The Pickup Artist
Well that was Semi Moseley, Bob Venn and
John Robert’s fault. They use to teach students how to wind pickups at Roberto Venn.
We’re talking very crude, rudimentary pickup
designs similar to old Bigsby and Japanese-made pawnshop guitar pickups. One of the
designs was a single-coil pickup which was
a variation on a P- 90, so I have made those
since the beginning. Everyone probably
remembers back in the seventies you would
see LP Juniors and ES-125s in people’s basements, sitting in the corner; P-90s are an old
design we all remember taking for granted.
I’ve been repairing and building guitars since
the mid-seventies, but didn’t really get into
any kind of quantity until the early nineties.
However, I made every pickup for every guitar
I’ve built since I attended Roberto Venn. That
said, I hadn’t perfected my method until the
mid-nineties; everything I made before that
was quite crude and I used whatever materials
I could find. I’ve made and sold more P-90s
than anything else; they started getting popular again around 2000-2002, so I was already
there to supply a lot of that demand.
What’s the secret to an amazing P- 90?
P-90s are about the midrange, but you can
go too far and lose the detail and punch.
You also need to build in a certain amount
of microphonics and it needs to have some
power for most people to like them, but a P-
90 also has to have some sensitive qualities or
it becomes more of a caricature—meaning all
midrange and no dynamics.
The boutique pickup market has absolutely
exploded. What matters more in recreating
classic pickup sounds: having the correct
materials or the technique that goes into it?
It’s both of those factors and, more impor-
We kept removing things until there was only pure
guitar left. I believe great guitar design isn’t about
asking the question, “What kind of inlays can we
add?” It’s about asking, “How can we distill a guitar
to its essence?” I’m TJ Baden, and that’s why I started
this company. To make a pure guitar. With pure sound.
We set out to offer a truly handmade guitar – made
by skilled luthiers – at a price that’s reasonable. I’m
thrilled with the results. Now it’s up to you to decide.
Call us at 760-738-0370 or visit badenguitars.com and
we’ll help you find a dealer. I hope you’ll feel the same
way I do – that it’s pure joy.