Last October, guitarist Andy Alt shared his dream of giving six-string axes some extra bottom end with the crowdfunding community. Since the close of the successful campaign, he has made a few tweaks to A Little Thunder's design and functionality, chief among them being capacitive touch. Backers started receiving their pickups last month and now sales have opened up to everyone.
As you may recall, A Little Thunder has the look of a two-coil humbucking pickup but the casing is actually home to a single coil-sized humbucker and a two-pole pickup. The latter adds a separate signal to a guitar's two lowest strings, which can be sent to a bass amp for some tone thickening bottom end or funky bass-like accompaniment. An onboard DSP, some algorithmic magic and an integrated battery complete the design.
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Alt told us last year that market-ready pickups would feature switches and controls on the pickup to change modes and activate the system, but the final release version has something much better. Players can change modes by touching the uppermost corners of the pickup, switching octaves or activating low priority mode.
Recognizing that touch functionality may not appeal to everyone, Alt has included the ability to wire the pickup to a physical mode selection button instead.
The battery life has also been given a boost. Users can now expect a full 12 hours of low end noodling before needing to plug a USB charger into the port on the top of the pickup. If for some reason a guitar is stowed away for extended periods, Alt says that "you can come up to it a full 12 months later and just touch the cap touch area and it turns right on."
Rounding out what's new, the low end priority mode – where only the lowest of the two notes being played gets the bass signal – has been improved, the pickup has been designed to fit both Imperial and metric sized instruments and the coils are reported wound at 9001 SA "space grade" transformer facility which contracts for NASA and Boeing.
A Little Thunder is 100 percent US-made and is available now direct from the company at US$249 each (which includes free worldwide shipping). Customers wanting to fit A Little Thunder to an acoustic guitar can add $20 to an order for a pickup ring.
To nip European delivery delays in the bud, the company has very recently arranged for same day shipping to anywhere in Europe from a UK-based dispatch office.
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