Players looking to fatten a guitar's tone can opt for some signal massaging courtesy of stomp chains, slot a Submarine under the strings or break out the soldering iron and dial in A Little Thunder. Now there's another way. The mini-coils in the Rivet pickups shape a host guitar's tone with just good ol' magnets and wire. No batteries, no processing, no filtering. Just boosted lower end or more presence in the highs, depending on which model is installed.
Created by luthier to the stars David Petschulat (whose clients include Eddie Van Halen, Jackson Browne and Steve Morse), the humbucker-sized boutique pickups come in two distinct flavors. In each, a full-sized, single coil pickup shares the housing space with a three or four pole mini-coil pickup. Depending on which model is selected, these mini-coils either give the output a kick up the bass (by registering the guitar's E, A and D strings only) or serve up some high end crunch (by taking aim at the D, G, B and E strings).
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"We let you blend in an extra dose of your low strings or an extra dose of your high strings – to tilt the overall blend of your output," Petschulat told us. "It's all classic vintage technology done with magnets and wire. No batteries or power requirements of any sort, no signal processing done, no filtering applied. It's just having half-coils to play with strategically in shaping your tone. It's so simple it somehow got overlooked for 40 years."
The pickups boast Alnico II magnets for a soft tone with natural compression and coarse gauge, moderately wound copper wire for note definition, and each mini-coil is wired to a push/pull potentiometer to engage or deactivate at any time. It's also tilted so that the volume doesn't overpower its single-coil companion, or with other pickups installed in the guitar.
"It's incredible how having one of our mini-coils under the bass strings using our Rivet 63 in the neck position can be used to enhance the output of a Tele lead pickup," said Petschulat. "It adds natural bass fundamentals and harmonics that the Tele lead just doesn't have. But because it's a half coil, it doesn't mess up the Tele high notes. There's lots of other examples I can give, but that one's a total gas to play with. It really is!"
The Rivet pickups are hand-made by David Petschulat and son Sam and are already being used in the wild by professional musicians like Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, Foreigner's Mick Jones and Dylan Carlson of Earth.
The family firm has now launched on Kickstarter to get them into the guitars of bedroom thrashers and garage tone-heads, and to help fund the development of a solder-free install option. The lowest available pledge for a Rivet 63 or 64 at the time of writing is US$120, with a pair pitched at $190. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in September.
Check out the pitch video below for more on the project.