The Norlin Era Bill Lawrence "Tarbacks" Pickups.

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by SG Champagne, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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  2. SG Champagne

    SG Champagne Active Member

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    I thought it would be a good idea to consolidate all that we know about the Tarback in one thread. In fact, I would like to see a separate thread devoted to the T Tops, the Pat Pends the PAFs and every individual stock Gibson pup. That way when a question pops into mind, we have an easy reference point to access.
     
  3. 83 Blazer

    83 Blazer Well-Known Member

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    No argument from me in that sentiment.
    Looks like everyone has some homework to do :smile:
     
  4. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    View MY links in Post numbers 19, 20, 21
     
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  5. SG Champagne

    SG Champagne Active Member

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    I most certainly did and enjoyed them immensely, including that pic of a Tarback that looks like it was blown apart with explosives. :rofl:
     
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  6. rfiori9

    rfiori9 Active Member

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    I have a 77 custom SG with tarbacks with same output on neck and bridge. Any idea what the middle pickup should read?
     
  7. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Rfiori, I cannot answer but I can recommend you to go to My Les Paul forum if you are not already on there. Look Up a fella named Kris Ford. He is like an encyclopedia of this info. If you don't get him, I can try and ask him myself.
     
  8. rfiori9

    rfiori9 Active Member

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    Ok ill try him chili
    thanks
     
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  9. Wildeman

    Wildeman Active Member

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    I'm kinda interested in finding a set, are they very expensive? They were changed in my '78 to T tops which im totally happy with but it would be cool to have the originals to mess with.
     
  10. SG Champagne

    SG Champagne Active Member

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    The few tarbacks that I have spotted for sale on-line have not been priced like "Vintage Rare" pups. I'll bet you can find some.

    Also, somebody correct me if I am wrong, but I think all Tarbacks had the same specs. Gibson didn't make a higher output "Bridge Tarback".
     
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  11. Brabazabba

    Brabazabba New Member

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    Hi - new to the forum and a recent SG owner. Was scouring the web for info about 70's 'tarback' pickups & found this thread.

    I got a '77 Les Paul Artisan a few years ago with 3 tarbacks & could never get a sound out of them that I really liked - they were a bit swampy and muffled & lacked clarity. The neck pickup was very boomy with it and the bridge was also a little harsh! They just didn't work well in the guitar for me. They were also very hot! The outputs are above 15k neck and bridge & around 7.5k for the middle. From what I can gather the hotter ones are called 'Series VII Super Humbuckers'...? Recently I bit the bullet & swapped them out for some Fralins & it's like a different guitar.

    As an experiment I popped the hot neck & bridge tarbacks into a 2002 SG special (the one with the moon inlays) & they sound surprisingly good in there! The SG is a brighter sounding guitar than I expected (I think it may have stainless steel frets?) and the 15k tarbacks seem to work really well in it. They sound much better balanced in the SG than they ever did in the Les Paul. Anyone else have experience with these 'hotter' tarbacks?

    cheers, Jon
     
  12. flognoth

    flognoth Active Member

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    The sound you're describing from the Les Paul Artisan sounds like it could be more related to the electronics than the pickups. Do you happen to know if the pots in the Les Paul are 300k?
     
  13. Brabazabba

    Brabazabba New Member

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    Hi flognoth - I've been on a bit of a voyage of discovery/labour of love with the old Artisan over the past few years!

    Previous owner had got his money's worth out of it - it had been well played but was all original when I got it. Unfortunately though a lot of the original bits were knackered! :)) The original bridge had collapsed and it need a refret so after sorting that out I just kept on going!

    The original pots were 300k linear & I think they were just about done - they were ridiculously stiff & almost unusable. Previous owner had rewired it to 3 volumes and one tone so I kept that configuration & swapped the old ceramic cap for a 0.015 paper in oil & that opened things out a bit. I tried 500k Bourns linear pots, 500k CTS log pots & finally 500k RS Superpots. I've since gone back to a 300k for the bridge though (but it's a CGE as I couldn't find a long shaft 300k Superpot (they don't seem to make 'em for whatever reason...!)

    There was still a hint of boominess from the neck even with the Fralins but I was able to reel it in by fine-tuning the pickup height - so I guess it must be just a characteristic of the guitar. I currently have a Bareknuckle mule in the middle position with a push/pull coil split & it's added another texture & it all balances up really well. She's my mid-life crisis guitar & I'll never part with her...! :))

    Cheers, Jon


    Actually (just to go back on-topic for a sec!) another thing I noticed with the tarback pickups when I pulled them out is just how heavy they are (in weight). The Artisan was well over 10lbs with 3 of them in there but actually feels lighter with them swapped out. They've added noticeable heft to the SG too since I put them in there. All that black epoxy... :)
     
  14. shreddy bender

    shreddy bender Well-Known Member

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    They've added noticeable heft to the SG too since I put them in there. All that black epoxy... :)

    No neck dive on that SG eh?:naughty:
     
  15. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    I have bought a new used 1976 SG Std that had EMG's in it but came with the original Tarbacks and pots etc in the case.
    Despite encouragement of others to try the EMG's awhile, I restored the SG to OEM. I could not be happier. The only issue I have with the guitar now is my getting used to the narrow neck up by the nut.
     

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