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What Are Gold Foil Pickups?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Greg Seaman, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Tele-Afflicted

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    I had a pair on an old Western Auto Duo Sonic shaped/sized thing way long ago(70s). I tossed em for a couple of used strat pickups but should not have.
    10-12 yrs ago I had a really mistreated Teisco I picked up for 30 bucks at a pawnshop and tore apart planning to use the pickups in a lap steel build. BUt I never got around to doing it, was moving and got caught up in the getting rid of things mode and left it in a pile by the curb.
    So I'm still keeping my eye out for the odd old throwaway Teisco for super cheap, but it seems they have gotten favor with collectors so they are really hard to come by nowadays with ebay and all.
     
  2. maggieo

    maggieo Tele-Meister

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    All I know is that my old Stratotone sure sounds good to me. It's warm and kind of woody, but with some real beef to the tone. I have no complaints.

    [​IMG]
    Goldfoil, January 31 2013 by Maggie Osterberg, on Flickr
     
  3. Greg Seaman

    Greg Seaman Tele-Meister

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    For old, cheap, microphonic dinosaurs, this thread sure has drawn some attention to the dreaded gold foil pickups - both the lovers and the haters! Even Jason Lollar has joined in. Hey Jason, I meant it when I said your pickups are awesome. I hope to try some myself one of these days. They sound great in the clips and videos. You are definitely one of the indie builders that garners my utmost respect. Is this over or is there more in store? Anyway, thanks everyone it's been fun so far! =Greg=
     
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  5. tekbow

    tekbow Tele-Afflicted

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    yep...
     
  6. Lowbassnotes

    Lowbassnotes Friend of Leo's

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    Mustache gold foils in my Harmony Rocket, I really like them. A unique low-fi sound I find very useful for blues, slide and 60's garage band tones. I've always appreciated their combination of scratchy and sparkle. Through an ancient combo amp they produce a raw and enjoyable sort of noise. JMO of course.
     
  7. Manolete

    Manolete Friend of Leo's

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    Who knows what the future holds! I thought John Hall was going to close down the manufacturing of those Artec psuedo-toaster pickups... I look forward to "Lawsuit" Artecs on Ebay in a few years time. :mrgreen:
     
  8. tekbow

    tekbow Tele-Afflicted

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    I think the original sigh and my yep was more about the foaming mouthed rant at virtually any piece of guitar equipment over the mid range..

    Why is it guys with high end stuff also have a mix of everything and like all of it, but guys with only low end stuff feel the need to tell people with high end stuff their stuff isn't any better and a waste of money..?

    I get that a portion of the market is cashing in on "hipsters" etc etc, but a fair portion of it also isn't. There's plenty of handmade stuff out there that doesn't cost a fortune (new, if you're prepared to wait a few months) and not everyguy with a waiting list is trying to generate hype..
     
  9. Manolete

    Manolete Friend of Leo's

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    Somewhere between jealousy and being able to spot a clear case of Emperor's New Clothes. I know I'm guilty of the former, and I like to think I'm at least slighty adept at the latter. The only reason we have a vintage guitar market is because so many older guitars were modded with brass nuts and bridges, active electronics, hotter Dimarzio pickups, stripped finishes and those nifty 'fat finger' headstock plates that move your instrument's dead spots a few frets up or down... :mrgreen:

    Regarding 'high end stuff', some guy called Fred Hammond turned up a few years back with reproductions of the original Hagstrom Bisonic pickups that Guild used to put in their basses. He worked with Rick Turner and put in some changes that Jack Casady and Phil Lesh had done to their pickups. Hammond's pickups were expensive, but people were paying up and putting them in all sorts of experimental basses.

    Hammond vanishes, and Curtis Novak starts making these pickups for $275 each! Eeek! :eek: Fair enough. If you buy a basketcase Guild Starfire you are paying $550 for pickups. :eek: :eek:

    The issue is, the Deadheads couldn't figure out WHY a Bisonic pickup was good. Firstly it was because it was a humbucker, but then somebody took one to bits and it transpires it is more like a fat P90 pickup. Then it was because of the 'spatial area' of the pickup, but again somebody took one apart and demonstrated that the pickup only has a single row of pole-pieces, the second 'set' being the adjusters for the first. Then it was because the pickup was 'hot', but it turns out they only had ~6.5k DC resitance and sometimes Hagstrom varied the number of magnets within the pickups....

    A curious lesson in human psychology.
     
  10. simonsp

    simonsp Friend of Leo's

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    :) Excellent! :)
     
  11. simonsp

    simonsp Friend of Leo's

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    Well I've read the entire thread, but i'm still none the wiser about where the GOLD FOIL bit comes in. Could someone enlighten me?
     
  12. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Friend of Leo's

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    To answer your question, and I am only assuming this is where the name comes from, the ones that came on the cheapest brands and models had a plastic cover/bezel that had a cheesy gold wrinkle finish of some kind. There were some models if I remember correctly that had a metal cover and a gold screen ( presumably to filter all the sonic goodness).
    A lot of people think that because something is old or rare there has to be something special/good about it. I for one had the misfortune of hearing dozen and dozens of these little gems and ( it's only my opinion so people can flame me if they need to) every single one sounded like the sonic equivalent to intestinal bleeding.
    A friend tells me they're commanding stupid prices (and by stupid, any price, again my opinion) at guitar shows. I can't believe I lived to see the day that a Teisco Delray became a collectors item. Oh we'll, to each his own. If someone wants to take $2000 of aftermarket parts and slap a couple of these micrphonic bad boys in it because he truly digs the sound, more power to him.

    But guys, lets always use our ears to decide what is best, and let the marketers and collector keep up with us.... (Supply sider rant over)
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  13. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Poster Extraordinaire

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    The term gold foil comes from the perforated gold colored material glued to the inside of the top of the pickup cover to cover the holes in the top of the stamped metal pickup cover. This material and stuff like it was used on many designs of Rowe DeArmond, Kay, Harmony, Teisco etc... typically today the term refers to a certain style of Teisco pickups.
     
  14. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Poster Extraordinaire

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    Jason,
    I apologize if you were mis-quoted in the post I made.

    I had saved that text from somewhere on the internet a year or two ago and whoever wrote that had mentioned your name. I think it only alludes that you contributed to Bart Hopkin's book from which the info below that was found.

    The original text had photographs to show the differences in the Teisco "gold foil" pickup designs as they are not all the same and certain designs have become thought of as more desireable than others. Unfortunately I did not save the pictures.
     
  15. Manolete

    Manolete Friend of Leo's

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    Why did they use the gold foil material at all? It looks pretty, but it seems quite a fragile material if you are used to solid bobbins.
     
  16. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Poster Extraordinaire

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    The "gold foil" materiel is just a screen to keep junk out of the inside of the pickups and also a bit ornamental. The pickups are similar to a P-90 in construction and the magnets are on the outside instead of underneath to make the pickup flatter for surface mount applications. The bobbins were plastic or a heavy cardboard / fiber.

    Here are some disassembly pics of the Teisco "gold foil" that is considered to be one of the more desireable pickups of this type. I have also seen a black mesh instead of gold used ... the ultra rare "BLACK FOIL" (just kidding)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Strat62

    Strat62 Friend of Leo's

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    Hey, I recognize that last pic!:D
     
  18. Manolete

    Manolete Friend of Leo's

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    Is it a fine gauze, or quite a heavy material? Will it have any screening properties? IE, will the gauze have been chosen because it blocks wavelengths of a certain frequency like the material they fix in microwave doors?
     
  19. Strat62

    Strat62 Friend of Leo's

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    It's aluminum foil on a paper backing-it has a pattern stamped or rolled into it, as you can see from the pics. It probably has no more effect on tone than does the metal cover on conventional pickups
     
  20. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Doctor of Teleocity

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    BTW, Lollar's Gold Foil pickups are now up at their website. Look under "other single coil pickups."
     
  21. agdtec

    agdtec TDPRI Member

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    I like the old dearmond gold foils,
    but I love the Gold Tone humbuckers. They are very clean with very useable high end clear but not brittle, and low end being clear and with without sounding overly bassy or dull.
    I have purchased many from ebay and if the bidding get more than 150 for pair I pass. Don't ever think I gotta buy these because who knows if I'll get another shot. There is always another shot.
     
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