The TK Smith® C.A.R. Pickup (Cast Aluminum Replica) is an exact reproduction of a legendary guitar pickup. Perfect for anyone playing traditional Jazz, Swing, Rockabilly, Travis picking or Blues. Mounted at the bridge position it’s perfect for that ‘’Grady Martin” sound. At the neck, it’s a great pickup for Jazz, Swing and Blues. It has that distinct hollow, wooden, almost buoyant tone that floats so well on top of what a good rhythm section is doing. Made to order so can take up to 6-8 weeks.
If you buy a pair, the price will be $650. If purchasing a pair, please include base preference in notes at checkout. See Demos at the bottom of the page.
Please read - If this is your first time using this type of pickup, or if you are planning to use this pickup for non 'Bigsby era' tones, here is what you can expect:
Lower output than traditional pickups (Strat, P-90, Tele, Humbucker). This means you will generally need to increase the gain/volume on the amp to compensate. This is really great for some tube amps as it allows more room for the amp to open up. However, be mindful of this if you already play at the edge of your amps headroom.
Rolled off / softer top end. This means you will generally need to increase the treble output on your amp to compensate. The top end on this pickup is clean, full and clear...still you will never get these pickups to 'chime'. If you are te type of player to use the volume control to regulate your tone, the use of a treble bleed circuit can be a huge advantage in keeping your tone clean and clear when using the TK Smith® C.A.R. Pickup. 500k pots recommended as well.
Softer / Slower response and attack. The TK Smith® C.A.R. Pickup tones are clear and articulate but the note definition is slightly muted and spongy compared to other pickup types. The result is wonderfully musical and responsive pickup where vintage country and traditional Rockabilly live. However the attack is impractical or counter-intuitive for faster 'chicken picken' twangy country bite or modern Rockabilly. This is a vintage constructed pickup throughout and that is where it stays tonally.
Huge, fat clear tone: Particularly with flatwound strings, The TK Smith® C.A.R. Pickup provides a massive tone for Blues and Jazz Swing. The notes are big, clear and even and the sound is satisfying. Slight gain and this pickup is jumpin like horn'!!
Harmonic overtones: This pickup has great deal of harmonic overtones. It is an important part of it's musical character. It is a big pickup, housed in a big aluminum base/cover. It has a slightly microphonic quality that is amplified with gain. It is best suited for lower 'gain' applications but is great at all gig volume levels. You can easily match a louder drummer without feedback.
A quick word about string choice: Obviously string choice is personal, but these pickups were designed and voiced with flatwounds in mind. They EXCEL at vintage western swing tones using flatwound strings. That said, while the brightness and attack are increased with the use of round wound strings, the fundamental tone and feel of the pickups stays intact. Both are excellent!