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$4,257 pledged of $15,000 goal
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By Adam Bath
$4,257 pledged of $15,000 goal
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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.

Why Kickstarter?

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 Invention

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. 

The Configurations

Four different bobbin configurations for the humbucking Tuned Aperture Pickup
Four different bobbin configurations for the humbucking Tuned Aperture Pickup

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. 

Clips

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.

Dee/Road to Nowhere

Opeth - Hours of Wealth

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
  • Wind

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!

Stretch Goals

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.

The Rewards

Wolf Tee
Wolf Tee
Elysian Guitars Line-Up T-Shirt
Elysian Guitars Line-Up T-Shirt
Elysian Guitars & Pickups Picks
Elysian Guitars & Pickups Picks
TAP in Rosewood and Maple
TAP in Rosewood and Maple
TAP in Rosewood
TAP in Rosewood
TAP Bobbins
TAP Bobbins
TAP in Les Paul
TAP in Les Paul
Elysian Espada Deluxe 7 String
Elysian Espada Deluxe 7 String
Elysian Espada Deluxe 7 String
Elysian Espada Deluxe 7 String
Elysian Espada Deluxe 6 String
Elysian Espada Deluxe 6 String

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.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    $1 shows that you believe in Elysian Guitars & Pickups' mission and want to see us succeed.

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    $25 will get you a wolf t-shirt, 3 guitar picks, and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    $25 will get you a mahogany P90 acoustic soundhole mount, oil finished, to go along with a P90 pickup order.

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    $50 will get you an Elysian Guitars & Pickups t-shirt, a wolf t-shirt, 6 guitar picks, and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    $90 will get you an Elysian Tuned Aperture 6/7 string single coil pickup and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    Pledge $115 or more About $115

    $115 gets you an Elysian Tuned Aperture 6/7 string P-90 single coil pickup and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    $125 gets you an Elysian Tuned Aperture 6/7 string humbucking pickup and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    $125 will get you an Elysian Tuned Aperture 8/9 string single coil pickup and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    $135 gets you an Elysian Tuned Aperture 8/9 string P-90 single coil pickup and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    $150 gets you an Elysian Tuned Aperture bass pickup with the style of your choosing and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    $150 gets you an Elysian Tuned Aperture P-style pickup and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    $150 gets you an Elysian Tuned Aperture J-style bass pickup and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    $150 gets you an Elysian Tuned Aperture MM-style bass pickup and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    $250 gets you a pair of Elysian Tuned Aperture 6/7 string humbucking pickups (bridge/neck set) and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    $290 gets you a pair of Elysian Tuned Aperture J-style bass pickups and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    $300 gets you a pair of Elysian Tuned Aperture 8/9 string humbucking pickups (bridge/neck set) and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    $300 gets you a set of Elysian Tuned Aperture 6/7 string pickups (Hum-Single-Single) and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    $330 gets you a set of Elysian Tuned Aperture 6/7 string pickups (Hum-Single-Hum) and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    $500 gets you two sets of Elysian Tuned Aperture 6/7 string pickups (Hum-Hum) and your name on our special thank you page on the website.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Deposit for Espada Standard 6 string guitar. $1500 will be due upon completion.

    Espada body shape
    Hipshot fixed bridge
    2x Elysian Tuned Aperture humbucking pickups
    3 way switch
    25.5" scale, 24 frets
    Mahogany body
    Maple neck
    Indian rosewood fretboard
    Hipshot tuners
    Graphtech black TUSQ nut
    Gloss nitro clear finish
    Nickel jumbo frets

    Your name will also be placed on a special thank you page on the website and get your choice of the wolf or lineup t-shirt.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Deposit for Espada Standard 7 string guitar. $1750 will be due upon completion.

    Espada body shape
    Hipshot fixed bridge
    2x Elysian Tuned Aperture humbucking pickups
    3 way switch
    25.5" scale, 24 frets
    Mahogany body
    Maple neck
    Indian rosewood fretboard
    Hipshot tuners
    Graphtech black TUSQ nut
    Gloss nitro clear finish
    Nickel jumbo frets

    Your name will also be placed on a special thank you page on the website and get your choice of the wolf or lineup t-shirt.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Pickup winding class. This tier gives you a one weekend pickup winding class, where you will learn to wind two humbucking pickups (6 or 7 string). Your name will also be placed on a special thank you page on the website. Does not include transportation to Austin.

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    Guitar body building class. This is a one weekend course on the basics of building a guitar body. This course will use standard sized neck pockets, so you can buy a neck to use with the body you make. Your name will also be placed on a special thank you page on the website. Transportation to Austin not included.

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    Guitar neck building class. This is a one weekend course on the basics of building a guitar neck. This course will use standard sized neck heel, so you can use the neck in a standardized body or in the body you make in the guitar body building class. Your name will also be placed on a special thank you page on the website. Transportation to Austin not included.

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  29. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Deposit for Espada Deluxe 6 string guitar. $1750 will be due upon completion.

    Espada body shape
    Hipshot fixed bridge
    2x Elysian Tuned Aperture humbucking pickups
    3 way switch
    25.5" scale, 24 frets
    Ash body
    Quilted maple top
    Maple neck
    Ebony fretboard
    Hipshot tuners
    Graphtech black TUSQ nut
    Gloss nitro clear finish with a burst of the customers choosing
    Stainless jumbo frets

    Your name will also be placed on a special thank you page on the website and get your choice of the wolf or lineup t-shirt.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Deposit for Espada Deluxe 7 string guitar. $2000 will be due upon completion.

    Espada body shape
    Hipshot fixed bridge
    2x Elysian Tuned Aperture humbucking pickups
    3 way switch
    25.5" scale, 24 frets
    Ash body
    Quilted maple top
    Maple neck
    Ebony fretboard
    Hipshot tuners
    Graphtech black TUSQ nut
    Gloss nitro clear finish with a burst of the customers choosing
    Stainless jumbo frets

    Your name will also be placed on a special thank you page on the website and get your choice of the wolf or lineup t-shirt.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    This level is the dealer level. At this level you will get 10 Elysian Tuned Aperture Pickups (humbuckers) and your company name on our special thank you page on the website.

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  32. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Deposit for Espada Deluxe multiscale 7 string guitar. $2250 will be due upon completion.

    Espada body shape
    Hand made Elysian Full Metal Jacket bridge
    2x Elysian Tuned Aperture humbucking pickups
    3 way switch
    25"-27" scale, 24 frets
    Ash body
    Quilted maple top
    Maple neck
    Ebony fretboard
    Hipshot tuners
    Graphtech black TUSQ nut
    Gloss nitro clear finish with a burst of the customers choosing
    Stainless jumbo frets

    Your name will also be placed on a special thank you page on the website and get your choice of the wolf or lineup t-shirt.

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Deposit for Espada Deluxe multiscale 8 string guitar. $2500 will be due upon completion.

    Espada body shape
    Hand made Elysian Full Metal Jacket bridge
    2x Elysian Tuned Aperture humbucking pickups
    3 way switch
    25"-27" scale, 24 frets
    Ash body
    Quilted maple top
    Maple neck
    Ebony fretboard
    Hipshot tuners
    Graphtech black TUSQ nut
    Gloss nitro clear finish with a burst of the customers choosing
    Stainless jumbo frets

    Your name will also be placed on a special thank you page on the website and get your choice of the wolf or lineup t-shirt.

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 0 backers
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    Nitro lacquer finishing class. This is a two weekend course on the basics of spraying and buffing a nitrocellulose lacquer finish. The two weekends will be split up over a month so the lacquer has ample time to cure. This course will teach you how to prepare the surface, spray lacquer, sand between coats, wet sand, and buff the lacquer to a high gloss. Your name will also be placed on a special thank you page on the website. Transportation to Austin not included.

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Funding period

- (30 days)