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  1. #1

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    Has anyone here used ThroBak pickups in an archtop? If so, which ThroBaks did you use? I’m looking to add a neck pickup to an archtop and I want to consider ThroBaks, but don’t have much experience with them. I’ve looked at/played Lollar and Kent Armstrong pickups, both of which are good options, but I want to consider other possibilities. Any advice would be appreciated.

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  3. #2

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    Personally I have not. But I've heard them in arch tops (335 style), and they sound tremendous. They better, for the price tag. If I owned a nice enough arch top to put them in, I would.


  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9
    Personally I have not. But I've heard them in arch tops (335 style), and they sound tremendous. They better, for the price tag. If I owned a nice enough arch top to put them in, I would.

    That guy would make a believer out of anyone!

    But I have been wondering the same, looking for a nice warm but still clear pickup for an archtop, basically looking for a real PAF! A lot of builders use Lollar low winds for this, but I don't have any experience with them. It's hard to generalize about Armstrong because he makes such a wide variety of pickups, and even some custom for certain builders, but he certainly has made many of this type.

    I have a T-top Gibson from my old dearly departed 1968 LP Custom that I have been thinking about throwing in there. Kent (Armstrong) though it would worth trying.

  5. #4

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    Another builder I hear nothing but raves about, when it comes to PAF style, is Bare Knuckle pickups. I almost bought a set of the Stormy Mondays, but I ended up selling that guitar.

    FWIW, I had a set of Lollar Imperials (in that guitar), and they were kind of sterile for me- kind of hi-fi sounding... Lollar makes great stuff, I just wasn't a fan on the Imperials.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9
    Another builder I hear nothing but raves about, when it comes to PAF style, is Bare Knuckle pickups. I almost bought a set of the Stormy Mondays, but I ended up selling that guitar.
    .
    +1 on the Bareknuckles! My recent Holst has one, recommended by Steve. I had never tried them, but I trusted his opinion, given our discussion on the "sound/vibe" I was looking for in his guitar.

    There are many PAF builders out there, which is part of the problem! JM Rolph is one of the legit makers (awful web-site, and he's a blast on the phone!); I have an Amalfitano in my Forshage hollowbody, which is real sweet, too!

    Let us know what you decide!

  7. #6
    I have a set of Bare Knuckles PG Blues in one of my Les Pauls and love 'em! Tim was GREAT to deal with.

    Getting back on the subject, I've heard nothing but good things about ThroBaks and I'd love to try them myself one of these days. Tons of info/reviews about them on the Les Paul forums. They're supposed to be very close to PAFs and since Gibson Archtops from the late '50s/'60s had PAFs in them, I would think they'd work quite well.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluejaybill
    That guy would make a believer out of anyone!

    But I have been wondering the same, looking for a nice warm but still clear pickup for an archtop, basically looking for a real PAF! A lot of builders use Lollar low winds for this, but I don't have any experience with them. It's hard to generalize about Armstrong because he makes such a wide variety of pickups, and even some custom for certain builders, but he certainly has made many of this type.

    I have a T-top Gibson from my old dearly departed 1968 LP Custom that I have been thinking about throwing in there. Kent (Armstrong) though it would worth trying.
    Try the T-top. I think it’s an excellent pickup for an archtop. This sounds heavenly and it has them.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatRhythmMan
    Try the T-top. I think it’s an excellent pickup for an archtop. This sounds heavenly and it has them.
    Do you mean an actual Gibson T-Top or the ThroBak 70/Select T-Top?

  10. #9

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    Gibson Classic 57. What's not to like?

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWolf
    Do you mean an actual Gibson T-Top or the ThroBak 70/Select T-Top?
    Actual T-top, that Super 400 is circa 1969.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWolf
    Do you mean an actual Gibson T-Top or the ThroBak 70/Select T-Top?
    He was referring to my post, in which I said I have an original gold T-top from my first guitar, a 1968 Les Paul Custom, first year of reissue.

    Of course I pulled them out for Dimarzios in the '70's. I lost one long ago and have one left, I recall that it was a nice jazz sound even with a Les Paul. In fact it was the guitar I used for my early jazz studies in my '20's.

    I have heard that some of the gold pickups from that era are actually patent number pickups left over from earlier in the '60's. But I've never had this pickup apart, so I don't know.

    Anyway may throw it in a guitar and see how it sounds.

  13. #12

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    Anyway didn't mean to derail the thread. If you tell the Throbak people what you want to use it for I'm sure they can make a good recommendation.

    Also JM Rolph makes one that is specifically for jazz. I haven't tried it, but his pickups are very well regarded.

    The problem is that it's so hard to switch pickups in an archtop!

  14. #13

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    a quick story from back when i was searching for pafs:

    i didn't know exactly what i was after so i sent an email out to several small makers- boutique, you might call them. i told them what i had, what i played thorough and what i was after. i sent the same parameters out to all of them (throbak amongst them).

    they each had a different response.

    the magnets, the winds, the values... all different.

    i ended up going with mojotone because they were cheaper. couldn't be happier. worked on my les paul and byrdland.

    i don't think any brand is more or less suited to archtops, or solidbodies or a certain type of music. it's just a case of who makes what you want, or is willing to listen to make what you want. or help you get there, if you don't know.

  15. #14

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    There is a lot of gifted aftermarket humbucker pickup builders yes, but the problem is that they all are r’n’r guys focused on Les Pauls. Very rare to meet any jazz or archtop experts there.

    When I still followed the pickup discussion better some years ago the Nearest To PAF title was in Croatia with a brand called Wizz.

    I have swapped tens of hb’s in my LPs but never Throbaks nor Wizz, they have always been too rare in the second hand market and too pricey new. But of course I am interested if they sound in jazz archtop as good as in Les Pauls with Marshalls, so go ahead and tell us!

  16. #15

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    Well, after doing a some research and asking ThroBak for help, I’ve determined that ThroBak doesn’t make a pickup that is suitable for use as a floating pickup in an archtop. So I’ll probably end up with a Lollar Johnny Smith, a Kent Armstrong Smooth Sam, or a Kent Armstrong 12 pole mini humbucker.

  17. #16

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    What are You looking for?

    When I had a floater version of ES-165 I wanted a full HB to it. One or two e-mails to Pete Biltoft turned out to a quite fine ’floater PAF’.

    It is worth asking!

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herbie
    What are You looking for?

    When I had a floater version of ES-165 I wanted a full HB to it. One or two e-mails to Pete Biltoft turned out to a quite fine ’floater PAF’.

    It is worth asking!
    Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve seen a number of Biltoft recommendations.

  19. #18

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    I have a Peter Green in my Benedetto B16 and have never been happier with my sound.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by skjazz
    I have a Peter Green in my Benedetto B16 and have never been happier with my sound.
    How is it mounted?

  21. #20

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    I had ThroBaks in a 175 and honestly did not love them. Sounded kind of dull and lifeless to me

  22. #21
    Apologies BW, I didn't realize you were looking for a"Floater".

    Old Thread, but this may be of some help?:

    Best Johnny Smith style pickup?



  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blues
    Apologies BW, I didn't realize you were looking for a"Floater".

    ]
    [The OP didn't specify this at first]

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by skjazz
    I have a Peter Green in my Benedetto B16 and have never been happier with my sound.
    Good to hear!

    What brand PG pickup(s) do You have? I have understood that there is quite a lot of different PG designs, some with A2 magnet, some with A4 etc.

    And ’The PG Thing’ is of course not in ’a’ PG pickup but in a pair of them: the magnet of the neck pickup is reversed so You get interesting sounds when You put the pu switch in the middle and turn the vol pots of the pu’s.

  25. #24

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    I'm impressed with the invention of PAF pickups. I have variants of it in the form of Gibson 57s, Seth Lovers, Fralins, Lollars and Throbaks in front of me now. I'm sure they each sound slightly different. But I'll bet for the large majority of competent guitarists, any of them will do well. I have always been struck by how others hear differences I simply don't notice that much. A change in my pick, going from a Fender Medium to Heavy, to me makes as much difference or more, maybe not the same difference, but as much.

    Discussing pickup preferences can sometimes create as much tension in the tribes as the Pope meeting the Ayatollah. But today I saw the claims taken to a new level. Heritage has a new line of solid bodies they call "Custom Core". Here is part of the description of it from Sweetwater. Note the pickup description of Heritage's new brand of pickups called the 225 Classic.


    If you're a classic single-cut electric guitar aficionado, then the Heritage Custom Core H-150 is in your wheelhouse. Its premium curly maple top boasts a redesigned carve, while its one-piece mahogany body offers guaranteed lightweight playing comfort. The Custom Core H-150 also displays a light-reflecting vintage gloss finish that's sure to garner many a glance. This solidbody electric guitar isn't mere eye candy, however. Plug in, and its Custom Shop 225 Classic humbuckers elicit near-supernatural PAF-style tones.

    This video below gives you a sample of the sounds. Unstated but implied, the guitarist, pedalboard and amp are not the reasons this sounds as good as it does. And it does sound good. Its the near-supernatural pickups and the redesigned carve they emphasize. My response is to be near-supernaturally miffed at the ad content. But maybe the ad is directed to 17 year olds (mentally if not chronologically).

    I'll get off my soap box now.



    Heritage Custom Core H-150 - Dirty Lemon Burst | Sweetwater

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blues
    Apologies BW, I didn't realize you were looking for a"Floater".

    Old Thread, but this may be of some help?:

    Best Johnny Smith style pickup?
    My fault, Midnight Blues. I wasn’t clear about that. I’m following that other thread. Good info there.