Friday, December 18, 2009

J.S. Moore Pickups / The Road to Great Tone

J.S. Moore Pickups, the answer for anyone looking for a set of killer custom handwound guitar pickups. Need buckers? No problem. A set of Tele or Strat pups? You got it. How about some P90's? Coming right up. What about mini-buckers?.... you get the picture. Jon Moore the mastermind and man in charge at J.S. Moore Pickups has one thing on mind, to build you the best possible set of pickups man can offer. I had a chance to not one, but three different sets of Jon's pickups, and I have to tell you each model blew my mind! The keen ear for good tone Jon has is something that comes across clearly through each of his pickups. I wanted you guys to some really cool gear to check out this month so that going into the new year you would be armed and ready for the masses. J.S. Moore Pickups are a great place to start and a great way to have your axe sounding it's best. The quality, look, build, and sound of these pickups all lead up to one place... the road to great sounding music.


Strat® Single Coil Pickups

*Wound to mid 1960's specs
*Approx. 5.8k w/plain enamel wire
*60's Stagger Alnico 5 rod magnets
*Also available-
in a Duece set
w/Alnico 2 magnets
and w/RWRP middle pickup

In the last couple years since I've taken up the job to do my own guitar mods the one area I can never get bored of experimenting with is pickup swapping. The reason for this new found love is pickup builders like Jonathan Moore. The passion and hard work that goes into building a pickup like this can really be heard instantly, and will do for your overall tone what you wouldn't imagine. I put the set of Monterey pickup into my guitar players Strat without telling him and it didn't take 2 minutes for him to figure out that I had done something to his guitar, he was absolutely stoked. In fact now that I think about it those pickups are still in his guitar! We did some serious demoing of these pickups and put them through just about every amp, pedal, and setting we could manage. I wanted to go for a straight-up dirty blues tone first so I setup a Tubescreamer through a Blackface (Twin Rev) and got to stepping. I plugged into the Twin's Normal channel, set it Bright, and rolled every knob to 7. The amp was pretty loud, at the point just where the speakers start to hand you grit'n'rumble. The first thing that stood out to me about these pickups was how accurate the picking response was, every chuck, strum, dig, and brush of my guitar pick came through evenly and balanced. All of the natural woody tone from the guitar came through much clearer and stronger. There's nothing more I love than a set of pickups that can bring out your guitar's acoustical sound. The overdrive I was getting from just the amp and Monterey's was smokin! To clean up the tone 100% all I had to do was roll the guitar's volume knob back about 3-4 clicks, I did this and didn't loose any of the Monterey's character nor did any of the amp's size change. Next I threw in the TS-808 set straight up the middle, and next thing you know a mountain of rich'n'thick grit came screaming out from my amp, a sound Stevie Ray would've been proud to rock out to. Each string growled evenly and beautifully, the low strings delivered a world of tight lows and mid-range honk, and the high strings sounded off glassy and piano-like. I stacked the TS-808 with a distortion pedal to see how well the pickups would handle higher distortion levels, and just like I imagined they would they came through like champs. My lead runs were smooth yet aggressive, picking was bright'n'balanced, and both simple and complex chords came through strong'n'clear. With the Monterey's you get all of the punch, bounce, and pop you would expect from a great set of Strat pickups. Before swapping in the J.S. Moore's the guitar's tone was much darker and a bit dull to be quite honest, definitely no match for these pro quality, custom wound monsters. We figured Jon named these pickups Monterey's for a good reason, so we busted out the Super Lead, my wah, and one of my favorite fuzz boxes. I set the Marshall's tone pretty strong, having it deliver a tight, warm tube overdrive, and used the fuzz box to drive it into madness. Without the fuzz the pickups latched on the amp's tone perfectly, giving me a pure 100% authentic classic rock tone. I could hear the likes of Zeppelin, Sabbath, The Who, Deep Purple, Santana, and the man himself Jimi coming through clearly from my amp. I was able to get and control all the sustain I wanted, and create a mountain of feedback so evil it was scary! I didn't think the sound would get any better and then I added in the wah and fuzz pedal. The pickups howled, wailed, and soared the air like a wicked ball of energy and vibration. Every push of the tremolo bar was razor sharp, and each dive bomb felt like it gulped the air around down with it. We got so excited while demoing these pickups that it ended up turning into a jam session. I jumped on the drums, yes I play the drums too, and my buddy turned up the guitar. We got lost in a psychedelic trip of wild noise and splendid melodies. What else can I say about these bad boys? The Monterey's combined with the new pots and rewire job I did on my buddy's guitar was like plugging into a new guitar, a new guitar with the voice of a vintage favorite. Now to try and get those pickups back from my buddy!



*Wound from 59' Double White PAF Specs
*Neck/8.3k - Bridge/7.8k or 7.6k
*Unpotted for more air and dymanics
*Also available in
Double White
Double Black

What the PAF pickup has done and continues to do for our music is absolutely stunning! This is the pickups I think of when someone says Rock and Roll. It is the life blood of many of the most famous guitar licks, and a tool used by just about every rock icon out there. If you've ever had a chance to rock out to a vintage, authentic, proper set of PAF's you know there's nothing like it. The sound they produce has an earthy tone that only they can produce. They can make any level of player sound like a Rock God, and have you dreaming of the rock and roll lifestyle. In the last few years there have been more and more pickup builders taking their shot at this classic rock tool. There are a few cats out there that have been able to get pretty damn close to the original PAF sound, and then there's those few that take it there and beyond. With the V-59's you don't get pretty close, you get spot-on. J.S. Moore has his hand in the future of rock and roll with these awesome pickups. From the moment you plug them in you feel what tone is really about. When I was a kid I was lucky and blessed to have Jackson Browne as my mentor and good friend, oh the gear I got to see and play. Many times he'd lend me guitars, amps, or set me up with recording time in his amazing studio. On many occasions Jackson would invite me to his studio to get some lessons on how music was formed, this isn't what he said he was having me over for but looking back it's all so clear. It was back then and in those sessions that I got to hear the first classic Les Paul's, along with an arsenal of other killer gear of course. I will never forget what that old school PAF sound would do for a session, it was remarkable. The V-59's were able to take me back to those awesome memories and bring back a taste of yesterday's good ol' rock and roll. The first thing I thought of when I swapped the V-59's into my guitar was "Wow! I've got to lay down some tracks." When doing a rhythm track there is no better pickup for the job, and these pickups proved that to a T. With humbuckers there is no room for mistakes, they are the one pickup that lets it all hang out whether playing soft or hard, clean or through distortion. The voice of the PAF is one of the if not the strongest of all the pickups, I've played buckers so powerful before they've been able to drive fuzz out of an amp on their own. It's obvious these J.S. Moore pickups come from one place and one place only... the love of tone. You don't create a pair of pickups this killer sounding unless you got the passion and the drive to do so. Like I said earlier, every set/model of Jon's pickups that I tried sounded stunning. The first test drive with the V-59's that I took was through a low watt amp. Once I plugged in it didn't take much to have these amp grunting and a snorting. To get the fattest sound possible without having to use a pedal I plugged into my 15/7 watt amp head and 2x10 cab. First I set the amp for it's full 15 watts and slammed every knob just a few clicks before full blast. Oh it was just beautiful. Think Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, and Santana playing an SG. Everything I could've wanted from these pickups was right there coming from my hands. I had a perfect amount dirt, a solid level, and balanced eq. With the amp's mids rolled up all the way, bass at noon, and highs at noon I got some killer punk rock tones that filled the air with careless attitude. I started rocking out my favorite Sex Pistols, The Clash, and Minor Threat riffs. It brought me right back to my early punk days, it was even able to pull some of my old forgotten punk songs out from me. It doesn't end there though, the great thing about these pickups is that they can do a subtle overdrive tone as well, it's all about where you place your guitar's volume and how much gain you have pumping through your amp. The lighter I would touch the strings the less grit that pickups produced. The V-59's respond and play well with your guitar's tone knob too, some pickups will get muddy right away if you even go near the tone pot, not here. You can lay back on the tone and get some sweet woman tones in an instant. With the combination of the guitar's volume and tone knobs alone I was able to dial-in an army of different classic rock tones. The neck pickup did just about every style of rhythm sound I wanted it to, and the bridge hit every accent in my lead riffs. Next I flipped the amp head into 7 watts and boy did the golden tones come'a knockin. It was lovely the low volume rock tones I was able to get, once mic'd you would never be able to tell the sounds were coming from such a low powered amp. The V-59's compressed and pushed the amp like it had never been pushed before, I could feel the speakers loving every chord strummed and lick struck. Before I knew it hours had gone by, I was stucj in one of those vortex's that only a great piece of gear can do to you. These pickups are really something special, everything from quality on down to the design. For those of you on a replica building mission or anyone on the hunt for an upgrade these are the pickups for the job. It almost makes me want to hunt down a project guitar and build myself a 50's style Les Paul. Oh and before I forget Les Paul's aren't the only guitars these pickups sound great in, no sir. I spent an entire day rewiring and swapping the V-59's into a semi hollow body guitar. If you've ever had to do a semi hollow body pickup job you know how much of a pain it can, but the prize I got in the end was well worth the work. While I was rocking out to the Studio Les Paul I had first put the pickups into I was imagining how great they would sound in my Dot. Really it was more of the same only a different flavor of it. The semi hollow body produced more airy, woofy tones with the V-59's, but they were usable, gig worthy, and recording friendly tones nontheless. I set the same amount of overdrive for this guitar to hear the difference, and the chords sounded just as immaculate as they did through a solid body. Last I took out some of my fuzz boxes, plugged in, and next thing you know another hour went by. I was stuck in an amazing collection of classic and modern fuzz tones. The louder I would turn up a box the more control the pickups would hand me, usually this is the opposite when playing at loud levels but for some reason that wasn't an issue here. This tells me one thing, attention to detail. Jon is by far one of the most talented pickups builders I have ever come across. Each one of the pickups he builds oozes with character and life. I see no way you can go wrong with J.S. Moore's. Can you dig that?

For more info on J.S. Moore Pickups you can go to or click the direct link in our sidebar. I am on a hunt to bring you guys more from this awesome pickup company so please keep your eyes peeled. Rock lives!!!! J.S. Moore Pickups!!!



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