Most unique sounding pickups

BohemianLikeMe

Synchromatic
Apr 18, 2020
776
Prague, CZ
jealous. bet that was a show.
It had amazing moments, but Linkus was in a pretty bad way at the time IIRC. I remember thinking he wasn’t long for the world. What loss that was.
Guild sells them:

huh. I wonder how vintage correct they are?

Re: acoustics and amps

I find it weird how much piezoelectric pickups and dedicated acoustic amps became the de facto “acoustic” sound. It just sounds so sterile to me. My favorite acoustic tones are usually fairly primitive soundhole pickups (Rowes, Dearmonds) into a tube guitar amp. That’s the Lightnin Hopkins sound, but the frontman from Gold Star, Marlon Rabenreither also does something similar with a Martin and a Fender Princeton or Tweed and it sounds glorious. It doesn’t sound like an electric at all- you have all the attack and tone of an acoustic, but you do get the warmth, compression, and grit of a tube amp.

 
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BohemianLikeMe

Synchromatic
Apr 18, 2020
776
Prague, CZ
I probably shouldn't let the cat out of the bag on this one, but speaking of 60s/70s pickups-- Jolana pickups are surprisingly great for being Eastern Bloc guitars. They're not great to play unfortunately, but I might scoop up a pair for another project.

 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,387
Tucson
I probably shouldn't let the cat out of the bag on this one, but speaking of 60s/70s pickups-- Jolana pickups are surprisingly great for being Eastern Bloc guitars. They're not great to play unfortunately, but I might scoop up a pair for another project.


That is a great sound. Any more information on these?
 

BohemianLikeMe

Synchromatic
Apr 18, 2020
776
Prague, CZ
That is a great sound. Any more information on these?
Not much in English, but I can translate a bit for people that are interested.

Josef Růžička, the founder of Jolana and master builder is sometimes called the Czech Leo Fender, but he really has more in common in lots of ways with the older tradition of the German and Czech luthiers and violin making familes who practiced their trade in Bohemia and Eastern Germany through the 19th and 20th centuries. (Many of these families, incidentally were deported at the end of WWII during the resettlement and the Beneš Decrees, so there's kind of a line from the Czech guitars to the German guitar brands like Hofner and Hopf in German "Cremona")

ruzicka_snimac_resonet.jpg


Jolana started off making archtops, then shifted to various hollowbody and solidbody guitar designs, some of which were imported in the West branded as Selmers and Futuramas, actually.

The pickups in the video clip above are Brillant de Luxes, which are sort of like Jolana's version of a P90, as far as I understand it. They made other smaller pickups and also weird humbuckers like these from the Jolana "Disko":

c5737a15ec67dc6779fce95e00a75d10.jpg
 
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fretbuzzard

Gretschie
Apr 18, 2009
253
Not here.
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.
Same, but I would definitely have to find a set mounted to a non-Firebird guitar to try; Firebirds are an ergonomic no-go for me. I do like the idea of a bright and spanky single-coil that doesn't hum.
 

Hodgo88

Electromatic
Jun 26, 2022
11
Eastern Oregon
Firebirds are ergonomic nightmares for sure, particularly sitting. But they sure look neat :) The pickups will fit in mini-hum and P90 routes with adapter rings, Lollar sells them.

PXL_20220614_040141551~2.jpg
 

wildeman

I Bleed Orange
May 10, 2015
16,203
norcal
Yes Sir !

View attachment 183534


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)...
Dude, yessss. How could I forget the P13? Here's a 1948 version. IMG_20220630_151658633.jpg
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,387
Tucson
Not much in English, but I can translate a bit for people that are interested.

Josef Růžička, the founder of Jolana and master builder is sometimes called the Czech Leo Fender, but he really has more in common in lots of ways with the older tradition of the German and Czech luthiers and violin making familes who practiced their trade in Bohemia and Eastern Germany through the 19th and 20th centuries. (Many of these families, incidentally were deported at the end of WWII during the resettlement and the Beneš Decrees, so there's kind of a line from the Czech guitars to the German guitar brands like Hofner and Hopf in German "Cremona")

Jolana started off making archtops, then shifted to various hollowbody and solidbody guitar designs, some of which were imported in the West branded as Selmers and Futuramas, actually.

The pickups in the video clip above are Brillant de Luxes, which are sort of like Jolana's version of a P90, as far as I understand it. They made other smaller pickups and also weird humbuckers like these from the Jolana "Disko":
I rewatched the original clip and I can hear some resemblance to P-90s, although it’s somewhat different. Whatever the case, I like that sound. Thanks for publishing that info about Jolana.
Same, but I would definitely have to find a set mounted to a non-Firebird guitar to try; Firebirds are an ergonomic no-go for me. I do like the idea of a bright and spanky single-coil that doesn't hum.

Firebirds are ergonomic nightmares for sure, particularly sitting. But they sure look neat :) The pickups will fit in mini-hum and P90 routes with adapter rings, Lollar sells them.
As to looks, Firebirds are among my favorites, but they don’t look comfortable to play.
 

GlenP

Country Gent
Jul 23, 2019
2,461
WA
I have never actually played or heard them in person, but am curious to try out the G&L Comanche with Z-coil pickups. (Sorry but no lefty available.)

Don’t know of any local dealer that has one. Glen Campbell played one custom made for him in some of the concert footage in his movie I’ll Be Me.
 
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Smeigel_12000

Electromatic
Dec 21, 2013
9
Netherlands
The Guild LB-1 mini buckers are quite unique sounding imho. Something between a paf and a strat. I guess a filtertron comes close to it but the LB-1 is a bit fuller sounding (more bass i guess).
 

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Emergence

Synchromatic
May 25, 2022
555
New York
I was always a fan of PRS coil splitting. I liked the bridge humbucker with the single coil neck and the single coil bridge with the neck humbucker. PRS wasn’t just about pretty. They did things that no other manufacturer did as well. I had a chance to buy one with moons, not birds, but with a mortgage, a wife starting a business, and two kids and a daughter in law all in school there wasn’t much extra. Now? I’m smarter than back then. I can afford pretty much anything I want but I know that a new guitar won’t make me a better player.
 

jfassett

Synchromatic
Dec 9, 2017
809
Tucson
Danelectro / ARTEC Lipstick pickups are for sure unique sounding ones... Moreover they work well with Gretsch HS FT :

hMpgLb-DIY-Guitar-Trio-31-01-2021.jpg


Gold Foil pickups (RI or not : same 50s construction) used on Supro and the like should be considered as unique tone as well :

oJEPIb-picksupro3.jpg


A+!
I had a Supro westbury that i let go. As much as I loved the goldfoils tone, I just never bonded with the feel of the guitar. Kind of a bummer!
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,387
Tucson
The Guild LB-1 mini buckers are quite unique sounding imho. Something between a paf and a strat. I guess a filtertron comes close to it but the LB-1 is a bit fuller sounding (more bass i guess).
I have a set in a T-400, and they are an interesting sounding pickup. Not entirely unlike a Filtertron, but not entirely like one, either.
 


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