The Attitude Humbucker has a long story.
For a while I’ve been working on extending my range of humbucking pickups for rock players. The Cloud Nine will do just about anything but I wanted to offer a more specific pickup for modern rock/metal.
I decided to start with a 7 string which is a slightly unorthodox way of going about it but I was concerned with getting the bottom end right. If there was any sogginess in the bottom end a 7 string would show it up more than a 6 string.
7 string pickups are not like others. The low bass string reacts so differently, there’s a lot of string deflection and low harmonics. My mission was to tame this bass and keep it tight but not to sacrifice the sound quality of the treble strings. The treble still needed to be sweet and singing. The mids needed to be balanced and noticeable. I didn’t want this pickup scooped; the mids had to stand out from the mix when needed to.
So in October 2019 I got back in touch with my old mate Graham Young in Yorkshire. He’s an amazing player and really knows his gear.
Back in 1998 I wound a 6 string humbucker for Graham. In those days I had a guitar shop and repair business in Leeds in the North of England and he wanted a bridge pickup to suit his style for a parts caster.
Years passed and he became a 7 string player, so when I decided to develop a 7 string pickup Graham was the person I asked to be test pilot. We’d very loosely kept in touch over the years and it turned out he was still using the 6 string pickup I’d made for him back in the 90’s.
We had a chat via messenger and it turned out he’d tried a lot of pickups but none quite did it for him. So I listened to his thoughts, came up with a design and went away and made a prototype.
The first one wasn’t quite right, so he sent it back and I changed a few things and returned it. I don’t know how many adjustments I made but that pickup accumulated quite a few air miles between NZ and the UK over the next few months.
Every time we got closer, every adjustment less than the one before. When you get that close you know you’ve got a good pickup. I was at the point when I felt we really had something great but I just needed that confirmation.
Then Covid 19 happened, the mail got too unreliable to send stuff overseas with any confidence of it arriving and the process was put on hold.
At the end of June 2020 I got a call from Gabe Dovaston in Papamoa. He’d done some demos for me with some of my other pickups and was asking if I did a 7 string, just in case, for an Ibanez of his. Well, this seemed like a chance to test my new pickup on fresh ears. I made a copy of the last one I’d sent Graham, the one I was happy with, and got it off in the post. I sat back and waited. It only took a few days and I got a very happy call, he loved it and he’d already made a demo that he’d put on YouTube.
Great news, but what was I going to call it? The pickup was already on YouTube, it wasn’t on my website yet and it didn’t even have a name!
I got on Facebook and asked people to come up with a name; there were so many excellent suggestions but nothing quite did it. In the end this pickup that had taken so much work to develop, traveled so far and refused to go away I called the “Attitude”.
The Attitude humbucker is available in 6 and 7 string, for neck and bridge positions.