Other Guitars

Premier Scroll Guitar…with Bigsby Pups?!

1

These seem to have been produced late 50s-early 60s. The one pictured is from '61. I've seen a red one from '59, but the pic isn't as good. Seems like an attempt to do an f style solid body electric guitar. Don't actually dig the scroll so much. But are these Bigsby pickups? There are others with gold foils various alternatives. But I've seen at least 2 with these.

3

Why you think Franz is a misrepresentation ?

4

Yes. The pickups pictured are clearly Bigsby, at least in their external housing. Franz pups generally look like shorter-eared white dogears.

7

I've always read they were Franz pickups, and there are a couple of laminated D'Angelico electrics with the same pickups that have also been described as made by the Franz (sometimes spelled "Fransch") company. Considering the NJ location of Premier and Franz, that would make perfect sense.

Bigsby pickups would have been much too expensive for a Premier guitar, I'm pretty sure.

8

So Franz pups dressed up like Bigsbys? The weird thing is that a lot of the cost in the Bigsbys is in the manufacturing of the aluminum housings and rings. Why not just put them on as white or cream plastic dogears or soapbars? Truth be told, they sound more P90ish in these clips than Bigsby-ish. But wouldn't the aluminum de-twang them by cutting out some of the high frequencies?

9

I think most of the high price of Bigsby pickups was the fact that they were a handmade, high quality item made by what was essentially a one-man operation.

The Franz pickups I know very well (the Guild variety) might sound great, but they're a very crudely made factory item, pretty much a cheap P90 knockoff. The fact they sound great (to some people) is probably more of a happy accident than anything else.

The pickups on the Premier guitars have more of a metal dogear cover with rounded ends - I don't see any height mechanism like on a Bigsby pickup, and they're smaller and narrower. A metal cover does eat some high end, but it's not like it mutes a pickup beyond recognition.

10

Here's a laminated D'Angelico electric with what looks like the same pickups as on the Premier guitars :

D'Angelico sourced these laminated bodies from United/Code, another company located in New Jersey. Premier sold hollowbody guitars with these same bodies with....you guessed it...Franz pickups!

And this is another very rare D'Angelico with the same style Franz pickups as Guild guitars had :

This ebay auction is for anther one of those Premier hollowbodies, labeled "Orpheum", with yet another style of Franz pickup, the style most seen on these : click!

11

Thanks Walter. I was primarily responding to the rounded ends and material. That side view reveals the spacers. Interesting stuff.

I know from both TK and Pete Biltoft, that a huge portion of the cost of Bigsby style pickups now is the machining (or casting) of the aluminum. Basically doubled the price of the pups I got from Pete, which are CC-style hexagonal acrylic tops with a blade. That's why I went with them. But he wound them with wire and specs in the direction of Bigsby pups. I'm optimistic. Got them with AlNiCo IIIs and a set of Vs in case I want them a bit brighter and more muscular. Obviously they won't sound either precisely like Bigsby blades or CCs, as those require specific recipes of all their parts. But it should get me in that warm and articulate ball park...

12

Those Premier pickups have nowhere near the amount of aluminum that Bigsby pickup surrounds have. It's just a metal cover, like the metal covers that came on some P90s. El Tuce has a couple of Premiers - perhaps he'll jump in and address their sound. But having played both metal and plastic covered P90's, I didn't detect much of a difference.

13

Hard to recall as it's been a while since I played the double neck and I sold the scroll a couple of years ago, but from what I remember, they have a decent amount of ooomph, but are a bit cleaner than your typical P90. Here's a shot of the underside of one of the pickups from the scroll.

14

And the cover on the back of the pickup.

15

Here's a photo of the back of a legit Bigsby pickup for comparison.

18

Not to revive a zombie thread, but for all interested - Premier pickup rear shot I saw today -

20

I'm a couple weeks late to this party, but do have some thoughts to add. I have two of these guitars, a two-pickup and a three-pickup -- which is incredibly rare. Those pickups look like Bigsby from a distance but they are absolutely Franz or Fransch, depending on who you ask and when they were looking. I believe the company went under both names, or else there were two companies that are often mistaken. These guitars are awesome sounding. The pickups are great and they have SOLID ROSEWOOD NECKS. That's right, all the way through from front to back, one piece of Brazilian. As an NYC-area guitar, these were actually the closest competitor to a Duo Jet circa 1959.

21

A Premier with Franz faux-Bigsby pickups and solid rosewood neck in action. Ignore the guy with a 6121FTW....

22
– Strummerson

I am the guy playing the scroll guitar in the youtube videos, and I sold it to this guy: http://www.oldfrets.com/Pre...

It's a cool, quirky guitar

The pickup wire in these has the lead surrounded by plastic insulation and then a wire mesh covering. The plastic on this one was completely dry and brittle, so I had to replace the lead from both pickups. They were cheaply constructed pickups, but I thought they sounded great. Definitely in the P90 school of tone, but a little cleaner/brighter.

I bought mine for $200 at a Salvation Army

23

Sorry Chaps, I'm REALLY late to this one, but the" Franztalk" got me interested I.ve been doing a bit of research on them, (and buying them up), because I really enjoy them They came in Black and white, the Neck pups where much more shallow and the Bridge is quite a bit more deep, with covers to match They also came in one more thinner version with one rail below the adjustment screws I've spoken and corresponded to a number of top Pickup Builders and Repairers and apparently they were wound very tightly and in a way that almost nobody wants to mess with these days, except for Curtis Novak, who apparently can repair them or recreate them I've also seen New repro covers for both Black and White on Ebay although I suspect that they were molded from newer versions that Guild is currently producing

24

I saw three Premier Bantum guitars at the Philadelphia guitar show last weekend. The pickups caught my eye as they do appear to have a Bigsby-esque style to them.

25

Sorry Chaps, I'm REALLY late to this one, but the" Franztalk" got me interested I.ve been doing a bit of research on them, (and buying them up), because I really enjoy them They came in Black and white, the Neck pups where much more shallow and the Bridge is quite a bit more deep, with covers to match They also came in one more thinner version with one rail below the adjustment screws I've spoken and corresponded to a number of top Pickup Builders and Repairers and apparently they were wound very tightly and in a way that almost nobody wants to mess with these days, except for Curtis Novak, who apparently can repair them or recreate them I've also seen New repro covers for both Black and White on Ebay although I suspect that they were molded from newer versions that Guild is currently producing

– 949Norm

Actually the guy who is making those molded them from a pair of 50's covers


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