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An insight into the McNelly Custom Pickups process

Tim McNelly recently shared a series of posts over on his social media pages featuring a brilliant insight into his methods behind a custom pickup idea/build. A huge percentage of the work McNelly carries out is custom based, be it for guitar makers or players alike who are looking for something unique for their instrument. Tim has a natural eye for making a design work, but luckily for us, an incredible attention to detail and knowledge of his craft. So these few posts I found incredibly interesting, and felt the need to share it on here! I'll quote the captions to each image exactly as he posted them, as no one can say it better than Tim when it comes to his work!

"Something Bob Taylor said a few years ago stuck with me. They let people visit and tour their factory and show a lot of their process. At the same time, much of what they do isn’t patented (obviously they do have some patents and trademarks). His thought on it was basically this: We’re good at what we do and it takes skill and hard work to do it at this level. If someone wants to copy us, what they’ll see is how hard it is and that they’ll have to be willing to put in the same work. There’s no short cut to this and most people aren’t willing to do the work.
I can’t make any claim of being like Taylor Guitars, but it is extremely encouraging in my own business to be reminded that what I do, how I do it, is unique to me. I’ve had people copy some ideas - it sucks. Still, I do everything that I can to push and set the bar higher than others are willing to. Hopefully it shows.
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So, today I’ll take you on a little tour about what was involved in turning a fairly simple idea into reality. The humble split coil P Bass housed in a dogear P90 cover. Here we go!...

McNelly Custom Pickups insight

First up is planning into the space. A dog ear P90 is fairly spacious, but it won’t fit a P Bass without some contortions. I was able to trim down the bobbin edges and angle them or it would have been way too wide. The poles were spaced more like Jazz Bass to buy a little more space and still keep the overall string spacing as standard PBass. Then we cut em on the laser!

McNelly Custom Pickups insight

McNelly Custom Pickups insight

Drilling covers for custom spacing can be finicky. One option would be to drill slightly larger holes so there’s a tiny bit of wiggle room. In this case, I designed a drilling template based on the bobbins and was able to use an exact size bit for the poles to slide through. Bingo!

McNelly Custom Pickups insight
McNelly Custom Pickups insight
McNelly Custom Pickups insight

After testing the fit on the bobbins and cover, they were wound. They set in the cover while being wired just to make sure spacing was perfect. After testing, they were glued in and ready to be potted. The last pic is the finished pickup getting a wipe down. So there it is. A PBass pickup that took some chin scratching but came together beautifully. One down. Anyone else need one?"

McNelly Custom Pickups insight
McNelly Custom Pickups insight
McNelly Custom Pickups insight
McNelly Custom Pickups insight
McNelly Custom Pickups insight

Absolutely superb. If anyone was still wondering why it is I choose to only stock and offer Tim McNelly's Pickups, and not anyone else's, well hopefully this post helps answer that. An eye for detail, logical and well thought out processes, and importantly care too. I thought this insight into Tim's custom work was too good not to share on here!

James.

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