Hey there, I’m Mike Smyth (aka SMITTY). I’ve been building guitars in Canada for over 25 years and built my first guitar for myself from scratch because I couldn’t find what I wanted on the market. It wasn’t the prettiest thing, but boy did it sound great! Not only do I still play it to this day, but “Old Ugly” is the best R&D helper I have ever had. It’s the guinea pig for all my experiments, especially for the electronics and has never failed to amaze me that it’s still in 1 piece (well it’s really a 2-piece).
After a number of years of building and doing countless guitar repairs (which I enjoyed), I kept getting side-tracked by the mystery of the Pickups. I was sick of relying on what the mass pickup manufacturing companies were telling me was accurate. I needed to know what affects the sound of a pickup.
The only answer that I could come up with was to just build my own – And boy was I glad I ventured down that excruciating path.
What I discovered was that there is an infinite number of factors that play into the dynamics of a pickup – from bobbin construction; to magnets; to wire; to base and covers; not to mention the instrument itself.
I built my 1st winding machine and sourced all local suppliers for materials and started putting the pieces of the puzzle together. After lots of trial & error (and there were lots of errors…), I was able to dial in to the exact formula that produced “my” ultimate sounding pickup.
The rest as they say, is history. I started supplying custom, handwound pickups to professional musicians whose guitars I had been servicing for years. After dozens of satisfied customers, word of mouth got to local music stores who became interested. The store owners were intrigued by the concept that had not been tried – having a customer tell them what they wanted in a pickup, instead of the store telling them what was available.
I now design and produce custom, handwound pickups for electric, acoustic and bass guitars – I’ve even incorporated the same concept into many other steel stringed instruments.
The hard work and simple concept has worked very well by all accounts and the testimonials have pleasantly confirmed this. I continue to learn new things everyday and apply that knowledge to every unique custom pickup that’s created.
I look forward to your inquiries and hope we can build a MJS Custom Handwound Pickup for you!