Jason Lollar is one of the undisputed kings of aftermarket pickups. In his workshop not far from Seattle, he crafts some of the finest, handmade Gibson- and Fender-style pickups
Jason Lollar is one of the undisputed kings of aftermarket pickups. In his workshop not far from Seattle, he crafts some of the finest, handmade Gibson- and Fender-style pickups in the business, along with top-notch versions of more specialized pickups like Charlie Christian-style and Rickenbacker Toaster Top-style units. His newest humbucker offering, the El Rayo, reveals a lot that we already know (that Lollar can make a wicked humbucker), and offers a few surprises about how clear a humbucker can be. Indeed, the El Rayo was designed with the intent of merging the bright and snappy topend of a single-coil with the punchy prowess of a traditional, PAF-type humbucker.
Behind the Chrome
There are some very unique design aspects behind the traditional-looking chrome cover of each El Rayo. Resistance-wise, they come in at 3.5k Ω for the neck and 4.0k Ω for the bridge. Don’t let the ratings fool you though—the El Rayos are capable of dishing some serious growl.
Each pickup is wound with specially formulated copper wire and alnico magnets— an alnico 5 in the neck and an alnico 8 in the bridge—which adds up to a beautiful, wide-spectrum tone-palate that effectively bridges single-coil and humbucker voices. In fact, Lollar suggests mixing them with traditional single-coils to help beef up your sonic range.
When wiring El Rayos for multiple switching options, phasing, and coil-tapping, the standard single-conductor leads can be replaced with 4-conductor wire at no additional charge. The company also offers a myriad of cover options—ranging from chrome, gold, and nickel, to aged, heavily aged, pearl, and more.
Thunder and Lightning
If you like the fat sound of a good set of P-90s, but have a humbucker-sized hole in your guitar to fill, the El Rayos are a musttry. The upper-mid presence is strong, but not so much that it overpowers the rest of the spectrum. And when they’re running through a good amp that’s wide-open, the output from these El Rayos becomes a syrupy blanket of vintage rock and blues goodness.
The El Rayo offered up an almost night and day difference from a PAF-style pickup in terms of bite, touch sensitivity, and overall character. With a 65amps Empire set up clean, our El Rayo-powered Les Paul used for the test bed took on a much throatier character than it did with the stock PAF-style pickups. Mids and lows were positively lush. And there’s a beautiful, ever-present clarity in the high end that’s not piercing at all, but smooth and rounded off just a touch.
The responsiveness of the El Rayos is nothing short of exceptional. Depending on the forcefulness of your approach, there’s also a pronounced volume difference that might even find you working with the volume control a lot less. Another of the El Rayo’s real strengths shined bright when dropping the Les Paul’s tone controls. Here, the El Rayos retained their capacity for producing clear highs, tight lows, and that beautiful touch-sensitivity without losing the wooly and warm qualities that good PAFs impart to bluesy riff work and melodic leads.
Opening up the Empire and kicking in the first overdrive-stage highlighted the ability of Lollar’s new creations to breathe, purr, and roar in higher-gain environments. And here again, the El Rayo’s ability to retain clarity is dazzling. Individual notes remain discernable, present, and full of detail and body. Compared to overdriven tones you’ll typically hear from a PAF-style humbucker, the El Rayos really occupy a sonic space that is gloriously all their own.
The El Rayo’s tones are a stellar blend of the tight and full lows of a great PAF, with the bubbly mids and smooth highs of a killer P-90—all with a unique snap in the high end that affirms Jason Lollar’s other-worldy knack for squeezing sonic detail out of magnets and wire. And for players who love to just sit and marvel at how full of body and detail a single note can be, these pickups are to die for.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.