“Black Sand” humbucker size P90

A big thanks to Brett Kingman in Aussie for his demo of Mr Glyns “Black Sand” humbucker size P90. I love his relaxed approach while giving us a thorough listen to what these pickups can do.

Mr Glyns Pickups

The humbucker sized P90 is a great pickup – it sits tonally between a humbucker and and a strat type pickup. If your neck humbucker is a bit thick and woolly sounding for you, you want more clarity, or just want a different tone, then this one may be the answer. The physical size of this pickup is identical to that of a “normal” humbucker so it will pop straight in.

P90’s are different to other single coil pickups. They have a wide, flat coil similar to that of a Jazzmaster but the magnetic field is a very different shape. Fender single coil pickups have the coil wound around the magnet giving a focused, precise percussive sound. A P90 has 2 bar magnets underneath the coil; this broadens the magnetic window allowing the pickup to listen to a bit more string and thickens the sound. I chose Alnico V bar magnets for this model to help give some grit and power characteristic of a P90.

Of course, too much power and the pickup would sound too thick and bass heavy which is not its purpose. Too little power and it just won’t snarl.

Humbucker sized P90s are such a useful pickup. They sit tonally between a single coil and a humbucker (roughly speaking). and their physical size means they pop straight into any humbucker equipped guitar.


The development of my “Black Sand” pickup was a bit backwards. Usually I make a bridge pickup first and work from there but with this one the neck pickup came first. I had a customer ask for a neck pickup for an es335 to sound clearer than his existing Gibson humbucker. I sold a few neck pickups before thinking it would be a good idea to have a set. So I started work on the bridge pickup.


I wanted this bridge pickup to have clarity in the lower mids to stand out from humbuckers while having enough power to grit up nicely. I wanted it to be clean when tickled and to growl at you when you dig in. P90’s are all about dynamics. It had to match the existing neck pickup or work well as a stand alone in a HSS situation.


Of all the pickups in my range this one came together the quickest. There were only 4 or 5 prototypes and I was happy. Experience and intuition combined with a notebook where I’ve written down details of every experimental pickup I’ve made since 1995.

There were a load of prototypes in and out of a Les Paul, Tele Delux and PRS, through different amps and in the hands of different players. I never trust just my own ears with my pickups. I like to get opinions and suggestions from a few players before making any final decisions. I listen to what players say and I adjust prototypes accordingly, but at the end of the day the final decision is mine. I’m always aware of the phrase “a camel is a horse designed by committee”.

It took a while to get this one right. A pickup would sound great at workshop volume, them I’d play it in a band situation and it would be too boomy, too much like a humbucker. So I’d have a think and make another. In the end persistence paid off.

The pickups I finally settled on went into my Les Paul and off to a gig for the ultimate test, and that’s where they’re staying.

The neck “Black Sand” is a great match for either my “Integrity” or “Cloud Nine” bridge humbuckers or as a set with its equivalent “Black Sand” bridge humbucker sized P90.

I agonised over what to call this pickup set. I wanted a name that would reflect the apparent contradiction in P90’s. From the perspective of a humbucker player they are clear and chiming. From the viewpoint of a single coil player they are powerful and gritty. They’re one thing while looking like another. I wanted a oxymoron to reflect this contradiction, one that might include the unique magnetic structure that gives the P90 its character. So I went for a run along Muriwai beach to think. And there it was staring me in the face (literally). Muriwai has black volcanic sand due to its iron content and it’s magnetic. So I’ve called this set “Black Sand”.

I’m very happy with this pickup – hopefully you will be too.

Humbucker size P90 by Mr Glyns Pickups
Mr Glyns Pickups humbucker size P90
Mr Glyns Pickups
Mr Glyns Pickups

humbucker size P90 https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/03/29/black-sand-humbucker-sized-p90-neck/ https://www.youtube.com/c/MrGlynsPickups/videos

https://www.youtube.com/c/MrGlynsPickups/videos

It’s new demo day – Sassy P90

Thanks to Nik Dobbin for his demo of the Sassy P90 . I love his no-nonsense approach to demos.

You can find more of his gear demos here: https://www.youtube.com/user/zaulkin/…

The Mr Glyn’s “Sassy” P90 is a pickup set influenced by the Gibson P90’s of the late 50’s. The “Sassy” have a distinctive woody aggressive tone, full of character. The highs are smooth yet punchy, there’s a chiming bottom end and a very obvious mid range that pushes through the mix. If you tickle the strings they’re clean and clear but dig in and there’s no shortage of power to drive the front end of your amp.

I’ve grown to love P90’s over the years, it’s the sound of those early Gibson Les Paul Juniors. It’s a pickup that needs no extras, just straight into a good amp. They’re happy to power pedals but there’s a fullness and balance that seems to need nothing else.

I wanted the “Sassy” P90 set to live up to its name and have the dynamic range that I love about P90’s. The wide flat coil of a P90 gives a richer, less percussive tone than other single coil pickups and this is where the full tone comes from. I’ve sat both neck and bridge pickups on top of a pair of Alnico V magnets to give the power this pickup needs and help add that bit of grit when played hard.

I’ve made the neck pickup smooth and fat but with clarity and chime enough for jazz. The bridge pickup has the dynamics, pushy mids and aggressive highs when pushed but cleans up when you ask it to.

This is a pickup set that would be happy in almost any situation, blues, rock, punk, reggae… If it’s a full bodied, dynamic P90 you’re after look no further.

The Sassy is available in Dogear and Soapbar.

I’ve named this set the “Sassy” P90 set to reflect these pickup’s attitude, they’re bold, spicy, disrespectful and a bit cheeky. https://mrglynspickups.com/

sassy soapbar
Sassy P90

How do Humbuckers Work?

So How do Humbuckers Work? By a clever quirk of physics humbuckers manage to cancel out the hum they pick up. So how do they do it? Here’s a simple explanation with some help from Sammy the dog. https://mrglynspickups.com/

Mr Glyn’s pickups are hand made in New Zealand.

I make a few flavors of humbucker:

The Integrity

A full, clear sounding Alnico II pickups in the style of the best of the early PAF’s. Balance and clarity – a humbucker for every situation. https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/03/29/integrity-vintage-humbucker-2/

The Cloud Nine

A mid to hot, pickup made specifically for blues/rock players who want to push the front end of their amps. Plenty of grunt, plenty of mids and enough cut through for you to stand out in the mix.https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/03/29/cloud-nine-hot-humbuck

The Attitude

A pickup for the modern metal or fusion player. Articulate and balanced, smooth and clear. https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/07/29/attitude-humbucker/

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

My name is Glyn Evans.

I have been a full time pickup winder and luthier since 1995. I wound my first pickup under the guidance of legendary guitar repairer Ted Lee while studying guitar making/repair under him at City of Leeds College of Music in the North of England.

There’s something about the physics that really appealed to me. I went straight home, built my own winding machine, bought some wire and started experimenting.

In those pre-internet days there just wasn’t any information available on how to make good pickups. I made pickup after pickup, I wound and I listened. I made notes of every variation both good and bad so I could learn what was happening.

Looking back I think that time was invaluable for developing an intuition for making pickups. Whenever I came across a result I didn’t understand I swatted up on the physics; there’s a lot to learn.

I wrote all the experiments down in a notebook, I still have the notebook and I’m still adding to it.

I love hearing my pickups played live or on recordings; it feels good to have played a very small part in that sound.

My day to day work has always been in guitar repair so I’ve been privileged to be able to study first hand some of the great vintage (and modern) pickups. I have re-wound and repaired countless faulty pickups to either restore them to their original state or to improve them. This is how you learn and I think I will always be learning.

In 2012 I had the idea for my own range of pickups. In 2020 MrGlyn’s Pickups website went live. I’ve been lucky enough to know many professional players who’ve given their time and expertise to help me.

Every pickup design I make has been tested both by me and some of these “test pilots”. They’ve been in and out of numerous guitars, recorded, gigged, analysed and altered more times than I can remember.

I am really happy with the results, I hope you will be too.

How do Humbuckers Work

Mr Glyn's Pickups Roboguy
Mr Glyn’s Pickups Logo – Roboguy

Fender Lead I Pickup

I’ve been repairing a few pickups recently and I thought I’d share this one with you. It’s a Fender Lead I Pickup that was sent to me by guitar repairer Jeff Baker from Oamaru.

The Fender Lead I was one of those obscure models that never really caught on and the pickup reflects that. It’s a little unusual and that’s what makes it interesting.

It even looks different with those square topped bobbins.

Fender Lead I Pickup

Not only is it unusual looking from the top but turn it over and it shows what it’s really all about. Those are 12 big adjustable poles screwed into substantial steel blocks and coupled to a powerful ceramic magnet.

This is clearly not a typical Fender pickup, this was designed to ROCK.

So what were Fender thinking? Well, this was 1979, the DiMarzio Super Distortion had been around for 5 years and was becoming very successful. Fender had nothing to compete with it. Looking at the spec of the Lead I pickup it is remarkably similar to the Super Distortion. Fender were making a Superstrat and it wasn’t even the 80’s yet.

 Lead I Pickup underneath

Back to the repair – it came to me because it wasn’t working and typical for faulty humbuckers one coil was showing ‘open circuit’ on the test meter. In these cases I can use the good coil as a reference to what the faulty coil should be. It had a dc resistance of 7.61 KOhms. Wiki told me the final dc resistance of the whole pickup is approx. 13KOhms so that gave me a pretty good indication of how I should wind it. That’s a powerful set of coils to go with that magnet.

A bit of maths, plenty of experience and some intuition and I had a plan for winding it. Detailed information just isn’t available for this kind of job.

humbucker bobbin

I stripped the bobbin and wound the coil.

pole pieces

I potted it very lightly because these bobbins are made of butyrate that has a lower melting point than most modern ABS bobbins – I didn’t want it to deform with the heat, I wasn’t going to be able to get another bobbin.

Here you can see the chunky pole pieces, they’ll guide a fair bit of that ceramic magnet’s strength up to the strings.

Fender Lead I Pickup

If you have a faulty pickup or are interested in my range of handmade pickups have a look at the website

https://mrglynspickups.com/

https://www.youtube.com/c/MrGlynsPickups/videos

Mr Glyn's Pickups Roboguy

Telecaster Bridge Pickup Repair

I had this Fender Telecaster bridge pickup repair in the other day and thought I’d show you it. It’s from an ’87/8 Fender Telecaster USA Standard.

Tele bridge pickups are the essence of Rock’n’Roll. For those of us that love our Teles there’s just nothing like it. So how come they sound so different from Strat bridge pickups? The magnets are usually the same, the windings are about the same so what makes Telecasters so distinctive?

There are 2 factors:

1) The Tele has a steel baseplate. This base plate increases the pickup’s inductance (by about 7%) giving it a bit more power. It also changes the shape of the magnetic field a little, broadening the magnetic window so the pickup ‘hears’ a bit more of the string. I use this principle on my ‘Tui’ Strat pickups. https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/03/29/tui-hot-strat-set/

2)The pickup is mounted to the steel bridge plate. Put a Tele bridge pickup in a Strat and you’re only half way to a true Tele sound. It really does make a big difference.

So, back to the repair – this pickup was completely dead showing ‘open circuit’ on the test meter. As with every one of these repair jobs I start by checking for dry solder joints – always worth ago. The solder joints were fine so time to look further.

As you can see from the picture there’s a lot of corrosion on the pole pieces. My suspicion is the corrosion has spread to the inside of the pickup and caused a break in the windings. I need to get in there and investigate.

90’s Telecaster Standard  bridge pickup. Mr Glyn’s pickups.

Once the windings are cut out it’s pretty obvious the corrosion has caused the problem. Fender pickups are wound directly on to the pole pieces so a bit of rust and they’ve had it.

Tele bridge pickup repair . MrGlyn’s Pickups  New Zealand

I clean the rust off and treat it with an anti rust product . Then I glue the poles to the fibreboard using superglue to make them secure.

1997 Tele bridge pickup . MrGlyn’s Pickups .

After that it’s a few coats of shellac to seal everything and finally I wrap the pole pieces with tape. I know it seems a bit extreme but I want to keep the windings from touching the pole pieces so this doesn’t happen again. The tape is so thin it won’t make any difference to the sound.

It’s all about preventing this problem from occurring again.

Mr Glyns  pickups New Zealand

Then finally I re-wind the pickup to the original spec.

Pickup rewind Telecaster . Mr Glyn  pickups

After the pickup is wax potted and the protective string replaced and waxed the Telecaster Bridge Pickup Repair is done and it’s ready to go back to its owner.

Telecaster bridge pickup. Mr Glyns  Pickups

It’s really satisfying saving old pickups.

If you have a pickup problem get in touch – mrglynspickups@gmail.com

For new pickups visit the website, I make 2 flavours of Telecaster sets.

http://www.mrglynspickups.com

https://www.youtube.com/c/MrGlynsPickups/videos

Mr Glyn’s Pickups is based near Auckland, New Zealand. We manufacture a full range of electric guitar pickups for every situation.

“Sassy” P90

Single – “Sassy” P90 NZ$189 for NZ customers, if you’re overseas it’s GST free; NZ$164.35

Pair – “Sassy” P90 NZ$369 for NZ customers, if you’re overseas they’re GST free; NZ$320.87

Alnico V, Neck- 6.7 KOhms, 4.42H, Bridge 7.55 KOhms, 5.23H

The Mr Glyn’s “Sassy” P90 is a pickup set influenced by the Gibson P90’s of the late 50’s. The “Sassy” have a distinctive woody aggressive tone, full of character. The highs are smooth yet punchy, there’s a chiming bottom end and a very obvious mid range that pushes through the mix. If you tickle the strings they’re clean and clear but dig in and there’s no shortage of power to drive the front end of your amp.

I’ve grown to love P90’s over the years, it’s the sound of those early Gibson Les Paul Juniors. It’s a pickup that needs no extras, just straight into a good amp. They’re happy to power pedals but there’s a fullness and balance that seems to need nothing else.

I wanted the “Sassy” P90 set to live up to its name and have the dynamic range that I love about P90’s. The wide flat coil of a P90 gives a richer, less percussive tone than other single coil pickups and this is where the full tone comes from. I’ve sat both neck and bridge pickups on top of a pair of Alnico V magnets to give the power this pickup needs and help add that bit of grit when played hard.

I’ve made the neck pickup smooth and fat but with clarity and chime enough for jazz. The bridge pickup has the dynamics, pushy mids and aggressive highs when pushed but cleans up when you ask it to.

This is a pickup set that would be happy in almost any situation, blues, rock, punk, reggae… If it’s a full bodied, dynamic P90 you’re after look no further.

The Sassy is available in Dogear and Soapbar.

I’ve named this set the “Sassy” P90 set to reflect these pickup’s attitude, they’re bold, spicy, disrespectful and a bit cheeky.

Mr Glyns Pickups Sassy P90
Mr Glyns Pickups Sassy P90

I also make a humbucker size P90 set – the “Black Sand” if you need some P90 goodness in your humbucker guitar, here’s a link to them:

/https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/03/29/black-sand-humbucker-sized-p90-neck/

https://www.youtube.com/c/MrGlynsPickups/videos

Gibson T-Top repair

I’ve been repairing a few broken old pickups recently so thought I’d share some pictures and thoughts on this classic old Gibson T-Top.

The T-Top is a fairly common pickup on my workbench. Not because there’s and common fault with them but simply there were so many made and they’re all getting quite old now.

The “T-Top” simply refers to the molding on the top of the bobbin. They were Gibson’s standard humbucker from 67/8 until around 1980 replacing the legendary PAF.

Mr Glyns Pickups Gibson t top
Gibson T-Top Mr Glyn’s Pickups

There were a few subtle changes from the PAF but enough to make a difference.

Although the bobbins look different the important dimensions were unchanged and they are still made of butyrate making it impractical to wax pot them. Butyrate distorts with heat.

The wire is poly insulated instead of the plain enamel used on PAF’s. Pretty much all T-Tops have a dc resistance of around 7.5 KOhms, neck and bridge the same. The coils are wound symmetrically and are unpotted so beware of squealing with high gain.

The magnets varied, often Alnico III, V or even Ceramic.

Gibson T-Top Mr Glyn’s Pickups

This one came to me with a dead coil in need of a re-wind. the magnet is a rough cast Alnico V and from the good coil the finished dc reading I was after was 7.4 KOhms.

Gibson T-Top Mr Glyn’s Pickups

After the re-wind I gave it some new cloth tape so it looked the part and it was ready to ROCK.

Gibson T-Top Mr Glyn’s Pickups
Processed with Focos

www.mrglynspickups.com

“Silver Lady” Telecaster Pickups

I make two flavors of Telecaster Pickups. Here’s the low powered “Silver Lady in the hands of Jason Herbert.

To hear the “Cruel Mistress” Tele set and lots more demos go to my YouTube channel.

https://www.youtube.com/c/MrGlynsPickups/videos

Telecasters are brutally honest guitars. There’s no hiding behind fat mushy tones – if you can do it on a Tele then you really can do it.

I wanted to make a Telecaster Pickups set that would reflect the clear honest tone of an old Tele. It’s a delicate balance to get enough treble and for the top end to have sufficient warmth to be usable, but with no hint of woof or boom in the bottom. The bottom needs to be full and clear with no hint of muddiness. The bridge needs a twang but it has to be a warm twang without being over harsh. I’ve used Alnico III magnets with a vintage style wind on both these pickups

Through my repair work I’ve re-wound a lot of old Tele pickups. This is invaluable experience for designing my own version. I enlisted the help of a couple of experienced Telecaster players as test pilots. I really needed plenty of opinions and testing through a variety of amplifiers to get this one right.

I’m really happy with the warm classic tone of this set, clear and chiming with just the right twang. So I have given them a classic name – “Silver Lady”.

https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/03/29/silver-lady-vintage-telecaster/

MrGlyn’s Pickups Silver Lady Telecaster Bridge pickup
MrGlyn’s Pickups – Silver Lady

CRUEL MISTRESS

There is nothing like the high end snarl of a good Tele bridge pickup. However, Tele Pickups are complicated. It’s a sound that needs to be just right – too much treble and it can sound grating and obnoxious, too little and it just isn’t a Tele. The treble needs warmth while still cutting through a mix like a zombie banjo.

With the “Cruel Mistress” -hot Tele wanted to make a pickup with a bit more power to drive an amp harder while keeping the Tele character. My biggest concern was not losing what a Tele is all about. In my repair work I come across quite a few replacement Tele pickups that just don’t sound like Teles. Bridge pickups need grit and the neck a chimey clarity and together they should be full and open and matched well enough to create almost a reverb sound with the switch in the middle position.

The “Cruel Mistress” -hot Tele uses AlnicoV magnets to help with the attack and AWG43 wire to help with the snarl.

The neck pickup on a Tele needs to be smooth and warm and have a great balance with the bridge pickup so that the middle position rings with an almost reverb-like tone. The difficulty with Telecaster neck pickups is there just isn’t much space under that cover. As a result it can be a hard pickup to get right and there were a lot of experiments and disappointments on the way. Eventually I came on a design that has enough bottom end to sound full but not so much to sound boomy. And the final pickup was a great match to the bridge.

I had help from the ears of a couple of my regular customers who were generous enough to let me load their guitars with prototypes. The whole process takes time and only after many road tests and versions did I fix on a design. As a result, each of my designs have been developed over many years of subtle changes and road tests. Having help like this means my pickups are trialed through many different amps and playing styles. The neck/bridge balance as well as dynamics/compression need to be tested in as many situations as possible to find a pickup that will work for most players.

So if you need some grit and aggression from your Tele this is the set for you.

“Attitude” 7 string humbucker – Mr Glyn’s Pickups

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, a 7 string humbucker.

I wanted a tight bottom end, singing highs and a balanced midrange with that slight compression to smooth the dynamics.

I decided to start with a 7 string humbucker 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 humbucker 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”. https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/07/29/attitude-humbucker/

The Attitude is available in 6 and 7 string, for neck and bridge positions.

Here’s Graham:

And Gabe’s Demo:

MrGlyn’s Pickups , handmade handmade in New Zealand
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcDggiRTQyFec5KAVHsC2xA

Where to try Mr Glyn’s Pickups

I’m delighted to announce that The Guitar Gallery in downtown Auckland is not only stocking Mr Glyn’s Pickups but has demo guitars loaded with them for you to try Mr Glyn’s Pickups.

The shop is at 95 Queen Street (Opposite Fort Street) but it isn’t easy to find so I made this short video.

https://theguitargallery.co.nz/https://theguitargallery.co.nz/

https://mrglynspickups.com/​

…………………………………………………

About MrGlyn’s Pickups

MrGlyn’s Pickups is based near Auckland, New Zealand. My name is Glyn Evans. I have been a full time pickup winder and luthier since 1995. I wound my first pickup under the guidance of legendary guitar repairer Ted Lee while studying guitar making/repair under him at City of Leeds College of Music in the North of England. There’s something about the physics that really appealed to me. I went straight home, built my own winding machine, bought some wire and started experimenting.In those pre-internet days there just wasn’t any information available on how to make good pickups. I made pickup after pickup, I wound and I listened. I made notes of every variation both good and bad so I could learn what was happening. Looking back I think that time was invaluable for developing an intuition for making pickups. Whenever I came across a result I didn’t understand I swatted up on the physics; there’s a lot to learn. I wrote all the experiments down in a notebook, I still have the notebook and I’m still adding to it. I love hearing my pickups played live or on recordings; it feels good to have played a very small part in that sound. My day to day work has always been in guitar repair so I’ve been privileged to be able to study first hand some of the great vintage (and modern) pickups. I have re-wound and repaired countless faulty pickups to either restore them to their original state or to improve them. This is how you learn and I think I will always be learning. In 2012 I had the idea for my own range of pickups. In 2020 MrGlyn’s Pickups website went live. I’ve been lucky enough to know many professional players who’ve given their time and expertise to help me. Every pickup design I make has been tested both by me and some of these “test pilots”. They’ve been in and out of numerous guitars, recorded, gigged, analysed and altered more times than I can remember. I am really happy with the results, I hope you will be too.

Mr Glyns Pickups Logo - Roboguy