Les Paul's Gibson Pickup Winder Refurbished and Working
*Not an April Fools' story:
Throbak Electronics is a company that we've been following for a while. We were going to post something else, but we thought this story was too cool and felt we had to post it as soon as we could. In the wake of the Les Paul Estate Sale, Throbak has recently posted that they obtained yet another vintage Gibson pickup winder. This is *THE* pickup winder that Les Paul took from the Gibson factory when Gibson left Kalamazoo and relocated to Nashville.
We like Throbak's commitment to "vintage sounds" and the business pursuit of achieving authentic vintage sounds by building period-authentic accessories made on original tooling with original techniquea, using new-old stock components. The "sound" part of our mission here at Thermionic isn't necessarily about "vintage tones", but to we do want help you, as a player, understand what you can and need to do to pursue getting the sound you want from your equipment. Having followed Throbak for a while in pursuit of our mission, we really came to dig the Throbak mission, and the commitment to integrity that Throbak pursues in executing its mission.
If you want vintage tones, Throbak equipment and accessories are not inexpensive. A pickup from a conventional pickup business like Seymour Duncan will cost anywhere from around $50 for their least expensive single coil to well over $100 for a seven-string humbucker. Throbak only offers Gibson-style PAF humbuckers, they are only sold in Neck-Bridge pairs, and those pairs start at $529.00 a pair. If that sounds expensive, and you're committed to vintage gear, consider the alternative: I just went up on eBay looking for a 1959 Gibson Les Paul humbucker. I couldn't find a 1959 PAF, but I did find a single (not a pair) PAF dated "early 1960s", offered for $995.00 (and 36 watchers). There's no guarantee that the eBay pickup even works...
That said, we don't necessarily believe that Throbak is the only way or even necessarily the best way to get "vintage tones"*. However, it is a comprehensible and affordable means by which an artist can come as close as possible to performing on period-correct or period-authentic equipment - without necessarily paying today's grossly inflated prices for authentic vintage instruments.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. This really wasn't a piece intended to push Throbak stuff. What we really wanted to point out was not only the new old pickup winder but that there's all kinds of documentation from Throbak and their ownership of three other different vintage-period genuine Gibson-owned pickup winders - the same ones that produced the pickups that today are being posted to eBay for $995.00 each. You can find the three other pickup winders described here.
If nothing else, we thought that putting this old pickup winder from the Les Paul Estate back into function, was pretty cool.