Over the last few years, choices of pickups have greatly increased. A few decades ago, if you didn’t like your OEM pickup then really the main alternative was Americain brands like DiMarzio or Seymour Duncan, with EMG and Lace joining the party as technology widened the possible options.

Thanks to the Internet however, the range of what can be labeled “boutique pickups”, hand wound and high-quality products often not found in retail shops, has revolutionised the market. Even better, we appear to have a growing cottage industry operating in this field and eager to offer both the independent Luthiers and discerning Guitarists exactly what we want.

Here is a list of British Pickups that I have found so far, some which I can recommend, some that are listed but that I haven’t tried or dealt with. Additions are welcome if submitted, subject to our discretion.

OX4 Pickups

Started in 2011 near Oxford and specialises in handwound highend pickups.  These have found their way into guitars from many high profile musicians who appreciate the authentic vintage correct specifications and quality sound these pickups provide. Having discovered these a few months ago after numerous recommendations from a circle of well-respected guitar collectors, I have just placed another order. The man behind the product is Mark Stow and he’s a pleasure to deal with.

https://ox4pickups.co.uk/

Fletcher Pickups

Based in Birmingham, Ben Fletcher makes some very nice pickups and supplies a growing list of guitar makers and players with his pickups and associated bits of wizardry. Attractively priced products that deliver a solid punch.

https://www.fletcherpickups.co.uk/

Bare Knuckle Pickups

Bare Knuckle Pickups have literally reinvented the UK custom pickup market, raising the profile of what’s available, and demonstrating that it was not only on par with well established US brands, but often better providing a level of service many thought of as in the remmit of “celebrities” only. Popular brand now found on many Luthier’s custom instruments as the brand awareness has increased, with great marketing supporting a good product and service, reflected in their price. Tried it, loved it.

http://bareknucklepickups.co.uk

CatsWhiskers

UK designed and made by Allan Price. Conforms to what most would expect an original 70’s Hotrod custom pickup maker to deliver. Good consultation and advice, and custom specs that deliver at a fair price.

http://www.catswhiskerpickups.co.uk/

BullDogPickups

UK designed and made by Hayden Minnett. Bulldog pickups are a rising brand, with experience. Good consultation and advice, and custom specs that deliver at a fair price. I have a set on my personal guitar at this moment.

http://www.bulldogpickups.com/

House Of Tone

More hand-wound goodness than you can shake a tree at…. With a background in acoustic instrument making, you can be assured that Matthew Bascetta has a fine ear to help design his pickups, supported by partners Nick Leech and Bob Grocott. For handwound, prices are reasonable.

www.House of Tone

Oil City Pickups

This is one of the rare occasions where a user contacted me to suggest I add a UK manufacturer to my list because they have bought their product and think it’s great. My mate Dan from Dan MacPherson Guitars has used them as well, and that speaks volume too. Very reasonably priced so will have to check them out.

http://www.oilcitypickups.co.uk/

Mojo Pickups

Mark has been making pickups professionally for close to 10 years and if you are looking for a pickup that looks a bit more individual at a price competitive against mass produced box shifters, then this could be a good option for you.

https://www.mojopickups.co.uk/about-mojo-pickups/

Monty’s Guitars

Another new UK maker with a background in guitar mainteneance and setups, now offering a range of hand wound UK pickups. Matt is based in London, comes accross as a really nice guy and has gained a lot of experience working for Chandler Guitars, which in itself is a nice reference to have

http://www.montysguitars.com

Radioshop Pickups

So, I built myself a relic ’52 style Tele to hang on my wall and needed some pickups. Someone recommeded I tried a set of these UK handwound units made by a duo based in Bedwas not that far from Cardiff. Pricey, but: the pickups looked great when they arrived, perfect for the project, and sound awesome!

http://www.radioshoppickups.com/

Gemini Pickups

Quality custom voiced pickups used by several reputed UK luthiers and companies.

http://www.geminipickups.co.uk/

Adeson Pickups and Fenton Weill

Very traditional “Great British” pickups with a 50 and 60’s vibe. Adeson is best known for his work on the TriSonic Burns Pickups for the RedSpecial by Brian May. These now exclusively feature on some of the limited run high end models offered by BMG Guitars.

http://www.adeson.co.uk

Voltage Guitarpickups

Another very British and vintage manufacturer. Saddly link is down.

http://www.voltageguitarpickups.com/

The Creamery

Based in Manchester, I just got an email from Jaimie Campbell asking to be added to the list. Had a look at the site and really liked the look of it, so I just had to add it, and hope that I can try some of his pickups at some stage in the future.

https://www.creamery-pickups.co.uk

Sidewynder Pickups

These are made in Scotland, and all I know is that Jimmy Moon from Moon Guitars, who is a really good luthier as well as a really great person, apparently said that they are good. So here they are… (Update, dead link….checked Nov 2015)

http://www.sidewynder.co.uk/

SwineHead Pickups

Another company offering great looking custom pickups, even with exotic custom wooden bobbins and facia. Tried to get a updated price list but sadly no reply as of yet, and now their site is down. Let’s hope they come back soon.

http://www.swineheadpickups.co.uk ( link still broken as of  Oct 2015, sorry!)

Wizard Pickups

Full range. Started as a repair service before going into production. Scatterwound in the UK. ( Link dead Oct 2015)

http://www.wizardpickups.co.uk

IronGear

OK, they are “specced” in the UK, and made in the Far East (Korea I think), but I thought it useful to put a real “cheaper” option in this list. Great for the price if bought online, but not yet equal to the best hand wound pickups offered by the best UK manufacturers, but a good option if on a limited budget.

http://www.irongear.co.uk/