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  1. #1

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    First I must apologise, I've been so far away from jazz these last six months, exploring other things, as is my want. I'm really really rusty, as you will hear. But I got this Eastman 503CE to help fire me up for playing again, and from the outset decided I wanted to replace the humbucker with a Charlie Christian pickup.

    But which one?The best CC pickup is made in England by ccpickups Charlie Christian Pickups - CC Pickups - but they are very expensive.

    Also, I didn't want an exact replica, as I will not be specialising in Charlie Christian-style playing. But there is something about the large magnet that piqued my interest.

    So, I spoke to Jaime of Creamery Pickups in Manchester, England, who has made fantastic pickups for me before. Turns out he already makes his own version, which was a labour of love for him. He enthused so much I thought I'd give his CC pickup a try. It's a third of the price of those made by ccpickups.

    Once again, you have been forewarned - I apologise for being so rusty, but I am now enthused enough to get back into my jazz studies.



    From the Creamery website:

    Wound with much thicker coil wire to a seemingly lower output - don't let that fool you. With strong custom made Alnico 5 magnets the Charlie Christian Humbucker size is a fat, round jazzy sound that keeps clarity & string definition. Its a unique sound that works perfect in the neck position for those wanting vintage, jazzier sounds from a direct drop-in replacement Humbucker neck position pickup.

    A single plated steel blade sits at the heart of the design inside a scatterwound coil of much thicker 38awg coil wire, and I experimented with a variety of magnet grades and sizes until finally working on a duo of custom made Alnico 5s to get the sound I was after.

    Available in a custom chrome slit groove design cover, the new Dark Line pickups are direct drop-in replacements - I spent a long time getting the design of these just right, putting them aside, coming back to them - a real labour of love.

    Made with a seperate ground wire for the cover & baseplate to ensure it will work in-phase with other make bridge pickups.

    Creamery Charlie Christian:

    Gibson/Humbucker/PAF size
    Magnet Custom Alnico 5
    Coil Wire 38AWG
    Lead Wire Vintage Cloth Covered with separate ground wire for cover & baseplate
    Neck Output 2.9k
    Last edited by Rob MacKillop; 10-24-2019 at 04:45 AM.

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  3. #2

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  4. #3

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    That's a beautiful tone! Full, deep, round, and clear.

  5. #4

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    Wonderful tone and playing. The pup sounds warm and clear, with excellent string-to-string balance. Remarkable. How hefty is that pickup? I have played only one CC, a Roy Smeck Recording King (restored) with its original pickup. The guitar was massively heavy! Nice tone, though.
    Best regards, k

  6. #5

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    Nice fat tone Rob. Thanks for sharing the video and info on the pickup. Much appreciated.

  7. #6

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    14s! I’m happy to hear your fingers are feeling strong.

    The pickup sounds great as do those nice jazz lines you’ve got. The tone is thick and dark but clear, something that is hard to achieve with a humbucker. Suits your beautiful harmonies perfectly.

  8. #7

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    Cheers, lads.

    k - I don't know the exact weight, but it is certainly heavier than the humbucker, three or four times, maybe. Maybe I'm imagining that. Yes, the string to string balance is better than I hoped it would be. I'm very impressed with it.

    QAman - thanks. Love a fat tone!

    om - Yes, 14s. They sound great but I must admit are hard to play, but they'll save me time breaking the guitar in before I switch to 12s or even 11s. Thick, dark and clear is what I hear too. Now to get back to playing again. Thanks for your comments.
    Last edited by Rob MacKillop; 10-23-2019 at 10:58 AM.

  9. #8

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    PS the amp is only the Yamaha THR 10C - a fine cheap amp for house work.

  10. #9

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    nice tone...creamery makes some great pups..the low resistance 2.9k is a result of the heavy #38 wire...less winds..but true to the original cc pups...good choice rob!!

    enjoy!

    cheers

  11. #10

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    Thanks. Love the sound, but need to spend more time in the woodshed. Sold my bass viol. Just don't have the time or energy for it.

  12. #11

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    "Wound with much thicker coil wire to a seemingly lower output" -- how is the output? Did you have to turn the amp up higher to compensate?

    In any case, the sound is great!
    Build bridges, not walls.

  13. #12

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    Definitely louder than the stock Kent Armstrong humbucker, easily twice as loud. The notes just jump out. I'm really impressed with it.

  14. #13

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    That's a gorgeous sound there ... wow.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

  15. #14

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    Wow - I want that tone ! I have played a 503 with the standard pickup and this sounds like a massive improvement.

    I was just about to press the button on one and noticed the delivery times now go out to January. As I will be moving house in the next month, I don't need the hassle of a potential lost delivery, so may wait a few weeks before placing an order....unless anyone can recommend how else to get that fat tone (short of stealing Rob's fingers).
    Have no secrets, hear no lies.

  16. #15

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    Ha, my fingers had very little to do with the tone. When I ordered one his waiting list was closed. He is a one-man operation, and could maybe think about expanding. You have to keep looking at his website for when he is open for orders. Good luck!

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Ha, my fingers had very little to do with the tone. When I ordered one his waiting list was closed. He is a one-man operation, and could maybe think about expanding. You have to keep looking at his website for when he is open for orders. Good luck!
    Hi Rob-thanks for posting this, just what I was looking for. Both the tone and price are right. BTW-He says on the web site that the wait time is now late December/Early January.

    Cheers

    Doug
    Last edited by Doug B; 10-24-2019 at 10:47 AM.

  18. #17

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    Cheers, Doug. Worth putting an order in, I'd say.

  19. #18

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    That sounds real nice, Rob ! Please tell me : how does that pickup behave re hum and what about the output - would it overdrive an amp faster than your usual Kent Armstrong PAF ? I'm looking around for a suitable replacement pup for my Heritage Super Eagle, which came with a pair of Seth Lover's, not really digging these now .... Thanks !

  20. #19

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    gitman - I'll get back to you on that tomorrow. I can't recall hearing hum, but it's too near to midnight to test that just now, so I'll do so tomorrow. As for overdriving an amp - I've only tested it through one non-tube amp, but without any issues. I don't have a valve/tube amp to test it with, unfortunately. I'm effortlessly getting a strong clean sound.

    When I made the recording, the mic was six inches from the amp speakers - no hum detectable. I forgot that the mic would be in the wrong position to pick up my voice, so had to boost the speaking parts when editing the video. In other words, I was playing quite loud for a small room, much louder than my normally fairly quiet speaking voice.

  21. #20

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    Rob, welcome back to jazz. Say, that's a seriously nice pickup. Full, fat sound. Thanks for sharing.

  22. #21

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    Cheers, my friend. I've got work to do.

  23. #22

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    Hey Rob, thanks for the info so far. My concern is your mention of the pickup's loudness, it seems twice as loud to your ears than an Armstrong PAF -
    I'd think that would overdrive almost any preamp that is normally set for PAF type pickups and that is what I DON'T want ! I want my sound to be
    loud, warm and CLEAR , just like most of our bunch here and your little clip certainly sounds like that !
    Looking forward to your findings re the hum ....

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Cheers, Doug. Worth putting an order in, I'd say.
    Indeed. As soon as I heard your demo video I i knew that was "the sound". IMHO, the Creamery CC was far better sounding than the Lollar CC (humbucker shape) or the Vintage Vibe CC (humbucker shape).

    Don't know if anyone else makes a humbucker shape CC.

    Cheers again

    Doug

  25. #24

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    Dear Rob,

    Thanks for sharing this great finding. You know how much I praise CC PUs and I didn’t hear about this one before.

    The tone is just gorgeous.

    Best to you.
    Archtop YT Channel: www.youtube.com/+FredArchtop

  26. #25

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    Cheers, Fred. I'm embarrassed about my playing in this video, but I wanted to share this sound. Jaime makes great pickups, and should be as well known as Jason Lollar or Kent Armstrong. This CC pickup is proof. You'll have to buy another guitar to fit one on :-)

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman View Post
    Hey Rob, thanks for the info so far. My concern is your mention of the pickup's loudness, it seems twice as loud to your ears than an Armstrong PAF -
    I'd think that would overdrive almost any preamp that is normally set for PAF type pickups and that is what I DON'T want ! I want my sound to be
    loud, warm and CLEAR , just like most of our bunch here and your little clip certainly sounds like that !
    Looking forward to your findings re the hum ....
    I may have overstated the volume thing, but I was comparing it to the cheap Chinese version of the KA humbucker, not the handmade US version, so there was an appreciable difference in volume. Maybe volume is the wrong term here. It is more of an overall FULLNESS of sound, with no weak areas, very present. Also I put on the Benson TI 14s, which also boost the sound.

    Last night was too late to do tests, and this morning is too early! I'll get to it later in the day.

  28. #27

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    Makes it sound like a completely different guitar, very nice tone...

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Cheers, Fred. I'm embarrassed about my playing
    Rob, you know how to make a guitar sing, that’s for sure!

    Best to you and your music, always enjoyable.
    Archtop YT Channel: www.youtube.com/+FredArchtop

  30. #29

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  31. #30

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    Well, I did a hum test, and yes, there is hum. But it is at a low level. I don't have equipment to scientifically record the hum level, but it's not at a level that would bother me, which is why I never noticed it before.

    No sense of it overdriving the preamp either.

    I would just like to point out that I don't have any deal with Creamery. I paid full price, and was happy to do so.

  32. #31

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    That's all good and useful info, thanks ! I can live with low-level hum since I don't use my single-coil guitars with any overdrive etc. .
    I will contact the maker and see where this leads to ....

  33. #32

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    Nice playing, Rob! What a great tone! I wonder if I could finesse one of these into my CV Tele, since it’s routed for an HB, already.

  34. #33

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    Thanks. I don't see why not. I think it would sound great.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Thanks. I don't see why not. I think it would sound great.
    Agreed. This may scratch the CC itch just perfectly.

  36. #35

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    This is childish and style over substance, but......I don't like the look of it.Whoops!

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMgolf66 View Post
    This is childish and style over substance, but......I don't like the look of it.Whoops!
    I didn't see a picture of the optional black cover...

    The other CC pickups with the hex shape do look cool (especially the tortoiseshell look), but they don't fit a humbucker slot, I hear.
    Build bridges, not walls.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMgolf66 View Post
    This is childish and style over substance, but......I don't like the look of it.Whoops!
    Agreed but I think it's sonic qualities are worth a try to overcome this , uhhhh , aesthetic deficit.
    I always aim to avoid hearing with my eyes ..... so hard, damn !