Inside a '78 Ibanez Super 80 "Flying Finger" pickup

geetarfreek82

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Hey guys. I recently purchased a minty 1978 Ibanez Artist 2619, and I am really digging the guitar. 70's mojo in spades!





As some of you know in addition to Les Pauls I love old Ibanez guitars, and previously I tore into a Super 70 and currently there is a set of Super 58's on the ECP work bench for archaeological purposes. The Super 80's in my guitar read 7.7k in the neck and 7.67k in the bridge. They use three ceramic magnets like a Dirty Fingers or a SD Distortion. It can be rather harsh on certain settings so I decided to swap in some rough cast short A5's to get closer to a T-Top tone, and while I was inside I photographed it for everyone.

First of all, these pickups are literally held together with hot glue and the solder affixing the cover to the baseplate. I use the term baseplate loosely because the bobbins are not attached with screws like a standard humbucker.



After carefully removing the hot glue with a razor blade I took it apart. The magnets were taped around the bobbins with thin blue vinyl tape. This prevented the three magnets from moving. This is a double slug bobbin setup, and the top of the slugs were taped. Another big blob of hot glue was on top of the bobbins to adhere it to the cover. This is a weird setup but it was actually very quiet, so kudos to the people at Maxon for thinking this up before wax potting was the norm.









After I removed the hot glue and the tape, here are the double whites in all their glory.



I removed the magnets and installed the short A5's. I wanted the assembly to be more sturdy this time around, so I had an idea. I had some fiber board humbucker baseplates from Mojotone from a project that never came to fruition, so I decided to make use of those. I cut off the mounting screw legs with a Dremel so I just had the rectangular portion remaining. I screwed the baseplate to the bobbin assembly with brass screws.



The stock metal "baseplate" will go underneath the fiber board baseplate to hold everything together and to solder the cover to.



I then taped off the top of the bobbins with masking tape, applied some dabs of silicone to the tape and then set the whole thing into the cover. I put the metal baseplate on the bottom, clamped it, then soldered it on. Success! It is super solid and I think it looks great.



Sound wise it turned out for the better. All of the sounds are much more useable now, including the funky split and out of phase stuff. I can see why Steve Miller used these exclusively for so long, it is a very versatile instrument! With even coils and poly wire these are right in the realm of a T-Top and with the short A5 these are now very close to that. The double slug configuration alters the tone slightly, but it's close enough. It now sounds great and it went from "it's okay" to "it's a keeper!"
 

elephantrider

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i don't know why it hits me like that, but this pic is outstanding !

 

geetarfreek82

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Yeah. It's funny they used white bobbins... Maybe they were cheaper to buy?
 

TM1

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I think I would have used a long A-4 from ThroBak. Those magnets really make old T-Tops sound amazing.
 

geetarfreek82

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I briefly considered using a short A4, but decided to stick with the standard T-Top magnet. Worked out great in the end.
 

Kris Ford

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Sweet!!
AMAZINGLY close in assembly to a Gibson Super Humbucking...(Tarback)
As in, this was their way of doing the same thing really, except Gibson used black potting epoxy instead of hot glue...
Even with the cream coils..:hmm:
 

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kboman

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I love my Super 80 so it was very enjoyable to get to see how it's put together! Thanks for the thread :)
 

geetarfreek82

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No problem! This kind of stuff interests me, I LOVE pickup "forensics!" I really liked the neck pickup in it's stock form, but the bridge could get quite harsh. I just can't get into the crispness of ceramic.
 

Liquid State

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brilliant post! seriously. great pics with just the right descriptions. I am now madly searching for your Super 70s post to see what under the hood on my '79 PF400

cheers
 

kboman

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No problem! This kind of stuff interests me, I LOVE pickup "forensics!" I really liked the neck pickup in it's stock form, but the bridge could get quite harsh. I just can't get into the crispness of ceramic.
I've got a neck version (I think - it came with a low angled surround) in the bridge position of my Roadstar II. Friggin' love it! Very bright and mercilessly revealing which is just what I like :)
 

geetarfreek82

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brilliant post! seriously. great pics with just the right descriptions. I am now madly searching for your Super 70s post to see what under the hood on my '79 PF400

cheers
Thanks a lot man! I was just thinking, I may have posted the Super 70 stuff in the now deleted "what's on your pickup bench" thread. :wow: I'll have to look around and see if I still have those photos.
 

Texsunburst59

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VERY cool information. Glad you posted this.

I picked up a 1980 Ibanez AR50 Artist earlier this year, and it had the stock
Super 70's HB's.

These pickups are amazing. You can get some great cranked overdriven tones,and the notes have clear articulation.

The pickups do bring out the upper mids, so I guess that why you get a lot of note definition when you play heavy overdriven chords.

I don't have another guitar in my collection that can do this.

I'm on the lookout of another Ibanez Artist guitar.

Hopefully I can run into one like yours.
 

geetarfreek82

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Yeah these guitars are a really good value, IMHO. The build quality is amazing, and they play and sound better than most Gibsons of the same era.
 

AJK1

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The singer of Big Country used one and it sounded great, especially with the e-bow
 

cooljuk

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Nice pictorial. Looks good with the open double whites.


The slug in the bottom right corner - what's happening there? Looks like it was cut for a woodruff key, but I can't make sense of that. I notice it's the same one painted red on the bottom. Any ideas?


Aside from that, the thing I found most interesting is that there were THREE types of tape used in the assembly!
 

AJK1

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Nice pictorial. Looks good with the open double whites.




The slug in the bottom right corner - what's happening there? Looks like it was cut for a woodruff key, but I can't make sense of that. I notice it's the same one painted red on the bottom. Any ideas?


Aside from that, the thing I found most interesting is that there were THREE types of tape used in the assembly!
Quality control ?
 

Kris Ford

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Still can't help but to think that it was the MIJ way of doing a Tarback..coil color, 3 ceramic magnets..etc.. :hmm:
 


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