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Melody Maker Pickup Info Please.

Brian Jones

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Feb 25, 2021
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Can someone please confirm if the first1959 Melody Makers had a different pickup fitted to those from the early 60's on. I seem to remember hearing this somewhere.

Brian
 

PaulD

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Jun 25, 2007
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578
Yes, the earlier ones had a slightly wider pickup, I think they were 7/8 in wide as opposed to the later ones which were 5/8 in wide.
 

Brian Jones

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Feb 25, 2021
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Yes, the earlier ones had a slightly wider pickup, I think they were 7/8 in wide as opposed to the later ones which were 5/8 in wide.
Thank you, do you know was there a difference in construction/spec, or was it just the cover?
 

PaulD

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Jun 25, 2007
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578
I've never actually seen one of the early ones so don't know for sure but I would imagine the coil was larger - can't imagine they would fit an oversize cover on the smaller coil.
 

Brian Jones

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Feb 25, 2021
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I've never actually seen one of the early ones so don't know for sure but I would imagine the coil was larger - can't imagine they would fit an oversize cover on the smaller coil.
Fair point. I have 3 1965 Melody Makers, one with humbuckers fitted, but I am waiting for delivery of a 1959, so will be very interested to see the difference.
 

LeonC

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Aug 30, 2002
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397
I had a '59 for a number of years. It's a great sounding pickup; sounds kind of reminiscent of a P90.
 

oldog

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Nov 28, 2003
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201
There is a comprehensive article on Melody Makers in this months Vintage Guitar and Jason Lollar talks about the pickups
 

Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
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14,294
I have a bunch of singlecut MM's and MMDs Gibson and Epiphone Olympic singlecut single and double pickup versions. They all sound like Fender pups more than p90's. They don't sound anything like p90's. More like 50's Blackguard Tele's or Strat's with the neck pickup on the D models.

Great clip but not representative of this model so much as the fattening effects of the amps. Yes, you can roll back the tone and get a great sound but that very lively dynamic tone is a hallmark and makes the MM such a great guitar. The D models do the SRV Texas Blues thing better than my Strats!

Nice to see some love for these killer guitars.
 

Brian Jones

New member
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
8
I have a bunch of singlecut MM's and MMDs Gibson and Epiphone Olympic singlecut single and double pickup versions. They all sound like Fender pups more than p90's. They don't sound anything like p90's. More like 50's Blackguard Tele's or Strat's with the neck pickup on the D models.

Great clip but not representative of this model so much as the fattening effects of the amps. Yes, you can roll back the tone and get a great sound but that very lively dynamic tone is a hallmark and makes the MM such a great guitar. The D models do the SRV Texas Blues thing better than my Strats!

Nice to see some love for these killer guitars.
Interesting.
I have a 1959 Single Cut arriving shortly, so will find out first hand.
 

LeonC

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Joined
Aug 30, 2002
Messages
397
After '59, Gibson stopped using the wider version of that pickup. The later, skinnier version of the pickup does indeed sound more like a Fender single coil, even though it's a bar magnet... back in the day I went through a number of early/mid 60s Epiphones that had these pickups. They always seemed a bit anemic to me when compared to the '59 MM pickup. But they're okay.


The '59 version however, is hotter. While not a P90, to me it is reminiscent of a P90....really, somewhere between a Tele bridge and a P90. It cleans up like a good P90 and screams like a scalded ape when you goose it and hit the strings hard, somewhat like a P90. The issue for me is I can't really get by for long with just one pickup ... I really need a neck pickup for so much stuff that I like to play. Interestingly, Gibson did make a few 59 Melody makers that were double pickup versions. I've got a friend in Pennsylvania who owns one. Very rare! Would love to find one.


And perhaps even odder, I believe @27sauce had a transitional Melody Maker that had a fat pick up in the neck and a skinny pickup in the bridge.
 

Big Al

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Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,294
After '59, Gibson stopped using the wider version of that pickup. The later, skinnier version of the pickup does indeed sound more like a Fender single coil, even though it's a bar magnet... back in the day I went through a number of early/mid 60s Epiphones that had these pickups. They always seemed a bit anemic to me when compared to the '59 MM pickup. But they're okay.


The '59 version however, is hotter. While not a P90, to me it is reminiscent of a P90....really, somewhere between a Tele bridge and a P90. It cleans up like a good P90 and screams like a scalded ape when you goose it and hit the strings hard, somewhat like a P90. The issue for me is I can't really get by for long with just one pickup ... I really need a neck pickup for so much stuff that I like to play. Interestingly, Gibson did make a few 59 Melody makers that were double pickup versions. I've got a friend in Pennsylvania who owns one. Very rare! Would love to find one.


And perhaps even odder, I believe @27sauce had a transitional Melody Maker that had a fat pick up in the neck and a skinny pickup in the bridge.
I own every version of the mkI MM except the 3/4. All the single pup,MM and the double pup, MM D. I also own the Epiphone Olympic mkI in single and double pup versions. They are identical to Gibson except for tortoise guard and longer headstock.

The 59 pup is shorter and wider by a wee bit but they sound the same, more or less and you'd need bat ears to tell them apart. My 61 Olympic D with the typical pickups is the hottest sounding of the bunch, with a neck pup that kills any of my Fenders while the 62, the latest singlecut Gibson I've found has the biggest boldest tone in the bridge.

Wire, the same 42 ga pe as pafs, is the same and ohm readings are similar, not exact, but close enough. I love these guitars. The big knock against them is why I love them. That is they don't sound like p90 or paf. They sound like singlecoils similar to Fenders. Now I'd bet any good Fender played on that rig with the same settings would sound as good and damn near the same and a p9o or paf, though no doubt would sound good, would be noticeably different.

There is real magic in a melody maker, as was shown in that excellent video. The trick is in the controls.
 
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