Hey mike and mike's. I've been looking at the squire Venus lately and it seems like it only comes with a humbucker in the bridge and a single coil in the neck, but in all of the pictures of Courtney love playing one it looks like her venuses have two larger single coils (somewhere between the size of a strat pickup and a jm) in them. I was wondering if you had any insight into what those pickups might be?
Funny you should notice that, because those guitars with the wide, flat pickups aren’t Squier Venuses at all! Mercury guitars, made in Atlanta, GA, were custom-made for a few artists including Courtney Love and Fugazi, and although some say that there are less than a hundred made, the original builders claim the number to be closer to 13. The pickups you mentioned are still humbuckers, but stacked coils rather than side-by-side as with most ‘buckers.
What’s really sad is that Courtney took the guitar to Fender, which completely lifted the body shape and overall aesthetic from Mercury, mass-producing their design without any contact or acknowledgment.
Check out the thread on OSG about these guitars and the original builders’ hopes of making more of them. Photo by forum user live-i-evil of his two original Mercurys.