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DeArmond 'monkey' pickups

5/13/2006 9:10 PM
DeArmond 'monkey' pickups
Anybody (besides me) ever try to fix a 1950's DeArmond 'monkey on a stick' jazz archtop pickup?  
How did you finally manage it?  
5/14/2006 1:37 AM
What is the pickup? Is it a Rhythm Chief or a guitar mic?  
Your main problem is the rivets. You can't get replacements so you'll probably end up soldering the cover back on and glueing the rivets in for appearances sake. The bobbin inside is very thin walled and fragile and will break easily. Take great care when removing the coil wire. Rewinding is easy to do. Reassembly is fiddly.  
Dave Stephens has been buying up a load of DeArmonds if I remember rightly. He may be able to help further.
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5/14/2006 10:57 AM

I've never heard 'Rhythm Chief' before, the owner called it 'monkey on a stick'. No rivets... this pickup is chromed metal with an oval plastic front where the poles are, and felt on the bottom of the pickup for the pickup to rest on the guitar. There is a hole drilled through on one end that a rod goes through. The other end of the rod ends in a bracket that clamps onto the strings behind the tailpiece.  
5/14/2006 12:57 PM

Check out this link  
scroll down the page until you see what you're looking for.
5/14/2006 3:50 PM

Thank you... this one was a 'nonadjustable' Rhythm Chief. Boy, what a weird pickup. The magnets varied in diameter and length for each string, the bobbin was made of an extremely fragile fiberglass material, and even the coil wasn't 'normal' either. Mine was wound around four of the polepiece magnets, the last two (B and high E?) magnets were inserted, then the coil was finish wound around all the magnets. I kept samples of the original coil wire, it looks like #44 at least. I used #43, and only got 4.6K out. At least it worked.  
My advice for anyone who tries to rewind one of these... DON'T. It took me all weekend to get it to work.  
5/15/2006 2:47 AM
Dave Stephens
I've been dying to get one of those on my bench, yeah you wound it with the wrong wire, sorry. You need to get a digital micrometer to avoid that mistake again. Yes those things are bitch to rewind but there's easy ways to do it. Its too bad you didnt document the innards of that pickup they sell for $1100 on Ebay and I've been unable to find the patent for it. Harry DeArmond was a genius pickup designer and my main pickup hero; its not likely you'll ever get to work on one of those again. In future, use a digital caliper and micrometer to document work on vintage pickups, they may never come your way again and they are encyclopedia's of pickup knowledge in a time capsule. I would love to rewind one of those myself and I'd fill a couple pages with measurements on every tiny bit of it, they are very rare.....Dave
5/16/2006 10:01 PM

#43 was the closest wire I had, the customer wanted it back ***RIGHT NOW***, he sent it to me on a Monday, it got to me on Thursday, but already on Wednesday morning he wanted it done and back. He wouldn't even wait for me to get the right wire, he said he didn't even care as long as it worked. His check bounced too... :( :(  
Fortunately, I have the old coil wire around here somewhere. I bought a Starrett digital calipers and a Mitutoyo 41/2 digit mic. I also took photos for posterity, I'm looking for those too.  
Seriously, that pickup was the absolute worst one I ever worked on, if they are all like that one was, you can have 'em.  
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