We sit down and ask Brad Perry, our groovy pickup dude, what got him started winding pickups. Which is where our little adventure began.
How did you get started winding pickups?
I started winding pickups because I wasn’t finding what I was looking from the current offerings other winders had available. It wasn’t that existing pickup builders were lacking in quality, but I was looking for something more particular than they offered. Specifically, I wanted a Strat neck pickup tone that fit in a humbucker route and cancelled hum. Winding pickups to already established norms wasn’t too hard, but I quickly discovered that the pickup I wanted to make would require a lot of learning about electronics as well. Essentially, I had learn not just to wind pickups, but how to design them as well.
What motivated you to start working on your own pickups?
As I mentioned before, I was looking for a particular pickup. I had tried out several humbuckers that claimed to sound like single coils, but they still sounded like humbuckers to me, only brighter. I eventually had a big name custom shop wind me a humbucker that had the same resistance specs as a single coil. It sounded great, but it didn’t sound like a single coil. This is when I began researching not just how to wind pickups, but also some basics of passive electronics, induction, the physics of guitar string vibrations, ect. With time I learned exactly why previous pickups I tried had fallen short of my expectations, and also how to achieve those results with my own designs.
What was it like the first time you heard/played a pickup that you wound?
The first time I played through one of my pickups I had two concurrent thoughts. The tone has elements of what I was shooting for (pure Strat tones), but at the same time it was a really cool tone I hadn’t heard before. I’m a pretty big self critic, so I was more concerned at first with why I hadn’t got the desired results, but the happy accident design I came up with got me thinking about single coil and humbucker hybrids early on. If it weren’t for that mistake, I might not went down the rabbit hole of “Missing Link” style pickups.
What makes Silver Hand Pickups unique?
The quick answer? We don’t make a PAF clone! Like most guitar players, I love classic guitar tones and the time tested vintage designs, but focusing on that seemed a bit redundant both market wise and from a personal passion perspective. Everyone and their dog is out there making PAF clones so there was no market need, and I also wanted to create something that wasn’t just following a formula with possibly slight modifications. Leaving the technical jargon aside, I view designing pickups like I do creating music...the classics are there for newer designers/musicians to influence new creativity.
What is your favorite Silver Hand Pickup?
My favorite Silver Hand Pickup would have to be the entire “Missing Link” series. It’s really cool to plug in a guitar, strum a chord, and it just has a combination of feel and tone that sits somewhere between all the other pickup’s I’ve played through before. I’m really excited everytime I get to hear someone trying them out or give feedback. Most replacement pickups play like an altered humbucker, P-90, ect, but the “Missing Link” pickups are instantly their own thing.
Where do you think the pickup world is headed?
The pickup world definitely has a lot of options right now, but also a lot of saturation built around the redundancy of classics. I’m curious myself to see where it goes, and speculate that it might go similar to how guitar pedals have evolved the last decade or so...before all of the current unique boutique pedal designs came out, modded pedals and cloned pedals became popular. Many of these modders went on to become full fledged pedal companies providing unique products. I feel like a lot of the pickup winding world is still in the mod frenzy, which quite frankly is what most original pickup designs are. In a way we are all playing with the same elements. The common guitar player isn’t aware of this, because it’s not being shown to them. Hopefully we can play a part in showing guitar players that there are still cool new tones to be had from passive pickup designs.
What product are you most excited to work on next?
Currently I’m working on P90 sized pickups that do for P90 guitars what our “Missing Link” pickups do for humbuckers. Currently information on these is pretty top secret, so I better stop talking about them! After that I’m looking forward to making new “Missing Link” humbuckers. The current offerings cover a broad range, and they lean a bit more towards single coils tones than the humbucker tones, so I’d like to design some with a little more humbucker sauce in the mix. We’ll see what kind of requests we get from guitar players. In fact, if you’re reading this, hit us up and let us know what YOU would like to see us work on next!
Thanks, Brad, we appreciated the lowdown and will be back with more questions soon. You guys can check out all our Silver Hand Pickups right here.
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