Merry Christmas to all our customers, thanks for your support this year.
In Eposode #2 of “MrGlyn Meets Your Maker” I talk to Waylon from McPherson Stompboxes in his workshop in Papamoa.
I wanted to know how he designs and builds his pedals, his philosophy and how he makes his World class Kiwi made gear.
These pedals are works of art both inside and out - seems a shame to step on them.
some of you will know how keen I am on NZ made musical gear. We have world class makers here in Aotearoa and the World needs to know about them.
Rather than just having a good moan I’ve been trying to think of ways I can help.
After many conversations with other small manufacturers I’ve come up with an idea.
I’m starting a series of YouTube videos where I chat with NZ makers so we can all get to know them a little better.
I figure that seeing and hearing the person behind the product, hearing their story, their philosophy, will help promote what they do beyond just their website. Some of these makers you may not even have heard of.
It’s a very simple format, just recording a Skype conversation. There is some editing mainly cutting out my own waffle but I do try and keep edits to a minimum.
I am not a professional presenter I’m just an ordinary bloke working with what I’ve got and this is way out of my comfort zone but I hope you’ll find the content interesting.
I’ve called the series “MrGlyn Meets Your Maker”.
In episode #1 I’m talking with Aiden from Archetype Guitars in Palmerston North who very graciously agreed to go first.
If these videos go any way towards you considering buying NZ made then I’ve succeeded.
Please share, link to, subscribe and spread the word, that’s how you can help.
A couple of weeks back I received this faulty old pickup from a Jansen stratphonic hollow bodied bass made in New Zealand.
The meter was showing it was ‘open circuit’ so after the usual tests for dry joints and removing the top layer of windings I decided it needed rewinding.
I do enjoy saving old dead pickups and this one looks so cool with that ‘toaster’ cover.
The height of your pickups is crucial to your tone. I find that the better the quality of the pickup the more difference the height makes to the tone.
There is, of course, no correct distance from the string so the measurements I’ll give you are a guide and a great place to start. I recommend you set your MrGlyn’s Pickups to these heights when you installed them but feel free to tweak them to your own taste after.
The principal is, the closer to the strings the pickups are the louder and more dynamic the sound, further away is more compressed and quieter.
But there’s another factor. Pickups work by magnetism, if a pickup is too close to the string the magnet will attract the string and cause a strange wobbly sound called a wolf tone. This is much more pronounced with single coil pickups and on the bass strings on the higher frets. These ‘wolf tones’ are sometimes called ‘Stratitis’.
The pickup height is measured from the top of the pickup pole (or cover) to the underside of the string when fretting the highest fret.
Here are my recommend heights:
This week I had an order from Trevor Binford at Binford Luthiery in Onehunga, Auckland. He runs fantastic courses where you can make a guitar from scratch.
He wanted a set of Silver Lady Telecaster pickups for his own Tele and asked if I make a Precision Bass pickup. Well, they aren’t on the website (not yet) but I do make them. Always worth asking, eh
Here’s a cool track by Lea’ana featuring Jason Herbert on guitar using a set of my ‘Bellbird’ Strat pickups
Old Höfner pickups are common visitors at the workshop for re-winds. The insulation breaks down on the winding wire they used and they become open circuit and simply stop working.
Although these are built like humbuckers magnetically with 2 rows of pole pieces powered by a single bar magnet they have a single coil inside them.
The bobbins are often very fragile. They’re made of thin plastic and can deform easily. Don’t try this one at home kids.
I was happy with how they came out in the end. They have a really pleasing clear chime to them.
If you have any dead pickups or want to upgrade, get in touch.
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 is available in 6 and 7 string, for neck and bridge positions.
Been doing a few pickup rewinds recently. This Precision Bass pickup from 1974 had one coil completely open circuit. Pretty common for that era. If you’ve got an old Fender (not just basses) with a quiet, thin sounding pickup there’s a fair chance you need a re-wind.
Here's the third of my videos talking about guitar pickup stuff.
Humbucking pickups get their name from the clever way they cancel out hum. But how do they do it?
Here's a brief video to explain why, with some help from Sammy the dog.