Skatterbrane Pickups Jazzbranes
Price: $295 (list) per set
In the mid 1950s, Rickenbacker and Gibson began offering dual-coil, hum-canceling pickups. Jazz was still king, but rock and roll was in its ascendancy, and the smooth sound of a humbucker fit right in. Skatterbrane Pickups continues the tradition with its Jazzbranes, inspired by those early Gibson PAFs.
Hand-wound with 42 AWG enamel-coated wire, Jazzbranes use sand-cast Alnico magnets and measure 7.5K-ohm output at the neck position and 8.2K in the bridge.
Tested in an acoustically lively Epiphone Broadway archtop plugged into a solidstate amp designed specifically for jazz guitar, the neck pickup delivered the goods for chord-melody work. Though the jazzbox produced some hotspots, there was an excellent degree of string separation, and the occasional rush of body feedback could be rendered musical through left-hand articulation/muting. The Jazzbranes lent a voice-like breathiness to these hot notes that was accentuated through volume control. The slight bit of frequency cancelation in the combination position added crispness without decreasing the Jazzbranes’ warmth.
The Jazzbranes easily overdrove a tube-based/15-watt Fender Blues Junior. Reducing feedback by holding the Epi in the T-Bone Walker position (bass-side rim against the torso), the Jazzbranes helped kick out some jump blues and had plenty of sting in every setting. Each lick and bent slur was articulate, and the notes were clearly defined. When searching for that “woman tone” with the bridge pickup Tone control rolled off, the Jazzbranes produced a wave of sound with a defined attack – more water than mud. Making adjustments on the fly was particularly satisfying. Minor height changes with individual pole pieces facilitated a balanced sound and helped control the Epi’s wolf tones.
Scatterbrane’s Jazzbranes promise an excellent modern interpretation of a classic sound when soldered into solidbody guitars, but these pickups – harkening to classic Gibson PAFs – also prove adept when cranked through a double-pickup archtop. Very versatile, indeed.
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