Reilander’s Muckbucker Pickups
Price: $199 (set)
In the 1970s, great guitar-pickup winders began wrapping extra wire on humbuckers, touting the resultant higher output and greater low-end response. Though this approach to pickup construction makes it easier to “overdrive” certain amps, most neck pickups that were given this overwinding sounded muddy, and most such bridge pickups were lacking jangle or twang. In response, Reilander pickups developed its own lines of ’buckers with more modest, vintage-accurate specs.
One of these lines, the Muckbucker, ships in a set with resistance measurements in the upper 6k-ohm for the bridge and mid 6k for the neck. The coils use 42-AWG polycoated wire, Alnico II magnets, and short legs that make them compatible with both Gibson- and Fender-style guitars. They can be ordered with or without covers, and with various wiring options. Wiring the Muckbuckers in a Les Paul was simple thanks to their two-conductor leads. The included mounting springs and screws were also helpful – Reilander uses larger screws with its short-leg models.
Running through a Fender Deluxe Reverb and a Vox AC15, the neck pickup was clear, articulate, and fat, but not tubby. This is difficult to accomplish, as a pickup with too many winds tends to sound either anemic tone, devoid of mids or any sense of strength, or too hot, pushing to breakup without requiring the player to roll back the Tone control.
The Muckbucker bridge pickup was also a treat. Although firmly in the tonal range of a humbucker, it had clarity and jangle, along with a good dollop of midrange that made it very versatile. Because of their clarity and lower output, either pickup would be an excellent bridge ’bucker in a Strat or neck pickup in a Tele. And owing to their sensible output, both worked well with a variety of effects – even a vintage Dyna Comp didn’t need the compression turned to near zero.
While many winders name their pickups after song titles or the nicknames of famous guitarists, Reilander simply winds great-sounding pickups suitable for a variety of styles. And, as the Muckbucker name implies, they will dispatch the tubby low-end of a Gibson-style instrument.
This article originally appeared in VG January 2014 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.