Lollar Pickups Primer: The 3-Wire Tele Modification

teleactionA 4-way switch mod for Tele style guitars has always been a fun, “secret sauce” menu item for discerning guitar players. We don’t offer a pickup set that will work with it as a standard option but if you ask nicely we just might make one for you…

The standard three-way-switch gives you the three classic Tele position we all know and love. Neck pickup alone, neck + bridge in parallel, and bridge pickup alone – A tone formula that’s had the ladies swoonin’ and shakin’ since 1951. The 4-way Tele mod (TELE 4 WAY PDF) introduces a new position, the neck and bridge combo in series, which can give any Tele player a bit more versatility.

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Body Mount? Pickguard Mount? Wha? Choosing Your Charlie Mounting Options

CC Blacka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discerning tone connoisseurs have known about our Charlie Christian pickups for a while now – Tim Lerch’s tasty chops have seen to that:

But one question we do get quite a bit – What is the major difference between the two mounting options we provide for the Tele neck version of a Charlie? Body mount or pickguard mount? Which do I need? (that’s actually three questions, but who’s counting?)

First, the biggest difference is how they attach to your guitar. The CC for Tele body mount attaches directly to the body, with no visibly pickup screws on the pickguard. Some say attaching pickups to the body gives the tone a bit more of that “woody” resonance. Pickguard mount is exactly that – the CC is mounted to your pickgaurd and the three mounting screws are visible on the pickguard. We don’t find much of a tone difference between the two methods – in general, height adjustments are easier to make on the pickguard mount version. Plus, the pickgaurd mount is a lot easier to install correctly. Getting the body mount version straight and even to line up with the hole in the pickguard takes some skill and effort to accomplish.

Physically, the two pickups are almost identical. The body mount features larger, untapped holes that allow the mounting screws to pass through them into the body. The pickguard mount features smaller, tapped holes designed to allow the pickup to hang from the pickguard via 3 adjustment screws.

Last but not least, because of the variation in mounting styles, there is a subtle difference in the size of the rout for the body of your guitar.  Below are the routing diagrams of the body mount and the pickguard mount:

CC FOR TELE Routing Body mount template

CC TELE PICKGAURD MOUNT VERSION 2013

One more thing… here’s a video of Jason installing a body mount version:

http://www.lollarguitars.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=charlie-christian-pickup-installation

If you have any other questions, please contact us at info@lollarguitars.com. Happy tone hunting!
 

You’ve Got Lollartron Questions? ¿Que? We’ve Got Answers!

tron-guy

Tron Guy loves Lollartrons

Jason was kind enough to sit down with us and answer a few frequently asked questions about our newest sensation, the Lollartron humbucker. Check it out below:

You can also check out the Lollartron page on our website here.

Small in Stature, Big in Tone

minihbfirebird

The Firebird and Mini-Humbucker might be the two of the most underrated and misunderstood pickups that are available today. These two designs are as versatile and complex as any of the pickups we make, and many discerning players are taking advantage of their unique capabilities in order to expand their tonal options.

Pickups in the “mini” family have a different tone than the larger PAF for various reasons; some apply to all the smaller ‘buckers and some are specific to each design. All of these secondary pickups share a smaller size, 2-5/8” X 1-1/8”. The narrower width of these pickups (1-1/8” compared to 1-1/2”) senses a shorter length of string vibration. This makes the pickup  sense higher harmonics generated by the string, which gives you a slightly brighter and more focused sound due to the smaller size.

The internal constructions of these little guys are also a huge part of the tone. A Mini-humbucker is made like a miniature PAF pickup, with one bar magnet positioned under each coil with adjustable pole pieces made out of a ferrous alloy and the other coil containing a ferrous metal bar that is not adjustable. This corresponds to a PAF with adjustable poles in one coil and a series of metal slugs in the other coil. A Firebird on the other hand, has a bar magnet in each coil. Each coil is wound around the bar magnet, one coil is south up and the other is north up. The inductance properties of steel and alnico magnet grades are very different. Also the magnetic field shape and strength are different between the Mini-Humbucker and the Firebird which gives them different characteristics.
Steel cores tend to have a higher inductance- you get more bass and more output verses an alnico magnet core. That gives Mini-Humbucker a smoother attack with more sustain and you’ll get more of a grind to the tone when you push your amp into distortion. Traditional Firebird pickups have a tighter, “spankier” tone that stays more defined when you really crank up your amp.

Not to be left out, Johnny Smith pickups are a hybrid of both the Mini-Humbucker and Firebird; they combine some of the clarity of a Firebird with the smoother attack of the mini. It’s actually quite a clever invention- one coil has a bar magnet in it like a Firebird but the pickup has a bottom plate made out of steel that is tapped and threaded to hold adjustable pole pieces for the second coil.  The magnetism travels from the bottom of the bar magnet along the steel plate to the adjustable pole pieces.

One thing to note if you’re thinking about Lollar-izing a guitar with these mini-marvels is our sizes are bit larger than the vintage specs. Our pickups covers for Mini-Humbuckers and Firebirds are slightly longer than vintage mini or firebird pickup covers. Vintage covers are 2.587” X 1.87” which translates to 2-19/32” X 1-3/32”. New covers are 2.687” X 1.87” which translates to fractions as 2-11/16” X 1-3/32”. New covers are 3/32” longer than vintage pickups but they will still fit in a vintage route with a new size ring mounts you can order from us.

These small humbuckers were never very popular when they were first introduced- they tended to be overly microphonic and too bright. Recently they have come back in to the spotlight. If they are made correctly they can be a very good pickup! You can mount a mini bucker or a Firebird into any guitar that currently has soapbar P-90 pickups installed. The conversion is very simple to do – it uses a special P-90 soapbar cover size adapter. We also take orders daily for players wanted use them as neck pickups in Teles for a nice spin on a classic style.

Visit our website for a series of videos showing different ways to mount and install Mini-Humbuckers and Firebirds. http://www.lollarguitars.com/mini-humbucker-installation.shtml

Lollar Pickups and VintageGitar Norway!

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We are pleased to announce that VintageGitar has been named as the exclusive distributor for Lollar pickups in Norway. Arne and his crew are experts on all things Lollar, and are ready to spread the word from Mandal to Hammerfest. Velkommen!

norway

Vintagegitar Norway
www.vintagegitar.no
Skolegata 9
6509 Kristiansund
Norway
Tel: 71 67 33 50
POST@vintagegitar.no