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SD Pickups, Custom Hand-Wound Pickups by Dave Stephens, Stephens Design SD Pickups, Custom Hand-Wound Pickups by Dave Stephens, Stephens Design
SD Pickups, Custom Hand-Wound Pickups by Dave Stephens, Stephens Design

Oh, God, there's that "tone" word again — the surest word to start a bar fight among guitar players. By now if you haven't figured it out, good tone is what you personally enjoy — damn everyone else. My own tastes in tone have changed radically over the years.

When I landed in Portland, Oregon, coming from little Ashland, I thought I knew what good tone was: "Stomp on that damn pedal and crank it up." Sounded good to me. So when I showed up at my first Portland blues jam, threw my amp down and laid out my pedals, "What the hell you need them "talent" boxes for?"was one of the first questions I was nailed with. I was terrified to play without them.

I soon discovered some amazing guitar players doing blues in the West Coast jump style, playing straight into vintage Fender amps with a guitar cord and nothing else. I couldn't believe the tone they were getting and the licks they were playing; on big old Gibson archtops to boot...

I've since decided that guys like Junior Watson and Nick Currin are w-a-y more interesting than Stevie Ray Vaughan, not that Stevie wasn't amazing. I now play through vintage amps and the only box on the floor is my tuner. My guitar and leads sound fuller and more satisfying.

Although my pickups are oriented to this style of playing, (plug it in, turn it on, crank it up), my products work for any style of music and can, of course, be tailored to anyone's processing chain. My pickups are wound to get the best out of all tube amps. My pickups are for lead players-making each note count. I must be doing something right, I make pickups for shred rock guys, country players, and, of course, the blues guys. Anyone looking for better tone. I look forward to helping you "find that sound" in your head.

–Dave Stephens


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