Hi and thanks for all the good info here.
I am looking for a referral to a good pickup maker, I would really like to buy from somebody connected to this forum, or with a recommendation from here.
I'm looking for Humbuckers to go in my Les Paul style builds.
Start with a basic set - Duncan 59's or Gibson 57 classics and see how close you got to building a Les Paul. These will give you a known base line to make decisions as to which way you wish to push the tone set via the pickup type. After you have got your ear calibrated and understand where your instruments sit you may wish to go on with testing some of the big guys ranges. After that you may wish to trial some of the smaller or craft makers if you still feel the need to.
People like Bareknuckles, Suhr, Lollar and Fralin are solid and understand what it takes to excel in high performance consistent pickups and have earned their bones over time. Nice place to start when you get settled on your design and build quality.
but the point is I want to give my business to an enthusiastic home pickup maker and not to Duncan or Gibson...
I heard there are folks out there winding good pickups and they are not called Suhr or Fralin...
FWIW: My ears love both Lollar and Amalfitano. Like Rusty says, these guys have reputations because they've done their homework.
Micha, these guys are right. Anybody with a checkbook can go to StewMac to buy the supplies, the fancy electronic winders, etc. and get into the pickup business.
The well-known folks got well known for a reason but they all started-out in their garages just like anyone else.
You asked for a recommendation from here, and I think you got one... in triplicate.
cool! I'll check it out! the Duncans are a good start I think. Thanks guys!
Also, producing a line of pickups is a full time job in itself. Development of a 'unique' pup for your guitars will likely cost a couple grand before you have even one in your hand. Then you have to worry about batch to batch consistency, price increases, supply line capability, etc. You'll likely also have to order hundreds to get a decent price point break.
Y'can't beat Duncan's or DiMarzio's for their price, variety and brand recognition. If you want premium stuff, talk to Jason Lollar. For a good economy line (if you think your customers will pull and replace the stock pups), try Kent Armstrong.
If you're building based on 'custom' orders (read: not producing hundreds of generic guitars for resale at retailers), offer your customers the option of the pickup of THEIR choice. Make sure to factor 'acquisition' costs into any pickup you have to source in that scenario.
BEST of luck, Micha :)
I am not looking for a custom pickup, just something that will work in my first round of builds. Just in general I like to buy handmade stuff, US made. I know of the boutique winders out there, and I know about the off the shelf models from the big brands.
Thanks for your input and I'll check everything out!
Micha, Using well known or boutique pickups may enhance your builds in the eyes of your clients. Cheers, Tom.
true! well, I'll keep most of the first ones myself I guess though, but for sure for the 2nd round of builds will get some name PUs for the ring of their name and tone!
I've used Tom Brantley in North Carolina. He makes pickups for Geddy Lee. I've sent him oddball pickups like Kay, DeArmond, and Guild for repair and he's always done a great job.
I just wrote Tom, I'm curious what he says!
I like your thinking, anytime a person can support a small independent business, the better off everyone is....
Here's a great collection of "boutique" pickup winders - if I can use that terminology.
After fifteen builds myself, I have finally purchased a proximity switch, an LCD counter, and a sewing machine at the local thrift store ($42 investment so far).