Gibson Melody Maker, Harmony H22 bass, Vox Ultrasonic
1969 Gibson Melody Maker guitarHarmony H22 bassVox Ultrasonic guitar, with built-in effects
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Gibson Sonex-180 Deluxe pickup

Early 1980s Japanese humbucker

Some guitars fitted with this pickup

1982 Gibson Sonex-180 Deluxe
The two humbucking pickups fitted to the Sonex-180 deluxe guitars (parts 13248, neck; 13249, bridge) were different to those fitted to the Sonex Standard and Custom models, and were imported from Japan, rather than wound in the USA as most Gibson pickups were. These are often incorrectly described as the well-regarded 'Velvet Brick' pickups, and although similar in appearance (both had the black/cream 'zebra' coils) they are not the same pickup. Note the colours (and hence polepieces) are reversed on the two pickups; they are the mirror image of each other.

Note the adjustable polepieces are in the black portion of the pickup - positioned closest to the neck in this case, but reversed (closest to the bridge) on the back pickup. The pickup is height and angle adjustable via three spring-mounted screws through the black plastic surround.

The pickup is fairly straightforward: two coils, each wrapped around a cream or black former, sit upon a bar magnet, which, in turn, sits upon the metal bassplate with mounting brackets. The coils are screwed onto the bassplate from below (see underside view). Dimensions: 70mm x 38mm x 18mm (excluding mounting tabs); Surround, 92mm x 45mm; Mounting screw holes are 78mm apart.

The flip side of this pickup, on the baseplate, is stamped 'SONEX-180 DELUXE' and has a six digit code, in this case 242050. I have no information on the meaning of this code, only that the numbers typically start with 22, 23 or 24, and are not unique. If you know what this code signifies, please comment.

In the final picture we can see the connections made by the coil ends, to either side of the end section of the magnet. The end of the black coil is soldered to the bassplate, whilst the white joins to the output wire. Typical resistances of these pickups are in the order 7.5-8.0kΩ.

List of Gibson guitar pickups

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