PUP Experts Tar Backs @ ~5.5K

Discussion in 'The Custom Shop' started by Pappy58, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. Pappy58

    Pappy58 Senior Member

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    Greetings, hoping someone with good knowledge of Gibson PUPs might help me out. I have a pair of what are commonly referred to as Tar Backs, factory PAF's which have the covers sealed on with a black silicone like substance. Each of them measure in the 5.5k range, which seems pretty weak. If anyone can help with any of the following it would be much appreciated:

    What years were these used, in what models? This have gold covers.
    Is the 5.5 considered defective. Seems weird both are the same?
    Assuming they were >7k new, what might have degraded them?
    Is there a way to unseal these and get the covers off? Heat gun and patience?

    Thanks in advance for any info. :cheers2:
     
  2. TheZ

    TheZ Senior Member

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    I don't think it's unusual for them to be that low in output - I've seen them for sale in that range before. They were used throughout the 70's, can't remember exactly what year they started. But you'll see them in a lot of SG's and ES guitars, some Les Pauls as well. I've always wanted a guitar that had them installed. I think they're a ceramic magnet with lower output than the T-Top pickups of the day. Oh and I wouldn't try and take the covers off, they're potted in expoxy so chances are you'd do some major damage.
     
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  3. Pappy58

    Pappy58 Senior Member

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    Thanks much for the info. I guess at some point during the cold winter I'll have to pop them into something and see how they sound...although if they are indeed ceramic I probably won't like them,,,but I've been fooled before. :cheers2:
     
  4. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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  5. TheZ

    TheZ Senior Member

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    Yeah, I've heard some awesome sounds out of guitars equipped with them. Don't be thrown by the ceramic magnet, these were not cheap budget pickups by any stretch and very warm sounding. I'd definitely be interested to hear how you like them once you get them installed in something.

    Here's a video of a guitar that almost definitely has them installed:
     
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  6. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Mine are 7k and 5k approx. They came in an 85 SG, so I know for sure they are the matched pair. Both at 5 might mean you have 2 typical neck's there.

    They are not the typical ceramic pickup. Its a very early Bill Lawrence design....so a bit dry and articulate.
     
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  7. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    Yep 2 necks..which had lower DCR by design..
    Should have a 7.5ish bridge to be a matched set.

    This was to cut down on the boomy neck/thin bridge syndrome that plagues many SGs, Bill Lawrence had a good idea with that!
     
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  8. Pappy58

    Pappy58 Senior Member

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    I must have two neck units I guess?
     
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  9. Pappy58

    Pappy58 Senior Member

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    Thanks for this CB. I really am getting old I actually commented in that thread back in 2015. Must of been right after I acquired these. They were sitting in a parts box and recently re-discovered. Regrets to all for the re-churn, and thanks for the replies. :cheers:
     
  10. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    Yup.
     
  11. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    I got lucky..:thumbs:
     

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