December 16, 2007

Suspended pickup blues...

by Chris Randall

I have a Silvertone archtop which I love, love, love. Of the dozen-odd guitars I have, it is my favorite. I've been thinking of electrifying it again; the pickup had been removed when I purchased it. It obviously had something like you'd see in this auction attached to it.

In looking around, it seems that there aren't a lot of options in the low-clearance department for suspended pickups. What's the skinniest little bitch out there worth a shit? Surely someone here has done this, or something similar. I don't want to put a Fishman or other vibration transducer type pickup in, because the sound isn't at all appropriate to what I do. I want a floating humbucker, basically.

EDIT: This place seems to be the joint. That Armstrong 2-D might be just the ticket. A little more than I wanted to spend (it is, in fact, three times the cost of the guitar)... I'd still rather go with a vintage solution, should one present itself.




Dec.16.2007 @ 2:29 PM
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I really dig GFS pickups. Super cheap. Chinese made of course so you'll be helping to put US boutique pickup winders out of business, but there ya go.


Dec.16.2007 @ 3:36 PM
I went through the same thing just a few days ago, and came to very much the same conclusion. I also found these
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not thin enough for my Kay, but cheaper and still pretty thin.


Dec.16.2007 @ 4:16 PM
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Dec.16.2007 @ 7:37 PM
"not thin enough for my Kay, but cheaper and still pretty thin."

BoxarBill.. which Kay do you have? I learned to play guitar on a Kay archtop from '57 or so (not sure). I liked it, but it wouldn't stay in tune for more than five minutes and ultimately, in a rage, I smashed it pete townsend style on my living room floor. It was fun and educational.. turned out the bridge had been repaired with a popsicle stick!

CR, I could have sworn you posted on here about your own Kay? Maybe that was some other blog.


Dec.16.2007 @ 8:29 PM
Chris Randall
That was back on the old version of the site. But yeah, I have a Kay. It's a flat-top, though, not an arch. Nice little guitar, but it is no match for the Silvertone, which, as far as I can tell, is _not_ a Kay. I don't know who the hell made it, but it is c. '59. I suppose a bit of research would prove it out. I've replaced the tuners and tailpiece with new Stew-Mac parts, and it is playing like a champ and stays in tune forever now. I kept the old bridge, because there was nothing wrong with it. I don't believe it is original to the guitar, though.

The Benedettos are not gonna work, really. First off, they look like shit on a '59 archtop, and second, they look like shit. Looks, unfortunately, are very important. Also, they're very clean and I want something with a bit of sauce. For that kind of cleanliness, I might as well use a Fishman and be done with it.

That Slimbucker appears to be essentially a Chinese-made version of the 2D. I don't know if it would fit; I'll have to check. I think I only have 7/16 clearance, and a 3/8 pickup, well, that's cutting it close. It may work, though.

I saw the GFS ones, but there's nfw they'll fit. I don't even have 5/8 when the strings _aren't_ pressed down. I could raise the bridge a bit, but I really like the action right now, and I don't want to fuck with it that much.



Dec.16.2007 @ 8:49 PM
Chris Randall
After some searching, it is fairly apparent that this is a Harmony-made-for-Sears; trolling through a couple hundred pictures led me to believe that this is the original Harmony:

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Model 1310. However, mine obviously has the Silvertone script logo and scrollwork instead of the Harmony ones, and is completely blond, not tobacco burst. But all else seems correct. As far as I can tell, the Silvertone version was never available with an electric option, so someone must have added it later. You can plainly see where the pickup and control box were screwed in to the guitar, and the spot where the strap button goes was drilled out to hold a jack.



Dec.16.2007 @ 8:54 PM
from what I understand, the 2-d is able to be thin because it is is handmade without a bobbin. the slimbucker is mass produced and as such, has a bobbin.

and I just realized it says almost exactly that on the site.

my kay is pretty similar to this one:
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model number as stamped inside is L384 6836
I bought from a friend who bought it at a pawn shop, so I really don't know much about it.


Dec.16.2007 @ 11:03 PM
Hell, if it's got a good neck like the Dano's it's worth getting it back to whatever will make it most usable.
You do have to decide, if you are going period whether you want what would have been on that guitar or something more uptown.

Plenty of good dealers, 30thstreetguitars, Southside, philsguitars. You could even try Fatdawg at Subway guitars but some folks can't seem to deal with him.

I have used repro handwound pickups and in a pinch they can be fine.




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