Custom Pickups!

build pickups to your personal specs!

Pickups have a lot to do with the sound of an electric guitar and how it behaves through an amp and they are usually one of the first places guitar makers cut costs when they are designing entry-level guitars.  That's why pickups are the first thing you upgrade when you're searching for better tone, and they are usually much cheaper than buying a better guitar.

They simply consist of magnetic polepieces wrapped in thousands of winds of copper wire.  The type of magnets and wire obviously have a lot to do with the tone, but so do the winding style, number of winds, and type of material used to pot them (see: wax potting).  Below you will find a short list of what goes into building a pickup and the effect it has on the tone.  All of these components are ones that were used on early Gibson and Fender pickups to produce the legendary tones that they are famous for today.  I tested all of these different materials and methods myself with the pickups I built as well as consulted the fine people at SF Guitarworks and Mojotone to come to the conclusions that I made.  Read through this short list before ordering your new set of pickups through our website and you'll be a pickup expert too. 


Alnico V-  by far the most popular magnet for vintage-style pickups.  Drives your amp harder to break up sooner, lowers headroom.  Tight punchy lows, low to moderate mids, singing highs.

Alnico III-  the brightest of the alnico magnets.  Lower output than Alnico V.  Used in very early Teles and Strats from the 50's.  Nice round highs and a strong midrange with good bite.

Alnico II-  spongy attack.  Smooth highs and strong mids. Lower output than Alnico V.  Used in Gibson PAF humbuckers and some P-90's.


Formvar- common in vintage Fender pickups.  Warm and smooth sounding.

Single Build Plain Enamel- also used in many vintage Fender pickups, useful when squeezing a maximum number of winds on the coil.  Aggressive and sharper on the bass and treble response.

Polycoated- darker sounding overall.  Great when used in high output pickups for smoothing out harshness.

Construction Techniques

Scatterwinding- All of our single coil pickups are scatterwound, it is widely known in the pickup building world that scatterwinding is the best technique for building pickups because of the increased clarity and response to subtle details.  It really opens up the sound.  For more information see my blog entry on Scatterwinding.

Overwinding by 5%- some blues and rock players prefer pickups that drive their amp harder for more breakup through the amp.  Overwound pickups also produce 5% more bass and 5% less treble.  The high strings will sound fuller and sweeter but the wound strings will sound darker.

Underwinding by 5%- If clarity is your goal then underwinding is ideal.  It produces 5% less bass and 5% more treble and makes your wound strings sound clearer.  

Wax Potting-  If you are using gain or excessive volume in your rig it is highly recommended that you order your pickups with wax potting.  The hardened wax holds the windings together to keep them from vibrating against each other and causing feedback and microphonics.  On the contrary, early Fender pickups were not wax potted and some are regarded as being some of the best sounding in the world, pickups without wax are generally more open sounding.  For more information please see my blog entry on wax potting.  All of our pickups are wax potted unless otherwise stated.

Staggered/Flat polepieces-  Most modern pickups are staggered to compensate for fretboard radius and varying string-to-string balance in volume.  You may opt for flat polepieces in your setup.  Most Telecaster bridge pickups have flat polepieces and they sound just fine.  All of our pickups have staggered polepieces unless otherwise stated.

Beveled Polepieces-  beveling the edge of the polepiece makes them look a little nicer.  Some say that it smooths out the tone of the pickup as well.  All of our Stratocaster, Jazzmaster, Jaguar, P-Bass, and Jazz Bass pickups have beveled polepieces unless otherwise stated.