posted before I finished There's more info in that post now if you're interested.
    Cool--thanks--nice examples of the "All over the map" you mentioned.
    I've seen some of those before--and others I haven't.
    But it's all cool to check out
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

  5. #15
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info, Mike. I'd tried to do some reading on the subject, but couldn't seem to find a common thread as far as the design went....and now I see why. The rubber magnets are an interesting twist. I also noticed several comments about how thin some of these pickups are. I get the impression that there's not many modern pickups that are likely to emulate the sound of the old MIJ units. And, I did find one comment on Reddit that the modern copies of the gold foil designs don't tend to sound much like the originals.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  6. #16
    Axellent Member Mreilander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spellcaster View Post
    Thanks for all the info, Mike. I'd tried to do some reading on the subject, but couldn't seem to find a common thread as far as the design went....and now I see why. The rubber magnets are an interesting twist. I also noticed several comments about how thin some of these pickups are. I get the impression that there's not many modern pickups that are likely to emulate the sound of the old MIJ units. And, I did find one comment on Reddit that the modern copies of the gold foil designs don't tend to sound much like the originals.
    Most of them don't. They're just taking off the shelf parts and dressing them up to look like gold foils. There are a few though, that are using the proper rubber ferrite and getting parts made specifically to properly reproduce them.

  7. #17
    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    I know some people just want the look, so the ones that look like it are good for them, but harder to get if you want the sound
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

  8. #18
    Axellent Member Mreilander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spellcaster View Post
    I get the impression that there's not many modern pickups that are likely to emulate the sound of the old MIJ units. And, I did find one comment on Reddit that the modern copies of the gold foil designs don't tend to sound much like the originals.
    Quote Originally Posted by zontar View Post
    I know some people just want the look, so the ones that look like it are good for them, but harder to get if you want the sound
    Hmm, you guys woke up the ol' hamster wheel in my head. Waiting on a quote for a stamping die

  9. #19
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    Now I'm getting excited.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  10. #20
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mreilander View Post
    Hmm, you guys woke up the ol' hamster wheel in my head. Waiting on a quote for a stamping die
    Best news all day!
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

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