Current state of the ebony Cripe guitar

Questions at Kimock CornerCategory: GuitarsCurrent state of the ebony Cripe guitar
ModeratorModerator Staff asked 3 months ago

While I was thinking of lollar pickup combos I remembered how you had modified the ebony Cripe with two el rayos and a low wind imperial in the neck and it got me thinking more about that particular guitar. Some research led me to the callaham tune-o-matic setup you mentioned (the only visual reference for that is a video with Bernie Worrell some 11 years ago). What’s its current state like? Same wiring setup or have things changed these days?

1 Answers
Best Answer
SKSK Staff answered 2 months ago

This is gonna take a minute : )
Ebony Cripe has changed dramatically since you’ve last seen it.
Currently, just a pair of DiMarzio’s N+B, no middle pickup. I can’t remember if they were Super Distortions or Dual Sound’s just “box of pickups” close enough either way. .
Currently a nylon saddle tune-o-matic which is kinda the exact opposite of the old bridge, but I’ve had great success and satisfaction with nylon saddle Gibsons in the past, and love hearing them, so glad I changed it.
3-way pickup selector switch, volume and tone, mini-toggle for split coil both pickups.
Also, huge change for the better in the character and playability of that guitar with its current strings, Dogal Expressive Jazz. Flatwound, .011 .014 on top and then some ridiculously light flat wound G and then the rest of the set is like a regular set of 10’s.
The important part of the changes the Ebony Cripe has been through is it started with me trying to get a handle on my difficulties with three pickup guitars in general. Jerry Garcia, T-Bone Walker, and fifty million Strats notwithstanding, I personally struggle with most three pickup guitars.
So Matt Artinger and I set out to eliminate the middle pickup in stages; listening and comparing the sound and performance of neck and bridge as we lessened the influence of the middle pickup.
First, we just lowered it, and sure enough the neck and bridge both sounded a little better as we lowered it and by the time it had fallen off its mounting screws into the body there was a noticeable improvement.
Then we disconnected it entirely leaving it sunk in the body. Maybe a little change from not having the pickup connected, but hard to say.
Finally, we pulled the middle pickup out while I was playing the guitar (awkward) and the guitar opened up to an amazing degree. No contest, and the big factor seemed to be reduction of magnetic pull on the strings, or possibly more local magnetization for neck and bridge?
Hard to say. The magnetic field stuff is rough for me, invisible etc.
Anyway, the bottom line with the 3 vs 2 pickup experiment seems to suggest a limit to how many magnets you can stick under the strings before there’s audible compromise in the sound of all the pickups.
My understanding now is basically “pickups have issues”: the more pickups you have the more issues you’ll have with them.

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