Down South

Goal #16 :: Barter for an instrument

Reid and his handmade SG pickups

Reid and his handmade SG pickups

While visiting Nashville, I stayed with my friends Reid and Jocelyn. Reid has always been a big inspiration to me; his self-taught projects run the gamut of guitar building, tube amp construction and car restoration. Lately he’s been winding custom pickups for Fender Strats and Gibson SGs. This is especially exciting for me, since those happen to be my two electric guitars. The problem with the SG’s humbucker pickups is that the high-mids get lost on the bridge pickup. That means the sound gets rather muddy when you add effect pedals in line. Reid explained to me that the coils are wired out of phase, to reduce noise and give it that rich, trademark sound. He’s been experimenting with changing the ratios of the coils (number of windings), to affect how the two coils pickup sound, and therefor change the resulting tone.

Pickups are largely accountable for what an electric guitar sounds like while amplified, so changing the pickups is like changing guitars.

Reid has a number of pickup projects but the tricky part is sourcing the bobbin, the plastic housing that varies guitar to guitar. Custom bobbins is something I can design & print on my 3D printer. Perfect opportunity for a trade! Reid gave me a set of his custom pickups in return for 3D printing him special bobbins for his project. Stay tuned for some comparison videos of my two sets of pickups.


RCH Pickups



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