Wolfetone Guitar Pickups. A real P90 for humbucking routs
Wolfetone Guitar Pickups. A real P90 for humbucking routs
P90 pickups made for humbucker routs do not use authentic coil structures. This one does, resulting in true P90 tone and character.
P90 pickups made for humbucker routs do not use authentic coil structures. This one does, resulting in true P90 tone and character. Read more
About this project
Wolfetone has been featured in Vintage Guitar Magazine, Guitar Player Magazine, and ToneQuest report multiple times, and have been or are used by such players as Rick Derringer, Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) Greg Martin (Kentucky Headhunters) Robert Mason (Warrant) Jack Sherman (Red Hot Chili Peppers) Phil Caivano (Monster Magnet) Tommy Kessler (Blondie) Nick Sterling, and many others. For 17 years, we have provided the highest quality and best tone to guitar players everywhere.
P90s are my favorite pickups, and in designing this, I did not want to compromise by "cheating" and creating a sub-par hybrid in any way.
In 1998 or 1999, I looked at my Les Paul and decided I wanted to put a P90 pickup in it. The problem? It was was routed for humbuckers.
After looking at it for about five minutes, the answer came to me. I discovered that by simply indenting the corners of the pickup itself, it will drop into most humbucker routes. I grabbed a dog-eared P90 cover and a humbucker mounting ring, and after cutting off the dog-ears, I spliced them together. It was ugly as sin, but it worked.
Over the years I made a handful of prototypes using pickguard material cut to shape and glued to standard humbucker mounting rings. It worked, but they weren't great looking, and they were difficult to make.
Enter the era of 3D printing many years later, and we've finally hit upon a good looking design, and have done several prototypes and designs using 3D printed covers. Tooling costs have also dropped significantly from what they were 17 years ago. It has finally become a viable model.
Because the tooling costs have become within reach, and the new prototyping ability thanks to 3D printing, we filed for a design patent in March 2015.
Why did chose this route over one that fits under a humbucker-sized cover?
The P90 pickup is famous for a reason, it has the perfect blend of fatter, clearer mids, as compared to "traditional-vintage single coils PUs (Stratocaster/Telecaster), a crisper high-end response, and a powerful output akin to humbuckers. These tonal and output characteristic came about by design... original P-90’s used a wide, low coil and 42 gauge wire.
In order to fit under a humbucker-sized cover, the copy cat P90s for humbucker rout pickups being sold today compromise wire gauge, coil geometries (height/width), wire type and number of winds... All of which compromise the tonality. For example, The Seymour Duncan Phat Cat uses 43 gauge wire, and the Gibson P94 uses a tall, fat coil similar to a Telecaster bridge pickup. Others are simply one side of a humbucker stuffed in the middle of the coil...
Plain and simple the design compromises can't give you authentic P90 sound, performance and playability. This is why I want to re-create real P90 pickup for Humbucker routs. Authentic P90 sound with no compromise.
Like a dog-eared P90, this is a "static" mount meaning there is no height adjustment as with other versions. However, this can be addressed using thin shims under the cover, similar to some dog-eared P90s.
We have several quotes for the tooling the mold. We hope to raise $12,000. Approximately $5000 is needed for tooling, and approximately $4000 for the first orders of cream and black parts. This leaves enough left over to develop arch-shaping and fitting tools that will be needed, assembly guy's labor, shipping, and miscellaneous.
If we reach $15,000, a white cover options could be included as well.
Youtube's Doug and Pat show recently filmed an episode featuring 3D printed prototypes fit to a Heritage guitar. It was a smashing success!
Below are images of the beta-3D printed covers fitted to various guitars. Please note that final production units will have a glossy finish.
Risks and challenges
To avoid production delays, we will start manufacturing the basic pickup itself to prepare for when the tooling is finished.
Because this cover replaces stock humbucker mounting rings, the major challenge will be figuring out the right methods for radiusing and tapering the bottom of the cover to fit different guitars like Gibson Les Pauls and 335's. Each guitar is slightly unique, so there may be some final fitting required.
Paul Reed Smith guitars, however, have shown themselves to be a piece of cake, since they are flat around the pickup ring area.
However, we think we've figured that part out. Using a series of radius cards, an end user can match the correct cards to the correct points on the guitar's top. Using a matching series of radius blocks, we can shape each cover to fit. Alternatively, an end user could have a local tech do the fitting to ensure a perfect fit to the top. We've priced fitting with various tech to around $45 per pair.
There seem to be two main sizes of humbucker mounting rings: American (Gibson, PRS), and Asian (Epiphone, etc). But, there may be other which have not been accounted for depending on the particular brand of guitar. Tooling is to consist of the two most popular sizes, but we cannot guarantee a perfect fit to all brands of guitars, unfortunately. There are just too many possible sizes to consider. Also, some guitar companies use very small, tight-fitting routes which may pose a fitting problem with the pickup itself in the route. However, those issues are addressed on a case-by-case basis.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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