1950s Lapsteel Horseshoe pickup rebuild


NOT FOR SALE – Repair example

This was one of the most adventurous repairs of my career.  A great guy named Leigh sent me this homemade Horseshoe style pickup from his unknown lapsteel.  He wanted to maintain the pickups farmyard industrial charm and get it back up and running.  This was a challenge I was up for and was stoked to have the opportunity.

The pickup had no reading what so ever and had been wound with at least 2 different types of wire.  The first coil was copper with some form of poly insulation while the coil on top had a green insulation.  I guess the first coil was an experiment and the green was put on to beef it up.  I marked off all the pieces labelled left and right for re-assembly and began the disassembly.  The actual bobbin was an engineering marvel and was made of 3 pieces bolted together.  The base was solid mild steel roughly grinded to shape with no paint, the centre a rough rectangular piece and the top was thick plastic.  The poles were steel bolts and nuts with the 2 end pieces holding it all together.

I didn’t want to wind a coil straight onto bare steel and we also wanted to retain the rustic look of the base.  My solution was to clear coat the steel base and stick a clear piece of acoustic guitar pickguard on top, this worked well. After I cleaned up the pole piece screws and nuts I also lacquered them as well.

The design of the bobbin made the rewind a challenge and I had to place the whole bobbin with the wooden base on the winder.  The bobbin actually spun ok with the extra weight and the rewind was painless.  I wound the coil to 8.15k with 42 AWG plain enamel wire.  The pickup is yet to be tested waiting on the guitar rebuild but giving the coil size and magnet strength we are expecting a big bold sound.


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