In the world of aftermarket Pick Ups, Lollar is a breath of fresh air. Started by expert guitar luthier, Jason Lollar, Lollar specializes in boutique PUs for guitar, bass, and steel guitar. Unlike most aftermarket PU companies, which are geared toward high output, modern tones, Lollar makes classic, vintage-styled PUs – using modern technology to achieve classic tonality. Their product range is probably the most unusual and diverse of any PU company, making Stratocaster, Telecaster, Humbucker, P-90, Jazzmaster, Charlie Christian, and “Miscellaneous” PUs. Within these categories are many classics, like the Stratocaster Vintage Blackface, Dog Ear P-90, ’52 Tele Neck PU, and special PUs inspired by Peter Green, Johnny Smith, and Charlie Christian. Jason Lollar also makes some unique, one of a kind PUs, like the Chicago Steel, designed for slide playing, Single-coil within a Humbucker, and “the Broiler,” which has a bell-like tone a la John Lennon. Ultimately, Lollar is constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional PUs, creating exciting and new inventions to compliment any playing style and achieve any tone.
For those of you who don’t know Charlie Christian, he is one of the original guitar legends. Christian was a key developer of Bebop, the language of improvisation, guitar technique, and was one of the very first people ever to take an amplified guitar solo! He was most well-known as a member of Benny Goodman’s Sextet, one of the first integrated bands, but has become legendary for his influence at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem – the birthplace of Bebop. Here, in after hours jam sessions, Christian would exchange choruses with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, and other Bebop greats, as they developed this new style of Jazz. Christian’s improvisational style is his greatest legacy. Often said to be “horn-like,” Christian was one of the first guitarists to play single-note solos instead of chords, emulating the solos of a horn. Through his single note improvisational style, Christian invented many phrases, licks, and ideas that would become building blocks for the language of Bebop. His influence can be most strongly heard in Wes Montgomery, who learned to play by transcribing Christian’s solos. Adding to his legend, Charlie Christian died at age 25 from tuberculosis, leaving an incredible legacy behind.
The style of the early pick ups used in the first electric guitars have become known as Charlie Christian PUs. Preceding Humbucking technology, these PUs were single coils, but had a different sound than the modern-day single coils you would find in a Strat. They had a depth and richness more akin to a P-90, and a unique fullness that set them apart from other PUs. Today, Lollar makes Charlie Christian PUs designed to be housed in a traditional arch-top guitar, but their most popular CC model is designed for neck position in a Telecaster. This is the PU I have put in my Telecaster, and it sounds amazing. Putting a Lollar CC in a Tele achieves a deep, bluesy tone a la Ted Greene, Keith Richards, and even Jimi Hendrix. Although you lose some of the “spank” associated with the Telecaster, you gain a new dimension of tone that is sweeter and richer than the conventional Telecaster sound. I originally used this PU to adapt my Tele for a Jazz setting, but as I have experimented more, I find it’s a perfect sound for Blues, Rock, Pop, and Folk-Rock. It makes my Tele sound more like a Strat, but even more harmonically rich. The only downside was the shape of this PU required my local shop to cut my pick guard, an operation they weren’t too familiar with. However, they learned, and did just fine, leaving me with a unique and great sounding modification to my Telecaster.
So if you’re interested in after market pick ups that will help your guitar, and your tone, stand out from the crowd, check out Lollar Pick Ups!