Prismatone on The Zimmerman Guitar

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Prismatone on The Zimmerman Guitar

Postby Ray Cummins » Wed May 04, 2011 9:34 pm

I Would like to tell you about the prismatone on the Zimmerman guitar. First I want to start with a story about one of my visits with Chet. Anytime I got a new Hascal Haile (back in the HAILE DAYS) I would stop by and show Chet my guitar. I had just gotten my cutaway with tree of life inlay, just like Chet's and stopped at RCA. I parked and here came Chet and Skeeter Davis. Chet introduced me to Skeeter and she left. I wanted to show Chet my guitar and was looking for a place to set the case and open it and Chet said, set it up on this car. I hesitated for a second (didn't want to scratch it) and Chet said, go ahead, it's just a car....Ha. Leave it to Chet!!! Funny!!!

Same thing happened when I took the Zimmerman. Parking lot. This pickup was a step above the old one. Chet figured this was to be the new one. But everything had ended by then. Like I said, we thought that 22.5 battery pack was a pain. It was hard to open. Of course he wasn't playing prismatones anymore. By that time Chet had moved on and Jerry was making movies and that whole prismatone, old and new faded out. You didn''t need the preamp, but even at this time, Chet thought there were a lot better pre amps out there better than the 22.5 battery pack.......
When Chet first heard the newer prismatone, by that time the prismatones didn't interest Chet...Been there done that......And that's the rest of the story.
Ray Cummins
 
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Re: Prismatone on The Zimmerman Guitar

Postby PhilHunt » Thu May 05, 2011 9:32 am

Ray, that Prismatone must have been the later Gretsch era type. I've never seen one like that. The picture Chuck had on here of the pickup had the label on top and no holes on each side where the pins go. I just figured it was another "wanna be" Prismatone....and there's a couple out there.
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Re: Prismatone on The Zimmerman Guitar

Postby guitarchuck » Thu May 05, 2011 10:47 am

Phil, I think you are right about that pickup being a Gretsch era Prismatone. Check out this Gretsch Dorado catalog page from 1973:
[url]
http://gretschpages.com/media/img/memor ... ge101.jpeg[/url]

Notice the fancier Dorado 5984 has the normal Prismatone with the 2 studs coming out the back of the bridge. The cheaper Dorado 5952 doesn't appear to have those studs like the Zimmerman guitar's Prismatone. My guess is they came out with a economy version of the Prismatone without a preamp required.
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Re: Prismatone on The Zimmerman Guitar

Postby jay » Thu May 05, 2011 4:10 pm

"Gretsch era type"

Did Gretsch change the Prismatone? And if so, I am curious in what way. I get the impression that something changed that affected it in a negative manner. The ad still calls it the Baldwin Prismatone. Just curious as to the history...
jay kantor
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Re: Prismatone on The Zimmerman Guitar

Postby Ray Cummins » Thu May 05, 2011 5:41 pm

The Zimmerman Prismatone was definitely the latest. They had sent Chet one. Both pickups are great, but this was to be the new one.....He liked it. If Chet would have continued on the prismatone and not left Gretsch there may have been production, who knows...After Hascal and Chet came up with the thinline prototype, Chet wanted Gretsch to put it out. They said no, Gibson said yes..Hascal told me that..Chet was excited...
I played a HAILE guitar that Roy Clark had. It was just like my Haile cutaway,(not thinline) but with a prismatone.
I also have a couple photos of myself and Merle Travis playing Haile guitars....
I had a music store a few years after I started playing. I was back stage with Chet and he introduced me to Duke Kramer.
Chet said, Ray needs to get some Gretsch guitars over there. Florence, KY is only 12 miles from Cincinnati. He sent me A CG, Nashville, Super Axe and White Falcon. Around that time I stopped over Baldwin, a really old bldg. I went in this old run down room and there was at least 10 Dorados laying on the floor. I had never played one before.
I went home and plugged it in and loved it. I told my dad about it and a few days later I went over to get a couple more and they were all gone......I still have mine. There is a lot of history and concerts on this guitar. TV shows, many shows with Kenny Price, I had my own show at Hee Haw Theater in Branson which I played it every night for 9 months..On this show I played Black Mt Rag and Shenendoah on the Dorado. I did 40 minutes a night.
I also played it when I was guest with the POPS.......Any offers!!! HA!!
Ray Cummins
 
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Re: Prismatone on The Zimmerman Guitar

Postby guitarchuck » Thu May 05, 2011 7:07 pm

Here's a photo of Chet's Prismatone on his Hascal Haile CEC that was the prototype for the Gibson CEC. Does anyone know if this one used the 22.5v preamp?
Image
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Re: Prismatone on The Zimmerman Guitar

Postby GlenHines » Fri May 06, 2011 3:19 pm

Ray - This probably isn't a fair question, but how do you like the sound of the Prismatone on your Dorado compared to the McCullough with the RMC or your Gibson CE? May be kind of an apples-to-oranges comparison but since you've played a lot on all three, I thought I'd ask.
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Re: Prismatone on The Zimmerman Guitar

Postby Ray Cummins » Fri May 06, 2011 3:55 pm

Glen, well, all 3 are different. My recordings with my Gibson nylon, like Summer Daze, Silent Night, Jesus Is The Sweetest Name I know (This one is on youtube ) and many others, can't be beat as for my sounds that I like for my touch.. But my McCullough's have there own sound, too. I like the RMC ON Mel's and that has worked for me. You and 2 other's in FL have the Ray Cummins Signature McCullough with the RMC and evryone seems to love it.
And I always have loved my Dorado Prismatone sound. I played things like Recuerdos, Feelings, and many other beautiful songs on the Dorado along with the Reed tunes. Very versatile.
All 3 are great...I probably will sell my Dorado prismatone for the right dollars....I play the thinlines now all the time standing up. We all go thru phases. I like a pickup on my nylon's now in concert and prefer a thinline so I probably won't be playing a Haile or other full size nylon. Been there, done that......
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