Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rock and Roll is proud once again

Pete Biltoft and Vintage Vibe Guitars Pickups...Nothing but absolute heavenly tone, spot-on builds, and a hell of a pickup spread that offers up just about any style pickup your mind can imagine. Let me also mention they offer an impressive selection of pickguard assemblies and will build you pickups to your specifications. With the direction players have gone in these last few years, tweaking and hot rodding their guitars like it was the 80's again, there could be no better stop for upgrading your axe. When Pete Biltoft first started building pickups the main focus was to make sure his builds consisted of carefully selected high quality materials, to give players the ability to dial-in and shape the tones they needed. This goal has been met and then some, and along the journey Pete has been able to take his own ideas to build pickups that have revolutionized the game. There are a handful of "What if's" that have been floating around in my head ever since I first started playing, like "What if you could get that killer P90 tone out of a Stratocaster style single coil pickup?" Well sure enough Pete has achieved this and the results are some you must experience for yourselves. In this article I will be introducing you guys to the VVG H540-SW Humbuckers and the ever so popular SP-90 Strat sized P90's. Can you dig it?


*Adjustable height nickel plated pole pieces
*Calibrated strength twin bar magnets

*43 gauge magnet wire, 10,000 turns/bridge - 8,500/neck and middle position

*DC resistance: bridge/10.3k-ohm - neck and middle/8.4k-ohm

*Scatter wound coils * Vinateg style cloth covered output leads
*Grounded shielding surrounding the coil/reduces noise...

*Potted under vacuum to eliminate microphonics

*Middle pickup is reverse polarity reverse wound

*These pickups are handmade in the USA

I have seen, heard, and played a lot of cool pickups in the last few years. Many of them good ideas, but somehow they've always ended there, just a good idea. To me, if a pickup doesn't cut it when it comes to tone, it just don't mean squat, no matter how genius the design. Let me assure you, the VVG SP-90 is no gimmick! That authentic P90 tone that has done so much for rock'n'roll can now be heard screaming from your favorite Stratocaster. You can only imagine how stoked I was when I soldered these puppies in and heard all that good midrange-tone crunch come howling from my amplifier. The SP-90's give you the ability to tune in a signature sound to fit your style, and give you a handful of unbelievable tones to add to your arsenal. Every set is shipped with two extra sets of magnets. Available magnet types include Alnico-II, Alnico-III, Alnico-V, and ceramic-8. This along with the adjustable pole pieces give as many possibilities as you will need to keep things fresh for a long time. Through my favorite overdrive and fuzz pedals these pickups sounded like nothing else I have ever heard through a single coil pickup. There is an aggressive yet round and vintage tone that comes from the SP's that aren't usually heard through standard sets of P90's. The tone is much more in your face, much more defined, the harmonics are rich'n'hearty, and picking dynamics sound-off how ever you'd like them. Whether you're looking to build your own unique Strat or up for some good old fashion hot rodding, these pickups will not let you down. Absolutely the most excting thing to hit the Stratocaster since it's birth.

VVG H540-SW Humbucker

*Exposed coil hum-canceling pickups give the fat humbucker tone and are available wound to vintage or modern specs
*These pickups allow the user to exchange the bar magnets with ease. Pickups ship with complete sets of magnets in both Alnico-V and ceramic-8
*Adjustable height nickel-plated pole pieces
*Both the neck and bridge position H540-SW pickup adjustable poles have North up magnetic polarity
*Complete easy to follow wiring diagram and installation instructions are included
*Scatter wound coils
*External braided shielded output leads
*Grounded shielding surrounding the coil effectively reduces noise from external electric fields
*Wax Potted under vacuum to eliminate microphonics
*These custom pickups will fit in all guitars routed for standard size humbuckers

The humbucker, the one pickup I've probably tried the most flavors of. A killer sounding humbucker will give you tonal, class A, heavenly bliss. A not so hot bucker just messes things up, scrambles up your chords, and everything gets lost. When I discovered Vintage Vibe Guitars I was in the middle of upgrading one of my guitars. I was on the hunt for a pair of buckers so when Pete offered to send out a pair of the H540-SW's I was open to checking them out. When they landed on my doorstep I could instantly see all the time and hard work, high grade materiels, and knowledge that was put into building them. All of the VVG pickups that I have had the chance to checkout look and play like works of art. They're put together so slickly, they just look soo damn cool! I'm huge on playing 335's and other semi-hollow body style guitars. One thing I've mentioned before is that as amazing as those guitars sound, they can sometimes be limited to just one tone. When you play an array of different styles of music like I do it is important to be able to pull off many tones/sounds with whichever guitar it is you're playing. I put the Zebra color VVG H540-SW's in my Hagstrom Viking and they have not left it since, and I don't see them going anywhere for a long long time. I'm still able to maintain that classic semi-hollow body tone, and can now get some more aggressive tones as well. The pickups gave my Hagstrom the ability to sound as powerful as a Les Paul, it can now cut right through when chucking away at rhythm guitar parts, and scream and howl like the best of them. Probably the coolest and my most favorite thing about these pickups is how well they work with effects pedals. I rely on my stompboxes to get my overdrive, fuzz, and distortion tones. When you play through Fender amps and set a clean tone that you're going to be building all your dirty tones from, you use pedals. If the pickups you're using can't adapt to the stompboxes you're using, it doesn't matter how nice a pedal you have. I actually discovered something with these pickups that I'm not used to doing...playing straight through without the need of any boxes. We had them down at the studio (which is always the best place for putting any gear through it's paces) and was able to get some of the meanest tones. I was surprised at just how much power these buckers actually have. Cranking the clean tone I was able to get a sweet sweet hairy grit, and backing off on my picking I was back in Fender springy clean tone heaven. I almost wish I didn't love these pickups so damn much so I can tell you what they sound like through some other guitars. I imagine the tone would be just as beautiful and dynamic. The way I see it, once you got a great sounding pair of pickups it won't matter what you put them through, these are that breed of pickup. Overall I am blown away by the H540-SW's. I have never been so quick to give a set of pickups a permanent home, have never heard a humbucker sound so killer through a semi-hollow body, and have never loved a pickup so much without the use of effect pedals. Hey, these babies were able to open my mind enough to some new ways of playing, enough said.
For more info on Vintage Vibe Guitars go to http://www.vintagevibeguitars/ or click the VVG logo in our links. Look for VVG pickup demos and an interview with Pete in the near future. Dig it!

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