Documenting history as well as my experiences with repairing and restoring vintage guitars.

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Image Credit:  Popular Science 1945 About The Electromuse corporation was in business from the 1940s through the 1950s; exact dates a...

The Electromuse Corporation

Image Credit: Popular Science 1945


The Electromuse corporation was in business from the 1940s through the 1950s; exact dates are unknown as I have not yet been able to track down their business filings. The company has very little footprint on the internet and so not much is known about them. They were based in Chicago, Illinois and in 1945 their office was at 63 E. Adams Street. In 1947 they were located at 622 W. Kenzie Street [4].

They manufactured lap steels out of pine and their own pickups to put in them. Their amplifiers were built by the Valco corporation [5].

Eye-Beam Pickup

The "Eye-Beam Electromuse String Pickup" is toted as being the first commercially available electromagnetic pickup on the market but I cannot find anything to back up that claim though it is definitely an early contender. The pickup received it's name because of the I-beam shaped magnet that the coil is wrapped around but I think they look like toasters.
Original box for a Model IBP-R string pickup
Image Credit: Worthpoint from Ebay
Ralphie B, from the Music Electronics Forum deconstructed one of these pickups to rewind it and his posts are an incredible source of information on the lapsteel implementation and construction. His pickup had died due to rust and corrosion which I don't doubt has killed many of these pickups before the pickup "world" learned about properly sealing off the coil.

Ralphie says that the volume potentiometer is 20k Ohms while the tone pot is 150k Ohms and has a .05uF capacitor. His potentiometers are Allen-Bradley branded but I've also seen another Eye-Beam pickup with old Centralab Milwaukee potentiometers on the website of Denny Turner [3]. He did not mention the gauge of wire used on this pickup but did note that "As found, this Eye-Beam was wound with few turns of thin wire".

The pickup looks like a double-rail humbucker- but it isn't. The magnet is alnico, cast into an I-Beam shape about 1" wide; its jagged ends infer the piece was snapped from a longer bar. The i-beam is magnetized "across the bar" (one flange is North, the other South) and the coil is wound "along the bar", between the flanges. (I believe some would call this orientation "wrong", with most of the magnetic flux travelling parallel to the strings.) [1]
The Eye-Beam pickup is slightly weird- basically a blade pickup turned sideways. The core is a piece of steel I-channel (AKA H-channel), magnetized across the bar so one flange is North and the other flange is South; the two "toaster slots" in the cover align with the flanges. [2]
Lapsteel harness
Image Credit: Reverb - Rollingdam
Soundhole 'DeArmond'-style
Image Credit: Reverb - Play It Again Music
I cannot confirm whether these came before DeArmond pickups or after but there are definitely features that are similar. The soundhole mounted Eye-Beam pickups have a unique three-point mounting mechanism and include thumbwheels on either side of the pickup to adjust volume and tone, much like a DeArmond.


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