For decades, teens across the globe have imagined themselves strumming power chords in windmill fashion on a shiny Fender Stratocaster. Many of these dreams die early but for those who continue, there is one thing they must master: the ultimate tone.
Magnetic pickups are a crucial part of that quest. Consisting of an alnico (aluminum, nickel and cobalt) or ceramic magnet wrapped in thousands of copper wire turns, pickups literally "pick up" the sound resonating through a guitar. Without pickups, there is no sound, and variations in pickups mean vastly different sounds.
For the past several decades, a rising demand for electric guitars has meant increased mass production and the cutting of corners. Pickups are often one of those corners.
"There seems to be less focus on sound and product quality and more focus on making things work for the bottom line," said Brian Porter, founder of Boise-based Porter Pickups.
Porter, his wife and an associate painstakingly create and ship between 40-45 sets of pickups a month to individuals and dealers across the United States and as far away as Japan, the Netherlands and United Arab Emirates. Porter's high-end pickups are made of 42 and 43 American wire gauge copper coated in plain enamel, formvar and poly to help guitarists get the sound they're looking for.
Want to soup up your Telecaster, Jazzmaster or even your Gibson knock-off? Wish you could sound like Eric Clapton at Crossroads or Jimmy Page at the Garden? Porter Pickups can get you there--from the hardware standpoint, anyway. Magic hands not included.