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Speaking of the Fender Marauder... the original one...

Phil O'Keefe

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Since they came up in another thread, I thought it might be kind of cool to talk about them a little bit... but I didn't want to throw the other thread off-topic too much since he's looking for a guitar and not a history lesson...




The Marauder was a Fender guitar from circa 1965-1966 that never went into production. Some estimates are that only eight prototypes were made. Fender's catalog of the period even shows pictures of them, and some price sheets listed the Marauder as Fender's top-of-the-line model. These version 1 Marauders had their pickups "hidden" beneath the pickguard. Apparently this was the idea of one Porky Freeman, who later took the design to Rickenbacker, who also made a prototype of a guitar with "hidden" pickups... and never released it either.


Here's some mid-60s Fender catalog photos showing the version 1 Marauders. Note that some had slanted frets; similar to the Rickenbacker 481 guitars that would appear a few years later (circa 1973).






Anyway, I found the patent for the Marauder online. It's an interesting read, if you can get past the lawyer-speak meets engineer-speak of some of it. The patent sheds some light on the mysterious "hidden" pickups; I found the design, with the pairs of pole pieces for each string, as well as the extra two pairs of pole pieces (above and below the low and high E strings) to be quite interesting... and the big secret to getting the pickup "reach" to work from under the pickguard? It's those double magnets - each with their north poles facing upwards, and with them in close enough proximity to where they "fight" and want to repel each other - this kicks the magnetic field up above them much higher than if they were arranged in a north up / south up configuration or if you used a single magnet. Very simple, but pretty brilliant actually. Of course, today you could probably accomplish basically the same thing by focusing and directing the magnetic field upwards through the use of metal alloy plates of the right type on either side of the magnets. Hmmm... :chinscratchy:


Patent #3,290,424 covers the Marauder's under the pickguard pickups.




(Scroll down for the text)


There was a second version Marauder that also made it to the prototype stage; it had three external pickups in a Strat type configuration and more switches than a NASA mission control console, but in my humble opinion, these were not nearly as cool.




Going back to the original Marauder (version 1), there is this guy from OSG who actually made one for himself... :eekphil: Although I must admit that the idea of cloning the pickups has a certain amount of appeal to me... Hmm... :chinscratchy #2: ;)






The pickups have sixteen pole pieces in total instead of the usual six. All pole pieces in each pickup have the same orientation - IOW, all north poles facing up, or, in the case of the RWRP pickup, all with their south poles facing up. They're set up as eight pairs, with the two "extra" pairs outboard the E strings, insuring they get the same "coverage" as the other strings because they're in an identical magnetic field. You can read all about the design in the patent, which I linked to earlier.




Build thread with tons of other pics.


He even did a video where you can hear what it sounds like:



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Outstanding thread is outstanding :thu:


I'm a sucker for block inlays, but I'm torn about whether I like them on the Marauder :idk:

Part of the appeal of inlays for me is the way they are visually continued by humbuckers leading up to the bridge. Without the humbuckers, it sort of looks awkward IMO.


Listening to the Youtube vido, it clearly has that classic Fender sound... midrangey and sort of boxed in.

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I remember when John English of the custom shop did a "stealth" esquire with a neck and middle pickups hidden under the pickguard. I was blown away by that, had no idea this was going on since the 60's.


Yeah it seems to be the inspiration for the Voyager, too. I'm hoping that one comes out eventually because I like the idea a lot.

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Do you know if the strings on those were all the same scale length, or if it was an early fanned-fret multi-scale experiment? They look slanted, but still parallel in the photo.


Not sure-don't think it's a Mauauder. Looks like a black guard w/white switch. Seems mounted closer to the top horn as well.

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