Lace Music Productions, a division of Actodyne General, Inc., was founded in 1979 by Don Lace, Sr. Don had extensive experience in high intensity lighting, speakers, and magnetics, and an early focus of Don’s was designing and manufacturing solenoids. Coil winding was at the heart of his business.
In 1967 his path crossed with Fender Musical Instruments, where he was exposed to the fascinating world of the music industry. After starting Actodyne General, Don found out that Fender was experiencing a high rejection rate during the production of traditional style guitar pick-ups that were made at the time. Eager to become more involved in the music industry, Lace began to develop a new guitar pickup that would have a lower rejection rate during production. Lace used one of his existing solenoid patents that was in part a transducer, and partially an open-and-closed device called a shock generator.
Lace applied the new concept to an old beat up Sears guitar that he bought at a garage sale. He plucked the string and it worked.
By the late 1980’s, Lace had perfected a single rectangular-shaped sensor that fit under the strings. Lace presented this technology to Seth Lover (inventor of the original humbucking pick-up), who was working with Fender at the time. The goals were simple:
- Reduce the rejection rate
- Increase fidelity
- Reduce outside hum.
Lover knew that Lace was really onto something. Fender began to use the new technology and feature the Lace design guitar pick-ups on their own products. Known as Fender-Lace Sensors, these electric guitar pick-ups were originally made for the Fender Strat Plus guitar, which won numerous awards. Today they can be found on many other Fender guitars and are available in Gold, Silver, Blue, or Red series as either single or dually models that function as a double-coiled humbucker.
Hudson Technologies and the Lace Brothers
Sadly, Don Lace, Sr. passed away on October 11, 1992, leaving a strong impact on the music industry. To this day, his two sons, Don and Jeff carry on his tradition of solving complex problems and developing solutions for the equipment used in everyday music. By creating cutting-edge products that capture the sound and soul of classic vintage originals, the Lace Music team continues to lead the music industry by creating innovative products for guitar, bass, and many acoustic stringed instruments.
The relationship between Hudson Technologies and the two brothers is very interesting. When they were young, their father would order parts from Hudson (Hudson Tool & Die at that time) using the printed catalog. In some of the older Hudson catalogs, pictures were created of “cityscapes” using Hudson cans as buildings. Some examples of these may be found here:
Don and Jeff used to cut these pages out of the catalog and play with them, driving matchbox cars through the can cities. As they got older and joined the family business, they mimicked some of Hudson’s can city pictures and made their own version of cityscapes using their own Actodyne General coil products as the buildings.
Lace Music and Hudson’s paths crossed again in 2016 in a very interesting way. John Marfiak, Hudson’s Director of Sales, was walking the huge NAMM (National Association of Musical Merchandisers) Show in Anaheim, California. He was looking for companies for which Hudson could provide covers for their guitar pickups or humbuckers. John Marfiak met Don Lace at the Lace Music booth and business cards were exchanged.
“When Don saw my card, his eyes lit up,” said Marfiak. “He said to me: ‘You’re Hudson Tool & Die!’ He told me about the fun he had playing with our catalog pages as a youngster.”
After several meetings with the Lace brothers, orders were placed for a new generation of pickup covers. Don redesigned the covers to have thicker brass walls and to emboss the words “Lace Sensors” onto the part. The redesign and ordering process went smoothly, and before long the first shipment of the new parts arrived at the Lace facility in Cypress, California.
The Lace brothers were very pleased with their new parts and shared a picture of the newly opened box on Lace’s Facebook page for their followers to get an early look at the new product. Lace Sensors continues to improve their product offerings and stay at the cutting edge of the music industry.
Lace Music recently got into a new market segment: making pick-ups for cigar box guitars. Cigar box guitars have a huge following and Lace has the first pick-up in the industry that was specifically designed for a cigar box guitar. This pick-up looks like a matchbook and fits perfectly on a cigar box guitar.
The Lace / Hudson story goes back a long time, and hopefully this partnership will continue for many more years. To discover more about their products, visit Lace Music. Also check out Hudson Technologies to learn more about our fabrication services and how we can support your design.