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Wolfetone Guitar Pickups. A real P90 for humbucking routs project video thumbnail
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$5,620 pledged of $12,000 goal
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By Wolfe Macleod
$5,620 pledged of $12,000 goal
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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. 

The original prototype, made in 1998
The original prototype, made in 1998

 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.

Fitted to a PRS DGT guitar
Fitted to a PRS DGT guitar
Fitting to a Les Paul
Fitting to a Les Paul
It fits!
It fits!
Mounted onto a PRS S2 CU24
Mounted onto a PRS S2 CU24
The simple modifcation needed to indent the corners, allowing the P90 pickup itself to fit.
The simple modifcation needed to indent the corners, allowing the P90 pickup itself to fit.
Fitted to a Gibson SG, as seen in the video below.
Fitted to a Gibson SG, as seen in the video below.
Here's one made of wood, after I sent the luthier the 3D files for the design.
Here's one made of wood, after I sent the luthier the 3D files for the design.
The first attempt at fitting to a Les Paul neck position.
The first attempt at fitting to a Les Paul neck position.

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.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    TINKERER'S PACKAGE #1
    Get one of of these covers to modify and fit an existing P90 pickup with, plus one our fabulous Wolfetone stickers! Also, backer listing on our website.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    TINKERER'S PACKAGE #2
    Get a PAIR of the P90 covers for humbucker route, so you can modify an existing P90 pickup to fit your routes. Includes one of our fabulous Wolfetone stickers, and backer listing on our website.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    Get one P90 for humbucker routs (actual pickup included) when available,as a "user fit-it option" as well as one of our fabulous Wolfetone stickers, and backer listing on our website. Regular price at production launch will be $120.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Get any one of our regular production humbucker models, your choice! (regular $120-$150 depending on model) As well as one of our fabulous Wolfetone Stickers, and backer listing on our website.

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    Pledge $160 or more About $160

    Get a PAIR of the P90 for humbucker routs (actual pickup included) in a "user fits it option" as well as one of our fabulous Wolfetone stickers, and backer listing on our website.

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    Get a pair of our regular production P90 pickups in either soap-bar or dog-eared format, plus a Wolfetone sticker. (regular $200/pr)

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    Pledge $190 or more About $190

    Get your choice of any PAIR of regular production humbuckers (regular $240-300/pr depending on model), one of our fabulous Wolfetone stickers, and backer status on our website!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    SUPER EARLYBIRD SPECIAL!
    Don't want to wait? Receive an early beta-pair of the P90 for humbucker routes, initially using the 3D printed covers we've been working with, in BLACK OR WHITE ONLY. Replacement covers in either cream or black will be supplied when the production units are completed. We'll do our best to fit the covers to an arch if you have an arched-top guitar, but can't guarantee a perfect fit. Some final fitting may be necessary.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    NAMM show Special!
    Not only do you get a pair of the P90 for humbucker routs, (or your choice of any of our other pickup model pairs or sets) but also come hang out with us at the winter NAMM show 2017. or Summer NAMM in Nashville, TN. If I can't make it to Summer NAMM, you get ALL FOUR ALLOTED NAMM BADGES! Spend the weekend having a great time perusing the aisles and checking out the gear, joining us for dinner, meeting builders and rock stars, NAMM show concerts, the whole works. Also includes one of our T-shirts. Airfare and hotel are the responsibility of the pledger.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Luthier's package! Get a package of 80 P90 for humbucker routs as a "U-fit-it" options for your guitars. (your choice of neck to bridge position ratio) Give your players the option to go from P90 to humbucker as they wish simply by swapping the cover for a standard humbucker mounting ring.. Also, you will get a T-shirt, a fabulous Wolfetone sticker, and super-backer status on our website. As a Wolfetone OEM user, you'll also get a link to your site on our links page.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Pickup maker's package!
    Get EXCLUSIVE LICENSING RIGHTS for a period of two years to manufacture using our patent-applied for cover. This means that, aside from us, you will be the only other maker to produce this product. Give your buyers the ability to experience your P90s in a humbucker rout!

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Funding period

- (30 days)