MADE IN CANADA
The name says it all! Big beefy bridge tones with a neck pickup that balances in output while still retaining the clarity you need. The primo cut of tele pickups!
Hand wound in-house with the care and attention to detail that properly hand wound pickups deserve. Watch our full build video for an in-depth look at the entire build process!
Sold individually, or as a calibrated set. The neck pickup does NOT come with a cover due to its tonal design.
|Tonal Characteristics:|| - Punchy Lows
- Balanced Mids
- Clear Presence
- Subtle Highs
The Story (from Jon)
Talented forward thinking luthier Mike Sankey, who just happens to be local to us, contacted me about a project he was working on for the Holy Grail Guitar Show in Europe (one of the world's best guitar/luthier shows). Every year, the organizers have a build challenge that luthiers can take part in. This one was a "reclaimed wood" challenge. Mike wanted to take it a step further and build the entire guitar out of reclaimed parts.
He had a set of old tele pickups (of unknown origin) that he wanted to use, but they didn't have the tone he envisioned for this build. So, he asked if I could rewind them to be much "beefier". A fat/chunky broadcaster-style bridge tone, but with a neck pickup that could keep up volume-wise and stay clear. No small feat for telecaster-style pickups! I jokingly told him I'd wind him up a set of porterhouses, thus the name was born!
Big punchy bridge tones are easy on a telecaster due to the oversized bobbin allowing so much room to work with. They really are a blank slate that you can do anything you want to in terms of tone. The problem would be the neck. Tele neck bobbins are notoriously undersized, not leaving nearly enough room to balance with the bridge in terms of volume or tone. Luckily, the solution in this case was in the bobbin itself. It had extra long magnets that protruded from the bottom. That allowed me to solve two problems with one simple modification.
I extended the height of the bobbin so the magnets were flush on both the top and bottom. That extra height gave me plenty of room to add the extra winds necessary to balance with the hot bridge pickup. However, generally when you overwind a pickup you lose a lot of clarity. Luckily, a taller/thinner coil will retain more clarity than a shorter/wider coil with the same number of winds. Fortunately, this was the perfect coil to overwind, as it was tall enough to get the extra winds needed to boost the output without getting muddy. Next was to deal with the magnets.
Upon testing I discovered the neck pickup had rather narrow A2 magnets that wouldn't hold a particularly strong charge due to their size. On the other hand, the bridge had large diameter A5 magnets. When fully charged, they were reading more than double the charge of the neck magnets. That's far too great a difference for what I was going for with this combo. So, I degaussed the bridge magnets until they were ~75% of their full charge, putting them at the right strength to get the tonal balance I was after.
In Mike's own words: "They are spectacular! Hot damn! Mission successful. They’re quite well matched and work well together in series and parallel, but of course each have their own distinct character which comes through in the single positions. Big, bold, punchy, street-fighting-and-winning pickups. Well done sir."
To be honest, these were originally just supposed to be a one-off custom set for a luthier. But, the tones were too good to keep to ourselves. We did modify the design slightly because we had the freedom of building them from the ground up to sound how we wanted, but tonally, they are the same as what Mike received.
What is a "calibrated set"?
It's when the pickups in the set are wound in such a way to keep the tone and output balanced between the positions. In a tele set, it also means reverse winding the neck coil and reversing the polarity of the magnets to make it hum cancelling when blended.
Are your pickups wax potted?
All of our pickups are wax potted using a special type of paraffin that has a low melting point and a low dielectric constant. A low melting point means less chance of inadvertent damage to the pickup during the potting process. A low dielectric constant means it will have a negligible impact on tone.
Why ask what type of G-string I have?
We need to know if you use a wound G because wound G strings generate significantly lower output compared to a plain G. If you select "wound G", we will use a longer pole piece in that position to compensate for that difference in output.
What do the different pickup specs mean, and why don't you list them all?
Most pickup companies list magnet type and DC resistance because this has been the standard for many decades of pickup sales. Unfortunately, despite what the internet would have you believe, neither of those details actually tell you anything about the clarity, dynamics, or output of a pickup. For more specific discussion on each, read on...
Magnet Grade: All this tells you is the maximum charge the magnets can hold. It tells you nothing about what charge they will actually hold in the pickup you'll receive. For instance, a partially degaussed A5 magnet can be weaker than a fully charged A2 or A3 magnet, and it won't sound like an A5 magnet any more. You can't assume that the magnets in a pickup are always charged to the max. Sometimes they aren't, and sometimes that is by design.
DC Resistance: People have been led astray for years as to the usefulness and significance of knowing the DC resistance of a particular pickup. You can measure two pickups from the same company that have the same sound, and you might see wildly different DC resistances between the two pickups. Likewise, you can have two very different sounding pickups that measure the same DC resistance. First off, this measurement varies depending on the temperature and humidity. So, right away there is a potential problem with relaying this spec to the customer (especially in Canada). Second, a pickup's tone and output power is the product of a combination of many variables, including some that are completely external to the actual pickup. Some of those variables include: wire size, insulation thickness, wire tension during winding (and at different stages of winding), number of winds, the winding pattern, the overall shape of the coil, the strength of the magnetic pull on the strings, the proximity of the coil to the strings, what other electronics are connected to the pickup (pots, guitar cable capacitance, amp/pedal impedance, etc). The DC resistance tells you almost nothing useful about any of those things. It is, at best, an extremely vague approximation of the length of the wire on the coil, can only be used to compare the output and tone of the pickup with other pickups made using the exact same wire size, insulation thickness, winding pattern/tension, coil shape, magnetic strength, string proximity, and with the same electronics connected. In short, despite the history of how it's been used in pickup marketing, it's a more or less a useless measurement to relay to the customer.
For reference, you can make a fairly low output pickup using powerful neodymium magnets with a coil that measures a fairly high DC resistance. Likewise, you can make a fairly high output pickup using weak magnets with a coil that measures a fairly low DC resistance.
For the above reasons, those specs won't tell you what most people claim they will tell you. Knowing them may lead you to make incorrect assumptions about a pickup prior to actually hearing the sound of the pickup. Unfortunately, psychology being what it is, that means you will "hear" the things you expect to hear based on those assumptions, whether they are actually there or not. Don't let your brain fool you. Let your ears convince you!
We Will Post Specs (someday)
Inductance, resonant peak frequency, and resonant amplitude are much better specs to provide info about a pickup's tone and output. But, again, they are only useful when comparing to other pickups measured using the exact same method. Unfortunately, different pickup companies use different methods for measuring these things. As a result, even these potentially useful specs are only perfectly useful when comparing to other pickups made by the same company (assuming they use the same measurement methods for all of their pickups).
We will provide these specs for our pickups once we settle on a standardized method to consistently measure every pickup's tone and output in a way that provides a useful comparison for customers. We're still experimenting with the best method for doing this.
60-Day, Hassle-Free, 100% Money Back Guarantee!
We're so convinced you'll love them, that you can try these pickups with no risk for 60 days. You read that right, 60 DAYS! If you decide you don't like them, send them back for a full refund. No questions asked!
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Hot damn! Mission successful. They’re quite well matched and work well together in series and parallel, but of course each have their own distinct character which comes through in the single positions. Big, bold, punchy, street-fighting-and-winning pickups.