Jazzmaster+Brierley pick ups=AWESOME

Hey guys. I'm going to put a bunch of my "personal" guitars up for you to look at (if you're interested) Some are old, some are new, some are cheap, some are not, but I LOVE 'em all. I'll start with this one just because it's here in front of me and I just did some work to it that I want to tell you about.


As some of you know I now use a Jazzmaster live. I used to ........ dislike the Jazzmaster in favor of the Jaguar. I preferred the shorter scale and the looks of the Jag but after switching to using LOTS of pedals I tried a JM and a new world opened up for me.

See, I used to play in a Ramones inspired punk band and once I got my GT1 Matamp I used a Mosrite straight into the Matamp. It was AMAZING. I never thought I'd be someone who just ran a guitar into an amp but this combination just sounded worse with any pedal.


 


Anyway, I'm getting off track here. So, the JM turned out to be the perfect guitar for heavily fuzzed pop rock. I've been  a fan of Dinosaur Jr since the 80's and am lucky enough (believe me I consider myself VERY fortunate) to know J Mascis well and do work for him on guitars, amps and effects. I got to play through J's "massive" rig once at the Tivoli and it was crazy, crazy. It was like a jet taking off. 3 100W Marshall Plexi stacks (6 quads) on FULL and a 100W Fender Twin for "foldback" with a '59 Jazzmaster through all his fuzzes. Like I said, CRAZY.


 

Well, now to the reason for this story. I just fitted the new Brierley JM pickups to this and ............. WOW.


Mick and I have been talking JM pickups for a while. I've told him how I like the earlier '59 era ones after hearing some inc J's. It seems the early ones were slightly shallower in the bobbin and had the wire wound out to the edges of the bobbin plates whereas latter ones were slightly taller and had less wire making them "thinner" sounding which is perfect for that "surf sound" they became famous for, not the Jazz sound they were originally designed for. Pickup design and shapes, magnets, sizes etc are for another blog ............


Mick sent up some of his prototype pickups for me to test, which he does quite  a bit. I keep insisting I don't know why he sends them to me? Like I know tone ? I like Mosrites and Rickenbackers ............

He insists I hear A LOT of guitars and pick ups so I know what "sounds good" and what doesn't. I guess he's got a point. I fit a lot of pick ups here inc all the big boutique stuff which I guess is what Mick's competing with even though his are way cheaper than most of these other brands and in my opinion, WAY better than most. I still haven't heard a better P-90 than Micks, and I LOVE P-90's.


 


 

Anyway, this guitar has had a number of JM pickups in it including some customers boutique pick ups that I've asked permission to try in exchange for cheaper work just so I can see what difference they make. It's had a bunch of big brands as well as standard Fender from different countries. Let me tell you. The Brierleys are THE BEST I've tried so far.

Now, this is of course "my opinion" and "my taste" and I don't get into "tone" by email or phone. Tone is in "YOUR" head, not mine, but ..........


To my ears a JM pick up should be clear and have a big "round" bottom end like those early ones but with the "sparkle"and bite as well. It's a big call and to be honest one that not many brands get close to. But the big thing for me is they must also NOT turn to shit when pushed hard and with a lot of gain. Most brands do not achieve this. Micks do with room to spare.

Pushing these into 2 or even 3 Big Mudds into my stereo amp set up, they just sing. They hold it together so you can still hear every note.


 

Micks the sort of guy who if he sends you a set of pickups and you say "yeah, not really there ...... yet" he'll get back to the bench and make more. He doesn't get upset or take it personally. He WANTS to make a great pick up, and I want him to so it works well. I'm sure he has a bunch of other people he sends stuff to as well but I'm glad he sends them to me too. I'm a BIG supporter of local, independent business and little businesses like Micks are crucial to our scene and economy, not to mention a little bit of pride.


So, I'll "review" some other of Micks pickups down the track when I get time and let you know my opinion. You're welcome to take 'em or leave 'em. No skin off my nose.

I'm not affiliated or paid by Mick in any way to say any of this. He's a good guy making good stuff. Enough for me.


If you wanna talk to Mick, here's his site address. Tell him I sent you and he'll charge you more.

OK,  I'm off to play .............. LOUD.

PS: I have since fitted several versions of Micks pick ups to JM's and love them all. I have recommended them to some pro and not so pro players with great results. 

Aug 08 2013 Written By: Tim Brennan