Saturday, February 2, 2008

I would like you to meet Leif Renwall (Le-Re pickups revisited)

Maybe some of you have read the epic saga of how I was asked to rebuild two very strange 1950's lap steel pickups for a guy named Kari "Max" Laine in Finland. The guitar was made in Finland by a company called Malmström. The pickups were made for Malmström by an other Finnish company called Le-Re. Le-Re is short for Leif Renwall. Well, Max has been busy tracking down as much information on these remarkable instruments as he can. He has found them as far away as Australia. Every once in a while Searcy String Works gets up dates from him. His latest fine is nothing short of amazing! But don't take my word for it...

Hi Clint, I visited Mr. Leif Renwall, the maker of those Le-Re pickups, yesterday at his home in Helsinki. He is 82, and still doing fine. He told me he actually used to buy earphone sets (he thinks the brand was "Olympia") and dismantle them to get the coils/magnets. So we were right about the source. He thinks he made around 30 of such pickups, so that would probably be the total production of those guitars. I know the whereabouts of six, I wonder where the rest are... He has long lost his own guitar, but was delighted to see mine with the restored pickup. See attached picture! The both pickups are still working fine, so thanks again!

Regards, kari

How cool is that? I am very happy to know that my rebuild met with the approval of Mr. Renwall. And remember, if you have one of these fine historic guitars be sure to drop me a line. Max and I would really like to hear from you.

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