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  • Writer's pictureHugh Hardy

Welcome to the Blue Hugh Blog… and Mike Turk Limited Humbucking Pickups

G’Day and welcome to the Blue Hugh Music Blog… !!!

I’m going to be posting as frequently as I see fit, and today’s a good day to start!

As many of you know, I have been working with pickup guru and genius winder Mike Turk to create a set of PAF style “limited” pickups – limited because we intend to do a run of maximum 100 sets and minimum 50 sets. I am pleased to say that we are pretty much ready to go!

These new pickups will be based on Mike’s highly regarded “Killer ‘59s” that were originally sold through Mark’s Guitar Loft (…based on… but not the same – for one thing, the original Killer 59s used Alnico 5 magnets and Mike has gravitated towards Alnico 2 for this run). The nice thing is that Mike has had quite a few “mini-epiphanies” since those original Killer 59s – Mike’s got very good and fussy “ears”! I am delighted to say that I think he’s nailed it! Mike talks about the complexity of the PAF tone, and replicating that is a priority here.

It’s interesting to me that the toughest job – getting the nuance right in the neck pickup (you need clarity and warmth WITHOUT losing the punch and articulation… plus the ability to solo on the neck pickup) – has been the first thing that’s come together for Mike. In this whole process, Mike’s done stuff like taken the wire and magnets from a 50s P90 and wound a perfect PAF with these materials – just so he knows he can do it!

In the last couple of days, armed with a nice R9, loaded with the Mike Turk Prototype Limited set, I’ve been A/B-ing the new pickups with all my other sets… REAL PAFs, Sheptones, Duncan Bonamassas, the newer Burstbuckers, Voodoos, Throbaks… and I am pleased to say that not only do these pickups sound as good as anything I’ve tried, they actually kick some of these aforementioned pickups to the curb. My pal, and a man with very good ears (and fingers), Mr. PF, has been instrumental in helping me assess these new “bad boys” (and you’ll be hearing about our Tonefests – often followed by a good and proper Vietnamese noodle bowl or perhaps the best Chinese BBQ pork in the City – in future Blogs – hey, you gotta eat sometime!).

Here are a couple of quotes from Mike regarding his research… a time in which he did a fair bit of “tail chasing”, he says… I thought I’d share them, because they say something about the man’s passion:

“I have always used a certain PAF magnet as a reference for strength when building my pickups. For example when I get to the magnet part of assembly I get out this PAF magnet and take measurements of it with my gauss meter and slip in different magnets to find one with the correct gauss level and adjust if necessary (usually, it is necessary)…”

“I have programmed the winder to wind in multiple steps to replicate the scatter and pattern of what I was doing when I was hand winding.”

I could go on, but I’ll let you decide if you just don’t think that they’re the best… the Blue Hugh Music Mike Turk Limited pickups will be sold un-aged and uncovered, in various black/creme bobbin configurations… $299 a set (SHIPPED) and if you don’t like ‘em, I’ll offer a FULL REFUND (INCLUDING SHIPPING BOTH WAYS) FOR 30 DAYS AFTER PURCHASE!

Hugh H.

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