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Velvet Hammer Pickups
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jeff rhodes



Joined: 07 Feb 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Orange CA.

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:36 pm    Post subject: Velvet Hammer Pickups Reply with quote

I'm the son to the late Red Rhodes and I'm in the process of bringing Velvet Hammer Pickups back to life including the VHTBX. I have all the schematics from my fathers work. I worked for Groove Tubes for years and also have made many of the Velvet Hammer Pickups myself. Let me know if anyone thinks this is a good idea.
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Murr



Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 384
Location: http://www.youtube.com/user/skydogz1

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smile Laughing Shocked Razz Confused Surprised Rolling Eyes Wink



The CWf crew welcomes Jeff Rhodes !!!



Cool
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philgerard



Joined: 19 Mar 2007
Posts: 99
Location: NJ

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeff,
You're in the right place at the right Time!
Of course we think it's a good idea!
Now if the economy will cooperate...we'll all be buyin them!
Keep us in the loop!

Phil Very Happy
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1361
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:22 am    Post subject: Re: Velvet Hammer Pickups Reply with quote

jeff rhodes wrote:
I'm the son to the late Red Rhodes and I'm in the process of bringing Velvet Hammer Pickups back to life including the VHTBX. I have all the schematics from my fathers work. I worked for Groove Tubes for years and also have made many of the Velvet Hammer Pickups myself. Let me know if anyone thinks this is a good idea.


Hi Jeff!! Yes we think it's a GREAT idea Very Happy Welcome!
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DaveF



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Kelowna, B.C. Canada

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:13 am    Post subject: Velvet Hammers Reply with quote

Jeff, I will buy them today! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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jimmydeluxe



Joined: 22 Nov 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Christchurch, Dorset, England

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes yes yes please! I'll definitely buy them!
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rballister



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 174
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeff,
Do you have any inside info about Clarence's particular VHs? At the time CW got the pickups how much did the VHs vary?
Were there any contemporaries of CW that used them? The only person I know of is James Burton who seemed to get a much thinner, twangier sound than CW.
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1361
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep in mind that it can never be confirmed definitively that Clarence used VH's or if he did, for how long. ie since both Clarence and Red and no longer with us. And if Clarence did, then it is likely that they were referred to as custom wound pickups by Red Rhodes, as opposed to Velvet Hammers (did this name actually exist in 1970?). If custome Red Rhodes pickups ever were in CW's tele, they are no longer there and no one knows what happened to them.

We know for sure Clarence used stock vintage pickups for at least a large part of his career. This is based on the completely clean and vintage sounding Tele tone that Clarence on Byrds and numerous studio sessions recordings. We have some verification from folks such as Jim Sliff who state that Clarence used rewound pickups by Red around the early 70's (based on conversation with Clarence etc).. However on the other hand... Clarence's Nashville West and Byrds band mate and closest friend Gene Parsons has stated that Clarence never used anything except stock pickups. That era of Byrds live music was characterized by a heavy overdriven sound, and commonly attributed to VH pickups...but CW also used oevrdrive/fuzz pedals so it's difficult to pinpoint or know for sure...

Actually...if James Burton truly did use Red's Velvet Hammer pickups...he might be a very interesting person who can shed some light on Clarence's connection with Red's pickups.
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Muttcaster



Joined: 03 Sep 2006
Posts: 130
Location: New Mexico

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brian wrote:
Actually...if James Burton truly did use Red's Velvet Hammer pickups...he might be a very interesting person who can shed some light on Clarence's connection with Red's pickups.


Surely someone here knows or could ask Burton?

Gimme his phone number- I'll ask him!! Shocked Laughing
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Murr



Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 384
Location: http://www.youtube.com/user/skydogz1

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't recall Gene saying anything about pickups. Hamel seemed to think the bridge pup was '56 era, and Fred Stuart is kinda mums on the subject. However, he was instrumental in the Clarence signature Tele and I believe he recently wound a sixties style pup for Drake's Frankin-Clarence Tele. Why 60's? ...must be a reason. So it's still somewhat a mystery. As for the live sound, there's several things that effect it ...tone controls on the amp, volume settings, the particular amp itself, and pedals. Anyway, I think winding some Velvet Hammers is a good idea.
'
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meatandpotatas



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 183
Location: The Great Northwest

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't recall Gene saying anything about pickups. Hamel seemed to think the bridge pup was '56 era, and Fred Stuart is kinda mums on the subject. However, he was instrumental in the Clarence signature Tele and I believe he recently wound a sixties style pup for Drake's Frankin-Clarence Tele. Why 60's? ...must be a reason. So it's still somewhat a mystery.

I'm early in the process of having Fred build me a Tele, and the idea is basically a stock '56 sunburst, as Clarence's guitar might have been delivered from the factory, kind of Nashville West-era. It sounds like Fred's recommendation for the pickup is his basic "Blackguard" design, with added raised poles at the G and D (I think) to bring it up to '56 specs. Seems to be consistent with Hamel's position, which would make sense.

However, this reflects experience with the guitar under Marty's ownership, plus knowledge of what a standard '56 pickup would look like. So, it's basically the before and after; if you're interested in the mysterious in-between period (Velvet Hammers), it's probably not helpful.
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Karl Teten



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 48
Location: California

PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember every members guitar and every customized repair in every group I have played in since I was 13.

Gene told me personally that Clarence never swapped pickups. At least not while they were both in The Byrds. Gene said Clarence played his amps at high volume and worked the volume knob on his guitar for solos.

The hotter thin sounding tones Clarence had for a short period was from his custom made overdrive pedal (that got stolen) along with the adjusted volume knob of his guitar.

It is possible that Clarence wanted a custom wound Red pickup but never got the chance to actually do it. Clarence may have told Jim Sliff that he had a custom wound pickup but in reality reality had not swapped out (yet/never happened).

I think it's a great idea to get the VH's going again. It will at least give many here on this forum a chance to give them a go and then give their overall opinions on Clarence's tone during his breif overdrive pedal period.
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Murr



Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 384
Location: http://www.youtube.com/user/skydogz1

PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clarence could have had Red do some pickup work prior to joining the Byrds. Also, the mini toggle switch ..when did that appear?
'
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1361
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's great to have a variety of great classic tones to choose from. I've always wanted a set as well, so it is exciting to have VH's available again.

Best of luck to Jeff Rhodes' Velvet Hammer pickups!


Last edited by Brian on Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1361
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Murr wrote:
Clarence could have had Red do some pickup work prior to joining the Byrds. Also, the mini toggle switch ..when did that appear?
'


My own opinion (based on nothing else except careful listening to recordings and watching youtube videos)...I'll bet the mini switch just flipped the phase of the Strat neck pickup...to give it that out of phase sound that you occasionally hear Clarence use....PLUS I'll bet that he had position 3 of his 3-position switch (there were no 4 position switches back then) wired so that the bridge pickup was in SERIES with the neck pickup to give it that fatter more humbucking tone.

I drew up a schematic to explain that wiring which I dubbed "Country Rock" wiring and posted it on the forum here quite a while ago

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