Let’s Pickup the Sound of a Guitar and Amplify It!

Written by: James Krueger On: May 7th, 2019

This month’s blog, is a bit of a teaser….here at Solo Guitars, we have one of the most complete in-stock selection of after-market pickups anywhere….from Gibson and Fender through to Seymour Duncan, Dimarzio, EMG etc.  We have already talked in past blogs about EMG and Fishman, but let’s go back to the beginning….

Most people are pretty much aware that after-market pickups have been available since the 70’s and that this market has grown into a monster, with several large companies, hundreds of small ones and of course all the off-shore contributors to making your life difficult when choosing a new pickup for your guitar or bass.  What a lot of people do not realize is just how long we have had electro-magnetic pickups for guitar/bass, and when the electric guitar era actually started.

In the mid 1920’s, Gibson hired Loyd Loar who; among other things, was to design a guitar that would project sound and replace the banjo in the dance-bands of the time.  He also helped in developing one of the first electro-magnetic guitar pickups that would be installed into Gibson archtops from the early 30’s on.  At the same time George Beauchamp; a Los Angeles musician was doing the same thing.  By the late 20’s Stromberg Guitars had released what would be the first ‘electric’ guitar to the public.  A little earlier than you thought huh?  Me too!

Over the next 20 years (which included a World War) everyone jumped on the electric guitar band wagon until in the early 50’s Leo Fender released the electric solid-body guitar and re-wrote guitar manufacturing as it was known.  He of course developed his own line of pickups for Fender.  Meanwhile over at Gibson, they had hired Seth Lover who developed THE humbucking pickup by the mid 50’s (the PAF)…again re-writing guitar history and how things were built. Seth stayed with Gibson until the mid 60’s when his position was taken over by Bill Lawrence (Lawrence Sound Research) plus there was another guy in California named Seymour who was repairing pickups and yet another guy in Staten Island New York named Larry Dimarzio who was starting to build pickups.  That’s the basic shell of pickup history….and I mean really only the shell….so many more people and names that could be mentioned, oh I don’t know, like maybe Les Paul, Rickenbacker, Gretsch, DeArmond, Charlie Christian……

However, I digress….in 1972, Larry Dimarzio started his company in New York and offered the first after-market pickups for guitar, and in doing so began a whole new industry that had just had it’s surface scratched by the first effects pedals in the later 60’s.  Guitar and sound modification had officially begun!  By ’75, Seymour Duncan had started his company and later hired Seth Lover to work with him as well, developing the Seth Lover model (which was a PAF clone).  The rest, followed suit with names like Fishman, EMG, DeArmond and so many more.  So here we are some 47 years later, and we have access to pickups of every description from around the world…from hand-wound to machine made to 3D printed….what advancements and what a history!

Solo Guitars is pretty proud to include many of these names in our inventory and after almost 100 years of electric guitars, offer you the opportunity to build your own kit and add a piece of history to it, or just modify an instrument you already own to include an iconic name.  In the next few months we will highlight Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan in the blog and look at what they have done to advance the tone of your guitar!

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