Elysian Tuned Aperture Pickups for Electric Guitars & Basses
Elysian Tuned Aperture Pickups for Electric Guitars & Basses
Modular electric guitar/bass pickups w/ tone shaping built right in, w/ the patent pending bobbin config that will change the world.
Modular electric guitar/bass pickups w/ tone shaping built right in, w/ the patent pending bobbin config that will change the world. Read more
About this project
What problem am I trying to solve?
When you buy a pickup, you're buying one to two sounds. You install the pickup and that's the only sound you'll ever get out of it. Yeah, you can tweak the height or move the pole pieces, but these are limitations! With the Tuned Aperture Pickup you can tweak your tone to your liking, getting four or as many as eight different tones from your humbucking pickup, or two different tones from a single coil/P90. This is far more flexibility than the traditional electric guitar pickup, and it's built into every Tuned Aperture Pickup that leaves my shop. All of this is possible without any batteries, complex circuitry, and without having to alter your guitar to install the pickups. Everything looks standard from the front of your guitar.
I've been asked by a few people "Why are you using Kickstarter if you can already make your pickups?" While this is true, it's on an extremely limited basis due to having to make the entire bobbin in house. Currently, my process involves me cutting out 2-3 pieces on a CNC router and gluing them together, which is costs both time and money to accomplish, making my pickups more expensive to produce than other more standardized pickups. My goal for the Kickstarter is to garner enough interest so that I can purchase the tools that will make winding them more economical and also allow for a higher quality product. Injection molding would be key to this, and the other proponent would be to purchase automatic winders. I also want to be able to finish out the patent process, which would be very hard for me to accomplish without a substantial push of orders.
The Elysian Tuned Aperture Pickup (TAP) is a major advancement in pickup bobbin technology, without having to resort to complex circuits or active electronics. This new bobbin allows for manufacturers to achieve the desired tone in a new way, beyond the standard approaches like wire thickness, bobbin thickness, magnet type, and wind count. This provides greater flexibility in manufacturing, and ultimately better tone overall.
Taking a modular approach takes this flexibility one step further, putting the control in the hands of the guitarist. Imagine being able to swap out one of the bobbins on your pickup without having to change the entire pickup, possibly without even having to take the pickup out. Imagine being able to adjust the configuration of the TAP whenever you like. Guitarists the world over already swap magnets from their pickups, why not take it one step further? This is the kind of freedom and flexibility we strive for at Elysian Guitars & Pickups.
How Does It Work?
Think of a P90 versus a standard single coil. The P90 has a very wide aperture, and sounds huge and deep, whereas the standard single coil has a very narrow aperture, which gives it a very focused tone, tight and with more treble than the P90. The Tuned Aperture Pickup combines the benefits of the wider aperture with the clarity and focus of the narrow aperture.
When the Tuned Aperture Pickup is built as a humbucker there are four basic configurations that can be utilized. Each configuration will have a different tone, some more pronounced than others. All descriptions are for bridge position.
Configuration 1 was the original configuration I came up with to address the low volume on the high, thin string. This configuration gives the high strings more volume and presence, which helps with clean tones and lead playing.
Configuration 2 gives a really tight low end and boosts the top end just a touch. This configuration is good for modern metal, where clarity and low end/mids are important.
Configuration 3 is similar to Configuration 2, but will have more low end, while still being tight and crisp. The highs are similar to Configuration 2 as well. This configuration has been a favorite among the customers who have already gotten their TAP's.
Configuration 4 gives the most low end, I liken this to a Les Paul, just really full low end, the highs aren't as emphasized, but still present. This configuration is great for thrash, doom, or sludge in a metal setting, and produces some of the deepest cleans.
These pickups aren't only for metal obviously, but that's my background, so that's how I think of tone.
Alex Myla was kind enough to record some fantastic clips. He has a set of the Modern Hot wind with Alnico V magnets, installed in his Les Paul. The bridge pickup in his set is wound to 17.75k while the neck is 15k. Alex wrote a riff that shows the pickups in several different situations, and even switches to both neck and bridge combined at one point. We're really appreciative of Alex's work and support. Alex's recording rig is as follows: "Pod HD Pro, no EQ no Comp, only Tubescreamer before Fireball(Engl) amp sim. Low and mid at noon and highs just a tad forward to about 1 o'clock"
Here's a playlist on SoundCloud of all the clips, with drums and bass.
Here's a zip file hosted on my website with all the individual files, so you can plug these into your own DAW and try them out. The "Dry Mix" in each folder in the zip are the direct recordings, with no effects or EQ. You can also take the "Dry Mix" clip and plug it directly into an amplifier, so you can hear what they'll sound like on your actual rig.
Alex's Pod HD Pro settings can be downloaded here.
Here's some clips I personally recorded as well, to get an idea what the clean tones sound like.
That all sounds great, but what's in it for me?
When you, the backer, claim a pickups reward through this Kickstarter, you'll be able to choose several options. Those options include:
- Magnet type
- Bobbin material
- Pole pieces
For magnet type, you can choose Alnico II, V, or VIII, ceramic, or neodynium. The winds will be broken down into three categories: vintage, overwound vintage, and modern hot. Pole pieces can be slugs, nickel screws, or black allen bolts. Bobbin material can be wood or plastic, and you'll have a choice of wood or a choice of plastic color. This will all be fleshed out through a web-based form after the Kickstarter.
What if I don't know all the technical mumbo jumbo?
There's nothing wrong with that! I don't expect everyone to know what goes into a pickup to get the sound they're after! I can work with you on an individual basis to achieve the sound you're looking for. There will be direct lines of communication available throughout the whole process, so have no fear!
What will the money raised be used for?
One of the most important things the money will be used for is continuing the patent process. It will cost me another $2000 to convert my patent from a provisional to a utility patent, and then when that gets kicked back with any questions or clarifications from the patent office my lawyer will bill hourly.
The next important piece of equipment will be an injection molder. I've been looking at several different routes, anywhere from $1000 to well over what I'm trying to raise here. These machines are not cheap, and machining molds for them is also rather expensive.
Another piece that will help to make winding my pickups more economical is a CNC controlled auto-winder. The model I plan on purchasing is the Guitar Pickup Mini Coil Winder. If funds allow I'd likely purchase two of them.
And we can't forget the actual materials for making pickups, which includes the plastic for the bobbins, the metal baseplates, any material needed for custom made pickups (including wood for exotic bobbins), magnets, enamel coated copper wire, 4 conductor wire, and any screws, slugs, or bolts needed for pole pieces. A lot of parts go into making a pickup!
If we reach $25000, this will be the case for every pickup that we ship. The base plate will be standardized, changing bobbins/magnets/TAP configurations will be able to be done without ever having to touch a soldering iron. Everything will be modular, which not only will provide better flexibility, but if adopted throughout the industry could minimize waste, as the base plate would work for any configuration of bobbins, and it would be possible to achieve any tone without having to manufacture more base plates.
Risks and challenges
When the Kickstarter completes, one of the first steps will be to set up a private Facebook group for backers for discussion on rewards. A portal will also be setup on the Elysian Guitars website to collect any relevant information for orders.
Setbacks can happen in the guitar business. I've had a particularly hard time when it comes to this as my shop was flooded on Halloween of 2013, and I had to pick up the pieces and keep my business rolling. If there is any issue, large or small, the backers will be the first to know about it, and steps will already be in place to alleviate the situation. By the way, I don't have a shop that's on a flood plain anymore!
If this project is more successful than anticipated then the biggest risk would be tackling the growth. If the project becomes more than I can handle alone then it will require me to hire on qualified individuals, perhaps even a business manager, to ensure that goals are met and customers are satisfied.
One of the goals for this Kickstarter would be to modernize the process, including, but not limited to, injection molding bobbins and acquiring CNC controlled autowinders.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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