Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

"Queen of Tone" Abigail Ybarra Talks Fender History and 57 Years of Pickup Winding

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Hear2learn, Feb 9, 2019 at 12:59 PM.

  1. Bikersluggo

    Bikersluggo Tele-Holic

    Dec 24, 2008
    Dayton, OH
    I've got a set of the Fender Custom Shop '69 Strat pups that are initialed by Abigail. I'm trying to remember when I bought them. Does anybody know what years they were made?
    Chunkocaster and RodeoTex like this.
  2. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    Nice interview. I didn't know that Fender paid employees more than other manufacturers in the area.
  3. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Friend of Leo's

    May 3, 2016
    In the South
    Interesting article, but the arithmetic is off. If she turned 80 in 2013, she wasn't a teenager in 1956.
    CFFF likes this.
  4. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity

    She was there for a LONG time, CS 69's I believe started out for the Classic Player, released in 2006.

    All that (initialed) really means is she was at work that day, "supervising" ...............................hype time. The one's SIGNED by her, SHE wound herself.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019 at 2:46 PM
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  5. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 14, 2005
    Nueces Strip
    I read up a little before buying my CS'69s.
    Upon her return to Fender she initialed every pickup wound there during any given day that she was present. The ones she actually wound herself she marked "Abby".
    I don't know how true this is, but it makes for an intresting story.
    My pickups have no markings BTW.
    Chunkocaster likes this.

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    ^^That's how I understood it too.^^

    Good interview.

    Not sure how the timeline runs. Was she 80 at the time of the article in 2017 or 80 in 2013?

    She would either been 19yo in '56 or 23yo in '56.

    Not a deal breaker, still a Fender icon.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019 at 3:36 PM
  7. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Kind of a fawning interview, unfortunately. I really liked the unsolicited info she gave on working for Fender back in the day. (I was surprised, Leo sounds actually generous and benevolent, good for him). But I didn't see much here about pickups really.

    She talked about maybe going into business for herself. What makes her pickups special? Did she know when a pickup was going to be great, vs just fair? What does she think of pickups today vs the way she used to do them? What sort of tones does she like? Favorite guitarists? This woman had a long career in the music business and her work ethic seems outstanding, its not a stretch to presume she made it her business to listen to the people who played her work.
  8. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    At what point do you start to think maybe this pickup stuff is not really as nuanced as it has been made out to be?
    545454, tlsmack, bender66 and 2 others like this.
  9. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    When confirmation bias quits being a thing, I guess. I mean, my boutique pickups really do sound $186.75 better than the stock ones. I can totally hear that, man. Can't you?
  10. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2009
    The reason Seth Lover went to Fender was money too.

    I could make more money out here [in California] at Fender. Before I left Gibson, Dick Evans was the chief engineer, amplifiers and so forth. He quit and came out to Fender. He contacted me and wanted to know if I was interested in a job out here. And I said what does it pay? Well, at that time I was getting 9,000 a year from Gibson, and they offered me 12,000. And they sent me a ticket to fly out, talk to 'em, look the place over, and I figured it was worthwhile.
  11. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    TBH, this was my feeling about winding pickups. I've wound about a couple dozen as proofs of concept, and I find it rather uncomfortable to hold still for minutes at a time, and it strains my eyes to watch it spool. That's why I readily buy pickups despite having all the tools on hand. I'm surprised there are so many shops out there willing to wind and sell pickups in commercial quantities.

    Even Leo Fender was like, I can't let you do this all day, even if you're willing.

    Makes sense, yet it's interesting to realize that most of the pickup winding shops going now are operated by guys rather than women. I think men winders are having to use felt pads and tensioners in order to achieve a finesse that comes more naturally to women.

    Also, not this article, but another article posited that Ybarra was teaching Josefina all the tricks that could be gleaned through fifty years of experience...

    So that's it. More than fifty years of hands on experience (actually it turns out she spent many of those years just operating automated winding machines) and apparently Leo's original instructions are still sufficient all these years later.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019 at 4:00 PM

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    The magazine this article appears in is a publication geared toward empowering women to pursue a career in the music industry.

    As opposed to the technical aspect of what she did/does. They took the life journey slant.

    Kind of like a "People" type interview.
    CFFF and SnidelyWhiplash like this.
  13. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    How unfortunate. It's 2019. Women don't need empowering anymore, they need respect for their work and to be treated as equals. Full stop. "Empowerment" should be a job reserved for elementary school teachers. Beyond that, they don't need our crutches and parachutes.

    This woman is a respected pickup winder, I'd like to hear her share her knowledge.

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    I'm sure you can find the more "technical" side of Abigail if you dig hard enough.

    This is just they way they chose to write the story.
  15. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 10, 2018
    In space with Ziggy
    I bought a set of the abby pickups years ago too mostly for the bragging rites and the Hendrix connection. :)
    I think she stopped working for them around 2011- 2012?

    I thought the fame part was mostly due to her winding Hendrix's Pickups or so was reported.
    Also in later years they promoted the fact that she had been working there for so long and had vintage mojo oozing out of her due to being there from the early days winding pickups on what are now highly sought after vintage fenders.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019 at 3:27 PM
  16. SAguitar

    SAguitar Tele-Meister

    Feb 7, 2014
    I do have a set of Strat pickups that are "initialed" by the lady. She may not have actually wound them, but I value that set and named that guitar Abby, in her honor.
    SPUDCASTER likes this.
  17. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 26, 2014
    South London UK
    So much nonsense. I don't buy into the special winder stuff. And as for the "supervised by" that's for the birds.
    tlsmack likes this.
  18. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    Mission accomplished.

    Didn't Hendrix use CBS era Strats? She says that when CBS took over, she was instructed to man the winding machines rather than "hand wind" them as she had, and then later went back to doing.
    Chunkocaster likes this.
  19. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 10, 2018
    In space with Ziggy
    I knew it would pay off one day.:)
    CFFF likes this.
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