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Gibson Dirty Fingers: a closer look

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  • Gibson Dirty Fingers: a closer look

    I've taken some pictures of my original Dirty Fingers and I thought to publish'em here, just for the sake of sharing information and knowledge.

    As you can see, Dirty Fingers have TWO rows of screws and three double-thick ceramic magnets. All other p'ups with different specs, although produced in the same era, are NOT DFs.





    This is an ORIGINAL DF, taken out from a 1978 Explorer. This particular one has the Schaller bobbins, which makes it extremely rare.
    It measures 16.32K @23C, with the South Coil measuring 8.20K, and the North Coil 8.12K.

    As the coil offset is very small to negligible, I think it's safe to say that the design calls for balanced coils, attributing the difference to a small inconsistency in diameter of the wire itself, although completely within standard requirements, which seems to be SPN AWG #44, so I think the nominal DC of this design should be 16K, consistent in 2x 8K bobbins.

    The visual inspection of the coils indicate that the tension used in the winding of these coils is on the loose side, as you can see the wire moving when touching it with a finger.



    No potting, the finished bobbins didn't even have a shielding or protective tape. Note the red dot, marking the North side of the spacer magnet.



    You can see the three double-thick magnets used, plus how the South start is soldered to the baseplate.



    This is how the coil joint was made. Kinda hacky, isn't it? Norlin in a nutshell! Ha!

    The interesting thing to see is the inverted-pyramid shape of the coil, a coil-geometry shape consistent with several good-sounding PAFs I've seen. Seems that somebody was "doing something right" despite the Suit's policies at the time, which knew absolutely NOTHING 'bout guitars, music, tone and couldn't care less 'bout. For the record, NOBODY PLAYED GUITAR, NOT EVEN EVER HAD A GUITAR IN THEIR HANDS at Norlin's board at that time.

    That was the people LEADING the company. Then tell me how GREAT Norlin instruments are!

    If something was made right at that time, was because of the nameless and faceless little guy, disobeying direct orders and risking his job because he still had pride in what he knew and what he did and just couldn't let go of being stomped all over by the arrogant and ignorant new masters.

    Wow, it sounds just like the story of my life in Italy!

    Enjoy!
    Last edited by LtKojak; 09-22-2013, 11:32 AM.
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
    Milano, Italy

  • #2
    Good pics Pepe for my archive thanks.. Iv'e got a pair of those although with gibson bobbins and shielded with copper tape. One of the pair did have (been removed now) a factory installed braided wire through the second hole for the coil tap.

    Comment


    • #3
      I wonder if they did the coil like that intentionally, or if it just happened.

      Comment


      • #4
        I used to have a Shaw era pickup with those schaller bobbins
        "UP here in the Canada we shoot things we don't understand"

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by LtKojak View Post
          This is how the coil joint was made. Kinda hacky, isn't it? Norlin in a nutshell! Ha!
          Are there solder terminals on the bobbins?

          The interesting thing to see is the inverted-pyramid shape of the coil, a coil-geometry shape consistent with several good-sounding PAFs I've seen. Seems that somebody was "doing something right" despite the Suit's policies at the time, which knew absolutely NOTHING 'bout guitars, music, tone and couldn't care less 'bout. For the record, NOBODY PLAYED GUITAR, NOT EVEN EVER HAD A GUITAR IN THEIR HANDS at Norlin's board at that time.

          That was the people LEADING the company. Then tell me how GREAT Norlin instruments are!

          If something was made right at that time, was because of the nameless and faceless little guy, disobeying direct orders and risking his job because he still had pride in what he knew and what he did and just couldn't let go of being stomped all over by the arrogant and ignorant new masters.
          Don't forget who designed many of their pickups at the time; Bill Lawrence. Even if he did not design these, they have many of his hallmarks, which is why I wondered if the connections were made to terminals molded into the bobbins.

          They were very similar to the "Super Humbuckers" Bill designed, except this, the most common version had no covers or epoxy potting, and was wound hotter. But the magnets are the same as Bill used.

          I had someone bring me a brand new, but unused '84 ES-347. The guitar originally belonged to Charles Smith from Kool and the Gang, who gave it to my customer, who was one of their touring guitarists at the time. It still had all the tags on it. It also had Dirty Fingers, as the tags, a sticker, and the owners manual attested to, but since it was an upscale ES semi hollow body, the pickups had gold covers, and only one row of screws. They also had a coil tap wire. They had the same 16K reading as all the other Dirty Fingers, being Gibson's hottest pickup at the time. In comparison the Super Humbuckers were about 6.5k -14k tops.

          My customer, who mostly played R&B and blues, didn't like the pickups, since they were too hot. So we replaced them with some Duncan Alnico II Pros, and he gave the DFs to me. I had one in the bridge position of my Charvel for a while, but it was a little noisy, so I sold them on eBay.

          So here's yet another less common variation of the Dirty Finger pickup. They weren't bad sounding either, for a hot pickup. My notes say they use 6,000 turns of 44 AWG wire. So high resistance, but not super over wound. Note the second shielded wire for the coil tap, as per Jonson's post above.



          Someone had sent me an email back in 2011 with photos of one of these that was dead, dissected. Kind of a hacked together version for fitting in the cover.

          It's laid out like this. Hopefully he wont mind me posting it.


          (drawing by Chris Wargo)
          Attached Files
          Last edited by David Schwab; 09-30-2013, 01:33 AM.
          It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure. Albert Einstein


          http://coneyislandguitars.com
          www.soundcloud.com/davidravenmoon

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by David Schwab View Post
            Are there solder terminals on the bobbins?
            Yes, indeed they are.

            Now that I think of it, it doesn't look like's that easy to solder, isn't it?
            Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
            Milano, Italy

            Comment


            • #7
              I realize this is an old thread, but I thought i would share some info I came across.
              Gibson used the DF pu in the explorer and i believe the Flying V in 2016-2017.
              They had some specs posted up, and it looks like they made 2 different versions for the bridge position.
              Only difference I could tell was that the length of the magnets were 2.375" and 2.50".
              The unit with the 2.50" magnet has a note that says it is an "Accurate Replica of the Famous Super-Hot Humbucker Introduced By Gibson in the 1970's". I've included copies of both the different spec sheets and one for the Dirty Fingers +.
              Click image for larger version

Name:	2017 DIRTY FINGERS SPECS.jpg
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ID:	857838
              Click image for larger version

Name:	2017 Gibson Dirty fingers-2.jpg
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              Click image for larger version

Name:	2017 DIRTY FINGERS+ SPECS.jpg
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ID:	857839

              EDIT:
              I forgot to mention that the "Accurate Replica" DF has nickel plated covers as well as the 2.50" magnets.
              And I believe it has slugs in one coil and screws in the other.
              The modern DF has no cover, a 2.375" magnet and 12 screws.
              Last edited by gearhead63; 05-27-2020, 12:00 AM.
              1937 Gibson L50 "Black Special #4"
              1978 Gibson Melody Maker D Reissue
              2004 Ibanez SZ720FM
              Epi SG '61 with 490R & 498T Pickups
              Couple Marshalls, Crate Blue VooDoo
              Couple 4x12 cabs
              Couple Orange combos
              TONS OF FREAKING TEST GEAR- SCOPES, METERS ,ANALYZERS
              SIG GENS, ETC, ETC, ETC.





              Comment


              • #8
                Ceramic 5 on the originals 100%.

                With the 2.5" mag'd Accurate Replica version they list the magnet as Ceramic with no mention of grade: C5 also.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by max oersted View Post
                  Ceramic 5 on the originals 100%.

                  With the 2.5" mag'd Accurate Replica version they list the magnet as Ceramic with no mention of grade: C5 also.
                  Yea, as usual, Gibson's information isn't complete on this pickup as well as most of the others that I could find. But at least there's a little info to be had besides they're advertising, which basically says nothing. If you go to Gibson's product page http://legacy.gibson.com/ and go through the guitar specs under "Legacy" (covers 2015-19), they have detailed info, but only for 2015-2016. Includes part numbers, detailed pickup info etc. Been trying to grab as much as I can from there before it disappears.
                  Last edited by gearhead63; 05-26-2020, 11:18 PM.
                  1937 Gibson L50 "Black Special #4"
                  1978 Gibson Melody Maker D Reissue
                  2004 Ibanez SZ720FM
                  Epi SG '61 with 490R & 498T Pickups
                  Couple Marshalls, Crate Blue VooDoo
                  Couple 4x12 cabs
                  Couple Orange combos
                  TONS OF FREAKING TEST GEAR- SCOPES, METERS ,ANALYZERS
                  SIG GENS, ETC, ETC, ETC.





                  Comment

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