Tom Brantley Pickups
I’ve had this guitar my father built for me years ago, sitting there unused, all done but without pickups. It was about time I get a nice set of pickups and get it rocking. It’s not designed as a super-modern shred guitar, so it needed more moderate pickups, something classy. I’ve been GAS-ing over EVH style pickups for a long time. That kind of sound would fit the bill. I explained my ideas to Tom and right off the bat he knew what needs to be done to get that sound. Soon enough, the pickups were on my desk, ready to be installed.
We agreed to do a calibrated set of two humbuckers, one with wider pole spacing for the bridge position and regular-spaced for neck. Both use Alnico II magnets, with around 9-10K worth of AWG #42 wire in them and asymmetrical coils. According to Tom, when the screw coil is slightly overwound, the inductance and apparent output drops because the screw coil has less steel in it’s core than the slug coil. The net result being a cleaner pickup with more dynamics and high end fidelity. Just what I need.
How Do They Sound?
Combination of relatively moderate output with unique bite produced by asymmetrical coils sounds amazing. Add to that the “3D” flavor of hand-wound coils and it’s a total win. Lower outputs leaves room for the pickup to “breathe” without being over-compressed, even with higher gain amps, think EVH. They also clean up very nicely when volume control is rolled down, without losing clarity. Asymmetrical coils let some of the treble that would be cancelled out in a typical pickup pass through which creates a unique sound. Somewhat resembles P90 without the annoying hum. High end is very clear and harmonics pop out of the fretboard easily. They still have a decent low end, like the PAFs, but never gets muddy. Check out the clips below, I’ll be adding more soon.
I highly recommend doing business with Tom, whether you need to get your pickups rewound or you need a set of custom pickups. He has tons of experience, used to work with Lindy Fralin and Mojo tone and he’s a great guy to deal. Check out his webpage or Facebook page for contact information.
Click on a thumbnail to play the video on YouTube.