Frankie Sullivan of Survivor - Double White PAF set: "Pete - I owe you a big call. The pickups are absolutely great and I've tried them all. My favorite pickups were the ****** until yours. I love em'! Hot damn, these are the best pickups. Killed it!"
Justin Stabler of Phish, Trey Anatasio's tech, CreamPi PAF set: "So I can just start with wow! I'm extremely pleased with this overwound pickup set. I think the two qualities that immediately pulled me in was the 3D vocal quality of the single notes and even more so the "bark" you get from really digging in, especially when under a bit of dirt, just has great clarity yet just where that bark/midrange sits it just rocks and feels right underneath your fingers. As I mentioned before, I have a ton of various PAF sets and have spent some time this weekend recording and comparing. Sonically they all sound great, the other sets at least to my ears were more compressed and almost what I would consider "refined"/"balanced" take on the PAF, which are all impressive and great...however in comparison I kept gravitating back to your set because of that feeling under my fingers and in my opinion really capturing every element of a PAF, top end, the bark, dynamics and this unbelievable 3D/ right on the edge feeling under the fingers that really inspires. It has this ability to feel / sound thick and chewy yet not muddy at all. I will also mention the balance between the two pickups was spot on too. The overwound sound gives this set a slightly "darker" vibe which was kind of an added bonus when I was recording and doubling parts with a variety of other guitars. It was a nice compliment to my other sets. Overall it was a great purchase, thank again! Thanks, Pete, you built a wonderful pickup and I will definitely recommend to other players. Justin"
Doug and Pat Show - a medium/hot set of PAF's and a low wind set of PAF's: "Hey Pete, we finished the show and will post shortly. Both sets of your pickups sound GREAT. They do everything a vintage PAF is supposed to do. We are impressed and I'm sure out viewers will be also when they hear them. Thanks again, Pat".
Mike Poupko, Pino Farina Band, Chicago. Stra-Tele set:
"Yeah man, these pickups totally do the trick! Really awesome. Totally like a Strat still but less thin. A total game changer!"
Scott Tipping, Chicago, PAF set: I bought this guitar, (a Gold Top), on August 10th, 2009, just a couple days before Les Paul passed. I was looking for a backup for my main Les Paul. This became my main guitar from the second I tried it in the shop. I’m fortunate to have some cool guitars, but this is the one I rely on most. I don’t like having to name a favorite guitar. But this is my favorite guitar. We are friends. I feel like we relate to each other well. We understand each other.
I put some Grovers on it, but the guitar has been stock with the exception of an out of phase mod. I’d debated putting some different pickups in it for years. I always felt like there was something out there that was probably more paf like but I never really found anything that I thought was worth swapping for. Recently, I’d been reading a bit about Pete Flynn’s pickups and was intrigued. Chris Forte posted a video after he put some in a new Les Paul of his and it was the first time I thought, ‘those are the pickups the goldtop needs.’
Pete hand makes pickups. He makes them to your spec. When he asked what output I wanted I said, ‘I don’t really know anything about that stuff but I can say Michael Bloomfield’s 59 burst and Dickey’s 57 goldtop are two of the best sounding guitars I’ve heard.’ He made his calculations from that (low wind, 7.0 neck, 7.6 bridge). I can tell you I am completely knocked out.
Sonically, you can definitely hear a big difference. Some people say that old Les Pauls have that ‘tele on steroids’ sound. Meaning, it’s bigger than a tele but still retains the clarity of single coil pickups. I feel like that’s what these pickups do. There is a crispness. There is a top end that isn’t brittle. There is still plenty of punch. I played with them on stage for the first time on Friday, they had just been put in the guitar. I think since then, all I’ve done to the amp was tone down some of the high end. I think that I was overcompensating high end on the amp in the past because the old pickups could get muddy.
The thing I didn’t think of when I had them installed is how much they would change how my hands felt playing. I have more room to move. I feel like I can hear myself better with these pickups. Meaning, they are translating what I am trying to say in a way the other pickups don’t do. My tone knobs are way more expressive. The other day I found myself really happy with the bridge tone at about 5.
Cremer installed them late last week. He dug how they were built and enjoyed the sound of them as well. When I got the guitar home, I kind of felt like a kid. I dimed a small amp and started playing all of these old riffs from my youth and everything just sounded magnificent. I was laughing while playing. There is a new sense of joy that has been brought into the guitar. Can’t wait for you (the audience), to hear it.
David L from NY: With the glut of information online regarding vintage pickups, one might be forgiven for thinking that merely regurgitating "vintage" or "period correct" specifications, or using a vintage winder, or "NOS" wire salvaged from a Kalamazoo or Fullerton warehouse will, in and of themselves, result in a pickup that actually sounds anything like an early '50s Tele or late '50's Les Paul. Unfortunately, this is akin to thinking that the right brand of typewriter will make you Ernest Hemingway.
This information overload also makes it easy to forget that music is an auditory experience, and that cultivating a discerning ear takes years of experience. Luckily for guitarists, Pete Flynn has been listening for more than 50 years - to the real guitars played by the real guys. And he has taken the technical know-how and combined it with his ear and experience to make pickups that go beyond "vintage specs" to the real vintage sound.
Back in the '80's, I had every endgame electric guitar out there - '60 Burst, '61 335, '58 Strat, ''56 Strat, '60 Strat, '65 Strat, '52 Tele, '55 Tele, '63 Tele, '63 L-5 CES - the works. While I had to sell my collection 35 years ago, I never forgot the magical tone these guitars produced. When my buddy Dave Rogers (owner of Dave's Guitar Shop in LaCrosse, WI) told me about Pete, I called to discuss a hybrid set of pickups for a Tele style guitar with a humbucker in the neck. I play jazz and country and told him I wanted the bridge pickup to sound like James Burton and the neck to sound like Wes Montgomery. We both laughed, but he assured me that he understood what I was after, and that it wouldn't be a problem. I was so astonished by the result that I ordered a set of humbuckers for my reissue Les Paul. Again, the improvement was mind boggling. Even at very low volume, the notes had far greater depth and complexity than before.
I love to play but my soldering skills are terrible. Thank you, Pete - I now have one less thing to worry about. ;-)
Wow! I was planning to buy a new PRS with P90’s. Then a friend of mine told me about Pete Flynn’s custom hand wound P90 pickups made to fit in the Humbucker routings of my PRS. So, I ordered a set of pickups from Pete and brought my guitar to The Music Gallery to install the new custom P90 pickups, refret and Plek my guitar. My guitar was finished in 10 days. New frets, Pleked and killer P90’s. I expected to hear what I was accustomed to with the P90’s on my Epiphone SG. I plugged in my guitar and cranked up my amp with no pedals and was absolutely blown away. Seriously, I had no idea what a difference Pete’s pickups would be from my SG. I was so amazed; I woke up the next morning and had to plug in my guitar just to see if I was dreaming. Nope! These pickups are unbelievable! They have so much more punch, tone, and clarity than my SG P90’s. Also, much better sound than the original PRS humbuckers or the Seymour Duncan P-Rail pickups I had installed on my PRS looking for that P90 sound. The SD P-Rails are not even in the same class as Pete’s P90’s. Pete’s pickups are nothing short of amazing! Every day I plug in my PRS and still cannot believe how incredible it sounds. I’ve been so inspired by them; I’ve been playing more than ever. I recommend anyone looking to improve their tone and clarity, to try a set of Pete Flynn’s custom wound pickups. You won’t be disappointed.
Thanks Pete and everyone at The Music Gallery!
Sincerely, Van Epstein