Most unique sounding pickups

j.s.c

Country Gent
Aug 19, 2008
3,625
france
Also let’s not forget p13s, and minihumbuckers!

Yes Sir !

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These two were being made by Gibson.

But btw, ALL DEARMONDS require guitarists' attention ! 200x models (dynasonics) for sure, but all type of foils pickups (gold, silver, moustache) are really great expressive and powerful pickups.

I'm in for the lipstick too, and I will add the speedbump they came with some Kays (like the red speedemon for instance)...
 

Byron

Country Gent
Sep 4, 2009
1,174
uk
VISTATONES! as found on Supro guitars. They are basically the same design as Hi Lotrons but appeared a few years before and sound better.
 

BohemianLikeMe

Synchromatic
Apr 18, 2020
680
Prague, CZ
I'm in for the lipstick too, and I will add the speedbump they came with some Kays (like the red speedemon for instance)...
Big regret here in not keeping my old Kay Jack White archtop with the speedbump. That thing sounded great.

I'm pretty sure Kay did their pickups in house which makes them pretty unique. The Kleenex-box Barney Kessels are pretty cool too.

I don't know how typical their construction is, but vintage Hagstrom single coils are great too-- they don't sound anything like your Fender tele/strat coils-- much hotter and punchier.

Speaking of hot and punchy, I've always wanted to try a real Mosrite style pickup.
 

BohemianLikeMe

Synchromatic
Apr 18, 2020
680
Prague, CZ
VISTATONES! as found on Supro guitars. They are basically the same design as Hi Lotrons but appeared a few years before and sound better.
Were Vistatones the really hot single coil pickups that look like humbuckers Supro put on the J.B. Hutto and Lexington models?

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Incidentally, I'd love to get my hands on a Supro Lexington someday.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,853
Tucson
Piezos . . . a unique and irritating sound. Immediately causes many to think "fake acoustic" like no other.
I hate that sound. However, a piezo blended with an internal mic’ can sound good.
 

ForTheLoveOfIvy

Gretschie
Feb 28, 2022
194
London
Big regret here in not keeping my old Kay Jack White archtop with the speedbump. That thing sounded great.

I'm pretty sure Kay did their pickups in house which makes them pretty unique. The Kleenex-box Barney Kessels are pretty cool too.

I don't know how typical their construction is, but vintage Hagstrom single coils are great too-- they don't sound anything like your Fender tele/strat coils-- much hotter and punchier.

Speaking of hot and punchy, I've always wanted to try a real Mosrite style pickup.
Yeah I really like how Bloodshot Bill's guitar sounds with that neck Kleenex box pickup.
 

jvin248

Gretschie
May 16, 2017
170
Near Detroit
.

Rummage through the old 60s-Teisco and early 70s-Lawsuit-era guitars!

Many of the Lawsuit models had what looked like humbuckers but if you opened them up they were a large single coil more like a P90 stuffed under a humbucker shell so buyers thought they got something extra during the humbucker patent coverage.

This is my 1963 Teisco with Jazzmaster-like pickups. I expected a toy sound because the guitar only weighs five and a half pounds, but after fixing it up so it played due to severe backbow in the neck only fixed with removing and regluing the fretboard plus refretting it has a monster tone. Slightly later they switched the Tulip model to Strat-like single coils and put their spring trem on them.

img_20190511_175233b.jpg


Of course, there is the Cooder Caster that caused the demise of many a Teisco guitar ... Recently boutique winders started making clones of the cheap gold foils copying the secrets from those old trashy kids guitars from the 60s.
iu




.
 

Shadowy_Man

Synchromatic
May 18, 2020
579
Chicago
Lots of unique mentions. One that strikes my fancy are Jaguar pickups . . .very spanky and bitey w/o being thin. Much of their sound could be attributed to the quirks of the guitar, but they do seem to occupy a very specific tonal space.

Jaguar pickups are superficially similar to Strat pickups, but I think the metal claws add to their inductance and help give them that prominent resonant peak sound.
 

mister rain

Synchromatic
Apr 23, 2020
735
new orleans
Firebird pickups are a bit of a hidden gem. I don't see them often, and a lot of folks seem to assume they're standard Gibson mini hums but they're not. They are bright and spanky like a single coil, just without the hum. Very twangy in the bridge. Utterly wonderful.
neil young sure seems to like his…
 

mister rain

Synchromatic
Apr 23, 2020
735
new orleans
Yeah, definitely a unique sound. Not one I like very much (except in rare occasions) but it's certainly one of a kind.

I think the only time I actually heard a piezo acoustic guitar sound I liked was when the late Mark Linkus of Sparklehorse was playing in Chicago once. He took his piezo-equiped acoustic and ran it into a DS-1 and into a Fender Twin. It should have sounded terrible, but somehow it sounded... quite good in a lofi kind of way? It was absolutely bizarre.
jealous. bet that was a show.
 

Shadowy_Man

Synchromatic
May 18, 2020
579
Chicago
Franzes are supposed to be great, but I'll confess I've never heard them in person and I don't know if anyone does repros.

Guild sells them:

 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,853
Tucson
Firebird pickups are a bit of a hidden gem. I don't see them often, and a lot of folks seem to assume they're standard Gibson mini hums but they're not. They are bright and spanky like a single coil, just without the hum. Very twangy in the bridge. Utterly wonderful.
I know little about these pickups, but I’d love to learn more. Finding one to play is a bit of a challenge.
Lots of unique mentions. One that strikes my fancy are Jaguar pickups . . .very spanky and bitey w/o being thin. Much of their sound could be attributed to the quirks of the guitar, but they do seem to occupy a very specific tonal space.
Jaguar pickups are superficially similar to Strat pickups, but I think the metal claws add to their inductance and help give them that prominent resonant peak sound.
Answering both quoted posts.

Jaguars, IMHO, are quite misunderstood. As I see it, the Jaguar is sort of a Telecaster in a tuxedo. It’s a very bright guitar, with a unique voice, and a unique feel. It doesn’t make a great deal of sense, in one way, because the scale is so short. It shouldn’t be as spanky as it is, but it is capable of chicken pickin’ like a Tele. When I had my CIJ ‘66 Jaguar RI, I was in a band with another guitarist, who played a Tele. I took one solo and he visibly reacted at how much it sounded like his Telecaster.

As I understand it, the pickups are pretty much the same as a Strat, but as Shadowy Man mentions, the claw changes things. I recently listened to an unboxing video of a Squier CV Jaguar, and that sound was unmistakable. The one thing they don’t sound like is a Strat. It’s not exactly like a Tele, but it’s not completely unlike a Tele, either.

Both a Jaguar and a Tele have a powerful sound, but the heft is different. I would credit this to the bridge design. Telecaster bridges are anchored to granite, Jaguar bridges are set on pylons. The behavior of the string vibration is different because of this, so the pickups are sensing something different.
 


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