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Gold Foil pickups: Real mojo, just hype, or somewhere in between?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by cometazzi, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Ry Cooder started the goldfoil chase. Look him up. Ever since then we've had people buying the old guitars to strip out pickups and dump the chassis. Probably a lot of old fun guitars destroyed.
    The boutique pickup winders have filled in the gaps of demand for them. Most are unpotted and are microphonic -- talk into them and your voice comes out the amp. Which can be a problem if you are trying to use them in a heavy metal band.

    This is a 1963 Teisco Tulip I rescued. It had severe back bow in the neck where the only fix was to steam off and re-glue the fretboard. It now has stainless frets and plays better than when new. The pickups in this are closest to a Jazzmaster design wide area and thin height. Switching works on/off for each pickup, when both are on they are in series.

    I was expecting toy sounds out of the 5.5 lb guitar ... but it's massive. Can be surfy like a Jazzmaster, but winds up under distortion like an angry P90.
    Sometime in 1964/5 or so they went to single coils more like Strats or Burns on these models. Probably due to the Beatles killing Surf music.

    So if you wanted to replicate more of the goldfoil tone ... getting a jazzmaster pickup would be closest, and those pickups have been used in a lot of heavy fuzz bands like Dinosaur Jr.

    [​IMG]

    Random internet pictures I found that shows the inside of the pickup. There is a bar magnet that goes in the center of the coil on the left.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Here is a modern reproduction of early Jazzmaster pickups. You can see how wide area and thin the bobbin is on those original JM pickups.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's

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    I have been playing a guitar with gold foil mini-buckers for a little while and I love them, very strat like...
     
  3. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Afflicted

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    What made you ditch it? Did it work with 250k pots? Thanks
     
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  4. santos

    santos TDPRI Member

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    I'd stopped playing that guitar, my Danelectro became my #1. I removed the gold foil just before selling the Tele. Then I had the gold foil lying around for a couple of years but didn't have a guitar to put it into, so eventually ended up selling that as well.

    As for the pots, I've no idea, sorry GA. I couldn't tell you what the pots in the Tele were, only that one of them was 1960s and the other was replaced in the late 80s. My tech would have been the guy to ask but he emigrated and I lost touch with him. All I can tell you is it sounded really good, Mojo pickups are superb quality, I'd recommend them any day. When it comes to pots or pickup values or anything technical though, I know nothing. I just play :)
     
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  5. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Afflicted

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    Appreciate it.
     
  6. 61fury

    61fury Friend of Leo's

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    The ones on the Tulip I just revived ( clean up, refret, TOM bridge and new tuners) look just like that example on the right. I thought they were just crap at first but since then they've been growing on me. The bridge is a bit thin but the neck has a full trashy growl. And you can put what ever material you like under those covers.
    teisco VG on stump, done Excellent Money shot Flipped.jpg
     

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  7. Dobronaut

    Dobronaut Tele-Meister

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    Goldfoils are good pickups. When you apply steel or glass to the strings they become great pickups. If you slide the mojo is real.
     
  8. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Hype. They feed back, can have some clean grit to them etc. But hey, there is a particular "sound" to them, some like it! They remind me of a half pickup half microphone!
     
  9. bigbean

    bigbean Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I would love to play that guitar. Starting in the 60s I've played maybe 20 Rockets. Every time I played one I thought, "if this thing was fixed to play decent it could be really cool." I never played one that was close enough to playing right to take a chance on buying it.
    I always thought the lever switch ones were the coolest. I swear I played a two pickup with a lever switch but I can't find any pictures that they ever made such a thing.

    A Harmony Rocket through an Ampeg Reverberocket 2 - Now there is rig.
     
  10. tubejockey

    tubejockey Tele-Holic

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    If you want to drop some in a strat, tele, junior, whatever, check out the GFS gold foils and metal foils. They are standard sized, good sounding, and inexpensive. I won't promise that they sound like the old ones, but from what i remember they are in that ballpark. I would describe them as a loose bottom, scooped mid, and chimey top. I like them a lot.
     
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  11. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    the mini-gold-foils in my recent Supro Hampton are extremely nice pickups, bright and clear with a solid low end. Don't know what the relationship is between Supro goldfoils & Teisco / Harmony ones is.
     
  12. cyclopean

    cyclopean Poster Extraordinaire

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    i will say that that particular harmony semi-hollow i was talking about is starting to come apart at the seams from being gigged hard for over a decade, and my friend who owns it is stressing a little bit about what he's going to do when it's not gig-worthy any more.

    that thing is great, and if i found another one like it at a store i'd snap it up if i had the money. i think he only paid like $300 something for it in the early 2ks when no one cared about those guitars.
     
  13. ultrasun

    ultrasun TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

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    A question for Gold Foil users: how's the 60 cycle hum with them, compared to Tele pick-ups? Is there a brand that makes them with a hum-cancelling trick?
     
  14. tubejockey

    tubejockey Tele-Holic

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    The 60 Hz is generally a little less than a tele pickup since there are less turns. GFS makes a bunch of gold foil types, some are hum bucking. Keep in mind that they are not exact clones, the construction is a bit different. But they do have much of the same character. I've got several, the alnico versions are very good. I've also got their metal foils in a tele, I like them even more.
     
  15. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    imho Curtis Novak does a good take on anything that he puts his mind to.
     
  16. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    after all is said and done, the question remains "Can You Sing into them?
    AlfredSurePostcard- POSTER.jpg
     
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