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
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
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.
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.
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
House Of Tone
More hand-wound goodness than you can shake a tree at
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.
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
Another new UK maker with a background in guitar
So, I built myself a relic ’52 style Tele to hang on my wall and needed some pickups. Someone
Quality custom voiced pickups used by several reputed UK luthiers and companies.
Yonderbosk Creations -Sovereign Pickups
Matt Netherwood is passionate about the Red Special, the guitar made famous by Brian May of Queen, and has created a whole range of products to support fellow enthusiasts. His pickups are made in the UK following loads of research to get you “that tone”. It’s very niche but a very useful resource. Launched in 2020 they didn’t take long before appearing on many guitars by various custom luthiers trying to recreate Brian’s guitar
A little while ago I came across a talented British guitar player called Alex Hamilton ( Formely Lewis Hamilton Band etc….) and bought his excellent Blues Rock albums. Not only was his playing great, but he has a keen interest in vintage guitars and tone. While on his search for ultimate sonic bliss, he helped co-design a great set of Custom PAF A3/A4 inspired humbuckers. It was the first time I became more aware of Sunbear pickups, and I look forward to seeing more of them.
Following in Dan and Kent’s footsteps, Aaron is making a name for himself with his own interpretation of classic designs as well as offering rewinds and historic replicas.
While I try to avoid linking here to brands that do not have a webpage, in Wilf’s case I will make an exception and link to his FB page. I have a couple of friends who use his pickups in context with fairly high energy rock music, and just love how they “djent”.
Adeson Pickups and Fenton Weill
Very traditional “Great British” pickups with a 50 and 60’s vibe.
Another very British and vintage manufacturer.
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.
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)
Another company offering great looking custom pickups, even with exotic custom wooden bobbins and facia. Tried to get
http://www.swineheadpickups.co.uk ( link still broken as of Oct 2015, sorry!)
Full range. Started as a repair service before going into production. Scatterwound in the UK. ( Link dead Oct 2015)
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.