The guitars that have become synonymous with Charlie Christian are the Gibson ES150 and ES250. The ES150 was produced in 1936 and was Gibson’s first association with the standard electric guitar. Charlie Christian adopted the ES150 in 1937 as his guitar of choice.
The development of the pickup enabled the guitarist to become a fully fledged member of the group no longer limited to the rhythm section or having the band quiet down during solos. Charlie had something to say and at last his voice could be heard. In 1939 the ES250 was produced. Charlie received his ES250 in April 1940 Christian played these guitars until his death in March 1942.
Underlying this early technology was the pickup first developed by Gibson for use on a Hawaiian guitar. Next came the ES150, later a model with a notch in the blade under the 2nd (B) string was produced, finally the ES250 was made with 6 poles, one for each string. It is these pickups that create the sound that is associated with these guitars – and of Charlie Christian.
The full process for building these pickups has required us to source pre-war materials from all over the world and recycling them for use within the pickup. This was the only way we could capture the original sound and ensure we would not disappoint the loyal fans of these pickups.
Original pickups were obtained and stripped to the bone, every individual component has been copied identically to the originals.
These pickups are now listed on the site under PRODUCTS
The bobbins have been scatter wound by hand in the traditional way with the correct gauge wire with the exact output reading as the originals, and of course these are fitted with the rare steel magnets which also are magnetised to the exact reading of the originals.
The steel blades are made from the same mild steel, which has been copper plated, nickel plated and then chrome plated the same as the originals.
The winder had the original magnets measured for flux density and field characteristics and then had our steel magnetised to the same flux density and field shape as the originals would have been over 70 years ago.
These pickups probably sound truer to the Charlie Christian records that you hear than any old existing original pickups still around today, this is due to the fact that the cobalt steel magnets only retain their magnetism for around 200 years, as they are now approx 70 years old they have lost about a third of their power so not giving the original crisp punch that they would have had when first manufactured back in the 30’s.
Three different versions have been built to the original spec, the 1936 ES150 model with the straight blade, the later model with the notch under the B string and the ES250 model with the six separate pole pieces.
As you can see the winder has gone to great lengths to ensure that you are given you a top quality product that is as close to the original pickup as possible. They don’t just look authentic they sound completely authentic and we are very proud to introduce this limited run.
Welcome to the reintroduction of the Charlie Christian pickup.