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New York mini humbuckers

#1 User is offline   Guest 

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 09:25 PM

Some questions about 1960 New York mini humbuckers:

1) Where they true humbuckers what was the construction twin coil, single coil...?

2) Does anyone own a guitar with 1960'ish New York mini humbuckers?

3) I know they are rare and seldom become available, is there anyone on the forum that has played a guitar with a neck 1960'ish New York mini humbucker through a clean channel. If so, what in your opinion, comes closest to them, that can bought today, for tone and and range.

I would be really interested to hear the opinons of those that have held and played a guitar with vintage New York mini humbuckers.

#2 User is offline   carverman 

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 10:03 PM

Well. I can't fully answer those specfic questions, as one would really need a 60s Epiphone
to answer those. When you refer to the Epiphone "NYC mini-humbucker.".are you referring
to the small pickups used on the early Epiphones?

From the two books that I have on Epiphone and Gibson, the NYC spectrum pickup
(the final evolution of the Tone Spectrum pickup) was a single coil, with adjustable pole pieces
and basically Epiphone's answer to the Gibson P-90.

Here is a good site for describing the New York pickups, and their variations.
http://www.provide.n...h/epiphone.html

Epiphone sold the business, lock, stock,and barrel and designs to Gibson in 1957.
Not much is known about what transpired in the early days, or the few years leading up to 1960.
(The Gibson humbucker P.A.F. was developed in the mid '50s ('55) by Seth Lover,
and first offered on a Gibson production guitar in 1957, it is believed) .

The Gibson produced mini-humbuckers appear to be first used on some of the Epiphone models,
and some of the Gibson jazz guitars (L5 variants, like the Johnny Smith model) since the mini-humbucker
would fit better attached to the end of the neck fingerboard (floating) with a fingerboard style of mount.
There was also a pickguard incorporated version that was fitted with min-controls
onto a pickguard leaving the jazz guitar completely unaltered as a full acoustic.
The Gibson Firebird models also had the height adjustable mini-buckers.

The Gibson-Epiphone catalog (circa 1963, also shows them used on the Emperor thinline 3 p_up version,
the new Sheraton model, and Al Caiola, the Riviera and some of the solid bodies, like the Crestwood series.

From what I read in the books, there were some Epiphone NYC single coils were used by Gibson, as they
acquired quite a few of them in the purchase of Epiphone, but not much is known on what models they
might have been used on in the early 60s until the supply ran out. Gibson had their own p-90s,
so probably they were not too interested in continuing manufacture of these specific sounding SCs.

Others will have different opinions, of course.
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2005 Epi LP Custom
1995 Epi Joe Pass
2006 Epi Broadway Elitist
and some other guitars

#3 User is offline   AS90 

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 12:49 AM

My Elitist Sheraton has the modern day Gibson NY minis, they sound great!
Epiphone G400

Fender Baja Telecaster

Fender Sunn Mustang Strat

Vox VT30

Y.N.W.A

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 01:30 AM

On fleabay you can grab a pair of Artec mini humbuckers for cheap

They really are descent. I liked the single coil clarity combine with the growl of a P-90 and the the punch of a humbucker.

I jumped from the artecs to a set of Gibbys. Gibby are alnicoII and smooooth.

#5 User is online   zombywoof 

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 06:00 AM

Quote

From what I read in the books, there were some Epiphone NYC single coils were used by Gibson, as they
acquired quite a few of them in the purchase of Epiphone, but not much is known on what models they
might have been used on in the early 60s until the supply ran out. Gibson had their own p-90s,
so probably they were not too interested in continuing manufacture of these specific sounding SCs.



Yup, Gibson used "surplus" Epi parts they acquired when they bought the company until around 1961.
When they ran out, Gibson had to do some re-designing.
The Mini- Humbucker is pretty much a hum cancelling single coil. They have the snap of a single coil without the 60 cycle hum (which never bothered me as you can only hear it when you are not playing). Back in the 1960s I do not recall Gibson ever referring to these as New York Mini-Humbuckers. As far as I can figure out they did not receive the moniker until sometime in the 1990s.

I owned a '63 Sheraton for a bit and I liked the pickups. As someone already noted, alot of clarity. They were bright but not overly so. The only place I thought they lacked something was in the low end - not near as resonant and deep as the DeArmond single coils Gretsch and Guild used. But I liked the pickups in the Sheraton better than those in my Reverse bird.
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#6 User is offline   carverman 

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 08:52 AM

Quote

Yup, Gibson used "surplus" Epi parts they acquired when they bought the company until around 1961.
When they ran out, Gibson had to do some re-designing.
The Mini- Humbucker is pretty much a hum cancelling single coil. They have the snap of a single coil without the 60 cycle hum (which never bothered me as you can only hear it when you are not playing). Back in the 1960s I do not recall Gibson ever referring to these as New York Mini-Humbuckers. As far as I can figure out they did not receive the moniker until sometime in the 1990s.



So these are mini-humbuckers? A single coil can cancel hum when the neck is connected to the bridge which
would be wired out of phase for that purpose. The only other way a SC could cancel hum by itself (exclusive
of shielding) would be for a dummy coil located somewhere near it.
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2005 Epi LP Custom
1995 Epi Joe Pass
2006 Epi Broadway Elitist
and some other guitars

#7 User is offline   Vic Flick 

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 09:28 AM

Quote

Some questions about 1960 New York mini humbuckers:

1) Where they true humbuckers what was the construction twin coil, single coil...?

2) Does anyone own a guitar with 1960'ish New York mini humbuckers?

3) I know they are rare and seldom become available, is there anyone on the forum that has played a guitar with a neck 1960'ish New York mini humbucker through a clean channel. If so, what in your opinion, comes closest to them, that can bought today, for tone and and range.

I would be really interested to hear the opinons of those that have held and played a guitar with vintage New York mini humbuckers.



I had a 1968 Epiphone Al Caiola Custom with minis and an early 1970s Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Goldtop also with minis. I wasn't crazy with the Caiola sound, darker than I expected, but I think that was due more to the hollow body, no f-holes and the elaborate circuitry. I had the LP Deluxe in the '70s, so it's been awhile. They're brighter than standard HBs, and although I like the way they sounded, I was looking for a more traditional beefy LP tone (after all it was the 70s), so I sold it and bought a Custom. Looking back, I should have kept the Deluxe.

Fast forward to this century, I love the NY minis on the recent Epis. My favorite is the Riviera. I had a Korean Peerless and that axe rocked. If you can find one, get it. I also had a USA Sheraton, Elitist Riviera, Elitist Riviera 12 string, all with minis and all sounded fantastic.

Please note that the standard minis with the screw holes are not the same as the Firebird style minis. The standard mini is constructed just like a PAF humbucker only smaller, side by side coils with a bar magnet under each coil. Because the coils are closer together and the pickup narrower, the magnetic field is not as wide resulting in a brighter, more focused sound. Kinda like a narrow Strat pickup is not as beefy as the wider P-90.

OTH, the Firebird mini has the magnets running through the center of each coil (like a blade pickup) rather than beneath the coil.

Hope that helps.

#8 User is offline   Vic Flick 

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 09:36 AM

Quote

Yup, Gibson used "surplus" Epi parts they acquired when they bought the company until around 1961.
When they ran out, Gibson had to do some re-designing.
The Mini- Humbucker is pretty much a hum cancelling single coil...


The original Epiphone New York pickups were single coil, but the mini humbucker that Gibson developed to replace them was in deed a humbucker. In fact, it is constructed just like a PAF, just smaller.

#9 User is offline   carverman 

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 11:12 PM

Quote

The original Epiphone New York pickups were single coil, but the mini humbucker that Gibson developed to replace them was in deed a humbucker. In fact, it is constructed just like a PAF, just smaller.


Thanks JerryMac for settling this. This is what I thought also. My Epiphone historical book
(House of Stathopoulo) mentioned that the "New York" pickup was the final evolution
of the Tone Spectrum single coil pickup, before the company was sold.

I had a 69 Epi Riviera that had the mini-buckers and they sounded like humbuckers
to me, at least on the Epiphone amps that we carried in the store.

So why they got renamed or "misnamed" adds to the confusion..as the min-buckers
were a Gibson design (as you mentioned), and had nothing to do with New York city design,
as the humbucker and it's variants (mini-humbuckers etc) were designed by Gibson,
in Kalamazoo Mi, in the mid 50s and later in the mid 60s.

The book does mention that Gibson acquired a certain quantity of the original Epiphone
NYC SC (Tone Spectrums)... and they were (apparently) mounted on some of the earlier
Epiphones made in Kalamazoo. From 59 onwards to a point where the original stock
was exhausted. These NYC SC would definitely have a different characteristic sound
from the Gibson mini-humbuckers and should not be confused as being one and the same.
=======================================================
2005 Epi LP Custom
1995 Epi Joe Pass
2006 Epi Broadway Elitist
and some other guitars

#10 User is online   zombywoof 

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 11:55 PM

Quote

The original Epiphone New York pickups were single coil, but the mini humbucker that Gibson developed to replace them was in deed a humbucker. In fact, it is constructed just like a PAF, just smaller.


Yup, a friend of mine has a late 1950s Sheraton with the single coils. They are a real fat sounding single coil but can put out an ice pick to your brain sound in the higher frequencies if you don't dial them in right.
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#11 User is offline   Svet 

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 08:38 AM

Quote

I also had a USA Sheraton, Elitist Riviera, Elitist Riviera 12 string, all with minis and all sounded fantastic.
.


Had????

#12 User is offline   Vic Flick 

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 12:26 PM

Quote

Had????


Had. As in past tense. Sniff, sniff.

Happy Twenty 10

#13 User is offline   Stig 

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 11:01 AM

Quote

The original Epiphone New York pickups were single coil, but the mini humbucker that Gibson developed to replace them was in deed a humbucker. In fact, it is constructed just like a PAF, just smaller.


True. In fact, the minis in a LP Deluxe have the same patent number sticker on the bottom of them as their big brothers. (I have a pair that I took out of my Deluxe. No, they're not for sale!)
www.soundcloud.com/aspirinhammer

#14 User is offline   Vic Flick 

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 11:16 AM

[quote name='Stig]True. In fact' date=' the minis in a LP Deluxe have the same patent number sticker on the bottom of them as their big brothers. (I have a pair that I took out of my Deluxe. No, they're not for sale!)[/quote']

One other point so there's no further confusion, the Firebird minis are a totally different pickups.

#15 User is offline   Ricochet 

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 11:26 AM

Quote

3) I know they are rare and seldom become available, is there anyone on the forum that has played a guitar with a neck 1960'ish New York mini humbucker through a clean channel. If so, what in your opinion, comes closest to them, that can bought today, for tone and and range.



I have no experience with either but strictly going by construction I'd say the Gretsch Hilotron might possibly be very similar. To the NY pickup that is. A minihumbucker is a different beasty alltogether.
Cheers,
Rich

#16 User is offline   Alleykat 

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:44 PM

I have just taken off the nickel cover from my New York mini humbucker came with my Epiphone Alleykat guitar.
It is definitely a humbucker with two serial coil. One coil equipped with blade nut the other contains the bolts you can see from outside.
It is fully waxed so I don't know if it has two separated magnet or only one and two iron nut in the covers.
I did it for advancing this pickup for coil tapping.

#17 User is offline   jfine 

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:19 AM

As several people have already stated, Epi New York pickups are not humbuckers, they're single-coils, left over from the pre-Gibson period of Epiphone production. They do turn up on some early Gibson-made Epiphones--I've seen pictures of an early Coronet that looked somewhat like a symmetrical double-cutaway Telecaster with one NY pickup in the bridge position. The NY pickups were used up by 1963--all the electrics in the '63 catalog had either Gibson-developed mini-humbuckers or P-90's. I used to have a '61 Epi Broadway with two minis, out-of-phase, interestingly enough--I bought it in 1973 from the original owner, who claimed it had never been modified, but I'm not so sure--the neck pickup was backwards; screw coil to the inside rather than facing the neck like normal. Which would explain the out-of-phase sound in the middle switch position--I guess I had a Peter Green Epiphone!

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