Old Archtop Pickup Identification?


For your Saturday amusement, the curious and the informed are invited to help identify this little fellow-


Closer view of the pickup head, the little circular badge bears the number 1939-


Control panel for Volume and Treble-


It accepts this funny little jack, an unusual size. It's longer than a standard mini-jack. The other end of the generous six-foot lead is shown for size comparison. I could really do with another lead, but what exactly is this small jack and can another be found?


The underside of the rig has felt footplates for effortless scratch-free performance-


Let's put it on a guitar. A useful pickup is a happy pickup-




Import DeArmond copy. As long as it sounds good, great. I understand your concern about the mini jack. It's not 1/8", so this leads me to suspect Japanese. You might be better off swapping out the female connector in the control housing to a standard 1/8" mini. I dislike molded connectors with a passion. Once they go bad, there's no way to repair them.

Nice Manouche, by the way!


Is the jack a "Bantam" Jack?.. most of the bantam jacks I've seen are stereo but it looks similar in general shape and proportions.

The tip looks a little like the old GPO B-gauge..."one moment caller"....


The Bantam jack is considerably longer than this little oddity. It seems to be 3.5mm wide just like a mini-jack, rather than the 4.4mm of the Bantam.

The length is also somewhat different, 16mm as opposed to the Bantam's 22mm

It's actually really quite close to the standard minijack except for the overall shaft length. It's two millimetres longer- 16mm compared to a minijack's 14mm. Just enough to make it, and only it, work.

Perhaps the right minijack with enough excess shoulder at the other end could be filed back to gain those vital couple of millimetres. Or perhaps Wabash might be onto something here with modifying/replacing the female socket. Trouble is, I don't know how to open the thing up. All that felt. No visible screws. No secret latch. I feel like Al-Mamun, kicking sand, puzzling how to get into the Pyramid.

Input gratefully received, gentlemen. Many thanks.


Definitely a high-end Japanese-made 1960's-1970's Dearmond 1100 Rhythm Chief copy, with pole pieces and volume+tone controls. Unless that guitar player is a lefty, the controls are mounted the wrong way. Should be on the bottom. The 1/8" - 1/4" mono cable is standard for the Japanese models, and its a very easy one to replace when they go bad.


With that helpful little clue to look east for the source, it seems to be a Teisco pickup. I found a couple of pics online of two examples which look pretty much identical. One has a Teisco circular nameplate (in the same location as the peculiar '1939' logo on the one I have), the other is branded Zim-Gar.

The lead search continues, although now it seems that I know what this pickup is, it may make the quest slightly easier.

Blow-up, thanks for dropping in. The guitar player is indeed a lefty and so is his guitar- the pickup and arm assembly only goes in that one, quite wrong, way. I changed the location slightly, both for convenience and to capture the cutting, jagged snarl of Django's pickup which was parked right over the petit bouche.


Better all round now, with a less convoluted lead route. The other device installed is a twin-crystal piezo, so the prized High-Fidelity Two-Tone sounds are now available-


That new routing looks like a very neat solution. Having the wires follow the direction of travel of the strings is much nicer, from a purely visual point of view, of course.

The idea of taking a standard mini jack and turning down the shoulder sounds like a good one. 2mm extra should be achievable. I would take a suitable mini jack and chuck it in a drill and go at it with a needle file! (Bearings be damned!)

Register Sign in to join the conversation