The Teisco square pole pickup

While I had a bunch of Teisco K series guitars around I thought I'd do a blog on the design and execution of one of my all-time favourite pickups. The square pole Teisco pickup as used in SO MANY Teiscos over the years. 

These have a clarity and output similar to a P-90 but with a sound all their own, and it's a great sound.

Appearing in 1964 they were fitted to many of the mid and top end range of Teisco guitars in either 2, 3 or 4 pickup configurations. They were used is early models like the WG series, later TG series and of course the K series guitars and basses among others.

These were a fairly simple design and construction with stamped metal and cast plastic parts and use 2 ceramic block magnets which give plenty of magnetic flux which probably accounts for some of their output. Most have a DC resistance running anywhere from 3-8K with no clear indication of being different models/versions for certain model guitars. Most tend to fall into the approx. 6K range which combined with those big block magnets gives them plenty of punch.

The earlier Teisco pickup as fitted to the first series TG-64 were a different construction and had a resistance of around 6K but sound remarkably similar while most of the "cheaper" gold foil style pickups used at the same time have a completely different sound.

So, there are 2 different guitar sqaure pole pickups with an ink stamped marking on the bottom plate to differentiate between them. These stamps indicate the polarity of the pickup and generally all the Teiscos with these pickups have a north up in the bridge, then depending on how many pickups are in the guitar, each pickup moving towards the neck is the opposite of the last. So, in a K3L you would have Bridge (North) Middle (South) Neck (North) etc.

The cover is a thin stamped metal surround with 4 folding tabs on the bottom to assemble the pickups. This cover holds the black plastic top plate in place which in turn holds the pole piece bar and coil in place. The block magnets are glued to the bottom metal plate that has the 2 height adjustment holes. It's all pretty simple and effective and easy to assemble.

There are 3 lead wires in red, white and black with red being the start of the coil, white being the end and black being an earth attached to the metal base, therefor shielding the entire coil through the metal cover.

The pole pieces aren't actually individual square poles but in fact a metal plate with square sections removed to give the impression of pole pieces. This would make assembly much easier as this plate slides up the middle of the rectangular hole in the middle of the coil bobbin.

The coil is wound with #43AWG and wrapped in the same blue tape Maxon used at certain periods which while still sticky all these years later, loses all stick once unwrapped and is almost impossible to reuse successfully after a repair/rewind.

The whole pickup basically fits together, and the cover holds it all in place once you re-bend the 4 tabs on the bottom. Brilliant and effective. 


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