View Poll Results: Best Johnny Smith style pickup?

Voters
52. You may not vote on this poll
  • Seymour Duncan

    3 5.77%
  • Jason Lollar

    15 28.85%
  • Kent Armstrong

    32 61.54%
  • Curtis Novak

    0 0%
  • Lindy Fralin

    2 3.85%
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Posts 51 to 78 of 78
  1. #51

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    I have the Lollar on my super eagle and it delivers. Can't go far wrong there.

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  3. #52

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    I am probably more confused than ever as to what a Johnny Smith style pickup is.

    This article, (see sketch in article), seems to define it by a particular magnet and coil arrangement. See sketch for J Smith.

    Humbuckers and Mini-Humbuckers

  4. #53

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    So my experience and 2 cents worth of info. Kent Armstrong Handmade 12 polepeice Humbucker floater is really the new standard for archtops. The larger size/appeture help give it more bottom end, than the smaller JS Mini HB. Wonderful pickup you won't be dissapointed with this pickup.
    That said and having owned 2 of them in different archtops, I decided to go a different route and opt for a custom made CC Rider from Vintage Vibe Guitars/Pickups (Peter Biltoft) It's a CC rider Humbucker Floater made to same dimmensions as the Kent Arrmstrong it replaced. I'm happy with the results, and would highly recommend it! Not sure how to describe the difference from the KA pickup.

  5. #54

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    I haven't owned them all but I think the best Johnny Smith Style pickup is the Gibson Johnny Smith pickup. Superb, clear, powerful and the standard-bearer.

  6. #55

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    I have a Collings CLJ fitted with a Lollar.

    One important thing to note about the Lollar is that the adjustable pole pieces actually do nothing. They don't change the volume of the string.

    That's probably ok for some guitars but I had a real problem with the bass strings being waaaaaay too loud.
    There was no room to tilt the pup down so I was stuck with the imbalance.

    So I did the unthinkable and swapped it out for an Armstrong from Archtop.com.

    My luthier took some time to fit it.....you have to drill and tap the holes yourself (pickguard mount).

    I have now got the perfect balance on all strings and I am so happy.

    It's no use saying it "sounds better" because, how do we define better?

    But I can say 2 things:
    • The volume of each string is balanced.
    • There was always a high-end "sparkly" ....."ping".... that used to truly bug me. It's gone now.

  7. #56

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    Just found this......looks like the pole pieces actually do very little.......you can take them out!! The bass strings still sound too dominant to me.

    This is the info from the video.......

    Piece played is Estrelita, arranged by George M. Smith and featured in the book 'Masters of the Plectrum Guitar' by Mel Bay publications.

    Pickup test of the Jason Lollar "Johnny Smith" neck mounting pickup. The screw polepieces have been removed, just like the way Johnny used to do to get a more single coil kind of sound - closer to a DeArmond Rhythm Chief 1100. Guitar is an early 2000's Korean made Epiphone Emperor Regent - upgraded a little closer to Johnny Smith specs with Gotoh tuners, ebony nut, Lollar Johnny Smith pickup, Korean made adjustable "fingers" bridge, as well as a custom made art deco pickguard and Brazilian Rosewood bridge by McPhee Guitars Australia. If you like this music please subscribe, comment, and thumbs up. I'd love to hear suggestions for future videos.

    Last edited by Philco; 07-24-2017 at 11:23 PM.

  8. #57

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    I decided on the Jason Lollar, and ended up buying the 'gold foil' single coil floater. It's absolutely the cat's meow on my vintage L7. Couldn't be more pleased with the results. It's quiet, and really hits the sweet spot for this guitar. It's very thin too, which was a requirement for my guitar's string clearance at the neck location, which is very low on this guitar. Ryan Thorell recommended it, and I'm glad I took his advice. Steve Andersen also had a ton of good things to say about the Lollars.

  9. #58

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    Was there something about the Johnny Smith mini humbucker that you do not like that caused you to go with a single coil pickup?

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    I haven't owned them all but I think the best Johnny Smith Style pickup is the Gibson Johnny Smith pickup. Superb, clear, powerful and the standard-bearer.
    I'm not 100% sure this is an original Gibson JS pup but it sure looks like it........if so, I have to agree with you, it sounds wonderful.


  11. #60

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    FWIW, the Shadow AZ-48 floating pickup, developed for Attila Zoller on his 48th birthday and used by Jim Hall, Herb Ellis, Jimmy Raney and of course Zoller, is a superb sounding pickup.
    Best Johnny Smith style pickup?-shadow-az-48-jpg

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philco
    I'm not 100% sure this is an original Gibson JS pup but it sure looks like it........if so, I have to agree with you, it sounds wonderful.

    Philco, Im not 100% sure whether it's the pickup or the guitar, but I hear some similarities with my guitar. Especially when it's played softly and then immediately played with authority. There is a touch sensitive nature to its sound that is similar. And it's very powerful and balanced for a mini.
    One thing for certain, I'd sure love to have his smooth picking ability. My god.. Joe D

  13. #62

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    I agree with Joe, Menconi's GJS...and his playing, for goodness' sake...sound fantastic.

  14. #63

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    Just to add this list for anyone in the future, here's some examples of full-size floating humbuckers for referencing:

    1 - Gibson Tarback (used on the Howard Roberts model)
    2 - Shadow AZ48 (the Atilla Zoller pickup)
    3 - Schaller Jazz Magnet
    4 - Dimarzio Marchione (not for direct purchase)
    5 - Kalamazoo Guitar Company (made by Rob who makes them for Heritage - find them on Facebook)
    6 - Dommenget Jazzbucker
    7 - EMG 91
    8 - Jaen Type 230
    9 - Haussell Flat Jazz Humbucker
    10 - Kent Armstrong Adjustable Floating PAF (it's borderline full-size)
    11 - Guild Artist Award Floating Humbucker (80's and 90's)
    12 - Rautia Slimmy Jazz

    13 - And my favorite - other. :-p
    Last edited by kseton; 08-29-2019 at 03:23 PM.

  15. #64

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    Having owned a '62 Super-400C with an original DeArmond 1100 and absolutely loving that tone I opted for
    the Kent Armstrong single coil floater on my newly acquired Trenier Jazz Special. That pickup delivers on all counts ! The creamy smooth pure tone that guitar puts out unplugged is amplified and heightened by that pickup and retains all the dynamic range, tone color and depth this instrument can offer. The hum is negligeable - I only wish it was available with a gold cover ....

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by kseton
    Just to add this list for anyone in the future, here's some examples of full-size floating humbuckers for referencing:

    1 - Gibson Tarback (used on the Howard Roberts model)
    2 - Shadow AZ48 (the Atilla Zoller pickup)
    3 - Schaller Jazz Magnet
    4 - Dimarzio Marchione (not for direct purchase)
    5 - Kalamazoo Guitar Company (made by Rob who makes them for Heritage - find them on Facebook)
    6 - Dommenget Jazzbucker
    7 - EMG 91
    8 - Jaen Type 230
    9 - Haussell Flat Jazz Humbucker
    10 - Kent Armstrong Adjustable Floating PAF (it's borderline full-size)
    11 - Guild Artist Award Floating Humbucker (80's and 90's)
    12 - Rautia Slimmy Jazz

    13 - And my favorite - other. :-p
    I think the original Gibson Johnny Smith would belong in here too, and the Gibson BJB with adjustable polepieces as found in the Lee Ritenour L5.
    I like both of them a lot, the original for it's tremendous power and clarity and the LRL5BJB for its darker shading.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    Having owned a '62 Super-400C with an original DeArmond 1100 and absolutely loving that tone I opted for
    the Kent Armstrong single coil floater on my newly acquired Trenier Jazz Special. That pickup delivers on all counts ! The creamy smooth pure tone that guitar puts out unplugged is amplified and heightened by that pickup and retains all the dynamic range, tone color and depth this instrument can offer. The hum is negligeable - I only wish it was available with a gold cover ....
    I'd suggest you write to Kent and ask him if he could wind you a golden one .....

  18. #67

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    Kent Armstrong is a great manufacturer, as is Jason Lollards. But I get all my custom pickups from Pete Biltoft at Vintage Vibe Guitars. I was torn between a Johnny Smith mount or pick guard mount for my Charlie Christian pickup on my 5th Avenue. But Pete told me he could make ANY pickup mountable to the neck like a Johnny Smith. Seriously, if you want a specific configuration, Pete can make it, and for a great price! I went with the pickguard floating CC, and picked my magnet, mount, and gave him a tone reference to shoot for. He had me take measurements with my calipers to get the right bobbin size to optimize string distance from the pickup, and he sent me a drawing for distances and wiring diagrams. I want to build a tele with filtertron sand was thinking TV Jones, but I’ll probably go with Pete again. Been using his pickups since 2004.

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    Having owned a '62 Super-400C with an original DeArmond 1100 and absolutely loving that tone I opted for the Kent Armstrong single coil floater on my newly acquired Trenier Jazz Special. That pickup delivers on all counts ! The creamy smooth pure tone that guitar puts out unplugged is amplified and heightened by that pickup and retains all the dynamic range, tone color and depth this instrument can offer. The hum is negligeable - I only wish it was available with a gold cover ....
    I have the Kent Armstrong single coil floater on a couple of my guitars as well. The pickup comes with a switchable coil tap, providing two distinct voices - a lower-output P-90 sound, and a higher-output Dearmond sound. Both are great.
    Attached Images Attached Images Best Johnny Smith style pickup?-testorsgold-jpg 

  20. #69

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    Hey Greentone, there's a great interview /youTube with Kenny Burrell, an old black and white news bit (by PBS or ABC), it's in a small club, and he's playing a Super 400 w/a Zoller pickup... a gorgeous sound!

  21. #70

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    I should point out, that the Ibanez GB10 floating pickup, at 13.7x Ohms, is a fantastic pickup. I've tried the Gibson BJB (which is brittle), and the Hand-wound Kent Armstrong, both on my ES-165 with less than satisfactory results. However, I do love the Ibanez GB10, and in re-working my white ES-330 (a Tamio Okuda '59-spec), put the GB10's in (quite a fair amount of work, oh btw...) and the tone is exquisite! Not only via my Deluxe Reverb, but also in the Acoustic Image Focus. I'm a 100% believer in those GB10 Johnny Smith pickups...

  22. #71

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    Best Johnny Smith style pickup?-1a8bf785-e48d-4912-a693-39f0945e7263-jpgBest Johnny Smith style pickup?-7d30d9ed-9189-4617-9ec8-43c693f04590-jpg
    Gibson ES-330 Tamio Okuda '59-spec, w/Ibanez GB10 Floating Johnny Smith Pickups.

  23. #72

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    So those GB10 pickups... are they regular mini humbuckers, or are they actually JS pickups (different construction than regular mini humbuckers)?

  24. #73

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    The Ibanez GB10 pickups based on the Johnny Smith and not the typical mini humbuckers. Also, the DC output is 13.7 K Ohms... mine are both 13.73.

  25. #74

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    Wow... that's quite high for JS pickups (or Mini-HBs)... I'm surpised I have read so many people say the GB-10 is "too bright with it's floating pickups". I'm primarily interested in one for it's body size... I'm not a big guy, even my 16" Gretsch is a little big for me... but am even more interested when I found out it had JS pickups... JS has my favorite jazz tone ever (not including CC, but that's a while 'nuther thing)... so a JS floater on the GB sounds awesome to me.

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57
    So my experience and 2 cents worth of info. Kent Armstrong Handmade 12 polepeice Humbucker floater is really the new standard for archtops. The larger size/appeture help give it more bottom end, than the smaller JS Mini HB. Wonderful pickup you won't be dissapointed with this pickup.
    That said and having owned 2 of them in different archtops, I decided to go a different route and opt for a custom made CC Rider from Vintage Vibe Guitars/Pickups (Peter Biltoft) It's a CC rider Humbucker Floater made to same dimmensions as the Kent Arrmstrong it replaced. I'm happy with the results, and would highly recommend it! Not sure how to describe the difference from the KA pickup.
    Hi 'Jeds'.
    I am currently trying different floater options for my arch top and the KA handmade 6 or 12 pole hum buckers look like the front runners.
    Mine needs to be pole adjustable because of the big fret board radius. And shallow (under 12mm)
    Not sure whether to opt for single or double coil atm.
    The other option is a Jimmy Smith type pickup. The low wind Lollar looks promising there. I am a big fan of his A4 P90s which i have in my ES295, but that is an electric sound (through a tube amp) as opposed to my other arch top which is more for single duo gigs and will be amplified by a more acoustic amp.
    I gather the Jimmy Smith is in between a Firebird and a regular mini hum bucker. That i like but it might not be as acoustic sounding as i want.
    Ive tried non potted pickups and they don't work on this arch top. Neither did the stick under the floating bridge foot btw.
    Too many nasty overtones instead of the wonderful 3D acoustic properties i was hoping for.

    Can you make an effort in explaining the difference between the CC and the KA you both tried?
    That would be much appreciated.

  27. #76

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    I’m a little confused by the choices. When you say a Kent Armstrong Johnny Smith pickup, are you referring to a Jazzy Joe, a Smooth Sam, or the 12 pole mini humbucker? I think the Smooth Sam is closest to what most people consider to be a true Johnny Smith pickup. If I were to use a Kent Armstrong pickup, however, I think I’d opt for the 12 pole mini humbucker because of its flexibility. The only issue is that it can take quite a bit of tweaking to get the sound just right. Overall, I think my choice would be the Lollar Johnny Smith.

  28. #77

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    I did not know that the GB10 pickups were closer to the Johnny Smith construction then to the typical mini humbucker. If I remember correctly from the article written by Jason Lollar about those pickups, the Johnny Smith is actually a single coil which has an extended steel base plate with its own slugs, making it a humbucker but without a second coil actually being wound. One set of slugs/screws is north and the other is south. That's really quite ingenious and might explain the unique tonality of that pickup.

    My GB10 has been one of my favorite guitars for the 34 years I've owned it. My guitar teacher in college had a Johnny Smith so in many ways that has been the reference standard for jazz guitar tone for me for 40 years.

  29. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    If I remember correctly from the article written by Jason Lollar about those pickups, the Johnny Smith is actually a single coil which has an extended steel base plate with its own slugs, making it a humbucker but without a second coil actually being wound. One set of slugs/screws is north and the other is south. That's really quite ingenious and might explain the unique tonality of that pickup.
    The Johnny Smith has two coils, but only one of them is wound around a magnet. The other coil is wound around steel pole pieces.

    Humbuckers and Mini-Humbuckers