Hello. I have been to your gigs a couple of times both in the US and Japan. They were two of the best gigs I have ever expereinced. Anyway, I have had a 50s or 60s Supro Ozark guitar (with string through pickup) since 1990s. But I don’t use it very often since its 5th and 6th strings’ sound is dull (not clear as other strings). So, I am wondering if your Supro Ozark used to have a same problem. I thought you may have replaced an old pickup with a new lollar pickup or something else. Could you let me know if you had a same problem and your solution? Thank you very much!
Kunihiko, Hokkaido, Japan
The string-thru Supro pickup’s pole pieces are extremely sensitive to proximity.
Any misalignment right-to-left over the pole or any pole adjusted visibly lower than another will suffer notice reduced output and response.
It’s easy if the pole pieces are just too staggered, mini flat blade screwdriver takes care of it in a minute. I like em on the high side. .
More hassle if it’s a right/left string misalignment because it probably means the bridge is notched wrong.
I had my Ozark a couple years before I caved in and had a new one-piece bridge made for it. Not to address strings out of line with the poles but for better intonation. Kinda helped : )
I don’t know how good your intonation is now, but if you’ve got the stock wooden bridge you could probably improve on it.
You should take your guitar to any luthier that can carve a bridge, show him what’s up, and remedy most pickup and intonation issues simultaneously.
There’s still a chance something truly weird is happening that’d account for your string balance “dead” issue, but the polepiece proximity / string alignment thing is so critical for those guitars I’ll bet that’s it.
Also, old Supra pole screws are sometimes frozen and immovable. If so, a drop of rust cutting machine oil applied to the frozen pole screw may allow loosening it so it can be adjusted. I found a local source for replacement pole screws too, as one had a broken slot.
You may also want to be sure that both magnets are actually magnets! Some Supro lap steels (not likely on an Ozark) were built/sold with a wood block installed in place of one magnet. Polarity/placement also affects output. If you need a magnet, I think Lollar sells them.
I am assuming that the new Supro will have little or nothing as regards to similarity to the original pickup and general vibe? Thanks.
I think I noticed you playing your old Supro that I had for a time and sold it back to you in Eugene. I sure miss it but am glad you have it back and are breaking it out. Nice to hear it again and great playing as usual. Please get back out to Oregon soon.
Thank you so much for your answer to my question that I asked you in August 2019. Please excuse me, but I haven’t realized your answer for many months. As you wrote, I have checked pole piece of my Supro Ozark and adjusted its height by screwdriver. Also I finally obtained both magnets from (I believe) Lollar and installed them. I think the sound gets better. To make more improvement, I will take my Ozark to a luthier in my town to check its intonation and bridge condition. I have been attracted the sound of Supro string through pickup since late 80s because of some Lindley-san and Cooder-san’s works. And then I realized that your Ozark and Supro lap steel sound / technique is more attractive and evolutional than anyone. I was so lucky to be one of audience at Daikanyama Unit in Feb 2020. It was a fantastic gig. Anyway, a pickup called “Carvin AP-6” made during 50s and 70s in the US has very twangy / sweet sound , and I guess it suits for both lap steel and electric guitar. Sometimes I imagine that what sound it would be if I install Ap-6 pickup on front side of my Ozark.
Thank you so much for your answer to my question. Excuse me, but I haven’t realized your answer for many months. As you wrote, I have checked pole piece of my Supro Ozark and adjusted its height by screwdriver. Also I finally obtained both magnets from (I believe) Lollar and installed them. The sound gets much better. I have been attracted the sound of Supro string through pickup since late 80s because of some David Lindley and Ry Cooder’s works. And I have realized that your Ozark and Supro lap steel sound / technique is more evolutional than anyone. I was so lucky to be one of audience at Daikanyama Unit in Feb 2020. It was a fantastic gig. Anyway, my favorite pickup is Carvin AP-6 made during 50s and 70s. Very twangy and very good for both lap steel and guitar. Hope you have a chance to try it.
Thanks for the AP-6 recommendation, I will be looking out for one of those now!
Until we meet again. .