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Thread: Circa 1950 Soapbars

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    Circa 1950 Soapbars

    Got a query from a guy about a "late 40's/early 50's" soapbar to use in the neck of a Tele. My understanding is that Alnico 5 wasn't invented until 1955 so that narrows the mag specs to A2/3/4 but that's about all I have. Anyone have any other knowledge/specs/data on soapbars of this era?

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    Senior Member Jim Darr's Avatar
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    I thought A5s were invented during World War 2. ???
    Last edited by Jim Darr; 11-07-2017 at 10:44 PM.
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    Senior Member Jim Darr's Avatar
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    Here is my understating of the P-90 origins.

    Introduced in "46 the P-90 had a "Dog Ear" style configuration. I believe that very first "Soapbar" style was introduced when the first Les Pauls were produced. The two styles are essentially the same pickup with a different base-plate and mount to the guitar differently.

    According to some, the early units had A3s, then they went to A5s.

    Predecessors to the P-90 (the model designation escapes me at the moment) had rod magnets (think fender style), but were only produced a short while.Others can chime in here.

    Hope this helps.
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    Not looking for origins, just anything different about them 1948-52 or so. No A5 until '55 is my understanding.

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    Senior Member jack briggs's Avatar
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    AlNiCo 5 was developed in the early 40s.

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    When did it first appear in pickups? Seems to me it wasn't til later.

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    Senior Member jack briggs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhangliqun View Post
    When did it first appear in pickups? Seems to me it wasn't til later.
    could be. to the best of my knowledge, G didn't specify grades until the early 60s.


    cheers,

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    Senior Member Jim Darr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack briggs View Post
    could be. to the best of my knowledge, G didn't specify grades until the early 60s.


    cheers,
    +1
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    ken
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    I have a bunch of old soapbars here, from the days when 'everybody' was yanking them out and putting in random humbuckers.

    They vary all over the place for magnetic power and physical quality, which jibes with something I read somewhere about Gibson's parts buying habits in the day. Supposedly Gibson didn't care much about magnets, not even bothering to order them by grade but only specifying they be a 'magnet'. I have a few here that are very rough cast, and not even ground for flatness so they make great 'sandpaper'.

    I don't know when Alnico 5 was invented, but I do know during the Korean War that cobalt was considered a strategic material and not available for nonmilitary uses.

    Ken

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    Senior Member LtKojak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken View Post
    I cobalt was considered a strategic material and not available for nonmilitary uses
    This.

    That's why all early '50s Gibson p'ups, P-13s and P-90s used Alnico 3, the only permanent magnet grade containing no Cobalt, and used two bar magnets due to their low level of charge.

    HTH,
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
    Milano, Italy

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    So A5 was alive and well in 1950 but had been drafted and wouldn't be honorably discharged til circa '55...

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