December 2010 - Port Orchard, WA – Sheptone, an American manufacturer of guitar pickups today announces the release of their new line of pickups for Tele-style electric guitars. All pickups are manufactured in the Port Orchard facility and are available immediately. The new model is designed to maintain the tones associated with Tele-style guitars but eliminate the problems often experienced by musicians over the years.
The new Sheptone Tele pickups are of vintage construction featuring either staggered pole pieces or flat-pole blackguard on the bridge pickups. The neck pickup is available with a chrome, nickel or gold cover. The bridge pickup is wound using #42 enamel wire with a standard resistance set of 7.6K, and the neck to 7.3K with #43 enamel wire. Alnico 5 magnets are standard on both. Pickups are wound to eliminate the large volume difference between the pickups of a typical telecaster set. Sheptone does allow custom orders, making Alnico 2 magnets and custom windings available upon request. The neck pickup is reverse wound and reverse polarized to eliminate noise and then is potted upside down to completely eliminate squeal by filling the airspace with wax. To further reduce feedback, the bridge pickup is potted in wax as well.
The Sheptone Tele pickups are based on original designs from the Fender Telecaster guitar, developed by Leo Fender in 1949. The guitar has been in production since its first inception and it has been the influence of many other electric guitars built by many of today’s builders. Being the first major production, solid body, electric guitar; the Telecaster had a major influence on players and music but not without its drawbacks. The original electronics posed certain performance problems when played live. The original pickups were known for creating unwanted squeals and feedback during shows and created challenges for musicians to prevent the noises from occurring during performance. The changes in design and production by Sheptone have solved these issues while maintaining the tone of the originals.
To give insight as to what drives Shep’s pursuit, he states “My philosophy is simple...pickups should be transparent and allow the primary tones of the wood to come through. It is a wooden instrument after all. If you really listen to those classic riffs and tones that we all know, you can hear the wood and that is the key. While some secondary tone is inherent to each pickup’s design, the job of the pickup is to respond to the players' touch (dynamics), enhance the natural harmonics and overtones that accompany each note, and transfer this "voice" to the rest of the signal chain.”
To demonstrate the tones and performance of the new Sheptone Tele pickups, Sheptone has created sound files that customers can listen to online.
MSRP start at $90 each or $169 per pair
A little over seven years ago, Jeff Shepherd found himself in a local band and this is where the quest for tone began. An on-and-off recreational guitar player since the age of 12, the guitars he was playing live just didn’t sound the way he wanted. He purchased a set of 1958 Gibson PAF’s for a ridiculous $4000 to put in his EC-1000 and the difference was incredible. Being the type that likes to tinker and take things apart to see how they work (much to his parents dismay as a child), he began to experiment with winding his own pickups and comparing them to his 1958 originals, back and forth, adjust and re-adjust for over a year until he finally was able to duplicate THAT tone. Since then he has been fortunate enough to extensively analyze over 100 of those old humbuckers, developing a consistent modern recipe as a reasonably priced substitute for over-priced vintage pickups. With a lot of work and some luck along the way, his original curiosity exploded into a full time business, now shipping to every guitar playing country in the world based on word-of-mouth alone. Sheptone has since developed several lines of pickups including Strat, Tele, P90, Bass, and others based on the same principles and procedures.