Identify these Shin-ei Pickups! (please)

clear and blue

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hi, i was hoping someone around here might know what these are? not exactly les paul oriented (look gretsch type or something) but out of the forums im a member of, you are the most learned bunch! anyway they are Shin-ei Companion pickups and apparently made in Japan according the a sticker on the side of the box and under the pickups.



i got these about 10 years ago (can't remember where, maybe a boot fair) when i'd first started playing and wanted to make my squier strat "fat". i also around this time had a seymour duncan SH-5 but these things had more of everything bar harshness (the seymour won there).



i opened them up a few years ago and if i remember right, there was one coil and 2 bar magnets at the base. they have a really fat round sound that growls when driven and feel about twice the volume of the strat single coils. i always thought that they were meant to be a lot further from the strings than i was able to get with a strat.



at a guess, i'd say they were made in the 70's. one of the "made in japan" stickers came off when i first installed them 10 years ago and even still the marked difference in color from under where the sticker would have been suggests that they are pretty old.

if anyone can tell me anything about these it would be great. the only thing that comes up in searches is a fuzz pedal made by the same company.

cheers
 

clear and blue

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yeah i've searched and not found anything about the pickups. all i can find about shin-ei companion is that they also made fuzz (and spawned many clones), octave and wah pedals throughout 60's and 70's and there was one post by a guy who had discovered an amp by them.

who knows what else they did as there doesn't seem to be any record. would be a shame if i am the only person on the internet who has a set of these.

i think they do look quite cool. they have a pretty different sound too. my guess was that they might have been meant for a rockabilly guitar or something. they are taller than regular humbuckers and not so deep. almost like a slightly odd looking P90.

the sound sets them apart in that it is so big. has a kind of piano like sound with not much in the way of high end in comparison to the bass and mids. that may have been something to do with them being too close to the strings. . they weren't wolfing but i feel they could have done with some more air.

thanks for the replies. hope someone else out there can remember these. as much as i hate to do it, i may have to take the cover off of one again, take some pictures and see if anyone can at least identify what kind of pickups they are.

cheers
 

Quill

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Very interesting ...

If you are feeling brave, you might try posting your photos over at the pickup winder's forum. I'll bet there's lots of people over there who'd love to see those pickups.

I'd want to talk to Dave Stephens about those. They remind me of some old DeArmond pickups I saw once, ages ago, and I think he knows about those pickups ... pretty cool stuff to have in your parts drawer. Even cooler to have in one of your guitars!
 

clear and blue

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thanks for those sources quill. "if im feeling brave" . . .?? im worried now.

i've just emailed Dave Stephens and attached the photos so hopefully that may turn something up and in the meanwhile I'll try the pickup winder's forum.

if anyone's interested, i'll post any findings back here.

thanks for your help

EDIT: it would be pretty cool if i had a guitar to put them in. i have a strat and a les paul (and a bass and acoustic) and neither of these are suitable for them i don't think. if i had a DeArmond,Gretsch, Rickenbacker etc. they would be perfect . . .
 

clear and blue

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Dave had never seen them but it sounded like he was quite positive they are a load of crap. apparently there was a lot of cheap rubbish coming out of Japan at the time although by his descriptions they seem to be of different construction and were really bright. these pickups are the opposite of bright really.

taken some pictures with a cover off one and measured the resistances.







DC resistance of one was 6.49k and the other was 6.66k. green coil wire?

---------------------------------
EDIT: started a thread at the pickup forum
 

captcoolaid

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Is the only reason you believe them to be shin-ei because of the box. I found that exact same box with a foot pedal in it.
 

clear and blue

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yeah just because of the box. well that and the fact that the same Made In Japan sticker that was on the pickups is also on the side of the box and both seem to have been there since day one.

they may be something else entirely but i haven't spotted any markings and the stickers are exactly the same so i can only assume. god knows its hard enough to identify them on the assumption that they are made by Shin-ei, let alone by some even less known maker.

if you have the box for the original fuzz pedal you'll probably find that it is quite a bit deeper than this one. this one is 1 3/4" deep X 6" long X 3 3/4" wide. you couldn't fit the pedal in there.

a user on the pickup forum has a set in a different style and pointed out that the bulk of them were actually rebranded to go into other brand's guitars e.g. Shaftesbury and Hohner

cheers
 

Spartan Warrior

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Hello, I'm new to this site and first I must apologise for reactivating an old thread but it seems that there was no positive conclusion to it. I hope that what I can contribute will fill in a few more gaps in our knowledge of these pickups.
I had a couple of Shin-ei pickups exactly the same as the ones in the photos. I bought them back in 1974. the only difference was that the one I bought also included black plastic mounting rings. The boxes in the photographs are the same as the ones that mine came in.
I bought them from a music shop in Doncaster (Smedley & Son, still in the same shop the last time I visited my home town in 2011) to fit to a Flying Vee guitar that I was making at the tender age of 16 in my final year at school.
I cannot remember how much they cost but thinking back to how little money I had at the time they cannot have been more than £7 or £8 for the pair, possibly not even that much.
My memory of the sound that they produced is dimmed by the passage of time but they certainly worked as pickups! Firstly through my dad’s hi-fi amplifier and then through a WEM combo of pathetically few watts output and equipped with an equally pathetic small speaker.
Once I had realised the total impracticality of the Flying Vee as a guitar to learn on whilst sat down, I built something more conventionally shaped, loosely based on a Telecaster but with a glued in neck. Financial constraints meant that the pickups (along with most of the hardware) were transferred to the new guitar, where they continued to serve me well for about a year until I managed to save enough of my hard earned money to buy an Antoria Telecaster 69 thinline.
After that I don't know what became of my Shin-ei pickups. I continued to build (and still do build) guitars but I never fitted the Shin-ei pickups to another guitar; I can only assume that I disposed of them somewhere along the line, perhaps trading them for something that I more desperately needed.
On another pickup related note, in around 1976/1977, from the same shop in Doncaster, I bought a pair of Japanese copies of the Gibson low impedance pickups, as used on the Les Paul Professional, Personal and Recording guitars. I still have these awaiting their installation in a guitar that is currently under construction.
I have never seen any other aftermarket low impedance style pickups, I guess that the ones I have were from the same source as those used on the Ibanez, CMI and Antoria copies that were around in the mid 70's and I consider myself lucky to have bought them when I did.
Once again I'm sorry to have dragged up a two year old topic, but I thought that it deserved a bit of closure. I promise that my next contribution will be more contemporary!
 

captcoolaid

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Hey Spartan that black on dark grey is a rough read. But thank you for the reply.
 

M.Jolliffe

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Hi clear blue... Dragging up a very old thread by about 10 years here.. but I have 'the' or 'an' answer:

I just got ahold of one of these shin-ei pickups recently myself... 6.48k... same box etc... Same made in Japan sticker on side of box.

It is either an original Hofner Type 512 blade pickup made by Franz Pix (Germany) and rebranded Shin-ei for the Japanese market. OR it is an exacting clone of the Hofner 512 manufactured (with or without license) in Japan. Even your description of the internals exactly matches the way in which the Hofners are built.

The Hofner 512 was made between 1967 to 1970.. To then be replaced by the 513 type.. which has not been verified whether the ONLY difference between a 512 and a 513 is that a 513 has a tone compensating notch cut into the blade magnet so as the magnet is lower under the 5th 'b' string of the guitar.
The 513 went on to become one of Hofners most used pickups across many models.. and is still manufactured or is manufactured again now as the Hofner Blade Pickup H513 (though whether it is currently made true to an original 513 type is not clear - no comment or comparison exists out there as of Jan 2020... And Hofner themselves don't give anything away as to construction.. merely stating that it is a drop in replacement for many old Hofner guitars).

The dimensions are all exact same for the Shin-ei and Hofner 512 versions. I cannot see them as anything other than strongly related (copied) or in fact the same!

I have the 513's in a vintage Hofner Les Paul 4579.. (this is actually an enclosed semi hollow guitar without f-holes). They sound wonderful in that guitar.. love the woody piano lows in the neck pickup.

Such sent me after researching Hofner pickups... And hence I wind up buying an interesting looking Shin-ei lookalike to the 512.

Hofners info can be found here;

Hope that may be of some use to you after all this time/that you may still be around and interested guitars even.

Otherwise; at least it completes an old thread for others to read with a little concrete information.

All bests.
 

Grenville

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I just saw a Hofner with these pickups a couple of weeks ago.

I bought such a pickup for (I think) $5.00 circa 1975 or 1976 as an aftermarket Hofner part for a guitar I was making at home, put it in the bridge and paired it with an Ibanez Super 70 in the neck.

I liked the pickups, but the guitar was horrible and eventually destroyed or junked. No idea what happened to those pickups.

I saw a pair on Ebay 2 or 3 years ago for silly money, and it was the first time I'd seen them since the 1970s.
 




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