Tone Specific pickups

gwjensen

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Apr 26, 2011
Posts
3,631
Location
District of Chicanery
Anybody try them? Not cheap... Sometimes I wonder if any boutique pickups are any better that SDs or Fender...
 

Joeyb817

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Posts
88
Location
New York
I spoke with them a few times. They’re very confident about the pickups.
Seems they have the sauce. Virgil Arlo tree. Never had them. If you search MJT bodies on eBay they have them for auction once in awhile. You’ll save a couple dollars.
 

Killing Floor

Poster Extraordinaire
Silver Supporter
Joined
Feb 3, 2021
Posts
8,399
Location
Austin, TX
$4-500 for a set of Tele pickups that can’t possibly be better than Lollar or Fralin. Sure, they can be as good but not better.
I say go for it.
After all, according to the website the owner is pretty well respected on the LA, Nashville & Chicago scene's. Probably supposed to say “in” the scene but that’s copy.
 

Wooly Fox

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 19, 2021
Posts
271
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Not sure the price is justified, where is the value added to the product to a "niche" brand.

My Lollar equipped Kauer Corona (HB neck, Tele bridge) is perfectly balanced and I don't think either cost over $500 for the privilege
 

gb Custom Shop

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jul 20, 2020
Posts
159
Age
29
Location
Winnipeg, Canada
I'm sure they sound good...but way too cost prohibitive for me to ever buy them myself.

There's a lot of boutique winders these days, some deservedly acclaimed, and maybe some self-proclaimed. I don't get what "secret sauce" these folks may have that's beyond the good boutique winders who price their pickups competitively in that market. Afterall, they're more or less using the same components. But heck, maybe their wire comes in contact with some unicorn breathe as it's being wound.

Not to be a hater, it's just really expensive!

I've heard of one guy who makes his pickups slightly microphonic, and that's his "secret sauce", so I wonder if they're doing something similar.
 

Happy Enchilada

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Posts
3,045
Location
God's Country
Linda Lou has the same thing goin' on - hot single coil bridge (Pretzel) and hot P90 neck. Bootstraps. $60 for the pair.
They also make humbuckers, about the same price. And they will mix n match, no problem.
This combination I'm running sounds delicious and delivers for country, rock, blues, etc. Anything short of mental ... er, metal. It's your $$$ ...
1652822928189.jpeg
 

torodurham

Tele-Holic
Joined
Oct 1, 2011
Posts
537
Location
Vacaville CA
I tried 2 sets of theirs so far.
A strat set of 59' blues..They sounds very good..excellent tone in all positions.
A paf " bloomers set
That I'm satisfied but haven't used them in a real live situation..so hard to say..I'm not convinced they are worth the price tag..but they ARE very good quality and sound excellent.
 

dlew919

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Aug 6, 2012
Posts
11,141
Location
Sydney
Just wondering on the secret sauce.

High grade copper? Better magnets? The number of winds?

I do ask seriously. Would anyone of these make an immediate difference? Long term yes. They might last longer.

But immediately? Can anyone explain?
 

gwjensen

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Apr 26, 2011
Posts
3,631
Location
District of Chicanery
$4-500 for a set of Tele pickups that can’t possibly be better than Lollar or Fralin. Sure, they can be as good but not better.
I say go for it.
After all, according to the website the owner is pretty well respected on the LA, Nashville & Chicago scene's. Probably supposed to say “in” the scene but that’s copy.
I'm not going for them, just curious... I assembled a Warmoth Tele for my son years ago, which has become our "reference" standard Tele; Sounds amazing and it's what I compare all new Teles to. Callahan bridge and a set of Lindy Frailn pickups wound for Bill, which were.... Cryogenically treated... Bill stopped offering them a long time ago and I don't think Lindy ever did, but if I build another one, I'm going to ask Lindy for those pickups, minus the deep freeze :)
 

Steve Holt

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 29, 2016
Posts
3,258
Location
Kansas
<
It's all smoke and mirrors. Virgil Arlo never existed.

A couple years ago it seemed like Virgil Arlo "retired" and sold all of his stuff to Tone Specific so TS could continue making the Arlo pickups until the coveted magic supplies ran out. I went to both websites and it seemed at the time that both websites were run by the same person - Certain phrases and the way it's written - it all just has the same tone if you will. If you go to the TS website now there's a paragraph about how secretive the owner is and it took years for him to allow his staff to write as much as they had written - which is that he is secretive. Arlo's website talks about a man who never wanted fame and works under a pseudonym.

I think both pickups were always made by the same strange company and "retiring" Arlo was a way to drive up the price on an already inflated pickup. They previously stated that once their supply of Arlo parts ran out, that would be the end of Virgil Arlo pickups. Now in 2022 (from the website) "We were able to clone identical parts of the material he used in his builds. We also employ the same techniques he used in his builds. It's a costly and time consuming process, but it's worth every penny and every moment waiting, if you are serious about achieving optimal tone."

So yeah more Arlo pickups selling for $800 a set 3 years after the guy retired. The whole thing gives me Nigerian Prince vibes.
 

Antigua Tele

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 2, 2014
Posts
3,239
Location
west coast
<


A couple years ago it seemed like Virgil Arlo "retired" and sold all of his stuff to Tone Specific so TS could continue making the Arlo pickups until the coveted magic supplies ran out. I went to both websites and it seemed at the time that both websites were run by the same person - Certain phrases and the way it's written - it all just has the same tone if you will. If you go to the TS website now there's a paragraph about how secretive the owner is and it took years for him to allow his staff to write as much as they had written - which is that he is secretive. Arlo's website talks about a man who never wanted fame and works under a pseudonym.

I think both pickups were always made by the same strange company and "retiring" Arlo was a way to drive up the price on an already inflated pickup. They previously stated that once their supply of Arlo parts ran out, that would be the end of Virgil Arlo pickups. Now in 2022 (from the website) "We were able to clone identical parts of the material he used in his builds. We also employ the same techniques he used in his builds. It's a costly and time consuming process, but it's worth every penny and every moment waiting, if you are serious about achieving optimal tone."

So yeah more Arlo pickups selling for $800 a set 3 years after the guy retired. The whole thing gives me Nigerian Prince vibes.

To me it looked like parlaying one grift to another. Seeing how much people on guitar forums eat up both brands, I can't say it's not a good story he's selling. It pains me to see buy into it and spend hundreds of dollars on overpriced pickups. I can't say throbak is much better, but at least that guy shows his face and shares his real name.
 

gwjensen

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Apr 26, 2011
Posts
3,631
Location
District of Chicanery
Half the battle in achieving a "specific tone" is the amp pairing. I think most people would be better off buying a reasonably priced set of pickups, and saving that premium towards an amp. These pickups seem to be marketed for people who have money like that, or people who are suckers for marketing.
Yep, it seems to be an accepted opinion that a "cheap" guitar will sound better through a quality amp than vice versa... but also, getting the right pickups for the guitar in question. I had Twisted Tele in a bright Tele and the tone was too "exquisite"; Some great tones, but limited... Texas Specials are working out much better.

Edit - When I talk about tone I'm always referring to the neck pickup. I'm one of those weird Tele players that pretty much lives on the neck pup... I need to remember to mention that...:)
 
Last edited:




Top