Pickups

Can you identify the Cramp’s Poison Ivy’s pickups?

1

Her Bill Lewis guitar looked stock like this

Link

The she swapped them for these that IMHO sound and look like filtertrons but kind of small like mini firebird humbuckers?

Link

2

So she went with a solid body... whoa.

3

I confess that I don't look at pickups when I see Poison Ivy.

That said, the Lewis guitar looks very cool; like the inset vibrato.

4

Yep solidbody on all those records untill she purchased her 58' 6210 in 1985. Does anyone please recognize those pickups?

Link

5

looks like some variation of japanese teisco gold foil

she actually had 2 bill lewis guitars...

before she got her gretsch..and never looked back!

cheers

6

Thank you so much for the info!

Funny I was just comparing the tone i youtube clips of tv jones classics and lollar gold foils for an uppgrade in my G5810.

I know she always used her gretsch after 1985, but my favourite cramps records were cut with a solidbody mahogany guitar with those pickups!

Link

7

cool...just know there were two kinds of pickups known as gold foils...the originals were made by dearmond and used on many harmony built guitars in the late 50's -early 60's...

japanese teisco, a bit later, came out with theirs...which were based on the dearmonds, but different

plus they all went through many variations!!..and later harmony even wound up using teisco pups in some of their guitars

ry cooder brought the teisco gold foil back in fashion..and that's why lollar started building them

the lollars are based on the teisco... a very solid reproduction

gfs also sells a bunch of gold foil looking pickups..and there are a couple of them that are kinda true to the original design..the rest are just normal strat or humbuckers housed in gold foil looking shell

http://www.guitarfetish.com...

gold foils were really basic pickups, but have unique tones...in gretsch world they'd be something akin to the hi-lo's..hah

cheers

ps- poison ivy said the 2 lewis guitars weighed a ton!

8

ps- the cramps as i remember them..and pi with the lewis guitar

it was all about the trem!

cheers

9

"Human Fly" sounds a lot like a Harmony type pickup.

10

Thanks again for the input, here is an "insane" free show taped 1978 from a CA mental institution. Feauturing my favourite lineup with Byron Gregory on a polkadot flying V and Nick Knox on drums.

Link

11

Lektriz, my friend, am I happy to be helping you with this one. I specifically registered for this site so I could answer your question. I can tell you EXACTLY where the pickups on Ivy's Lewis guitar came from and who made them. She or a prior owner apparently took those pickups out of a late '60s Ovation electric guitar from their Electric Storm series--specifically, the Tornado or 12-String Hurricane model. According to the wikipedia entry for Ovation Guitar Company, "The pickups for these instruments were manufactured by Rowe Industries, who produced DeArmond music products in Toledo, Ohio. Production stopped in 1969."

You see, I too love The Cramps and--like you--I've always preferred the sound of the recordings Ivy made with her Lewis guitar to the ones she made with her Gretsch. (I know--blasphemy to those who come to this site.) Anyway, like you, I wondered about those pickups. So I did some digging and found the information I gave you. Take a careful look at my avatar. It's a closeup of the type of pickups used in some of Ovation's Electric Storm series guitars of the late 1960s. Compare it to a pickup on Ivy's Lewis guitar. You'll notice each pickup has 2 rows of 6 round holes or pole pieces. You'll also notice something that resembles a minus sign under the E A and D strings near the upper row of holes or pole pieces and another "minus sign" under the G B and E strings by the lower row of holes or pole pieces.

Also note that there are 2 pickup height adjustment screws on the left side of the pickup but only one such screw on the right. You'll see that the same is true of the pickups on Ivy's Lewis guitar. In short, the pickups on Ivy's Lewis guitar look identical to the pickups used on those late 60s Ovation guitars. Anyway, if you'd like to look into it, here are some links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

http://www.ovationtribute.c...

https://www.youtube.com/res...

And here's two closeups of the pickups used in the late '60s Ovation Tornado or the Hurricane 12-String and a closeup of Ivy's Lewis guitar. There are much larger versions of these photos online. Unfortunately, they somehow shrunk when I posted them to this site. The first two can be found with a Google image search of "ovation storm series" and the last one can be seen in a much larger form on flickr.

12

I think that guitar was stolen (or has someone mentioned that already?) So it must be around somewhere, wonder where? Plus, I could never find out which model of Supro amp she used for recording. There were mentions of a 10" speaker and reverb but that's about it.

I know there's photos around with a blue faced Supro

13

Vince_Ray, I've read an interview Ivy did with Vintage Guitar magazine where she said she had 2 Lewis guitars. The headstock was broken off the main one. It's possible the other one was stolen sometime after she gave that interview, as she made no mention of one of her Lewis guitars being stolen.

As for her amps, here's a quote from an interview she did with Vintage Guitar magazine around 2003: "For recording, I mainly play through a tiny Valco amp with one 10″ speaker. It just sounds great and it’s got a great reverb in it." And here's a quote from a 1990 interview with Jas Obrecht in Guitar Player magazine. She was describing how she gets her recorded sound: "I play loudly on really small amps – almost the whole Stay Sick album was recorded on a Valco amp from 1959 or ’60. This one has a tiny 10” speaker." You also said there's supposed to be a photo of her with a blue Supro amp. With all of these clues you should be able to do some online sleuthing to figure out which amp she's referring to. In the meantime, I hope these links are useful: http://www.valcoamp.com/a-b...

http://www.vintage47amps.com/

Ivy didn't use an amp made by Vintage47 and you may not be interested in buying a Vintage47 amp but you can still learn about old Valco amps by visiting their site. This might help you figure out which amp Ivy used in the studio.

14

Thank you so much for Taking time to help out!

I finally received my 5810 Bo Diddley this summer and went for the same strings Ivy uses, short slapback delay through my tiny studioamp and... it sounds nothing like her but I love it anyway!

The new supro island guitars come stock with similiar pickups if I'm correct..

15

Vince_Ray, I've read an interview Ivy did with Vintage Guitar magazine where she said she had 2 Lewis guitars. The headstock was broken off the main one. It's possible the other one was stolen sometime after she gave that interview, as she made no mention of one of her Lewis guitars being stolen.

As for her amps, here's a quote from an interview she did with Vintage Guitar magazine around 2003: "For recording, I mainly play through a tiny Valco amp with one 10″ speaker. It just sounds great and it’s got a great reverb in it." And here's a quote from a 1990 interview with Jas Obrecht in Guitar Player magazine. She was describing how she gets her recorded sound: "I play loudly on really small amps – almost the whole Stay Sick album was recorded on a Valco amp from 1959 or ’60. This one has a tiny 10” speaker." You also said there's supposed to be a photo of her with a blue Supro amp. With all of these clues you should be able to do some online sleuthing to figure out which amp she's referring to. In the meantime, I hope these links are useful: http://www.valcoamp.com/a-b...

http://www.vintage47amps.com/

Ivy didn't use an amp made by Vintage47 and you may not be interested in buying a Vintage47 amp but you can still learn about old Valco amps by visiting their site. This might help you figure out which amp Ivy used in the studio.

– odyswood

Yes, those articles are great and I’m familiar with them. I’m also a big fan of those valco amps and own a Vintage 47 suitcase and a Spectator clone.

Unfortunately the trail goes cold when searching on the web for the model that Ivy used. The blue panel amp was way later than 1950s or early 60s. It doesn’t fit the specs that she described

I’m pals with Chopper, their last bass player and he couldn’t remember either. So it’s a mystery that remains as part of the legend that is the Cramps!

16

Plus there were no valco amps with 10” speakers AND reverb in 1959 so her comment is puzzling.

17

Anyone know if she is still active in the music world? The Cramps were such a force in the alternative music scene. Always loved her vibe.

18

Sadly she’s disappeared to the point of being untraceable but the general consensus of opinion amongst fans and friends is that it’s up to her. Can’t help thinking that it’s not the end of the story.

There’s so many releases of old shows and radio stuff from way back but non of it is official and it’s unconnected to their business

19

Plus there were no valco amps with 10” speakers AND reverb in 1959 so her comment is puzzling.

– Vince_Ray

Ask Billy Zoom. I seem to remember him saying on here that he did Ivy's amp work.

20

Ask Billy Zoom. I seem to remember him saying on here that he did Ivy's amp work.

– WB

Good plan Batman

21

Vince_Ray In addition to talking to Billy Zoom, I have another suggestion. As you probably know, Sean Yseult is one of Ivy's friends and briefly played bass for The Cramps. A few months ago I went to her Facebook page. She posted a picture of herself standing next to Ivy taken in February 2014. I was pleased to see that Ivy was smiling in the photo. You may want to send Sean Yseult a message via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram requesting that she ask Ivy about that amp on your behalf and to tell Ivy that she and Lux and The Cramps are sorely missed. She could probably pick up the phone or send Ivy an email and have your answer in 1 or 2 days.

22

Lektriz, I'm glad I could help. If you really want to get the sound Ivy got on those early Cramps albums, I'd suggest you get an Ovation Tornado or try to get a pair of pickups from an Ovation Tornado or an Ovation Hurricane. I posted photos of those pickups above. Every so often someone puts them up for sale on eBay or another site.

You could also try to couple those pickups with the same kind of amp she used for recording. It also helps to use the same strings she used as well as the same kind of pick (a gold Herco one). It's amazing how much the thickness of a pick can change your sound. I would switch between a thick Herco jazz pick and a thinner Herco gold pick and the difference in my tone was really noticeable. The thinner pick was markedly brighter.

Finally, instead of using a slapback echo, try using reverb--either the reverb on your amp (if it has it) or you could get something like the BOSS pedal which is supposed to simulate a Fender Reverb amp.

23

Thanks again for the pick suggestions and amp info!

Slapback is maybe the wrong term for the old 80's reverb I'm using, but it gets me the sound I have in my head.

But since Ivy's guitar was a solidbody guess you could get close enough with just some dearmond type pick ups and the right amp/reverb/pick combo.

This songs has both the Danelectro and Bo Diddley with the same reverb and amp.

Link

24

Lektriz Slapback echo is the kind of echo you hear in Rockabilly music.

And reverb is what you hear in Surf.

The guitar solo in this song sounds like it was drenched in reverb and it sounds very surfy (to my ears, anyway). This is the best example of why I prefer the sound of Ivy's Lewis guitar to her Gretsch. It's an incredible sound.

Ivy used a Maxon analog delay pedal to get a slapback echo and she used the spring reverb in her amps to get reverb. Those Maxon pedals were very expensive the last time I looked into it but you can get a good analog delay pedal for far less, such as the MXR Carbon Copy, the BOSS DM-2W, the Way Huge Aqua Puss, the Ibanez Analog Delay Mini or the Electo-Harmonix Memory Toy. I use a BOSS FRV-1 pedal to simulate the sound of a '63 Fender Reverb amp. There are other reverb pedals available but you said your amp has a reverb feature. I hope you eventually figure out how to get the sound you're seeking.

25

Read an interview with Ivy and she said that maxon pedal is as good as any tapecho shes used before.

But those Valvco amps look reely interesting.

Great to hear somene develop their own style and tone and not being bothered with technique or trends.

F


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