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Thread: Kent wc26 mandolin pickup

  1. #1
    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
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    Default Kent wc26 mandolin pickup

    Can anyone tell me anything about these (made in Japan) Kent mandolin pickups?


    1950s Airline P4 Mandolin w/ Kent WC26 Pickup, Chipboard Case https://ebay.us/VemEDI

  2. #2
    Registered User nmiller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kent wc26 mandolin pickup

    The Kent WC26 was a cheaper alternative to the DeArmond 500, $17.50 vs $32.50. The mandolin is a late '50s model built by Kay (the P4 stamp is Kay's body style, not the Airline model number).
    www.OldFrets.com: the obscure side of vintage instruments.

  3. #3
    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kent wc26 mandolin pickup

    Quote Originally Posted by nmiller View Post
    The Kent WC26 was a cheaper alternative to the DeArmond 500, $17.50 vs $32.50. The mandolin is a late '50s model built by Kay (the P4 stamp is Kay's body style, not the Airline model number).
    Yes the Japanese were cheaper but most of what they made was better. Japan put Italian guitar manufacturer EKO and VOX out of business and Gibson was beat down hard by them. I like my Kent pickups better than my DeArmond and you have a tone pot to boot. The only problem on the Kent pickups is you have to replace the wiring and you need an input adapter so it will take a guitar cord (easy and cheap fixes).

  4. #4
    Registered User nmiller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kent wc26 mandolin pickup

    Quote Originally Posted by your_diamond View Post
    Yes the Japanese were cheaper but most of what they made was better.
    In the '60s, this was untrue. Japanese guitars at that point were mostly junk; it wasn't until the mid '70s that they started producing instruments that rivaled the best American or European ones. While sound is quite subjective, these Kent pickups are not nearly as highly-regarded as the DeArmonds they ape.

    Quote Originally Posted by your_diamond View Post
    Japan put Italian guitar manufacturer EKO and VOX out of business and Gibson was beat down hard by them.
    Vox and Eko didn't stop making guitars in Italy until the late '70s and '80s, respectively. Gibson didn't start to see any serious competition until the mid '70s. This pickup dates to the '60s, long before any of that happened.
    www.OldFrets.com: the obscure side of vintage instruments.

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  6. #5
    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kent wc26 mandolin pickup

    Quote Originally Posted by nmiller View Post
    In the '60s, this was untrue. Japanese guitars at that point were mostly junk; it wasn't until the mid '70s that they started producing instruments that rivaled the best American or European ones. While sound is quite subjective, these Kent pickups are not nearly as highly-regarded as the DeArmonds are.
    Hi Noah, Love your ((( OldFrets.com ))) site! Like my fat girlfriend, it's a ton of fun. Only thing missing is a STRADOLIN section (probably cause there isn't any info).

    I didn't think Kent pups were that old (1960's). Might have bought a New Old Stock one (in 1972) I didn't think the Kent pup had as much Hum as the (1968) DeArmond. But what do I know. I was playing POWER CHORDS on the DeArmond strapped to a Yamaha FG-180 Guitar. I was, more than likely, also playing at a lower volume on the Kent/mandolin pup.

    Quote Originally Posted by nmiller View Post
    Vox and Eko didn't stop making guitars in Italy until the late '70s and '80s, respectively. Gibson didn't start to see any serious competition until the mid '70s. This pickup dates to the '60s, long before any of that happened.
    From epiphone.com/History ...the rise of foreign-made copies in the late '60s took over 40% of the Epiphone/Gibson market share and closed many companies down entirely. Even EKO / VOX was running much smaller production numbers (at 20% of full production) by 1972. Though they held on until 1984.

    I remember the biggest competition in 1970 was from Japanese Epiphones, and they looked good.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Kent wc26 mandolin pickup

    As noted above by nmiller, Japanese gear until the mid to late 70s was called "Jap Crap" because that's what it was. Kent's were on the lower rung.

    The reason they became so "popular" had nothing to do with quality. Their aggressive pricing allowed them to push other manufacturers out of the big retailers - Sears switched from US-Danelectro-built to Japanese-Tiesco-built instruments circa 1965 and Danelectro went out of business circa 1967 as one example - and the others followed suit to compete on price. I owned one and it was a horrible piece of work.

    Your Kent pickup will probably be an under-wound single-coil with poor grounding and no wax-potting. That means it will be subject to hum and buzzing as well as excessive feedback at higher volumes.

    But there's no accounting for taste and if you like how it sounds, great! The pickup(s) and electronics would be the first thing I'd replace.
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