our story

Revel Custom Pickups is a one man shop located in the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis, MN. I’m a small, one man business, specializing in hand-wound electric guitar pickups.

I started Revel Custom Pickups in the fall of 2010 after many years of building guitars and pickups for myself and friends as a hobby. I built a set of humbuckers for a close friend of mind and he refused not to pay for them. He sat me down and explained that I was being foolish by not making them available for sale to the local community and he convinced me to make a business out of it.

I was just building pickups to satisfy my own obsession with tone and to attempt to discover how to capture specific sounds in a pickup. Boutique pickups had always been out of my price range and I couldn’t bring myself to buy Asian pickups because I understood there must be suffering attached to the production of both the materials and the pickups themselves. I didn’t want that anywhere near my own music. So my business plan became making boutique and custom pickups available to others like me. What I mean to say is, other broke ass musicians. As a working musician I understood how difficult it can be to have the best. I still maintain this ideal as much as I am able.

I don’t know where Revel will go or how big it will get. I continue to grow the business but I remain the only employee. Someday it may become a full production facility. But for now I’m thrilled to make pickups for people that they love and that they use to make music.

This is the part where I present to you my “value proposition.” That’s a mostly ridiculous phrase that means to express why you should buy my pickups and not someone else’s pickups. After all, there are so many pickups makers to chose from – hundreds of them and seemingly hundreds more every year…

I try not to talk bad about other winders and especially not to win someone’s business. It’s not my style. But (and there’s always a but), players do need to be aware that there are many fly-by-night operations popping up and going away all of the time. There’s so much info about how to build a pickup that someone just starts doing it and starts selling them, no matter the quality or their understanding of what makes a good and quality pickup. And this puts the player in the precarious position of not know who’s good or bad or totally full of bs.  Sometimes a player gets burned and ends up thinking “This custom/boutique/handowund pickup business is all nonsense. These pickups I bought don’t sound any better or worse than $20 Ebay or Guitarfetish pickups.” And that’s because they were built by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

EXPERIENCE:

My path to pickup winding had upon it the building of hundreds and hundreds of pickups to understand why they sound the way they do and how to make them sound the way they want. It took many years of this before I even gave away my first pickup. Ten years later I now do repairs and rewinds for some of the biggest shops in the area. I’ve fixed and rewound more pickups than I remember. I’ve torn down 50’s era PAF’s from the outside in and have studied them intensely (like most great pickup makers have and do).

I PROVIDE SOMETHING DIFFERENT:

What you get with Revel is this experience condensed into some of the best pickups you can buy. I also wind most of my pickups by hand. I customize every pickup I make to the player. Even the “stock” pickups I offer are meticulous and artful creations.

ALL OF MY PARTS ARE AMERICAN MADE:

I go to great lengths to avoid Chinese and Asian parts and materials and to only use the highest quality materials available. I either machine them in house or have them made for me but only by American companies. This is primarily about minimizing the suffering that goes into the materials available. And to that end I implore you: Stop buying cheap Asian pickups!

And I try to do it all and keep my pickups affordable.

MY GOAL, FROM THE START, HAS BEEN TO MAKE THE BOUTIQUE PICKUP EXPERIENCE AFFORDABLE TO THE WORKING CLASS PLAYER:

It’s no easy task.

But I think the effort and the art sounds and shows.

UNPARALLELED CUSTOMER SERVICE AND REPUTATION:

Revel Pickups is the definition of small company. One owner/operator and the occasional intern. But in the eight years of being in business we have had NO returns or exchanges. This truly means something given the fickle nature of the average guitarist. It goes to show the quality of our customer service and the quality of Revel pickups.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY:

We recycle everything, from coil wire to shipping boxes. Even extra wood whittled away in the creation of a custom guitar or cabinet makes its way into one of our machines or into the fire pit. And we keep our prices low by using recycled packaging materials. It may not be fancy but it’s great for the environment and great for our pricing.

HANDWOUND/SCATTERWOUND PICKUPS

I handwind almost all of my coils. I find this approach to pickup winding to be superior to machine winding and production. And scatterwinding can only be done by someone who really knows what they are doing and why to do it. It takes a lot of time and concentration but produces far superior tone and richer harmonic voicings.

HANDMADE WINDING MACHINES

Some pickups must be wound by an auto-traversing machine. And even my machinery is hand-crafted. You can’t buy my equipment. My winders are the products of many other machines that came before. My Retro P.A.F. winder is a meticulous creation that mimics the finest aspects of the old mechanical winders used by Gibson. They are wonderful, one of a kind, creations – just like the pickups I wind with them.

CUSTOM PICKUPS BUILT TO ORDER

At Revel Pickups, handwound means handwound and custom means custom.

CUSTOM DESIGNS

Want a custom humbucker in a Jazzmaster assembly for the neck of a Tele? Ya, I can do that. Contact me. 

JUST THE FAQS

Here is some insight into commonly asked questions, like pickup output, staggered magnets, etc.