Archive for the ‘guitar pickups’ Category

Kinman is generally known for its excellent – and I mean really excellent – single-coil pickups. My Strat American Deluxe Standard has a set of Kinman HSX single coils, and they’re the reason I went back to playing a Strat. They’re a bit higher output than the stock single-coils, and are also much fatter and smoother in tone. You still know you’re playing a single-coil with them, but you don’t get that “ice-pick-in-your-ear” tone that I just couldn’t deal with my other Strats.

A year ago, I went to the Kinman site to see if Chris made humbuckers, as I wanted to replace the pickups in my Epi Korina Explorer. Unfortunately, he didn’t make them. But he sent out an email to his mailing list this morning, announcing his new humbuckers. I may have to try a set out. In any case, here’s a video that he provided demoing one of his models.

The pricing is fantastic on these pickups. A single pickup costs just $139. That’s really competitive. Check out the new ‘pups here!

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I know what you’re thinking: Oh no, another boutique gear snob. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve bought brand-name stuff in the past, and will continue buying it if I like it. However, given a choice between two similar types of gear, and similar pricing, I will invariably go with the boutique gear maker, and not because of the usual reasons such as: handmade, handwired, higher quality, etc.

The main reason is because I can have a personal relationship with the manufacturer. When I call them up, I almost invariably speak to the owner/builder of the gear I’m interested in or buying. I can hear their stories behind their gear, and most importantly, get their insights on how to apply their gear in the best way possible.

For instance, I just got off the phone with Jim Wagner of WCR Guitar Pickups, whose Godwood pickups I wrote about wanting yesterday. I have a few guitars that have ‘buckers in them, but I was actually thinking about swapping my Duncans out of Goldie once I get her. But Goldie’s ‘buckers are coil-tapped, so I was wondering if I’d be able to use the Godwoods with her. Instead of consulting with one of the online forums, I decided to give WCR a call.

Jim has a really engaging manner, and when I mentioned that I wanted the Godwood set, he actually recommended getting the “American Steel” set which includes one Crossroads pickup and a Godwood. He said it is his most popular set because it gives folks the benefit of having these two great pickups in their guitars.

That’s another thing I like about dealing directly with a manufacturer. They totally believe in what they’re doing, and stand by their work. Customer service isn’t relegated to a call center overseas. I get to deal with the maker – you can’t get better information than that!

And consider this: A lot of boutique manufacturers these days are cutting out the traditional middleman. You have no choice but to deal directly with them. But considering the personal relationships you can establish, and the much higher level of support and customer service, you’d be a fool to not seriously consider going boutique when looking for your next piece of gear!

In any case, if you’re interested in doing your latest tweak, you should consider WCR Guitar Pickups. I just can’t wait to get my set!

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WCR Godwood Pickups

Dammit! Every time I think I’ve covered all aspects of my tone, I come across or remember one more thing that ignites the GAS in me. This time it’s pickups; but not just any pickups. These are handwound pickups from WCR, a little company in Soulsbyville, CA, and owned by a guy named Jim Wagner. Jim has been winding his own pickups since the early 90’s, and has made a name for himself with the gorgeous tone his pickups produce. For Jim – according to his web site – it all started out with him searching for that classic PAF tone. But he was unwilling to pay the massive amounts of money for classic PAF’s, so he decided to make his own, and he has turned that into what appears to be a fairly successful business with a good following of artists.

I discovered WCR pickups awhile back when I was having one of my long gear conversations with Vinni Smith of V-Picks. In the conversation, he started talking about Schroeder guitars, and of course my curiosity got the better of me, so I looked them up. I discovered that Schroeder equips all their guitars with Jim Wagner pickups. Unfortunately, I only went so far with my surfing, and never went to his site until Vinni mentioned in a Twitter tweet (say that three times fast) that he was taking delivery of a brand-new Schroeder guitar. Curiosity got the better of me again, and I went back to the Schroeder site. This time though, I clicked through to WCR Pickups, and started listening to clips.

I shouldn’t have done that. 🙂

I randomly clicked on the various models of pickups Jim makes. Then my breath got taken away by the sound of his Godwood pickups. What tone! What clarity! What sustain! I HAD TO HAVE THESE!!! Listen to the clips, and you’ll see why I’m jonesing for these.

So now my GAS is fully ignited, and I’ll spend the next few months scraping together what little funds I have to get yet another piece of gear. I know, I’m incurable!

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