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LP Custom Surprise

Postby John Egan » Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:59 am

I have owned my 1978 Les Paul Custom for 20+ years. Last week, for the first time, I decided to check what pickups were in it. To my surprise, they turned out to be a pair of elderly (1978-ish)Seymour Duncan JBs. Usually, I only check pickups if I am thinking of changing them and these didn't need to be touched as they sound great, but different from modern JBs. as they dont have such a pronounced mid range hump.
I wondered if any one else had experience of these pickups.
Regards, John
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Re: LP Custom Surprise

Postby Wonks » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:25 pm

Interesting post, but I haven't heard anything like that before. SD made the first JBs in 1977, so your pickups were probably some of the first ever made, and presumably swapped very early on in the guitar's life. DiMarzio were the replacement pickups that were normally seen in UK shops at the time, maybe with some of the cheaper Mighty Mites, SD seemed to be available to the UK sometime in the early '80s. With no web at the time, you were reliant on the guitar mags and music papers for finding out about these things.

I'm in a similar situation to you with respect to a 1993 Hamer USA Sunburst (though finished like a black LP Custom) with SD P90's. Not sure if they were even a production model or if SD just made them for Hamer. I can't find them on the SD pickup timeline as there's no mention of a P90 until the P90 stacked in 1999. But there's no direct equivalent model number for a modern version though they now do several P90 types. They are very punchy, and the neck pup could do with being be a little less thick-sounding, so I may replace it.
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Re: LP Custom Surprise

Postby John Egan » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:46 pm

Wonks wrote:Interesting post, but I haven't heard anything like that before. SD made the first JBs in 1977, so your pickups were probably some of the first ever made, and presumably swapped very early on in the guitar's life. DiMarzio were the replacement pickups that were normally seen in UK shops at the time, maybe with some of the cheaper Mighty Mites, SD seemed to be available to the UK sometime in the early '80s. With no web at the time, you were reliant on the guitar mags and music papers for finding out about these things.

I'm in a similar situation to you with respect to a 1993 Hamer USA Sunburst (though finished like a black LP Custom) with SD P90's. Not sure if they were even a production model or if SD just made them for Hamer. I can't find them on the SD pickup timeline as there's no mention of a P90 until the P90 stacked in 1999. But there's no direct equivalent model number for a modern version though they now do several P90 types. They are very punchy, and the neck pup could do with being be a little less thick-sounding, so I may replace it.

Hi Wonks,
I'm told by people who should know that you can date Seymour pickups roughly by the labels, if they're still attached. Apparently the earliest ones had lettering in navy blue or black and used the term "Seymourized". These were often repaired or improved pickups, reusing the original bobbins, etc. and were wound, most likely, by Seymour himself. After this, they had the labels with red lettering, like mine, which I'm told were made round about '78 or '79. When pickups were wound by other employees, they initialled the labels in ink. I did wonder if my pickups could have been original equipment or a special factory order, given their date, but the experts tell me not.
I got most of this from the US Les Paul forums, but there are also interviews with Seymour Duncan, which appeared in some of the US guitar magazines. Like you, I haven't found references to P90s until the late '90s, It might be worth asking on the forums about them. There are some interesting people, like "Big Al" Jankowitz, who seem to be knowledgable.
Regards, John
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