New Charlie Christian Replica Pickups

March 4, 2007

Nicolai Foss

A number of producers have experimented with replicating the original Gibson Charlie Christian pickups (here is the wikipedia entry which, however, errorneously says that the CC has “not been available on a guitar produced since 1942” — neglecting, e.g., the Gibson ES-175CC). Jason Lollar has been producing a replica for some time now.

Britain-based CC Pickups has recently launched what they characterize as “an exact replica of the almost mythical pickups.” Here is how they describe the process of replicating the original:

“The full process for building these pickups has required us to source pre-war materials from all over the world and recycling them for use within the pickup. This was the only way we could capture the original sound and ensure we would not disappoint the loyal fans of these pickups.

Original pickups were obtained and stripped to the bone, every individual component has been copied identically to the originals.

The bobbins have been scatter wound by hand in the traditional way with the correct gauge wire with the exact output reading as the originals, and of course these are fitted with the rare steel magnets which also are magnetised to the exact reading of the originals.

The steel blades are made from the same mild steel, which has been copper plated, nickel plated and then chrome plated the same as the originals.

We had original magnets measured for flux density and field characteristics and then had our steel magnetised to the same flux density and field shape as the originals would have been over 70 years ago.

These pickups probably sound truer to the Charlie Christian records that you hear than any old existing original pickups still around today, this is due to the fact that the cobalt steel magnets only retain their magnetism for around 200 years, as they are now approx 70 years old they have lost about a third of their power so not giving the original crisp punch that they would have had when first manufactured back in the 30’s.

Three different versions have been built to the original spec, the 1936 ES150 model with the straight blade, the later model with the notch under the B string and the ES250 model with the six separate pole pieces.”

Although these are pretty expensive (double the price of the Lollar pickups), I decided to invest in one of them, and I am now the proud owner of a very beautiful CC pickup. Now I only need to buy a Gibson L48 or L50. Hmmm…

6 Responses to “New Charlie Christian Replica Pickups”

  1. […] As I mentioned earlier I have bought a Charlie Christian replica pickup. Usually, you would fit these to a Gibson L48 or a L50 (or perhaps an original ES-150). I have seen the CC pickup fitted to L7s, L5s and even to Super 400s. However, only once have I seen it fitted to a non-Gibson (specifically to an Aria). […]

  2. Ric Says:

    I had the Gibson repair shop modify my 2002 Wes Montgomery L5 to be fitted with a Charlie Christian pickup made by CC Pickups from Britain. It sounds just like the old 50s Gibson. I will put it on ebay in the near future. It has the rare tangerine finish which is almost a clear tint. Don’t be afraid to purchase a CC Pickup from Britain. They are good quality.

  3. Hi,
    My name is Gerry Beaudoin and I sell in North america the new CC pickups from Britian. My price is $ 449.00 USD plus shipping. They are great pickups and I have tried them all. I keep them in stock and have had a great response. I also stock Benedetto S-6 archtop pickups and have many DeArmond pickups in stock. My email is
    Thanks, Gerry

  4. […] Beaudoin informs me that is now the US seller of the Brit Charlie Christrian pickups. Gerry charges 449 USD plus shipping for the pickups. Write him on […]

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