Pickup manufacturer Lollar has announced it will be changing the name of its Blackface single coils to ‘Sixty-Four Strat’ with immediate effect.
In a statement released on Monday (opens in new tab) (August 2), the US brand explained its reasoning:
“While many guitarists may understand the historical reference to the mid-‘60s Fender amps that served as the namesake for these pickups, still more are not familiar with this colloquialism and have good cause for uneasiness with the name. So, collectively, we have come to the agreement that the negative connotations associated with the term warrant this change.
“We will always strive to be forward-thinking and inclusive to all fans of our products worldwide and feel as though this is more in keeping with the values that Lollar Pickups holds as a company and as individuals.”
“We understand that this change may breed a small amount of confusion – for which we genuinely apologize. But we honestly believe this is the right thing to do and, to that end, a little confusion is completely justifiable.
“It's common for people to look around and point out things that we would change about the world around us, but it takes a conscious effort to look inward to examine for areas of opportunity for growth and improvement within. After explaining and defending the meaning of the name for years, we acknowledge that doing what is right rarely requires explanation or apology. So, with that, the name has been changed, effective immediately.”
Elsewhere in the statement, the brand assures fans that nothing else about the pickups will change and that all warranties remain valid - underlining that it is simply a change of terminology they felt they could and should make.
Artists including Celisse and Death Cab For Cutie's Dave Depper have voiced their support for the change on Instagram, while Kauer Guitars commented, "We appreciate it. We get what it’s named after but it always looks odd on our spec sheets. It’s our favorite S style set too so this makes us happy."
As alluded to in the statement, the terms ‘Blackface’, ‘Brownface’ and ‘Silverface’ originated in reference to the various colors of the control panels on Fender amplifiers from the late-'50s to early-'70s.
The terms have since become shorthand for the different eras of Fender amp production and are widely used in the guitar community.
Similar moves towards inclusivity have been made in the audio community in recent months, with the Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance calling for audio terms such as ‘master/slave’ and ‘male/female’ to be replaced (opens in new tab).