our story

My name is Jesse and I’m the proprietor of Revel Custom Pickups located in South Minneapolis, MN. I’m a small, one-man shop, specializing in hand-built and custom 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. That hobby began as an exasperation with myself for not understanding the electric guitar better than I thought I should. To understand it better I first began modifying the guitars I owned and then began building guitars from scratch. And that meant building pickups and amplifiers from scratch, too.

Sometime around 2008 I built a set of humbuckers for a close friend of mine and he refused to not pay for them. We worked out a deal (as musician friends do) and he told me that I was stupid not to sell them. So I started selling them. Those became the O.G. P.A.F.

My plan was to make boutique, hand-made, handwound, custom pickups available to other broke ass musicians like myself.  As a working musician I understand how difficult it can be to have the best. I still maintain this ideal as much as I am able. And I still try to steer people away from buying cheap Asian pickups. That, however, is often an exercise in futility.

I’m thrilled to make pickups for people which they love and that they use to make music. Especially as I make music less and less to focus on Revel Custom Pickups. You can hear some of that music in the Bandcamp player to the right.

And I look forward to making pickups that you will love.

 

why buy revel custom pickups?

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 includes 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 I 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 a Revel pickup 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.

I go to great lengths to use the highest quality materials available. I either machine them in house or have them made for me by domestic 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 this 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 Custom Pickups is the definition of small business. One owner/operator. 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. I’ve had the somewhat rare opportunity to see and inspect and measure many vintage coil winding machines that were used to wind the the pickups that are considered treasures.  My Retro P.A.F. winder is a meticulous creation that mimics the finest aspects of those 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 Custom 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.