I see guys talking about a lot of different pickup manufacturers on the many forums I participate in. But, I don’t see Don Mare pickups getting the attention they deserve within the P&W community. The top guitarists in every other genre practically worship Don for his faithful reproductions of those sweet single coils produced by Leo’s ladies throughout the 50’s and 60’s. Some of his artists include Sublime With Rome, Dirty Heads, Lou Reed, John Fogerty, GE Smith, Aerosmith, ton’s of country guitarists, working musicians, and pro session players. I feel every player who slings a Tele or Strat deserves to know just how amazing these pickups are regardless of the style of music they play. Because we all know that a skilled guitarist can cover nearly any style of music with a great sounding Strat or Tele.
Don earned his reputation reverse-engineering and replicating vintage pickups for pros who needed their replacement pickup to sound and look exactly like the one that went bad. Many of those old pickups would just fall apart when Don would try to apply tension to the poles and backing during a rewind, so he learned how to build them from the bottom up.
While unwrapping those old pickups as he methodically counted each wind, he learned a lot of secrets about the different techniques the employees who wound pickups for Leo used and what made the good pickups great. He discovered an unconventional method used by an unknown winder at the Fullerton shop on pickups dated from 1952-1961. Every guy who had a guitar with these pickups would settle for nothing less than an exact repair or replacement when one would go bad on them. This secret process that allows for a hotter pickup that doesn’t get muddy has come to be Don’s proprietary winding method.
Don is a stickler for doing it exactly as it was done during the golden age of guitar building. Back when quality was king. He searched the globe to find the highest quality raw materials. Don even uses gas free magnets (no bubbles or voids), hardened steel poles, correct spec Formvar wire, and all that bees wax!
When these quality components meet Mr. Mares proprietary techniques the result is nothing less than magical. This combination allows him to wind Fender style single coils nearly as fat as a P90 if needed. All that while maintaining every ounce of punch and clarity. His Strat bridge pickups can be wound hot enough to take the place of a humbucker if that’s what you’re going for. Don can also do the glassy thing like no other or get you anywhere in-between. He has enough choices on his website to overwhelm any tone freak. Call him if you need guidance. But, be prepared to get an education in tone. Once you try a set of these pickups in your favorite guitar Don Mare fever will infect your blood and you’ll start dreaming of how good your other guitars will sound with these pickups. I’ve seen it happen without fail to quite a few of my friends and clients.
Other than a few lengthy conversations (Don can talk!), I am not affiliated with Don Mare or his company in any way. I just want you guys to have the best of everything when it comes to your tone. And when it comes to single coil pickups it’s impossible get any better. Here’s the link to his wild looking site: http://www.buckcannon.com/
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