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Post new topic Alkire eHarp pickup
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Author Topic:  Alkire eHarp pickup
Ken Campbell


From:
Ferndale, Montana
Post Posted 10 Nov 2017 8:10 pm     Reply with quote

Anyone ever change the pickup in a eHarp?
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Morrell E13 on a Valco Alkire E-harp.
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Noah Miller


From:
Rocky Hill, CT
Post Posted 11 Nov 2017 4:22 am     Reply with quote

There were at least four major versions of the Eharp, one by Epiphone and three by Valco, using at least three pickup designs. Which one do you have, and what's wrong with the current pickup?
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Ken Campbell


From:
Ferndale, Montana
Post Posted 11 Nov 2017 7:26 am     Reply with quote

I have a 1960 Valco. I prefer a more rounded tone and I think the stock pickup is a bit shrill.
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Morrell E13 on a Valco Alkire E-harp.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 11 Nov 2017 7:43 am     Reply with quote

Chas Smith has Lollar "Stringmaster 10's" on his Epiphone Eharp.



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Ken Campbell


From:
Ferndale, Montana
Post Posted 11 Nov 2017 7:46 am     Reply with quote

That's pretty cool!
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Morrell E13 on a Valco Alkire E-harp.
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James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 11 Nov 2017 10:53 am     Reply with quote

I have a '40s Epi model, like the one Doug is playing in the Youtube vids he posted (playing brilliantly, I might add).

I love the sound of it. Would never consider changing the pickup.
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Ron Simpson


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 11 Nov 2017 11:39 am     Reply with quote

Rickenbacker made a ten string with a Bakelite body, and a cast iron(?) neck with a Bakelite body, and a cast iron neck. This guitar has a horseshoe pickup.
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James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 11 Nov 2017 12:53 pm     Reply with quote

Ron Simpson wrote:
Rickenbacker made a ten string with a Bakelite body, and a cast iron(?) neck with a Bakelite body, and a cast iron neck. This guitar has a horseshoe pickup.


In the mid or late '30s Alkire worked with George Beauchamp on a prototype Rickenbacker "Eharp". Richard Alkire shared with me a photo of his dad holding the 10-string bakelite Rick, (1939 or thereabout). He performed with it, but it never went into production. WWII intervened, restrictions on critical materials, etc. Post-war, for reasons unknown to me, he went to Epiphone for the 1st production model.

As to the "cast iron neck", I don't know. Can't really tell that from that photo, but it looks pretty much like a typical bakelite Rick except with a 10-string neck.
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Ron Simpson


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 11 Nov 2017 2:31 pm     Reply with quote

The weight of the neck is what led me to guess cast iron.
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James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 11 Nov 2017 2:39 pm     Reply with quote

Ron Simpson wrote:
The weight of the neck is what led me to guess cast iron.


So you've actually played it?

A 10 string neck and peghead in bakelite would likely be pretty heavy. My 6 string Rick is no lightweight.
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Ron Simpson


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 11 Nov 2017 3:32 pm     10 string Rickenbacker Reply with quote

Yes, I purchased the instrument many years ago. I never did try the Alkire tuning though.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 11 Nov 2017 3:59 pm     Reply with quote

James, I believe this is the picture of Eddie Alkire with his 10-string Rick bakelite...


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James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 11 Nov 2017 6:16 pm     Reply with quote

Doug Beaumier wrote:
James, I believe this is the picture of Eddie Alkire with his 10-string Rick bakelite...


Yes, that's the one. Ed Alkire jr lives just a few miles from me. I've had the opportunity to chat with him about his father's career, and his brother was kind enough to send me some additional info and a few photos. My impression was the instrument in the photo was a prototype, and perhaps unique. But there's no reason Rickenbacker wouldn't have produced more 10 string lapsteels at some point, aside from what I expect would likely be an absurdly small market for such.
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James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 11 Nov 2017 6:31 pm     Re: 10 string Rickenbacker Reply with quote

Ron Simpson wrote:
Yes, I purchased the instrument many years ago. I never did try the Alkire tuning though.


Wow. I'd love to own that. My bakelite Rick is a longtime favorite.

I've kept my Epi Eharp in the Alkire tuning. I learned a few pieces from Alkire's recordings, and at one point I transcribed a chunk of Doug's arrangement of Sleepy Lagoon from his Youtube vid to the Alkire tuning (he's playing it in a conventional E13). I actually find it quite interesting, although not sure it will become a much used tuning for me. Had to put it aside for a while when a new gig required learning a lot of new repertoire in C6; was making my brain hurt.

I met a local guy who took lessons from Alkire when he was young. He plays in a country band and goes about 50/50 between the Alkire tuning and C6. I was surprised when I first heard him in a band setting - wouldn't have guessed he was using that tuning.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 12 Nov 2017 9:00 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
I never did try the Alkire tuning

Me either. On paper it doesn't look user-friendly. Six consecutive strings tuned in half steps. That means a lot of string skipping to avoid train wrecks and very little strumming allowed. It also means that almost any chord is available if the player doesn't mind carefully picking selected strings and avoiding others. That's true of all the diatonic tunings. My understanding is that Eddie taught his 10-string tuning only to his advanced students.
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