Lollar has a stellar reputation for crafting aftermarket replacements for every traditional pickup you can imagine, many of which have also become OEM for several boutique manufacturers these days. In addition, the company has re-created and reworked several quirkier vintage pickups of yore, with great results.
Now joining Lollar’s lap-steel pickups, trend-setting Gold Foil pickups and Charlie Christian–inspired blade pickups is the MiniBroiler, a tasty single-coil homage to the legendary Rickenbacker toaster-top pickups of the 1960s, encased in a mini-humbucker cover that makes for an easy retrofit. As such, the pickup can be hung from a pickguard or pickup ring like a Firebird mini-humbucker, or mounted LP Deluxe–style in a P-90 ring, allowing it to fit a wide range of guitars.
The original Rick toaster top was often mistaken for a mini-humbucker itself, thanks to the ridge that ran down the center of the cover, splitting the top into two textured black inserts (the “toaster slots,” if you will), but this concealed a row of Alnico-rod pole pieces in a semiwide single coil of wire. Lollar follows suit, though without the misleading “faux-dual” cover, sticking with a textured black top with chrome surround that conceals six chunky 1/4-inch-diameter Alnico V pole pieces that extend a significant distance out from the pickup’s bottom plate.
The coils are wound to readings of 8.3k ohms in the neck position and 8.9k ohms in the bridge, aiming for that classic beefy punch, with single-coil clarity and jangle. As a bonus, the middle position is hum-canceling when you’re using a set of two, as we did for this review.
I tested the MiniBroilers mounted within supplied P-90 rings in a Novo Serus J guitar. It was a relatively easy fit, but the Alnico poles are pretty long, so check your own guitar’s pickup-route depth before proceeding (for reference, the pickup is .875 inches tall). I couldn’t have gotten them much lower in this guitar and didn’t need to. It was played through a 5E3-style combo and a 50-watt Friedman Small Box with 2x12 cab, along with a variety of drive pedals.
To name a more common reference for those who haven’t tasted the vintage Rickenbacker thing, the results were broadly Fender-like, given the single coils and Alnico-rod pole pieces, but really quite different too. This is definitely a thicker core voice than that of the more familiar narrow single-coils, with a lot of immediacy and punch, a real “thwack” on the wound strings, and no harshness or painful treble spike on the plain strings. The overall frequency balance was slightly scooped.
The bridge and bridge-middle positions excelled at tasty, chiming arpeggios that, nevertheless, provided some girth amid the ringing overtones while delivering clean single-note lead lines that could have posed as Tele tones in many scenarios. In this 25 1/2–inch scale guitar, the neck pickup delivered a rich, warm, “fat Strat”-like voice that was great for bluesy excursions with a little drive into either amp. When kept clean, with the guitar’s tone rolled off a little, it also produced a satisfying jazz tone.
None of this is entirely surprising, given the MiniBroiler’s genesis, but it was fun discovering how well the pickups took to either a Tsakalis Six overdrive or a JHS Angry Charlie distortion, as well as the Friedman’s modded Marshall-style lead channel. Lower-gain settings quickly reminded me of the punch and power that guitarists like Pete Townshend and Jam-era Paul Weller achieved with their own toaster tops, and cranking up the gain produced stinging, biting rock tones that were a nasty blast to deploy.
All in all, the MiniBroilers are a success and another nifty Lollar offering for guitarists who are looking to graft some alternative sounds onto their guitars, or to nail a stealth return to one of the most popular sounds of 1960s rock.
PRICE $145 each
MAGNETS Alnico V rod poles
DC RESISTANCE 8.3kΩ neck, 8.9kΩ bridge
KUDOS A clever re-creation of the ’60s toaster top in a more versatile mini-humbucker housing. Delivers thick jangle and chime and biting rock and roll with equal aplomb
CONCERNS None, but check depth and mounting configurations to ensure they’ll fit your guitar