The elusive, "Josie" makes an appearance - Pre-CBS Fender Strat pickups

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Gravelrocks, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. Gravelrocks

    Gravelrocks Member

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    Yesterday I bought a killer 1961 stratocaster from a local music store. They had recently purchased it from the original owner, who bought it brand new in 1961 from another guitar shop just down the street. The original finish was scraped off, it desperately needs a refret, and the bridge pickup might need to be rewound.

    Anyways, when taking the guitar apart, there was a signature, Josie, on the shield. Don Mare has talked a lot about the elusive Josie, and how she wound some of the greatest sounding pickups in the golden age of Fender. I thought it was really cool to see a very legible signature on this guitar. And the neck and middle pickups do sound absolutely unreal. I have another 61' that has more resonant wood and more sustain, but the one I grabbed yesterday has the sweetest neck pickup I have ever heard. :beer
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
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  2. rushcentrale

    rushcentrale Member

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    very cool! i have some mare josie/vaughns on one of my strats and they're great. post some pics!
     
  3. SMark

    SMark Member

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    Awesome! Please take pics and post.

    And then send that bridge pickup to Don Mare for a rewind. You might as well get it done right...
     
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  4. DonM

    DonM Member

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    I'm really starting to think/believe that, the _winders_ also multi-tasked.. I heard they did anyways... one day they wind - next day solder guards.. and they probably used their own pickups that they wound.. id see no reason other then to waste time to put all the pickups from all the winders in a common tray , only to have them go get them and make Guards up.. Id dare say they left their windings on their own bench and also made up Pick-guard assembly's right there too ... it was early times and space was limited.. I also heard some of these winders may have also soldered up amps as part of their many duties..

    that's the second JOSIE signature Ive photographic proof of now!..

    still no other evidence of who she was, and what she did there has came to light,
    I do know her pattern well.. and Ive seen it on a 51 tele ( Joel Foys) and a 58 tele, an again on a 62' Strat that's 11 years of employment that I tracked..
    soooooo... someone should still be alive and hopefully be able recall a winder/ solder-er named Josie?...
    hey... maybe Abby?

    BTW.. that rewinds on me-- FREE.. and if it does not 100% match every nuance of the other two.. I will close the shop and go lay bricks..
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
  5. Steve73

    Steve73 Member

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    That's a heckuva nice offer Don, if I was the OP, I'd jump at it!
     
  6. Quartertank

    Quartertank Member

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    i've had such a crappy work week and yeah it's only tuesday, but this just made me smile. it's just great to be a part of a community where people can sometimes do cool things for others. would have been easy to say "i can wind that to josie specs for $50" or whatever, but instead this is an extremely generous and cool offer. kudos!

    sorry to get all hippie on you guys there for a second...back to your regular scheduled programming ;)
     
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  7. Gravelrocks

    Gravelrocks Member

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    http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-1961-Fender-Stratocaster-Electric-Guitar-ONLY-ONE-OWNER-/320826571035?_trksid=p5197.m7&_trkparms=algo=LVI&itu=UCI&otn=5&po=LVI&ps=63&clkid=6011191482667995154

    The music shop hasn't taken their ebay posting down yet. There are 2 photos up there where you can see the signature.

    Also good news for me... I brought the guitar to my luthier tonight and he tested the bridge pickup, and it's "open" as he said. He doesn't believe it even needs to be rewound, and thinks it might be a simple fix..

    Don, thank you for the offer to rewind the pickup. If it turns out that it needs a rewind I will definitely be in touch.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  8. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Don...don't forget that "Josie" also signed the pickups in my old '64 Strat...so that would make 13 years of her employment at Fender! Just sayin' ;):
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
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  9. vanguard

    vanguard Member

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    Don, you are the man. OP, that is a killer strat.
     
  10. robertkoa

    robertkoa Member

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    Cool story.

    I suppose for restoration value and just history you should get Fender CS or someone from there to get or make a replacement like an Abby , right ?
     
  11. Mike Eldred

    Mike Eldred Member

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    [FONT=Calibri, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial]-Josie G
    -Was there either just before or around the CBS era
    -From Anaheim
    -Tall red haired Mexican girl
    -Very pretty
    -Very nice
    -Got married and moved up north, but it didn’t work out, and Abby had seen her around Anaheim after that (but she didn’t return to Fender)
    - Worked in sub-assembly...putting pick guards together

    Fyi, people don't have specific "patterns" when you hand wind a pickup. That thing is moving too fast for that, and you can see it being done (by Abby) here: http://www.fendercustomshop.com/index.php/custom-life/master-built-stories/

    ME
    [/FONT]
     
  12. vanguard

    vanguard Member

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    looks like she's got a pattern to me?:confused:
     
  13. rushcentrale

    rushcentrale Member

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    yeah kind of looks like she's guiding the wire a certain way by feel and sight...right around 1:30. cool video.
     
  14. Gravelrocks

    Gravelrocks Member

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    Interesting! But if they don't have a pattern, why do each winders' pickups sound different?

     
  15. Bill M

    Bill M Member

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    Mike, Thank you for that Info.

    As I was reading this thread I was thinking that I have only seen Josie's name on early/mid 60's guitars. I have seen her name on at least a dozen guitars from that era and mainly she signs the underside of the pickguard. Another common name you will see is, Mell, but usually in the late 50's/early 60's.

    I have rewound many, many old Fender pickups and totally agree with Mike Eldred about wind pattern. I will say that most old Fender pickups are NOT all scatter wound as many would lead you to believe. The winders were trying, in general, to be neat with their windings, but as you are winding sometimes the coil starts building up a little more in one area, then you go and fill the divits in, then try to continue winding neatly again. Tension, while winding is a whole other story.
     
  16. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    Is this the "Josie" made famous in the Steely Dan song?
     
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  17. Bill M

    Bill M Member

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    Yep, She's the pride of the neighborhood.
     
  18. Mike Eldred

    Mike Eldred Member

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    ...red hair...plays guitar...just sayin'
    [​IMG]

    ME
     
  19. Fitzer

    Fitzer Member

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    No pics? Really?
     
  20. Crow

    Crow Supporting Member

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    Agreed - she even talks about how she's doing it "stopping every now and then to see how it's going". You can see her hand going back and forth in a subtle way and then or course there is tension as well.

    If Abby doesn't have a specific pattern then why are her pickups considered so great?

     

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